Local News Archives for 2024-01

Last of Drug Ring Members Sentenced

(South Bend, IN) - The last of three people working together to distribute methamphetamine in the Michigan City area have been sentenced to a federal prison.


31-year-old Pedro Gomez, Jr. of La Porte was given a 12-year federal prison sentence in U.S. District Court at South Bend, also being ordered to serve five years of supervised release after completing his prison time.


According to evidence in the case, during the fall of 2022 Gomez and Monica Harrington distributed methamphetamine, with Gomez being responsible for selling close to 200 grams of the substance during that period


Currently, Harrington is serving a 75-month federal prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release.


Amanda West, who was described as one of their suppliers, is serving a 57-month federal prison sentence also followed by three years of supervised release.


The case was investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, with assistance from the DEA North Central Laboratory and the LaPorte County Drug Task Force. 

Sex with Learning Disabled Girl Alleged

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man seemingly attempted to act on a desire to have a baby with a 14-year-old girl, which is only a portion of the picture drawn by the criminal allegations leveled against Daniel Pasco.


Pasco, 42, has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of Child Molestation.


According to court documents, he and the girl’s mother met on a Facebook dating site, which ultimately led to the three staying in local motels together several months later as a result of the woman being evicted from her roach-infested residence on the north end of Michigan City.


The girl reportedly told investigators that Pasco fondled her on several occasions, as well as tried to persuade her to have sex with him because her mother couldn't become pregnant and, as a result, he wanted a child from her. On top of this, she also alleged that Pasco requested to have sex with her and her mother together several times.


The most serious charge alleges that all three involved were undressed in bed when Pasco engaged in intercourse with the girl after removing her birth control patch.


During police questioning, the woman said her son was staying elsewhere after the eviction, but she didn’t want to leave her daughter alone with him because he’s a registered sex offender. She also told investigators that her daughter reads at the level of a kindergarten student and has a speech impediment. 


Pasco could face anywhere from a 20-year to a more than 50-year sentence.

Convicted Drug Dealer Back in Slammer

(La Porte, IN) - A convicted drug dealer allegedly selling narcotics again in La Porte was recently taken off the streets.


Jason Unger, 44, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Dealing in Methamphetamine, as well as in Cocaine or a Narcotic Drug, both Level 4 felonies.


According to court documents, he has been accused of selling methamphetamine, along with a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, from the driveway of his residence at 103 Virginia Ave. near Rose Street on the city’s east side reportedly in late July.


In 2018, Unger was on probation for entering a residence and a motor vehicle after being given a four-year prison sentence for selling drugs.


Unger, who was taken into custody on Saturday, is still being held in the La Porte County Jail on $20,000 bond. He could face anywhere from a 2 to 12-year sentence on each of the current drug-dealing counts.

Three People Injured in Head-On Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - Three people were injured in a head-on collision just before 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday in La Porte County.


The investigation shows that Daryl Woodson, 45, veered into the opposite lane of U.S. 421 to pass a vehicle from behind near County Road 1850 South. His 2007 Chevy Trailblazer then collided head-on with an oncoming 2018 Jeep Cherokee, the southbound Woodson reportedly telling investigators he didn’t see the northbound vehicle.


Police said he was taken to Northwest Health in La Porte while complaining of chest pain and trouble breathing. The other driver, Vicki Bradley, 68, was unable to provide a statement to police about the crash while being treated by medics at the scene. 


She and her passenger, Scott Bradley, 70, of North Judson were both transported to Northwest Health in Porter County with undisclosed injuries to the chest.


Police did not reveal where both drivers reside, but the vehicle belonging to Woodson had an Ohio license plate whereas Bradley's had an Indiana plate.

Meth Bust at Traffic Stop

(La Porte, IN) - A traffic stop in La Porte turned into a drug bust when, according to police, an officer stopped a vehicle on Monday morning for having an expired license plate.


The driver, 25-year-old Cheyanne Reid, was arrested for having a warrant for her arrest out of Michigan City.  


A K-9 dog alerted the officer at the scene to the presence of drugs, and 23-year-old Daniel White as well as 38-year-old Javier Noyola were arrested for having small amounts of methamphetamine.


Noyola was also charged with having prescription pills and a pipe he allegedly used to smoke meth. White is also facing additional charges for allegedly struggling with police during his arrest, and for kicking the front seat in the patrol vehicle from the backseat after being handcuffed.


Court records show Reid was wanted on drug-related charges and for fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

Arrest in Table Leg Assault

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a Michigan City man having some teeth knocked out with a leg from a table.


James Cobb, 45, of Michigan City has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with Level 5 felony Battery.


According to court documents, on January 8th the victim of the attack was hosting a gathering at his home at the Tall Timbers Apartments on 3141 Springland Ave., situated on the city's far east side. 


He reportedly told investigators everyone was having a good time until he went outside and confronted a woman about stealing something from his home. They were arguing when Cobbs apparently removed a leg from a table and went outside, allegedly striking the victim in the mouth with the wooden object.


They then ran inside while Cobb left with the female, police said.


The attack left the man with missing teeth from the top and bottom of his gums, along with a swollen upper lip.


Initially, police said, the victim was not going to pursue charges but decided to after learning Cobb had been boasting about the incident.


The victim quickly identified the suspect in a photo line-up, police said.

Self Help Classes at Salvation Army

(Michigan City, IN) - The Salvation Army of Michigan City will launch a new 12-week session of “Bridges Out of Poverty: Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’ By World.”


The new session begins February 7th, with classes taking place every Wednesday at The Salvation Army at 1201 Franklin Street at 5:00 pm.


This will be the fifth series of Bridges hosted by The Salvation Army, a program that Major Becky Simmons feels is needed in the Michigan City community as a way of helping residents identify and overcome barriers.

“This class is ideal for anyone who wants to make a change in their life,” said Simmons, who oversees The Salvation Army of Michigan City with her husband, Major Dale Simmons.


“Bridges really focuses on individuals as a whole person, talking about our childhood experience, how we grew up, and how that all impacts the decisions we make as adults. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who is at a point in their life that they’re ready to do something different and finally get ahead,” she said. 

Those attending can learn the realities of conditions in your community and how they impact you; some ‘hidden rules’ for getting ahead; skills that give you confidence to do what it takes to get ahead; how to build resources and make connections at home and at work along with ways to deal with change and create stability in your life.


The classes are free and open to the public, with free child care provided during the class, and a free dinner is served after each session.


"We can see a change in the mindset of folks taking this course. They begin to better understand their own past and start to truly believe they can and will do something different to move forward,” Simmons said. 


For more information about the program, contact the Michigan City Salvation Army at (219) 874-6885.

Charges in Separate Customer Robberies

(Michigan City, IN) - A man is accused of robbing and briefly kidnapping two female customers of a liquor store on separate days in Michigan City.


Anthony Rivers, 47, is charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of Robbery and two counts of Kidnapping, all Level 3 felonies, along with five other counts.


Both incidents occurred roughly two weeks apart in December, outside of King Richards Liquors in the 3300 block of Franklin Street.


Two women came out of the store after making purchases and climbed behind the wheel of their vehicles just before Rivers allegedly sat down in their front passenger seats. Then, at gunpoint, police said he emptied the purse of the first victim and took $15 in cash.  He also wanted her to drive him to an ATM, but all she had was a food stamp card. 


She then complied with his order to drive him to a location a short distance away, where he stepped out of the vehicle and fled.


According to court documents, the second victim, also at gunpoint, was requested to drive to an ATM before then showing him her bank account to prove she had no money to withdraw from the machine. She then obeyed his commands to drive before stopping in an alleyway where Riversm wearing a ski mask, left with the woman’s purse along with her rings, necklace, and earrings she had on.


Neither one of the victims was physically harmed, police said.


Court documents also revealed surveillance camera images of Rivers, bearing a close description of the suspects in each robbery, helped result in his arrest.


Vehicle registration data, compiled by license plate reading flock cameras, narrowed down his location to a residence in the 1400 block of Tennessee Street where a car linked to Rivers was found.


In 2005, Rivers was reportedly arrested and later convicted of robbing two U.S. immigration agents in Calumet City, Illinois.

Fire Damage at Elevator Kept to Minimum

(Kingsbury, IN) - A building used for storing farm chemicals and other products worked as designed to limit fire damage at Kingsbury Elevator Monday night.


A police officer who noticed the fire while out on patrol also kept the damage to a minimum.


According to La Porte County Police, at about 9:30 p.m. Deputy Scott Lanoue was northbound on U.S. 35 when he observed what appeared to be a fire at the elevator. He then drove onto the property and found a small fire coming from a storage cabinet attached to the inside of the roughly 100 X 40-foot pole barn.


The officer then contacted a 911 dispatcher, who notified firefighters.


La Porte County Police Officer Jonathon Sikorski also responded to assist, using a fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle to try and reach the flames inside the cabinet. However, he was ultimately unable to get close enough with his extinguisher to put out the flames.


A short time later, police said, responding volunteer firefighters from Kingsbury, Kingsford-Union and Scipio Township forced their way inside through a main door at a different location of the building. They wound up cutting into the metal exterior of the structure to reach and extinguish the fire.


La Porte County Hazmat Director Jeff Hamilton said the structure contained multiple 330-gallon containers of diesel exhaust fluid alongside insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, and some fertilizer.


Hamilton said that diesel exhaust fluid on pieces of heavy machinery like semi-trucks is kept in separate tanks on the vehicles.  The liquid is automatically injected into the emissions so the exhaust burns hotter and comes out cleaner. The liquid never posed a danger, though, because it’s made of two-thirds water and one-third urea, a mineral that serves as the flammable ingredient in the fluid.


He said the fluid, along with the petroleum-based farm chemicals, could have ignited had the structure fire burned hot enough, but the flames were too small to generate such heat and at low risk of spreading much.


Hamilton noted that the risk of a major advancing fire was kept down from the structure being all metal, except for the wooden support beams inside the building.


“With hardly any wood on the inside of the building because of it being a basic pole barn the chances of that happening would have been very slim,” he said.


Hamilton also noted there was never any threat of an explosion because of how difficult it was for the fire to spread and the stored chemicals not being highly combustible.


No light was shed on the cause of the fire.


According to police, a recently-hired independent contractor was completing some electrical work on the building and placing new receptacles on the inside to store diesel exhaust fluid.

Morning Crash Closes U.S 421

(La Porte County, IN) - A stretch of U.S. 421 in La Porte County is closed right now due to a motor vehicle accident.


So far, what details that have been made available are sketchy.


The crash occurred on U.S. 421 between Wanatah and LaCrosse at about 7:30 a.m.


Police later closed the two-lane highway between U.S. 30 and Indiana 8.


Right now, it’s unclear if there were any injuries.  We’ll provide more details once they’re made available.

La Porte Area House Fire This Morning

(La Porte County, IN) - A house fire just outside La Porte this morning has been extinguished.


The fire was reported at about 4 a.m. on Johnson Road near Crichfield Elementary School.


Center Township Fire Chief Jack Ott said the fire started at the rear of the two-story residential structure and that damage seemed moderate. There were no injuries.


Assisting with the fire were volunteer departments from Springfield and Coolspring townships.


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

Skating Rink a Wash During Winterfest

(La Porte, IN) - It's a disappointing end of the season for the ice-skating rink in downtown La Porte, which will begin being disassembled for the season.


Parks Superintendent Mark Schreiber noted how the refrigerated rink was originally scheduled to come down after Winterfest, but it would have been nice to use it one more time before it’s taken apart this week.


The rink was originally meant to open with the annual seasonal festival in La Porte, but rainy, mild weather and an inability to produce enough ice for skating in response ultimately melted those plans. 


Free skating at the rink on Friday had to be canceled because the ice had melted due to rain from the previous night. The hope was to reopen the rink on Saturday and Sunday, but conditions remained too damp and unseasonably warm for enough ice to form.


“Once that rain deteriorates the rink, any amount of rain makes it hard to build back up again. They struggled getting to a point where they could build it up,” Schreiber said.


The city-owned rink at Lincolnway and Monroe Street will go into storage until it can be reassembled in late November. 

Garage Destroyed by Fire

(La Porte, IN) - A garage was destroyed by fire last evening in La Porte.


Firefighters responded just after 5 p.m. to the 500 block of Lawrence Street a few blocks south of Lincolnway on the city’s east side.


Fire Chief Andy Snyder said flames had nearly engulfed the two-car garage when firefighters arrived from the nearby fire station on Daytona Street shortly after the call. It reportedly took about 15 minutes to get a good knockdown of the flames, and another 45 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.


He said there were no vehicles in the garage at the time. Heat from the fire melted some of the siding on a neighbor’s garage about 30 to 40 feet away.


The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Snyder noted that the garage was equipped with electricity and the front door was often left open for extended periods of time.


“Hopefully, we’ll come to some conclusion on what started it,” Snyder said.

Two Vehicle Collision in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - A motor vehicle wound up on its side after a collision early this afternoon in La Porte.


The crash happened roughly around 12 p.m. on East Lincolnway near Walgreens.


Specific details of the collision were not immediately made available by police, who are still investigating the accident.


However, we do know two vehicles collided, and at least one person had to be extricated from a vehicle.  One came to rest on its side along the edge of the four-lane highway.


We’ll provide more details once they’re made available from the La Porte Police Department.

Drugs Recovered During Traffic Stop

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte woman has been accused of having methamphetamine and other illegal drugs located in her vehicle during a traffic stop.


Dawn Vitale, 49, was arrested last night for Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance.


According to La Porte County Police, Vitale was pulled over on Pine Lake Avenue near Wardner Street because her SUV's license plate light was not working.


During the traffic stop, police said, an officer found reason to have a K-9 dog conduct a free air sniff of the vehicle. The dog “Simba” then noticed the presence of drugs, which were inside a fabric bag on the floorboard behind the center console of the 2016 Buick. Just over three grams of methamphetamine and 50 pills containing acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride were recovered from the bag.


Vitale allegedly did not have a current prescription for the pills.


She is being held in the La Porte County Jail on $755 bond. Both charges could bring her as much as a 40-month prison sentence.

Arrest for Passing Vehicles at Crash Site

(La Porte County, IN) - A Michigan City man was arrested after allegedly passing vehicles stopped for a partial highway closure caused by a motor vehicle crash.


Jacob Foldenauer, 35, was taken into custody on Friday afternoon.


La Porte County Police explained that the eastbound lanes of U.S. 20 at Oak Knoll Road in the Rolling Prairie area were closed because of a personal injury accident between a commercial motor vehicle and a box truck. Eastbound traffic was backing up when Sgt. Scott Boswell spotted a vehicle beginning to pass those stopped on the unpaved shoulder of the four-lane highway.


Foldenauer obeyed his commands to stop, and during a computer check, it was discovered that he was reportedly driving on a suspended license as a result of being a convicted habitual traffic violator.


He is currently still being held today in the La Porte County Jail on $755 bond.

Ice Carving Kick Off to Winterfest

(La Porte, IN) - The annual Winterfest festival in La Porte kicked off on Friday with blocks of ice being professionally carved into sculptures resembling a horse, dog, and harp, among various other subjects.


People watching the sculptors at Plaza 618 at Lincolnway and Monroe Street appeared fascinated by their ability to create such life-like images out of ice in one hour or less.


“It’s beautiful stuff. We really like it,” said Jerry Blastick, who comes to watch the ice carvers every year during Winterfest. The LaPorte man brought his nine-year-old grandson, Lukas, to the downtown location after picking him up from school in Westville.


Corinne Vanderstar, 13, came from Valparaiso with her brother, Jonathan, 16, and other siblings, and found it interesting to watch sculptors, using power and hand tools like hoe an artist with a brush creates a painting.


“They’re incredible,” she said.


Her favorite out of the dozen sculptures was one in the visage of a cardinal.


Dennis Kalso showed up with his seven-year-old grandson, Miles, after class was dismissed for the day at Indian Trail Elementary School in LaPorte.


“They’re cool!” shouted Miles, standing beside a dragon figure made from ice by sculptor Alfredo Arroyo of LaPorte.


Arroyo, 84, has been sculptor for 60 years and was previously an executive chef at a hotel when he started making exotic ice figures to display at the buffet for guests.  He said the secret to being a professional ice carver is the ability to see in the ice what you want to create and executing the cuts in a manner that brings that vision into reality.


“You have to have an eye for it,” he said.


Arroyo was working on the image of a Lion’s head when he decided not to complete it, because of the challenges posed by temperatures in the upper 30s.  Melting ice becomes soft and breaks more easily, making it harder to make thin cuts in the ice so as to bring out more detail in the figures.


The weather was also a factor in the cancellation of Friday’s free ice skating and Saturday’s ice fishing derby on Pine Lake as a part of the event.


LaPorte Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said ice on the city’s refrigerated rink at Lincolnway and Monroe Street melted because of overnight rainfall, with the refrigeration underneath the ice unable to stop the melt as a result of the rain pooling on top of the surface.


“When it comes to ice, it’s the rain that does all of the damage,” he said.


The hope is to blanket the rink with new ice, so as to have free skating on Saturday and Sunday as originally scheduled.


Schreiber said the roughly six inches of hard ice on Pine Lake was ruled too unstable because of the rain and milder weather the past several days.  The heavy lake effect snowfall melt also contributed to the very slushy conditions on top.


Other Winterfest activities expected to go on as schedule include a co-ed softball tournament in the elements Saturday at Lions Field and bicycle ride beginning at Cummings Lodge on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Sunday events include free horse drawn wagon rides at Cummings Lodge from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Semi and Van Collide on U.S. 20

(La Porte County, IN) - A collision involving a semi-truck happened this afternoon in the Rolling Prairie area, wherein the vehicle, hauling a trailer, collided with a van just after 1 p.m. on U.S. 20 at Oak Knoll Road.


So far, authorities have not provided many specifics, but we do know a medical helicopter was called to the scene and lanes were closed in response.


The crash happened just a short distance from New Prairie Small Animal Clinic. Emily Gardner, who works at the clinic as a veterinary assistant, said she heard the crash and then stepped outside.


“The traffic had stopped, so we walked out and called 911,” she said.


Gardner said the van looked “pretty smashed up” on the driver’s side, while the semi did not appear to have nearly as much damage.


Police are still investigating the accident.

Vehicle on Side After Collision

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte Police have completed their investigation into a Wednesday morning crash that left a vehicle on its side.


At about 6 a.m., police said Julianna Poole, 20, of Michigan City, pulled out of the parking lot at Howmet into the path of an oncoming vehicle on Boyd Boulevard near Indiana 2. The other vehicle, operated by 36-year-old Barbara Ritter of La Porte, struck the driver’s side of Poole's car causing it to roll onto its side just off the pavement.


Following the incident, Ritter complained of pain, and two children in her vehicle, ages 14 and 13, suffered possible injuries.


Both the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta operated by Poole and the 2005 Chevy Trailblazer driven by Ritter reportedly had to be towed from the crash site.


There was an estimated $10,000 to $25,000 in damage to both vehicles, police said.

Winterfest Ice Fishing/Skating Cancelled

(La Porte, IN) - The ice fishing derby scheduled tomorrow as a part of Winterfest in La Porte has been canceled. Heavy rain and above-freezing temperatures have been cited for making the ice on the inland waters too unstable. 


However, the post-derby gathering is still planned at the Blue Heron Inn starting at 2 p.m. There will be live music and drawings, food and drink available, and the event itself will be open to the public, officials said. 


Free skating at the city-owned refrigerated rink downtown has also been canceled for today. Officials said the rink will reopen with free admission once additional layers of ice on the skating surface can be built.


Free skating is still on for now at the rink on Saturday and Sunday. 

Another Interstate Hospital for Franciscan Health

(Crown Point, IN) - Franciscan Health is opening another hospital beside a major thoroughfare in Northwest Indiana.


The current hospital in Crown Point is closing and being replaced by a $200 million facility a few miles away along Interstate 65. Patients will be taken to the new hospital beginning Sunday morning.


Five years ago, Franciscan Health relocated from its old hospital on the north side of Michigan City to a new facility along Interstate 94 beside U.S. 421.


Recently, Franciscan Alliance announced it was fully acquiring the Franciscan Beacon Health hospital on La Porte's west side. Both organizations were in a 50/50 partnership in 2018 to create that hospital along Indiana 2. 

Return of Happy Hour Proposed

(Indianapolis, IN) - Happy hour could return to establishments serving alcohol in Indiana, as a bill has been introduced in the state legislature to allow businesses to host happy hour prices and times for the first time since the 1980s.


Lawmakers feel the measure has a good chance of passing out of the House of Representatives and Senate before the ongoing legislative session concludes in early March.


According to supporters of the measure, the purpose would be to help businesses that have been struggling since the pandemic, but they also want to make sure alcohol sales during happy hour would be done safely.

Bison Storm Back to Win

(New Buffalo, MI) - The New Buffalo High School boys’ basketball team stormed back after halftime to defeat Countryside Academy 55-49 at home on Wednesday.


The Bison, leading by six points after the first quarter, were outscored by 17 points in the second quarter.


The Cougars came alive behind the dazzling play of Isiah Woods, who sank shots from seemingly everywhere on the court.


The Bison seemed rattled by the much higher level of play suddenly provided by the Cougars, who topped it off with a thunderous slam dunk from Dante Tate. After stealing a pass at half-court, there was nothing between Tate and the rim when he dribbled into the paint and went airborne.


The crowd roared when he threw the ball hard into the net with one hand.


The second half, though, was a much different story for the Bison players, who regained their composure and relied on finding open shooters for easy buckets close to the rim with nifty passes.


The Cougars opened up the third quarter by extending their lead to 19 points.  However, a three-point bucket from sophomore Sam Tripp seemed to trigger the Bison comeback.


The Bison pulled to within 11 points when sophomore Lucas Forker laid the ball into the rim after catching a pass from senior Elliott Bourne.  The lead was cut to seven points when Bourne with the ball found sophomore M’Nason Smothers, who caught the pass and sank a five-foot turn-around jump shot.


Another three-point shot from Tripp pulled the Bison to within two points at the end of the third quarter.


The Bison took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter when Bourne sank a three-point shot from the baseline and then drove in for a lay-up.


Forker led the Bison attack with 16 points while Bourne scored 14 points.


New Buffalo Head Coach Nate Tripp said one of the keys in the comeback was bringing the zone defense closer to the rim after halftime.  That stopped the Cougars from driving into the paint for easy shots and forced them to shoot more from the outside.


Tripp also said his players also stayed calm and were very sharp with their passing.


“The guys did phenomenal. They know how to look for each other. They got chemistry,” he said.


Tripp said having to take point guard Nick Haskins out of the game for an extended period due to early foul trouble was the main reason for the problems in the second quarter because that forced some players out of their regular positions.

Winterfest in La Porte Begins Friday

The annual Winterfest in La Porte begins Friday.


Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said free skating at the municipally owned refrigerated rink at Lincolnway and Monroe Street kicks off the yearly event, which will run for three consecutive days. 


The rink will be open for skating from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.


"I hope to see a lot of people out taking advantage of it," he said.


Other events and activities on offer include the following:


WinterFest Schedule of Events - January 26-28, 2024

The annual WinterFest, organized by the La Porte Park and Recreation Department, returns January 26-28, 2024! 


Glide into winter enjoyment! Bundle up and come ice skate at the Downtown La Porte Ice Rink, located at Monroe and State Streets. Skate time is FREE by entering the discount code WINTERFEST during checkout. Skate rental is available for $3. A signed waiver is required. Reserve your spot at www.laporteparkandrec.com.

Ice Skating at the Downtown La Porte Ice Rink Flyer




9-11 a.m. - ACOA (910 Lincolnway)

Join staff from La Porte County Library and our Activity Center for Older Adults for a blustery, winter craft! Participants will create an upcycled paper snowflake using book pages.

ACOA Craft Flyer



Friday afternoon  -  Plaza 618 - Downtown La Porte

Ice, ice, baby! Our downtown will transform into a frozen art gallery at Plaza 618. Enjoy the creative designs as you peruse the offerings at local shops,  enjoy a hearty meal at one of the local restaurants, and enjoy some time on this year's ice skating rink! Thank you sponsors: NIPSCO and City's Pure Ice

WinterFest - Ice Sculpturing Demonstration Flyer





PINE ICE DERBY - De Camp Band of Brothers

6 a.m.-2 p.m. - Pine Lake


Haul in that big fish or just recall the one that got away! Put on your thermal underwear, cast those lines, compete for prizes, and share your stories at The Blue Heron Inn, after the derby. Sundays Sons Band starts at 3 p.m. ice or no ice. The fee is $60.


For additional information or to register click here.



9 a.m. - Lions Field

Dashing through the snow, turning double plays! Get your team together for our version of the "hot stove" league. Double-elimination tournament; limited to the first eight teams to register. Pre-registration required. Team enty fee $185. Deadline to enter is Friday, January 19.

Snowball Softball Coed Tournament Bracket

Snowball Softball Coed Tournament - Rules

Snowball Softball Coed Tournament - Roster Form (printable)

Snowball Softball Coed Tournament Event Flyer



9 a.m.-noon - Steady Stitchers Studio (1640 First Street)

Stay warm with this fun activity! Learn to make your own scarf, hat, or hooded scarf. All sewing levels are welcome. Cost of the project is only $5. Pre-registration is preferred at the Park Office by calling 219-326-9600 or visiting 250 Pine Lake Avenue. Instruction provided by the Steady Stitchers.

WinterFest Sewing Class Flyer



1-2 p.m. - Civic Auditorium - Lower Level

Is your child looking to try something new? Come and join certified instructor Vermilyer as he introduces Jiu-Jitsu. This one-time class is a great way to introduce your child to the martial art. Jiu Jitsu is a great form of exercise and is considered to be the best arts for self-defense. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Wavier required. 

WinterFest Introduction to Jiu-Jitsu Flyer



1-3 p.m. - Cummings Lodge

Feeling the winter blahs? Riding a bike in the winter will help beat back those wintertime blues. The event starts at noon with registration while the pedaling takes off at 1 p.m. Participants will take a leisurely one-hour ride and return to Cummings Lodge for some snacks and hot chocolate. Check your tires, bundle up (layers are recommended), grab your helmet, and let's cruise together!

WinterFest - Frosty's Frozen Bike Ride Flyer

Frosty's Frozen Bike Ride Waiver (Required)



9 a.m.-5 p.m. - LPCPL Exchange (807 Indiana Avenue)

Check out all this incredible facility has to offer, with projects using the multiple crafting avenues available, such as creating on the 3-D printer or using the Cricut®. The LPCPL staff will be on hand to instruct.



Provided by La Porte County Parks 

Noon-2 p.m. - Cookies and Crafts: Learn about the science of snowflakes

2-3 p.m. - Game Time: Artic Animal Survival

3-4 p.m. - Snowshoeing: Snowshoes available to check out for free (led by a naturalist)

4-5 p.m. - Night Hike (flashlights provided)

5-6:30 p.m. - Campfire: Storytelling and s’mores

For additional information on activities presented by La Porte County Parks go to https://laportecountyparks.org/

County Parks WinterFest Activity Schedule



WINTER KIDS CRAFT - FREE - Parties on the Gogh

Noon-1 p.m. - Cummings Lodge

Bring your littles for a fun craft! Spend time with your family as you complete a fun project while enjoying snacks and hot chocolate. Led by Kristi Chadderdon from Parties on the Gogh.

Kids Craft Flyer



1:30-3:30 p.m. - Cummings Lodge

Jingle, jingle, jingle. Take a brisk ride through the beauty of wintry nature while enjoying the majesty of the equine. After a trot through Soldiers Memorial Park, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace. 

WinterFest Horse Drawn Wagon Rides Flyer



2 p.m. - Civic Auditorium (Lower Level)

Football on TV again? Want to get away? Join Parties on the Gogh to spend your afternoon painting your own piece of art. This adult class has a $45 fee, with all supplies and instruction included. Pre-registration is required.

Adult Painting Flyer


For up-to-date changes or cancellations on each of the WinterFest events, call the Park Office or follow their page on Facebook.


For information on becoming a WinterFest sponsor contact sback@cityoflaportein.gov or call 219-326-9600.

Caught Leaving Driver Charged with OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police showed up just as he was leaving a crash after allegedly driving while impaired.


Kyle Graves, 31, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated, upgraded to a Level 6 felony because of a prior OWI conviction.


According to court documents, on the night of January 16th Graves ended up in a ditch along County Road 300 North at U.S. 421 just outside Michigan City. There, he reportedly called a family member in Westville who showed up and left with Graves in the front passenger seat.  They didn’t get far, though, until they were passed by a responding officer, who then turned around and followed them into a nearby parking lot.


Per authorities, Graves of Valparaiso admitted to being the driver of the vehicle in the ditch and consuming alcohol, explaining that he slid off the road after hitting a patch of ice. His alleged blood alcohol level was .172 percent.


Court records show Graves was convicted of OWI in 2022 in Porter County.


He received 180 days of unsupervised probation and a 20-day suspension of his driver’s license.


Man Facing Child Pornography Charges

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man is accused of having naked pictures of a teenage girl he’s known for quite some time on his cell phone, as Jason Brant, 39, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with two counts of Level 6 felony Possession of Child Pornography.


According to court documents, he’s accused of requesting nude pictures from the girl last year beginning when she was 17, and keeping them stored on his personal cellular device, the requests themselves reportedly in the form of private messages on Facebook.


The victim told authorities she and Brant, on more than one occasion, would message each other for a few weeks until she blocked him.  Each time, she said, Brant would create another Facebook account to reach out and request more nude pictures of her. 


During police questioning, Brant told investigators he had different Facebook accounts due to being hacked. Authorities note that he also admitted to requesting the nude pictures, but argued the girl acted on her own free will. The girl, however, told investigators she felt pressured to comply with his requests.


Eventually, she told a relative about sending him the pictures because she no longer could deal emotionally with what she had done without help.


A few months after the investigation began, police said charges were pursued after Brant admitted to still having inappropriate pictures of the girl on his cell phone and a forensic examination of his device had confirmed their presence.


Each count carries a potential six-month to 30-month sentence.

Driving Impaired Charges in Double Fatality

(St. Joseph County, IN) - An arrest has been made for the deaths of two people in a motor vehicle crash last year between New Carlisle and South Bend.


Charges were filed against 46-year-old Thongkhoun Phommaha of South Bend, whom authorities say veered over a center line in the road and collided with an oncoming motorcycle, killing its occupants: 59-year-old Mark Pierce and 54-year-old Jane Ryall.


The accident happened in July on U.S. 20 west of Quince Road.


Phommaha has been charged with two counts of Causing Death with a Controlled Substance in his Bloodstream.


Each count could bring him anywhere from a 2 to 12-year sentence.

Salvation Army Tops Fundraising Goal

(Michigan City, IN) - The Salvation Army in Michigan City has exceeded its Christmas fundraising goal of $230,000 as nearly $250,000 was collected over the holiday season.


Some of the money was placed in kettles, while the remainder came into their office through other means like cash and online giving.


“We set a lofty goal this year, and we are so thankful to all of those who helped us not only meet this goal but exceed it,” said Major Becky Simmons, who oversees The Salvation Army of Michigan City with her husband, Major Dale Simmons.


Officials said the amount collected during the Christmas season is critical because one-third of the Salvation Army’s annual budget is funded with money contributed during the holidays, and demand for assistance has increased in recent years because of the post-pandemic economy and inflation.


“We are here to provide emergency services to city residents, such as food, clothing, and warmth, but we’re also here to help break the cycle of poverty for our families through programs like Pathway of Hope and Bridges Out of Poverty,”  Simmons said.

Driver Wakes Up to OWI Arrest

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man is facing charges of Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated after waking up to police officers beside his parked vehicle last night.


Damian Twardus, 30, was released from the La Porte County Jail today after posting bond.


Sheriff’s deputies, after 9 p.m., responded to a complaint about a vehicle parked in a private driveway in the 4100 block of West Indiana 2. The property owner reported the 2019 Ford Expedition had its engine running and high-beam headlights on for 20 minutes before he called the police. Emergency responders found him passed out behind the wheel and reportedly described him as being very difficult to wake up.


According to police, Twardus, who lives about 10 miles away in northern La Porte County from where he was parked, asked if he could have a ride home. If not, Twardus said he would walk. He allegedly admitted to consuming alcohol earlier in the day but refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.


He later became very upset and claimed he knew a lot of police officers in Chicago, who “would not do this to him,” according to the officer’s report.


He uttered a few expletives before arriving at the La Porte County Jail.

Fugitive Leads Police to His Location

(La Porte County, IN) - An alleged rapist being sought locally drew law enforcement right to his whereabouts.


Kyle Terusiak, 28, is still being held today in the La Porte County Jail on a $25,000 bond.


Per authorities, at roughly 5 p.m. on Tuesday, officers responded to a harassment complaint from Terusiak at a residence in the 2700 block of 450 South. Before arriving, they confirmed that Terusiak had a warrant out for his arrest on the rape allegations, and quickly took him into custody after approaching the residence.


Police said the warrant was issued for his arrest on January 5th, following about a two-month investigation. He could face anywhere from a 3 to 16-year sentence on the Level 3 felony Rape charge.


So far, authorities have not made available to the public the specific details behind the alleged rape, but are expected to in the coming days. 

Monthly Spotlight on OWI Suspects Continues

(La Porte County, IN) - The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office has posted mugshots of all of the people the department arrested for impaired driving in December.


Sheriff Ron Heeg said the monthly postings, which began a few years ago, are aimed at illustrating the work his officers have done to keep motorists as safe as possible. Other reasons include keeping impaired driving and the tragedies it can bring in the public spotlight so the issue does not start to get overlooked.


Heeg said he also hopes the program plays a role in keeping drivers sober and preventing impaired drivers from reoffending.


“These drivers are intoxicated. They cause crashes. They cause devastation.  They cause injury and it’s our job to get them off the streets,” he said.


Heeg also said he will not apologize to people critical of the program, who believe it is a “public shaming” of the individuals whose images have been posted on the Facebook page of the Sheriff’s Office.


“Our job is to get these individuals off the streets and that’s exactly what we’re doing. These people who want to complain and cry foul probably wouldn’t be crying foul to us if it was their loved one who was hurt or killed by a drunk driver,” he said.

Charges in Disarming an Officer Attempt

(La Porte, IN) - A man has been accused of grabbing the gun of a La Porte Police Officer and injuring him during a physical confrontation. Samuel Sharp, 21, was booked into the La Porte County Jail last week on charges filed in the case.


According to court documents, On July 21st Sharp was acting erratically in the 100 block of East Lincolnway after consuming some THC-infused edibles.


He was given a ride to Northwest Health so he could be seen by medical professionals as a precaution for his own safety.  While being seen by nurses, police said Samuel stood up. One of the officers, then trying to get him to sit back down, had his gun reportedly grabbed by Samuel, who was unable to pull out the weapon because of the lock safety design of the holster.


The officer and another law enforcement representative then fought with Sharp to try and get him to release his grip on the gun. Eventually, Sharp let go of the weapon and then struck one of the officers on the head, police said.


According to court documents, the officer may have suffered a concussion, judging by symptoms like a headache, ringing in the ears, and pain in his jaw.


Sharp is charged with multiple counts including Battery and Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer, both Level 5 felonies.


Each count carries a potential one to six-year sentence. 

Officer Bloodied from Punch by OWI Suspect

(La Porte, IN) - Following a motor vehicle crash last night, an alleged drunk driver has been accused of physically assaulting a nurse and a jail officer in La Porte.


Angela Halcomb, 43, has been charged with multiple counts, including Battery Against a Public Safety Official and Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


According to the La Porte County Police, the Michigan City area woman crashed her vehicle in the area of Genesis Drive and Koomler Drive before flagging down a citizen, who gave her a ride to the Walgreens in the 500 block of East Lincolnway. Responding officers found her lying on the floor of the store.


Police said she became belligerent and combative when questioned about the accident and the odor of alcohol on her breath.


She was taken to Northwest Health for a blood draw, where she was restrained to a bed due to her at-times violent behavior exemplified by her kicking a nurse while having her blood pressure taken.


Her alleged blood alcohol level was .208 percent.


After being taken to the La Porte County Jail, Holcomb reportedly punched a jail deputy, causing the officer’s nose to bleed.

Franciscan Alliance Acquiring Hospital in La Porte

(La Porte County, IN) - Franciscan Alliance will fully acquire Franciscan Beacon Hospital in La Porte.


Officials say Franciscan Alliance and Beacon Health System entered into an agreement in 2018 for a 50/50 joint partnership to create Franciscan Beacon Hospital along Indiana 2 on the city’s west side.


The 92,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility includes a 24-hour, 10-bed emergency department, eight inpatient beds for overnight care, laboratory services, an on-staff pharmacist, physical therapy, telehealth connectivity, and the latest in imaging and diagnostic equipment.


As part of the acquisition, officials said, all Beacon Health System nursing, imaging staff and patient access employees currently employed at the hospital, which is roughly 33 people, will become Franciscan Alliance employees. The acquisition, coming this spring, supports Franciscan Alliance’s regional approach to healthcare, which optimizes facilities and resources to improve the level of care for all of Northwest Indiana.


“We are thrilled to further expand our healthcare services in La Porte with the acquisition of Franciscan Beacon Hospital,” Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said.


A Beacon Medical Group medical office building is attached to the hospital. The physicians and staff therein will remain in their current locations as Beacon staff members.


“Beacon and Franciscan Health strive to do what is in the best interest for the community and will continue to partner in other ways to provide high-quality healthcare for the La Porte region,” noted Diane Maas, chief strategy and digital growth officer at Beacon Health System.


The closing date for the acquisition is scheduled for March 1st.

Potential for Ice Jams and Flooding on Rivers

All eyes are on the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers for potential ice jams and flooding as a result of the recent wintry mix of heavy precipitation.


Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission Executive Director Scott Pelath issued the following statement regarding the conditions of the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers in Indiana:


“Recent days have brought an unfavorable mix of conditions to the Kankakee River Basin. Several days of sub-zero have caused heavy ice and deepened permafrost.  These temperatures were accompanied by episodes of heavy snowfall, particularly lake-effect snow throughout the central watershed."


“When warmer temperatures and liquid precipitation follow such conditions, the risk of ice jams increases. This winter, we already have seen the hazards posed by a major ice jam on the Kankakee River at Wilmington, Illinois. They can block the normal flow of water and pose flood risks to people and property."


“Conversely, the deepening of permafrost renders soil less able to retain liquid water. This hastens its flow to creeks and ditches that feed the main stems of the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers."


“The Commission is directly inspecting changing river conditions and monitoring up-to-date projections from the National Weather Service. It also retains emergency service contractors in the event of bridge obstructions or bank breaches."


“Citizens are urged not to cross any ice and to use extreme caution on and around riverbanks during flood conditions. River levels, flood forecasts, and current flood status information can be found at the National Weather Service website at https://water.weather.gov/ahps/.”    

Local Governments on Ice Back in Business

(La Porte County, IN) - Local government offices reopened this afternoon after closing early Monday for an approaching ice storm.


City Hall in La Porte opened its doors back up at 1 p.m.  La Porte County government offices and City Hall in Michigan City were open for business again at 12 p.m.


The freezing rain left sidewalks and parking lots coated with ice and mostly slush on the roads this morning   Travel conditions greatly improved throughout the morning as temperatures gradually rose further above the freezing mark.


La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens said she left for work early from her home in Hanna but she encountered little, if any, difficulties.


“It’s not terrible.  There are slick spots but everything is starting to melt,” she said.


The Michigan City Police Department reported no accidents. 


La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg said there were no major accidents handled this morning by his department.  He doesn’t believe the ice was as thick as what was in the forecast.


“I saw ice on the snow and maybe some of the tree branches.  It just didn’t appear we got the amount they were originally calling for,” he said.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said traveling in the city was much improved over the mostly slushy conditions with ice in spots this morning.


“I think we’re pretty good to tell you the truth,” he said.

1955 Chevy Truck Reported Stolen

(La Porte, IN) - A Kingsbury man reported his 1955 Chevy pick-up stolen after returning home to find the vehicle missing from his garage last night.


The 63-year-old man told La Porte County Police he was heading home from Merrillville when he was contacted by a friend who spotted the vehicle turn into the entrance of the Walmart on Boyd Boulevard in La Porte.


The friend reportedly could not tell who was driving but felt it would be odd for the owner to be out in his mint-conditioned vehicle in the freezing rain with salt on the roads, so he called to question him about it.


According to police, the owner, after returning home, opened the garage door to find the red vehicle, with its white roof, front and back bumpers, and backend-attached wooden bedrails gone.


The investigation so far has produced a potential suspect, but the truck was not spotted during several passes of the home belonging to the person of interest in La Porte.


The pick-up truck was valued at an estimated $60,000.

Disconnected Stove Pipe Cause of Fire

(La Porte, IN) - The end of a flue pipe from a wood-burning stove resting in an attic has been ruled the cause of a fire at a house being renovated in La Porte.


Fortunately, firefighters kept the damage to a minimum at the home at 242 Marquette St.


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said workers on Sunday didn’t know the end of the flue pipe was in the attic when they started a fire in the wood-burning stove because of the house interior's chilly conditions. They later noticed smoke inside the residence and began throwing snow on the flames before calling 911.


Snyder said firefighters quickly put out the fire in some of the rafters of the attic with just minimal structure damage. Tearing into the ceiling, they discovered the end of the flue pipe was inside the attic rather than extending outside. 


Snyder said heat from the fire in the stove coming out of the pipe was hot enough to catch some rafters above it on fire over time.


“The workers thought the wood-burning stove was venting but it was only venting in the attic. That’s what caused the fire,” he said.


Snyder said the home apparently was vacant for quite some time before the owner purchased it a few weeks ago and started having it renovated. He said it's possible the flue pipe was brought entirely inside the home until the renovation was completed.

Winter No Longer a Safety Risk for Cows

(La Porte County, IN) - An investment by a dairy farm in La Porte County paid off again during the recent heavy winter storm as shown by cows, headed for milking, no longer slipping and falling on a snow and sometimes ice-covered surface.


Eko Acres, located near Rolling Prairie, had two new barns constructed and connected with an existing barn in 2020.


Mike Ekovich, who operates the family-owned farm at 1752 N. 350 East, said the cows are now able to remain indoors and stay sure-footed while being escorted to the milking barn under the same roof. Previously, the cows were housed in separate barns and had to be walked along an outdoor concrete surface to the indoor milking station. He explained how the concrete walkways outside, after a frozen precipitation event, had to be plowed, if not had salt and sand applied so as to help the bovine animals maintain traction.


"That’s no longer the worry around here,” he said.

Eckovich noted that it wasn’t uncommon for a dairy cow weighing 1,300 pounds or more to be seriously hurt from slipping and falling, explaining how the cows that didn’t have to be put down would be hoisted up with a lifting device and taken back to a barn to see if they could mend while manually being fed and given water to drink.


He also said tending to cows injured in slip-and-fall accidents took time away from running the operation efficiently, plowing snow after a storm in a timely manner for tanker trucks coming for milk, and semis delivering feed to get in and out of the farm without delays.


During the recent storm, Ekovich said none of his cows were injured due to having an indoor and dry concrete surface to walk on.  The only extra work was removing snow for delivery trucks to get in.


“It was just like a normal day other than plowing the driveways out and stuff like that,” he said.


The farm uses a tractor with a 12-inch wide plow on it, along with three payloaders to move snow.


The lake effect bands produced as much as 30 inches or more of snow in Michigan City and the immediate rural areas. Snow accumulations were closer to 20 inches in La Porte and its surrounding communities, while lesser but still heavy amounts were reported in places like Rolling Prairie, New Carlisle, and Mill Creek.


Ekovich said there was about a foot of snow with just light winds at his farm, which milks about 1,000 cows and keeps another 400 or so young cows to milk when they’re ready to do so in the future.


He said plowing is probably the biggest concern now after a winter storm with tankers coming typically every 18 hours for milk.  Ekovich said he tries to keep a five or six-day supply of feed before another order arrives.


“It’s a different experience now. Before, you dreaded the cold weather. Now, it’s not quite such a tiresome event,” he said.

Freezing Rain Causing Hazardous Travel

(La Porte County, IN) - A travel advisory is still out for La Porte County as a result of freezing rain overnight creating hazardous travel conditions.


Motorists on state highways, for example, were encountering a lot of slushy spots earlier this morning, causing drivers to travel 35 to 45 miles per hour, if not faster in spots on major thoroughfares.


Salt laid down yesterday in advance of the storm appears to be working well in keeping a lot of ice from forming.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said there’s still patches of ice, though, in spots on traveling surfaces.


“It’s mostly slushy but there are black ice spots that you just don’t see when you’re driving,” he said.


Batchelor said he expects conditions to improve as the temperatures begin warming up toward mid-morning.  The high-temperature today is expected to be in the lower 40s.  


Pedestrians are also advised to be extremely careful on sidewalks and parking lots, which are very iced over where salt has not been applied.


The travel advisory issued by the La Porte County Commissioners yesterday is scheduled to expire at 12 p.m. today.

Elevated Chamber Role for Educator

(Michigan City, IN) - A former public school educator has been honored by the Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce as Gina Alber has been announced as the agency’s ambassador for the fourth quarter of last year.


According to chamber officials, the Ambassador of the Quarter is given to an individual who has shown dedication to the mission of the chamber by regularly attending chamber events, and connecting with members through emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.


Ambassadors have also referred non-members for chamber membership.


An ambassador helps to promote the role of the chamber in the community by welcoming new members, encouraging current members to maximize their membership, and by helping to maintain and increase the retention rate of new and existing members by reinforcing the benefits of chamber membership, officials note.


Membership Director Danny Hogan called Alber “a great asset to our Ambassador Committee.”


“Gina goes above and beyond to welcoming our new members and engage current members,” he said.


Alber was an administrator with the South La Porte County Special Education Committee for over 15 years. She’s been an employer consultant with Ivy Tech for the past two years, with focuses that include workforce training and development.


"Serving as chief ambassador of the committee helps me to stay in the loop and be ready to support whatever business needs arise locally," Alber said. 

Snow Apparent Cause of Roof Collapse

(La Porte, IN) - Concerns about roof collapses from the recent heavy snowfall have been heightened by the weight of freezing rain in the forecast.


An empty warehouse at 1450 Lake St. in La Porte had much of its roof, covered by 20 inches or more of lake effect snow, collapse recently.


“The collapse was likely from the weight of the snow,” noted La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder, who explained how the owner of the building discovered the collapse early in the afternoon on Sunday.


Fortunately, nobody was inside at the time.


“It is unknown to what day and time it actually happened, since no one was around when it occurred,” he said.


Snyder said the building, once rented by Superior Ambulance, has been vacant in more recent times.

Ice Storm Results in Early Closings

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County government officials have issued a travel advisory because of freezing rain and more expected throughout the day and into the night.


As a result, La Porte County Government offices were closed today at 12 p.m.


According to the La Porte County Commissioners’ office, government buildings are not expected to reopen until Tuesday at 12 p.m.


City Hall in La Porte and Michigan City also closed today at noon.


According to the offices of both mayors, City Hall in Michigan City will reopen at noon Tuesday, while City Hall in La Porte will reopen tomorrow at 1 p.m.


Travel is expected to become extremely hazardous, with anywhere from one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch of ice and possibly more in some locations in the forecast.


The freezing rain isn’t expected to stop until Tuesday morning.


A number of schools in the area also closed today at noon because of the anticipated hazardous conditions.

OWI Arrest Follows Icy Road Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - A woman has been accused of driving while impaired on drugs after crashing her vehicle in La Porte County in the midst of delivering pizza.


Kelly Eriksson, 38, has been charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


According to La Porte County Police, her Chevy Equinox slid off an icy County Road 900 North last night and struck a utility pole near 500 West.


Eriksson, reportedly showing signs of impairment notably in her eyes and speech, had no alcohol in her system.  The woman explained that she had taken two different kinds of prescription medication earlier in the day.


One of the officers concluded she was impaired by one of the medications and unable to operate a vehicle safely. 


She was apparently out delivering as indicated by the discovery of a warmer bag containing a few boxes of pizza in her SUV's back seat, which wound up in a snow-covered ditch.


The driver was ultimately not injured. 

Vehicles Included in Garage Fire Loss

(La Porte, IN) - Fire consumed a two-car garage in La Porte and practically all of the contents therein, including three motor vehicles. Among the destroyed items in the garage were a Chevy Tahoe and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.


The fire broke out Friday at about 4:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Scott Street.


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said it appeared the fire was connected to work the property owner was doing inside the detached garage grinding metal. He said the man stopped and left, but sparks generated by the grinder apparently landed in some combustible material that smoldered for some time until bursting into flames.


Snyder said the fire was pretty much throughout the structure when firefighters arrived.


“We were able to bring it under control relatively quickly within about 20 minutes or so,” he said.


Amanda Davis said practically everything her husband owned, including a lot of tools he acquired over the past 30 years, was destroyed. She said he was restoring the Chevy Tahoe for his father.


“Things can be replaced, but the sentiment of them can’t- can’t be,” she said.


Davis said nobody was inside when her 14-year-old daughter, from her upstairs bedroom window, discovered smoke and flames coming from the structure about 30 minutes after her husband came out of the garage and went somewhere. 


“We grabbed our stuff and ran out the front door,” she said.


The house about 30 feet away from the garage was not damaged.


Davis also thanked emergency responders for their work and the 911 dispatcher for her advice on the phone.


“I was in pure panic and she kept asking questions and told me to get everybody out. She was just amazing,” she said.

Black Hawk Down, But Not Out

(New Carlisle, IN) - Friday’s bad weather affected more than local roadways. A military helicopter flying through the area had to make an emergency landing in a cornfield near New Carlisle early Friday afternoon.


Tyler Kaminski’s family owns the property just north of Bendix Woods near State Road 2. He told HTNN that he found out about the situation on Facebook after someone posted a photo moments after it happened. He was dubious at first, but when Kaminski got to the property, he found a police officer already looking for the helicopter. “So I took him back there, and we talked to them,” he said. “It’s definitely something you don’t see every day.”


Crew members told Kaminski that they were returning to New York from Colorado following a training exercise when low visibility in this area forced them to the ground. “The weather outside got rough, and they couldn’t see, so they had to put it down somewhere,” he said. “That was their best option.”


They didn’t leave the aircraft unattended. Kaminski said the four crew members took turns guarding the 1993 Black Hawk and getting some rest at a nearby hotel. According to Kaminski, their plan was to refuel at a local airport on Saturday and resume their journey.

Travel Restriction Extended

(La Porte County, IN) - From the La Porte County Sheriff's Office:


The Travel Restriction Warning has been extended until 4:00 PM today.


The additional time will allow plow trucks the ability to clear and open roadways making them safer for travel.


Citizens should continue to adhere to the travel warning and limit driving to emergency or work related purposes only.


The Winter Storm Warning has been extended until 9:00 tonight. According to some recent figures by the National Weather Service, Michigan City has received 35 inches of snow. Other parts of La Porte County range from 14 to 28 inches of accumulation.

Snowstorm Helps Land Fugitive

(Wanatah, IN) - In between patrolling roadways and assisting stranded motorists, La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies found time to track down a wanted fugitive Friday morning.


Deputies were performing a welfare check at a residence in the 700 block of Dorothy Lane in Wanatah, where a wanted person had been known to hide out.


Determining that the suspect, 26-year-old Beck Serles, had just left the residence, police began searching the neighborhood. Following footprints in the fresh snow, authorities located Serles in the garage of a nearby residence on Lura Lane.


Serles was wanted for a misdemeanor theft charge out of Marshall County. Now he faces an additional misdemeanor of resisting arrest, as well as felony charges for possession of a firearm having a prior conviction and residential entry.


Serles is being held without bond at the La Porte County Jail. Westville police detectives aided in the investigation.

Storm Too Much Even for Snow Plows

(La Porte, IN) - Travel conditions are so bad even all of the snow plows are being pulled off the streets in La Porte.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said plow drivers were encountering whiteouts and snow falling fast enough to quickly cover freshly plowed streets.


“We got dumped on so quick, we couldn’t keep up with it,” he said.


Batchelor said the safety of the drivers was taken into account and the travel warning was issued by the county government wanting only emergency travel because of the extreme conditions.


He said plows will be placed back into service if they’re needed for an emergency, and when the heavy snow begins to subside.


“We want to make sure everybody is safe. If you don’t have to go out, do not go out. That’s how bad the conditions are,” he said.

Arrest in Dog Poisoning

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City woman could face time in prison for allegedly purposefully poisoning a dog to death.


Brienna Comer, 23, has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 4 with Animal Cruelty for Domestic Violence Purpose, a Level 6 felony.


According to court documents, on October 21st Comer was living with the owner of a dog in the 400 block of Hayes Street at the time she allegedly gave the pet synthetic marijuana.


The man who owned the pitbull, dubbed “Bruno,” didn’t know his dog consumed the substance and watched the health of his pet deteriorate rapidly. A few days later, police said the pet owner had someone put down the dog when it could no longer physically move after vomiting and defecating blood. Comer later left him a hateful obscenity-filled voice message about what she did to his dog.


No light was shed on the motive for her alleged actions.


A veterinarian told investigators synthetic marijuana, when consumed by a dog, can definitely produce the symptoms Bruno experienced.  Investigators also learned Comer regularly smoked synthetic marijuana and, after moving out following the alleged poisoning, began living in a tent in a woods.


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

No Water Still for Some Customers

(Michigan City, IN) - Just over 200 Michigan City residents remain without running water after a water main break near U.S. 12 and Karwick Road early Thursday.


Chris Johnsen, superintendent of the Michigan City Department of Water Works, said he does not have an estimated time for when the repairs will be complete, but anticipates the fix will be finished late this morning or early this afternoon.


“The severe snow is hampering our efforts on the last valve to be repaired,” he said.


Johnsen said service will be restored once water mains are filled and samples taken once pressure is restored.


The water main break was caused by a motorist crashing into a fire hydrant outside the Blind Pig restaurant early Thursday morning. Water Department crews have been working at the site ever since.


The emergency contact for the Department of Water Works is (219) 872-4430.

Snow Emergency in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - A snow emergency has been declared in Michigan City.


“Only first responders and city employees involved in the snow removal process should be out on the roads at this time,” said Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch.


Transit Director Robin Tillman said bus service is suspended for Friday because of zero visibility from high winds. Trash pick-up also has been suspended for today to allow the refuse department to assist the street department with plowing.


“The snow started about 10 p.m., and we’ve been experiencing high winds and limited visibility ever since. We’ve been getting probably 2-3 inches per hour and are up to about 12 inches so far with no sign of this band letting up, said Street Department Director Shong Smith.


Under a snow emergency, parking is prohibited on streets designated as snow routes.


Citizens are also required to park on the side of streets with even-numbered addresses throughout Friday, and on the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses on Saturday to accommodate snow plows.

Updated La Porte County Weather Forecast

(La Porte County, IN) - A band of Lake Effect Snow has placed its target on portions of La Porte County in Indiana and Berrien County in Michigan.  As a result, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the area until 6:00am Central / 7:00am Eastern on Saturday. 


From the Weather Center at  Hometown News Now, here's the latest forecast from Staff Meteorologist, Wayne Mahar.


TODAY & TONIGHT:  Brisk Winds and Cold with occasional Lake Effect Snow and Snow Showers likely.  Accumulations through tonight are expected to be 6 to 12 inches, with higher totals possible in some areas.  High 20, Low near 9.  


SATURDAY:  Lingering snow showers, slowly ending.  Becoming Partly Sunny at times in the afternoon.  High near 18


SATURDAY NIGHT:  Partly Cloudy and icy cold.  Low -5 


SUNDAY:  Partly to Mostly Sunny.  High 18


MONDAY:  A chance of snow showers, freezing rain, and sleet.  High 30 


Expected Heavy Snow Hits Area

(La Porte County, IN) - Anywhere from five to eight inches of fresh snow is reported in La Porte County with flakes still falling.


According to the National Weather Service, the lake effect bands that formed after a storm system passed through during the night could produce 12 inches or more of snow in areas where they are heaviest. The bands, described as 20 miles wide, are predicted to hover over much of La Porte County and Berrien County, Michigan.


A winter storm warning is in effect until Saturday.


Bob Johnson of Michigan City, who was plowing snow before sunrise near Ames Field, estimated at least two inches of lake effect snow per hour fell from about 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. before tapering off a bit.


“I can see finally now,” he said.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said restrictions limiting parking to one side of the street are now in effect. Parking is allowed today on sides of streets with odd-numbered addresses, before switching tomorrow to sides with even-numbered addresses.


Batchelor said tickets will start being issued to vehicle owners not parked on the correct side of the street to allow plenty of space for snowplows to venture through.


No parking is allowed presently on emergency routes used by fire trucks and ambulances.

La Porte a Model for Code Enforcement

(La Porte, IN) - The city of La Porte’s approach to code enforcement over the past four years is turning heads throughout the state.


La Porte Code Enforcement Director Jeff Batchelor spoke Wednesday at an Indianapolis conference for local governments attended by nearly 700 newly elected municipal officials from across Indiana. He was invited to share the best practices for code enforcement within a city.


“Not only did state officials recognize that we are doing something right when it comes to municipal code enforcement, but the City of La Porte is now a model for other communities to try and emulate,” said Mayor Tom Dermody.


Batchelor said the keys to cleaning up the city are going out to look for violations and then enforcing the codes.


“When we started four years ago, there was a lot of stuff not being enforced,” he said.


Batchelor said communicating and working with violators by giving them time to come up to code on their properties is also important, especially if the expense is going to be costly. He also explained how follow-up visits to make sure progress is being made is also a key ingredient. Without progress, Batchelor noted, that’s when fines and even legal action to condemn a property are among the next options to pursue.


He also pointed to La Porte's free dumpster program, allowing residents to go to dumpsters to discard unwanted items.


“That’s helped tremendously and it helps clean up the neighborhoods,” he said.


The code enforcement department has grown from two to four employees after a more aggressive approach to code enforcement was taken following Dermody's election in 2020.


Batchelor said slightly more than 1,000 code violation citations were written the year before the mayor hired him for the job.  Close to 16,000 citations have been written by he and his crew ever since.


“Thanks to Jeff Batchelor’s leadership, we are cleaning up La Porte. We got more work to do, but the standard he has set is second to none,” Dermody said.

Museum Attendance Soars in 2023

(La Porte, IN) - The number of visitors at the La Porte County Historical Society Museum last year increased by 37 percent from 2022.


Museum Director Danielle Adams said more than 6,500 people came to the facility in 2023, or about 1,800 more than the previous year.


“We’ve had a massive increase in visitors,” she said.


She presented the numbers on Wednesday night during a year-end report given to the La Porte County Commissioners.


Adams also revealed that the museum on U.S. 35 at the southern edge of the city hosted 19 events, including trick-or-treating, which drew more than 400 children.


“That was one of our more successful events of the year,” she said.


Other events, such as a car show and a speech by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch also occurred at the facility, which has a vast collection of automobiles on display inside.


Adams said 27 tours were given to mostly third and fourth graders at no charge to the students.  There were also 18 exhibits put up and the museum was equipped with Wi-Fi throughout the building last year.


A chandelier from the La Porte Little Theatre structure also underwent some restoration work at the facility.


“That’s what happened at the museum,” she said.

Officers Honored for Quick Arrest

(La Porte, IN) - Several police officers have been recognized for arresting an armed man in connection with acts of violence against a pregnant woman in La Porte.


Authorities report that the woman was battered and had her cell phone taken by her now-former boyfriend, who allegedly charged at her with his vehicle and rammed into the back of her car.


Eventually, the woman, described as frantic and scared, made it to the police station where officers quickly began efforts to locate the suspect, who was in possession of a gun.


He was quickly found on Washington Street and taken into custody.


Letters of commendation were given to the officers during Tuesday night’s La Porte City Council meeting.


La Porte Police Officer J.T. Martin, who was one of the officers involved in the arrest, told the city council it was a complete team effort.


“We started looking for the vehicle with county’s assistance,” he said.


Commendation awards were presented to Martin, along with officers Cody Benson, Jeremy Van Gieson, Reuben Ingram, and Victor Splix, who were given a lot of credit for the apprehension in the role he played as dispatcher.


“You always hear that police officers don’t do anything, but these guys go over and above every day,” said La Porte Police Paul Brettin.

Judge is Candidate's Dream Job

(La Porte, IN) - A man is chasing after his dream of being a judge in La Porte Circuit Court as Chuck Watterson, IV is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat in the May 7th primary.


Watterson, who is currently the La Porte County Chief Deputy Prosecutor, said it’s always been his dream to preside over cases in La Porte Circuit Court and follow the work current Judge Tom Alevizos has done on the bench.


Alevizos, who’s in his 18th year as judge in La Porte Circuit Court, is not seeking reelection.


If elected, the lifelong La Porte resident said he would focus on improving access to justice for all members of the community, and decide matters in a fair and impartial manner.


Watterson obtained his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 2017, having worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney during his six years of practicing in La Porte. He is also a former member of the La Porte County Election Board.


La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens is also seeking the Republican Party nomination for the seat.

Child Solicitor Snared in Undercover Sting

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man has been accused of showing up to have sex with a teenage girl, who ultimately turned out to be a police officer.


46-year-old Earl Stone, Jr. has been charged with Child Solicitation.


According to the La Porte County Drug Task Force, this all began when Stone started having Facebook conversations with what he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, but was actually an undercover police officer. Stone allegedly kept expressing a desire to have sex with her and, eventually, an agreement was reached for the two to meet at an undisclosed location.


Stone reportedly showed up yesterday before being swiftly taken into custody.


“This investigation led by Det. Amber Marty is an example of the fortitude each detective has with the task force. Their dedication to nabbing the most violent perpetrators is unparalleled,” said La Porte County Drug Task Force Commander Sgt. Kyle Shiparski.


Stone has also been charged with Resisting Arrest and Intimidation, for allegedly becoming irate and combative during his arrest.


An initial hearing in the case is scheduled for January 23rd in La Porte Superior Court 1.  

More Even Heavier Snow Possible

(La Porte County, IN) - The National Weather Service has issued the following message:




* WHAT - Heavy lake-effect snow possible. Total snow accumulations in excess of 6 inches possible.

* WHERE - Portions of northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. 

* WHEN - From Thursday evening through Saturday morning.


* IMPACTS - Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the Friday morning and Friday evening commute.


*ADDITIONAL DETAILS - System snow Thursday evening will transition to bands of heavy lake-effect snow Friday into Friday night. Intense snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible within dominant lake effect snow bands. The heaviest snowfall and potential major impacts favor northern La Porte and southwest Berrien counties where localized amounts may exceed a foot.

First Ice of Season Lures Fishermen

(La Porte County, IN) - Ice fishermen have begun emerging on the fresh ice that just developed for the first time on inland lakes this season.


Tony Childress, of Chief’s Bait Shop along U.S. 12 in Michigan City, said people just started fishing on the ice that's emerged on bodies of water such as Pine Lake and Stone Lake in La Porte.


“They’re coming in and buying bait,” he said.


The lakes began freezing over after frigid air moved in late this past weekend following the unseasonably warm start to the season. On Wednesday, there were reports of four inches of clear ice on some of the inland waters.


Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Tyler Brock said at least four inches of good clear ice is what’s recommended to safely be on. However, they noted that people need to exercise caution because the ice on a lake can be thinner in certain spots. People also should drill holes in the ice as they move to different locations on a lake to make sure it’s thick enough along the way.


Brock said fishermen should also wear a life jacket to hold in body heat and stay afloat should the ice give way under their feet, and also have an ice pick to pull themselves out of the water.


The ice might not be here long because of a return to above-freezing temperatures in the forecast beginning early next week.


More heavy snow is also predicted, to which end Brock explained how several inches of white powder can make ice unstable because of the insulating effect snow has from absorbing warmth from the sun.


“It can kind of create a slushy environment. Then that slush freezes, and it’s really not as hard of an ice or as solid,” he said.

Slightly Warmer Courthouse Reopens

(La Porte, IN) - The courthouse in downtown LaPorte reopened today after repairs were made to the heating system, but that still didn't stop the cold from creeping in.


La Porte County Commissioner Connie Gramarossa said she decided to give courthouse workers the day off on Tuesday due to temperatures falling inside the historic structure before sunrise. By mid-morning, Gramarossa said the temperature inside the courthouse was in the upper 50s, on a day when the high temperature barely rose above zero.


The courthouse is heated by a furnace system that replaced old boilers during a major renovation of the structure about ten years ago. The facility reopened on Wednesday after an issue with some of the heating elements was ultimately fixed by a heating and cooling specialist with help from the county government maintenance crew.


Conditions inside remained chilly, though, but were slightly warmer than the previous day.


La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney said the system, due to it being smaller than it should be, lacks the heating capacity needed to keep the inside of the structure warm enough during Arctic-adjacent conditions.


“It’s a large building and an undersized system,” he said.


La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens said the temperature was in the mid-60s on the main level, but slightly above and below 60 degrees on the second and third floors.


Stevens said some courthouse workers used space heaters and wore jackets along with gloves to help keep warm, but the colder conditions were not unexpected when they returned to work.


“We all know how the system is here. You get used to it. It happens every year,” she said.

Driver Fleeing Major Crash Taken Into Custody

(La Porte County, IN) - The driver of a semi-truck who allegedly fled from an accident that led to serious injury he had caused on Interstate 94 near Michigan City has been arrested.


Gabriel Guzman, 43, has been charged with Level 6 felony Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.


According to court documents, Guzman, who has a commercial driver’s license from Mexico, was traveling very slowly or stopped between the middle and right eastbound lanes on Sunday night when his trailer was rear-ended by a 2015 Ford F250.


The front end of the pick-up truck was so smashed in, that the driver thereof, William Watrous, was pinned from the waist down by the dashboard. It took about 30 minutes for firefighters to extricate him from the vehicle in below-zero temperatures. The eastbound lanes were shut down to allow a helicopter to land close and airlift him to a trauma center.


Indiana State Police said Watrous suffered fractures to his hip, right leg, right wrist, and left elbow along with bruised lungs, a damaged spleen, right knee, and possible damage to his bladder. The bone in his left leg was also split from hip to toe.


Officers, searching for the driver, reportedly located Guzman parked between other semi-trucks at the new Love’s truck stop a short distance from I-94 along U.S. 421. His trailer was heavily damaged while the truck itself was leaking fluids.


Guzman allegedly blamed a blown tire and snow on the shoulder for not pulling off the travel lanes. Investigators said the shoulder, though, did not contain any snow. Authorities assure that his truck will be inspected to determine if he actually suffered a flat tire or had some other possible mechanical issue.


Guzman was cited for Unlawful Stopping on a Traveling Portion of a Highway.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said Guzman was in the country legally under trade agreements that allow truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license from Mexico and Canada to travel into the U.S. to deliver goods.


Guzman, who lives close to Mexico City, could face an up to 30-month prison sentence.

Drivers Seriously Hurt in Head-On Collision

(La Porte County, IN) - Two people were seriously injured in a head-on motor vehicle collision on Tuesday afternoon near Michigan City.


According to La Porte County Police, emergency responders were called to Johnson Road just south of Waterford Inn at about 4:30 p.m.


The investigation shows that Jamie Johnson, 47, veered over the center line in a 2018 Nissan Rogue and struck an oncoming 2003 Buick LeSabre whose driver, a 17-year-old boy, has not had their identity revealed due to being a juvenile.


Upon arrival, Johnson, whose injuries included a compound leg fracture, was found unconscious, police said. The other driver was described as conscious and coherent, but possibly in shock, as he spoke of being unable to feel one of his legs.


Both drivers from the La Porte area were extricated from their vehicles and taken by helicopter to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.


So far, authorities have not revealed if there was any reason to suspect alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision, which remains under investigation.


Courthouse to Reopen Wednesday

(La Porte, IN) - The courthouse in downtown La Porte will reopen Wednesday after a failure with the heating system has been fixed.


It was closed Tuesday when a mechanical problem that kept the courthouse from being properly heated was discovered before sunrise.


La Porte County Commission President Connie Gramarossa said she decided to give courthouse employees the day off instead of subjecting them to indoor temperatures in the upper 50s.


She said the county government maintenance crew had the heating system working properly again at about 2:30 p.m.


Gramrossa said all county government-owned structures have been regularly checked since the recent bitter cold weather set in, to make sure the extremely cold temperatures haven’t caused any problems.


"We have been going out and checking all of our buildings and this is the only building we're having some issues with," she said. 

Clerk Announces Reelection Bid

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens has announced her candidacy for a second term, citing accomplishments like switching from precinct-based voting to voting centers last year, along with undertaking initiatives to improve employee morale and customer service.


Stevens said the office has also become much more organized compared to the mountains of paperwork that were just lying around everywhere before she took office in 2021.


She said local people were hired part-time to scan documents so the information is digitized, which allowed for the removal of more than 100 filing cabinets from the courthouse.


“I could have sent our tax dollars out of state, but I chose to keep them here in our community by hiring local residents who live here, pay their taxes here, and spend their money right here in La Porte County."


Another achievement cited by Stevens is bringing the clerk’s office back into compliance financially with the Indiana State Board of Accounts.


“All accounts have been reconciled. We balance daily, weekly, monthly, and annually,” she said.


Stevens of Hanna is seeking the Republican Party nomination in the May primary.


Also running for clerk is Michigan City area resident Angie Henzman, a Democrat, who is seeking her party’s nomination in May.


Currently, Henzman is the La Porte County Democratic Party chairman.

Close Call with Train for Plow Driver

(La Porte, IN) - A City of La Porte snow plow truck was demolished after being struck by a freight train on Tuesday morning.


Fortunately, however, the dump truck driver, David Leslie, jumped off the machine before the collision and was not injured.


“He’s shaken up, but he’s o.k.,” reassured his wife, Lori.


At about 10 a.m., police were called to the Norfolk Southern crossing at 2nd Street and Weller Avenue on the city’s west side where La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said Leslie was out scraping the roads and laying salt on the streets to clear out leftover snow and ice from this past weekend's storm.


Batchelor said he was using the plow beneath the frame of the truck when the blade caught one of the rails while venturing over the rough crossing. The blade then dug into the ground, becoming stuck between the rail and asphalt.


Batchelor said the driver tried backing up to pull the plow out, but the rear tires on the dump truck were unable to gain enough traction on the snow-packed, icy pavement. Leslie also tried rocking the truck by quickly shifting from reverse to drive multiple times but the tires kept spinning. He then notified his supervisor about the situation.


The Street Department Director noted that attempts were being made by the 911 dispatch center to notify the railroad so as to stop oncoming traffic until the truck was removed when Leslie spotted the eastbound train approaching.


He then climbed out of the truck's cab and ran before the collision happened less than a minute later.


“We couldn’t get it done quick enough to stop it from hitting the snow plow,” he said.


The plow on the front of the machine, along with the bed carrying the salt, were among the parts separated from the truck by the impact.


“It was a hard hit. There’s no doubt about it,” said La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin.


Batchelor said Leslie had gone through about half of the salt in the dump portion of the truck before the collision.  As a result, there was not enough weight on the back tires to help the treads gain enough traction on the slick pavement to pull the plow out.


While at the crash site, Mrs. Leslie said she was very upset but grateful.


“I’m very shaken. Very shaken, but I’m glad he’s ok,” she said.

Crash into Pole Leads to OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - A NIPSCO pole was heavily damaged by a suspected drunken driver last evening outside of La Porte.


According to La Porte County Police, officers at about 6:30 p.m. were called to Johnson Road at 500 West regarding a vehicle that had crashed into a NIPSCO pole.


The vehicle was reportedly found to be resting against the pole, which was compromised at the base.


The driver, Deborah Comegys, 62, was not injured.


She allegedly told investigators that she was on her way home, which was about one mile east of the crash site. She also claimed to have consumed a glass of wine and some cold medicine about two hours before the crash. However, the smell of alcohol on her breath was described by an officer at the scene as overwhelming.


Her alleged blood alcohol level was .207 percent.


Comegys was arrested for Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor.


Authorities noted that temperatures were in the single digits with ice on parts of the road at the time of the crash.

Courthouse Closed Today Due to Heating Issue

(La Porte, IN) - The courthouse in downtown La Porte is closed today because of a heat-related issue, as an unidentified mechanical problem discovered earlier this morning has left the heating system unable to properly keep the building warm.


La Porte County Commission President Connie Gramarossa said efforts are underway to try and correct the situation.


"We have our maintenance team out there right now and they're working on the furnaces," she said.


Gramarossa was notified before sunrise about falling temperatures inside the historic courthouse and decided to keep employees home rather than subject them to potentially very chilly conditions.


It was 59 degrees in the courthouse before 9 a.m. this morning.


Gramarossa said she hopes the problem is fixed soon enough to reopen the courthouse on Wednesday.


"We have been going out and checking all of our buildings and this is the only bulding we're having some issues with," she said. 

Suspect in Delphi Killings Seeks Transfer Again

A month after being transferred from Westville Correctional Facility, attorneys for the suspect in the Delphi murders of two children want him placed in another house of incarceration to await trial.


A motion filed on Friday requests Richard Allen be transferred from Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, the reasoning behind including allegations of Allen not receiving similar treatment as other defendants, who are normally held in county jails prior to trial.


His attorneys also cited the distance that has to be traveled to visit him as having a serious impact on their ability to effectively represent him in the case. Sullivan County between Terre Haute and Vincennes is about a four-hour drive from La Porte County. 


They are seeking to have Allen transferred to either the Allen County Jail or the Adams County Jail.


Allen is accused of killing Abby Williams and Libby German in Delphi back in February 2017. He was arrested and charged with their murders in October 2022.

Energy Savings Tips in Frigid Temperatures

(Fort Wayne, IN) - Instead of counting down to summer, Indiana Michigan Power is advising customers to start incorporating practices to stay comfortable during winter’s arctic blast, so as to possibly save money on their energy bills.


Close curtains during the night. Closing window coverings at night can help keep unwanted cold air out. On sunny days, open the curtains back up for added warmth from the sun.


Don’t try to outsmart your thermostat. Setting your thermostat higher than you actually want won’t heat your home any faster. This will ultimately result in your furnace running longer than necessary.


Utilize heat from the fireplace. Lower your thermostat to 55 degrees when you have a fire going. If you don’t, all the warm air from the furnace will go right up the chimney, which wastes energy – and money.


Keep vents clear of any blockages. Homes with a forced-air furnace should ensure heat registers are open in all rooms, even those commonly unused. If your home has electric baseboard heating, keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters.


Avoid using space heaters. Electric, kerosene, and propane model units can be expensive to operate and very dangerous.


For additional energy-saving tips, head to ElectricIdeas.com/Home or ElectricIdeas.com/Work to find products, rebates, and discounts to help you save even more.

Serious Injuries in Bitter Cold Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - A man was seriously hurt in a motor vehicle collision near Michigan City last night.


At about 9 p.m., a pick-up truck hit the back end of a semi in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 about a mile west of the U.S. 421 exit.


Coolspring Township Assistant Fire Chief Warren Smith said it took about 30 minutes to remove the driver of the pick-up truck, pinned from roughly the waist down because of extensive front-end damage.


“The whole dash was down on top of his legs. We had to remove the doors on the driver’s side. We were able to do what we call a dash roll. We were able to get his legs freed and pull him out then,” he said.


Smith said the temperature at the time was about 12 degrees below zero.


“It was a tough extrication. We had to worry about our trucks freezing up out there. You could hardly complain about the cold weather, though, because that gentleman we were trying to get out was in a heck of a lot worse position than we were,” he said.


Per the assistant fire chief, the man was conscious and alert the entire time, not complaining about the effects of the bitter cold until he was nearly pulled out.


“He was hurt pretty bad, but I believe he will survive,” Smith said.


Smith noted that he believes the man suffered broken legs and other possible injuries. 


The man was flown to a hospital by a helicopter, which landed in the eastbound lanes very close to the crash site.


So far, the name of the driver and other adjacent details are not currently known.

"New Hospital" Celebrates 5 Years

(Michigan City, IN) - Franciscan Health has marked the 5th anniversary of its hospital located just outside the corporate boundaries of Michigan City.


The 425,000-square-foot multi-story hospital along Interstate 94 at U.S. 421 opened on January 12, 2019.


“This building would be nothing without the Franciscan people here doing the work that they do,” noted Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni.


The facility, containing 123 private inpatient rooms and outpatient services in addition to advanced diagnostic equipment, was constructed by Tonn & Blank, which broke ground on the building in 2016 with a cost of construction close to $250 million.


The old Franciscan-owned St. Anthony Hospital at 301 W. Homer St. is now known as Legacy Campus, housing a Franciscan inpatient behavioral health unit, prenatal assistance program, and all-inclusive care program for the elderly.


Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Heather Ennis said the hospital’s new location is a key asset to the community and the region.


“Being right there on I-94 has really opened the hospital up to accessibility for more folks that feel like that’s a place that they want to go and a place where they’re going to and get quality care,” she said.


She also said the hospital is helping spur development nearby while contributing directly to the local economy.


During a Friday celebration, the first baby born at the hospital was given a warm welcome, as Aiden Faulkner of Michigan City was treated to gifts, balloons, cupcakes, and a visit from Spider-Man to mark the occasion.


Leah Garcia, a registered nurse who helped deliver him one day after the hospital opened, was also on hand for the festivities.

New Prairie Votes to Keep Controversial Titles in Library

(New Carlisle, IN) - Last week New Prairie’s school board tackled the thorny topic of age-appropriate books in school libraries.


On Monday, January 8th over two dozen people attended a public hearing as the board considered a petition to remove six books from the middle school library. These are the works called into question: Empire of Storms and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill, and Tilt by Ellen Hopkins. Portions of their content contain foul (R-rated) language, substance abuse, violence, and graphic sexuality.


Some call it book banning. Others say weeding, or removing certain titles that are no longer relevant or useful, is a necessary process in libraries. Heather Oake, who brought the petition, says it’s just common sense and common decency. “We’re not banning books,” she said. “It’s [about being] age-appropriate. And if you want your child to have that kind of a book, you can buy it for them outside of school.”


At the meeting Oake read aloud passages from the books describing sexual acts in graphic detail. Only a couple of parents, besides Oake, spoke out against the books. Most people in attendance were in favor of keeping them on the shelves. At least ten people spoke in favor of what they consider “free speech.”


One of them was Jamie Talboom, grandmother of five New Prairie students. “Removing or banning books is a slippery slope to government censorship and the erosion of our country’s commitment to freedom of expression,” she told board members.


According to another speaker, Tom Pietrzak, not everyone’s values and literary standards are the same. “What we heard tonight may be a bit shocking; I’m not going to tell you that it shouldn’t be. But at the same time, time my opinion of what is shocking versus your opinion… may be different.” He stressed the importance of getting kids interested in reading. “Is it shocking? Yeah, sure it is. But at the same time, fostering the will and the want to read—you can’t do a better thing for your child.”


Sid Shroyer, a former New Prairie English teacher and member of the committee that reviewed the books, talked about Nazi Germany, book burning, and classic authors such as Mark Twain, Jack London, and Ernest Hemingway, whose books have been banned over the years. “The goal of book-banning,” he said, “is the numbing of the senses, seeking to destroy individuality and stifle curiosity.”


A committee of seven appointed New Prairie community members reviewed the books in question and made their recommendation to keep them in the middle school. The board agreed unanimously, with an exception. One title, The Infinite Moment of Us, by the suggestion of Superintendent Dr. Paul White, will be moved to the high school due to its graphic nature.


Oake said after the meeting that she felt there would have been less support for the books if the matter had been debated in December as originally planned. “I got a call the same day saying they were postponing it,” said Oak. “I personally believe that gave them time to get a lot of people to come.” She felt as though the matter should have been resolved last month, but was intentionally postponed.


Meetings like this one may become more common due to a new state law passed in May requiring public and charter schools to make public a list of their library books. New Prairie’s middle school library, as of May, reported 13,497 books in their collection. The new law also requires that schools offer a procedure for objecting to a book’s place in the collection if it can be deemed both “offensive” and “harmful to minors.”


At last week’s meeting, an attorney for the school district was present to read Indiana’s statutes on what is “obscene” and “harmful.” But the definitions are vague, and it ultimately comes down to community members to draw the line. When asked what would constitute a reason to remove a book, Superintendent White did not specify, saying the district would continue to rely on publisher recommendations and guidelines set by the American Library Association.


White did say that the high school has a new certified librarian who has been tasked with being more hands-on with K-8 library development. “I think a focus on certain books being a better selection at the high school as opposed to the middle school level will continue to be reviewed and considered,” he said.

Yakym Weighs in on Michigan City Coast Guard Station

(Washington, D.C.) - The issue of possibly reducing activity at the Michigan City Coast Guard station has gotten the attention of a local Congressman.


On Wednesday, 2nd District Representative Rudy Yakym sent a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan pressing her on proposed staffing and service reductions at the Coast Guard station.


Yakym backed up local officials in saying that the Michigan City station plays a critical role in the safety and security of Lake Michigan. It handles an average of 125 search and rescue calls a year.


Rep. Yakym concluded the letter by urging that the Coast Guard station remain fully operational year-round, instead of only staffed on weekends during the summer months as the Coast Guard is currently proposing. 


The complete text of Yakym’s letter is below:


Dear Commandant Fagan,


I am writing to share my serious concerns regarding the proposed staffing and service reduction at the Coast Guard Station location in Michigan City, Indiana.


As you know, the Michigan City Coast Guard Station (CGS) is the only Lake Michigan CGS of its kind located in Indiana, and it plays a critical role in the safety and security of Lake Michigan. This station has several missions, including Search and Rescue, Homeland Security, and Marine Environmental Protection. Outside of the important services the Michigan City CGS provides, it has also been an integral part of the Northern Indiana community for over a century.


The proposed reduction in staffing and hours of operation is of serious concern to me and my constituents because of the possible safety implications. The proposal to only have the station staffed on weekends during the summer months is deeply concerning as Hoosiers and tourists use Lake Michigan for recreational activities year-round. The Michigan City CGS averages 125 search and rescue calls a year. These life-saving operations are an indispensable service to our community. Reducing operating hours will lead to longer response times and increase the chances of fatalities.


I strongly urge you to keep the Michigan City CGS stations fully operational year-round in order to continue to perform critical search and rescue activities for the residents and tourists of northern Indiana. Additionally, I urge the Coast Guard to ensure close consultation and coordination with local officials and law enforcement concerning changes to the operations or staffing of the Michigan City CGS. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.



Rudy Yakym III

Member of Congress

First Responders Honored in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Four first responders were honored this week for life-saving actions. The honors were bestowed at Wednesday's Michigan City Police Civil Service Commission meeting.


On June 29th of last year, Michigan City police officer Josh Callahan helped pull a victim from the second floor of a hotel fire. He stayed on-scene and assisted firefighters.


Three others were honored for their efforts in locating a woman with dementia who was missing. They are Michigan City police officer Mike Elkins, Porter Fire Chief Jay Craig, and Porter Firefighter Jacob Coen. On September 1st, 2023, they searched for about an hour for the woman who had wandered from her home. They found her in a ditch mostly submerged in water, pulled her out, and got her medical care.


Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch and a representative from US Senator Todd Young’s office participated in the recognition.

Arrest No Easy Task for Police

(La Porte, IN) - It took practically everything but the kitchen sink to lock up a man who turned violent after caught driving impaired in the Michigan City area last night.


Malik Cunningham, 26, has been charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated, Battery to a Public Safety Official, Intimidation, and Resisting Law Enforcement.


According to court documents, he was driving a 2018 Jeep Cherokee that was pulled over after it remained at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Woodland Avenue, despite having received a green light twice from the traffic signal.


After resuming his driving, he reportedly veered over the center line and continued at a slow pace with his left turn signal constantly blinking, finally coming to a stop at Pahs Road after making numerous jerking motions across the road.


When asked for his driver’s license, police said Cunningham, with alcohol on his breath, handed the officer what turned out to be a dental appointment card before two bank cards and a cash bill.


Cunningham, after stepping out of the SUV, reportedly started yelling and uttering obscenities, becoming so combative that police had to use a stun gun multiple times to get him into a police vehicle.


He also spit in the face of an officer, according to court documents.


During his transport to the La Porte County Jail, authorities noted that Cunningham became such a safety concern that the driving officer pulled over and called for a patrol vehicle containing a prisoner transport cage. A spit hood was placed over his head and leg shackles were fastened to his ankles to keep him from kicking officers.


One of the officers later went to Northwest Health to have his eyes washed off the blood-tainted spit from the suspect.

Man Charged for Urinating Outside

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man allegedly caught urinating outside his home by a neighbor’s security camera is looking at possible jail time, as Robert Terry, Jr., 40, has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 3 with Class B misdemeanor public nudity.


According to court documents, the charges stem from an ongoing property line dispute between Terry and a 23-year-old female neighbor in the 300 block of East Maple Avenue


Officers were called on January 1st by his neighbor, who reported he spilled cat litter on the property line previously marked with stakes by a land surveyor, before then urinating on the same spot.


His alleged actions were caught by her security camera pointed in that direction.  After reviewing the video footage, an officer went to Terry's home, where the man admitted that he had been urinating at that location on multiple occasions.


According to court documents, Terry said he urinated there each time, even though he knew about the presence of the camera.


Police said the spot is in plain view of the public sidewalk in front of the residences.


Terry could face an up to six-month jail sentence and a maximum $1,000 fine.

24/7 Warming Center to Open

(La Porte, IN) - The Center Township Trustee’s Office in La Porte will open as a 24-hour warming center beginning this afternoon.


Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski said her office will have its door open around the clock starting at 4 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesday.


She said anyone needing relief from the current falling snow and bitter cold expected to begin setting in Saturday night is welcome to come to her office at 1108 W. Indiana 2.


Pierzakowski also noted that there will be food, snacks, and drinks.


Anyone knowing someone in need of shelter is asked to contact her office at (219) 362-2736 or her cell phone at (219) 851-8739 so she can begin making arrangements to provide assistance.

La Porte Designates Warming Centers

(La Porte, IN) - With snow and sub-zero temperatures coming, La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody said the city will be opening warming centers for those in need.


“While we’ve been incredibly fortunate so far with mild temperatures, harsh winter weather is on its way,” he said.


Dermody also encouraged citizens to share the information and check in on elderly neighbors who may need some extra assistance during this very wintry period.


The following locations will be open to the public as warming centers for the next several days:




La Porte City Hall

801 Michigan Ave.

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

(Closed Saturday & Sunday)

((Closed Monday for MLK Jr. Day))

La Porte Civic Auditorium

1001 Ridge St.

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

(Closed Saturday & Sunday)

((Closed Monday for MLK Jr. Day))

La Porte Fire Station #3

710 Daytona St.

8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

(Open Saturday & Sunday)

((Please note: In the event of a fire call, the fire station will be evacuated.))


Dermody said anyone in need of help after hours may contact the City of La Porte Police Department non-emergency line at 219-362-6205.

Parking Restrictions In Effect in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City is operating under parking restrictions along its streets because of the heavy snow that’s falling.


According to the mayor’s office, the city is opera????ng under SNOW REMOVAL CONDITIONS effec????ve immediately and las????ng through 6 p.m. Sunday.


Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch and Street Director Shong Smith remind the public that under these condi????ons, city ordinance requires that no vehicle may park on streets designated as snow routes. Signage posted along heavily traveled thoroughfares indicate to motorists which roads qualify as snow routes.


On streets not designated as snow routes, vehicles are required to be parked as follows:

Even-numbered days of the week: No parking is permitted on the side of the street with even-numbered addresses from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Odd-numbered days of the week: No parking is permitted on the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses from 6 a.m. to midnight.


According to the mayor's office, various city-owned lots may be utilized for off-street parking, if needed, and vehicles should be removed from those lots once the snow has ended.


Snow removal conditons allow Street Department crews to keep critical roadways open as they clear snow from curb to curb. 


Questions may be directed to Central Services at (219) 873-1500.

Winter Storm Arrives

(La Porte, IN) - Heavy snow in the forecast for the past several days is now falling.


Currently, the roads are passable since the snow began coming down heavily about 6 a.m. but they’re becoming very slick.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor is asking drivers not to venture out unless they have to especially later as the snow continues to pile up and high winds becomes an issue. 

“It’s going to get worse as the day goes on,” he said.


Parking restrictions in the city because of the snow will go into effect once snow accumulation has reached two inches.


“Once we get two inches it’s going to be official,” Batchelor said.


That means no parking on emergency routes and parking only on even number sides of the streets for 24 hours beginning at 6 p.m. to allow snow plows to get through.


Parking will be restricted to odd numbered sides of streets for 24 hours tomorrow beginning at 6 p.m.


Four to eight inches of snow is predicted once it stops, which is not expected until tomorrow night.

Warming Centers Designated

(Michigan City, IN) - Warming centers have been designated in Michigan City in response to bitter cold temperatures in the weather forecast.


As per the mayor's office, these are the warming center locations open to the public:


  • Nest Community Shelter at 1001 W. 8th St. will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and through Monday.
  • Keys to Hope Community Resource Center at 1802 Franklin St. every day from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Michigan City City Hall at 100 E. Michigan Blvd. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. City Hall will not be open Monday in observance of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
  • Michigan City Police Department 1201 E. Michigan Blvd. from 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. seven days a week. 
  • Michigan City Fire Administration Building at 2510 E. Michigan Blvd. every Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Any citizen needing transportation to a warming center may call the MCPD’s non-emergency number at (219) 874-3221.


If you need help keeping your pets warm, you’re advised to call the La Porte County Animal Shelter at (219) 326-1637.


Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch urges citizens to check on family, friends, neighbors, pets, and especially the elderly during extreme weather.

Record Catch from Lake Michigan

(Northwest Indiana) - A man has broken the state record for the size of a fish he caught in Lake Michigan.


Anthony Burke of Cedar Lake caught a burbot that weighed just over 14 pounds and was more than 37 inches long, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The previous state record burbot was close to three pounds less in weight.


Burke was actually fishing for perch from a boat about five miles offshore at Portage when he hooked and reeled in the burbot.


Burbot are native to Lake Michigan and typically spend most of their time offshore in deep, cold water in Illinois or Michigan. They move into the shallower Indiana waters to feed and spawn during late fall and winter.


“Unseasonably warm weather and light winds on Lake Michigan the last several winters have provided boaters with a longer open-water fishing season and more opportunities to catch fish that are usually not in our waters, like burbot,” said DNR Lake Michigan fisheries research biologist Ben Dickinson.

Burbot is good to eat, being part of the cod family and having firm, white flesh.

Convicted Meth Dealer Back in Jail

(Michigan City, IN) - A previously convicted methamphetamine dealer from Michigan City is now facing similar charges.


Thomas McGowan, 63, was being held in the La Porte County Jail on $10,000 bond following his arrest last week. 


According to court documents, he has been charged with multiple counts, including one for allegedly being found with more than six grams of methamphetamine during a traffic stop in an alley at Holliday and Walker Streets.


The drugs were reportedly recovered from a backpack in the rear seat of the vehicle.


The other count involves an incident wherein McGowan, during a traffic stop in Michigan City, was found in possession of 28 grams of methamphetamine on Franklin Street near Interstate 94 in November of 2022.


While being questioned, he told police “It is easier to sell meth in Michigan City than it is to sell bubblegum or Marlboro’s,” according to court documents.


In 2014, McGowan was given a six-year prison sentence for dealing methamphetamine in downstate Cass County.

Name-Dropping Futile in OWI Arrest

(La Porte County, IN) - A man allegedly tried name-dropping to try and avoid being arrested for driving while impaired in La Porte County.


Timothy Schumaker, 40, of Hudson Lake has been accused of having a blood alcohol level of .214 percent.


On early Sunday, an officer was called to a home in the 8700 block of North 700 East where a woman spotted a vehicle whose driver she didn’t know parked in her driveway.


La Porte County Police said the car was still running and the driver, later identified as Schumaker, was sleeping while reclined in the driver’s seat of his 2018 Volvo XC90. The officer yelled and pounded on the window numerous times, but it wasn’t until he began shaking the car that Schumaker woke up.


Schumaker reportedly told the officer he was at home sleeping in his car after returning from a family member’s residence. However, he was still a few miles from his residence.


After being taken to the La Porte County Jail, police said Schumaker mentioned the name of a highly ranked local elected official before stating “Do I need to pull political connections? Because I will do that.”


He was booked into the facility on a charge of Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated after failing a certified blood alcohol test.

Homeless People Sought to Shelter from Cold

(La Porte, IN) - A local official Is out looking for homeless people to place in shelters before a predicted bitter cold hits.


Center Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski said arrangements for temporary housing have already been made for several people on the streets that she recently approached.


Pierzakowski said she'll be physically out in the coming days looking for other people without a home and wanting shelter for the upcoming Arctic-adjacent weather that's supposed to hit the area soon. 


“We’re trying to get as many as we can situated from Saturday until Tuesday during the coldest part,” she said.


Pierzakowski says her office at 1108 W. Indiana 2 in La Porte will also be open on Sunday and Monday for people needing warmth.


“We have a huge back room. We can do coffee or anything else they need. We got the showers and stuff like that. There should be no excuse for anybody to be out in the elements,” she said.


She’s asking people who know someone needing a roof over their heads during the predicted bitter cold to call her cell phone at 851-8739 or her office at 362-2736.


A mixture of rain and snow on Friday and all snow for Saturday is in the forecast, along with daily high temperatures in the single digits beginning Sunday through Tuesday.

Police Officer Running for Commissioner

(La Porte County, IN) - A longtime public servant is running for a seat on the Board of La Porte County Commissioners, with an eye on restoring civility to the ongoing hostile political environment.


Mike Kellems will be seeking the District 2 seat as a Democrat in the May primary, having registered as a candidate today not long after the period opened for citizens to file for a place on the ballot.


Kellems said he brings to the table the skills of a police officer, which he believes can soften the extreme ongoing political tempers in county government, especially during commission meetings for the past three years.


“I’ve spent a lifetime of building bridges and helping people get past issues. That’s what a police officer is about. Helping people fix things,” he said.


Kellems also said he feels all of the political fighting is hurting La Porte County financially.


“I think a lot of the arguing and bickering that goes on is chasing away business. I think it’s chasing away economic opportunity,” he said.


Kellems is a retired more-than-30-year member of the La Porte County Police Department, currently acting as a part-time law enforcement officer for Purdue University Northwest in addition to doing some federal government-related law enforcement work.


Kellems is a former La Porte School Board member and was board president during a portion of his tenure.


Currently, the District 2  seat is held by Rich Mrozinski, who has not revealed whether he’s going to seek a third term. If he does run, he would face La Porte County Auditor and political enemy Tim Stabosz in the May Republican primary.


Stabosz also signed on as a candidate today for the District 2 seat rather than seeking a second term as auditor.

Local Farmers Part of Coop Merger

(Indianapolis, IN) - Two Indiana agriculture and energy cooperatives serving farmers in places such as La Porte County have merged to form Keystone Cooperative.


Co-Alliance Cooperative and Ceres Solutions Cooperative joined hands after both boards and memberships overwhelmingly gave final approval.


Kevin Still, current President and CEO of Co-Alliance, was chosen to oversee Keystone Cooperative based in Indianapolis.


The merger will go into effect on March 1st.


“Keystone Cooperative brings together two financially strong, legacy-rich, and highly successful cooperatives This historic merger creates a cooperative that is equipped to navigate the ever-changing markets of today’s agriculture and energy industries,” he said.


Still said the merger will maximize efficiencies, capitalize on technology, and provide the resources to enhance customer experience while preparing for the needs of future stakeholders.


“Our membership has recognized the value of this combination and we are looking forward to achieving our promise of a cooperative that is focused on the success of our members, the vitality of our rural communities, and providing an unparalleled return for our farmer members,” he said.


Currently, both cooperatives serve La Porte County, along with farmers across the state and into Michigan and Ohio.


Keystone Cooperative will add farmers from Illinois into the present service area.

Homeless Thief Left High and Dry

(La Porte County, IN) - A homeless man caught using counterfeit money to make a purchase at a La Porte County gas station tried making a clean getaway, but was abandoned by the driver who gave him a ride.


Jordan Wasy, 24, was arrested for Forgery and Theft, with an investigation revealing that the man, at about 5 a.m. this morning, gave a cashier what appeared to be a $50 bill to purchase three packs of cigarettes at the Speedway station at U.S. 20 and U.S. 35.


However, when the bill was scanned, it turned out to be counterfeit.


Police said Wasy grabbed the cigarettes and ran out of the store without paying, but the driver he expected to be waiting for him and his vehicle were gone. After looking around for the vehicle, Wasy went back inside and returned the cigarettes, still on the property when officers quickly arrived at the scene.


Officers were considering his request to be taken to a homeless shelter until Wasy, claiming to be under the influence of marijuana, revealed he knew the bill was counterfeit before setting foot into the store.


He was then placed in handcuffs and taken to the La Porte County Jail where he was booked on one felony charge and one misdemeanor count.

Charges in Hammer Attack

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with injuries sustained from a hammer attack in Michigan City.


Skylar Burgan, 33, has been charged with Level 3 felony Aggravated Battery and Level 5 felony Battery with a Deadly Weapon, as well as Invasion of Privacy for violating a protective order granted to his ex-girlfriend.


On January 5th, according to court documents Burgan went to the home of his ex-girlfriend at the Tall Timbers Apartments on Springland Avenue, located on the city’s east side. The woman and her son fled to another apartment out of concern for their safety. 


The boy then contacted his father, who was given permission by the mother to go into her apartment. The victim needed to go inside to retrieve some of his son’s belongings for a weekend visitation, police said.


Burgan was reportedly still inside the apartment, though, when the victim walked in and was approached by the suspect with a hammer in hand. The victim, after turning to run, was then struck at least twice on the head with the ball peen instrument. Burgan tried striking him again but the victim blocked his third swing and wrestled the hammer out of his hands, police said.


According to court documents, the bloody injuries to the head suffered by the victim seemed to require medical attention, but he declined treatment due to an inability to pay for such care.


Burgan could face as much as a 22-year sentence if convicted on both counts.

Novak Returns as Council President

(La Porte County, IN) - There’s been a change in leadership on the La Porte County Council for this year, as Randy Novak was unanimously voted to be the new council president by his colleagues during the council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday night.


Novak has been council president for many of his nine years on the council.  He replaced Mike Rosenbaum who was previously in the position last year.


Adam Koronka was unanimously voted in as county council vice president for 2024. 


Councilman Mike Mollenhauer offered a verbal pat on the back to all three of the men.


“I just wanted to congratulate yourself, Randy, and Adam on president and vice president. Also commend Mike Rosenbaum for a job well done last year. Had a lot on his plate and he did a commendable job,” he said.


Novak, a Democrat, is running for a seat on the Board of the La Porte County Commissioners in the May primary. That seat is now held by Republican Joe Haney, who’s currently running for a second term.

Struggling Offender Bites Officer

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man has been accused of biting an officer after putting up a struggle with law enforcement during his arrest.


Ezekiel Moore, 31, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with two counts of Battery Against a Public Safety Official and Resisting Law Enforcement.


On January 4th, authorities responded to an apartment at 1708 Country Lane Dr. where his sister, Tierra Minandi, was wanted on a warrant.


La Porte Police said Moore became confrontational with officers, telling them that if she was going to be arrested, he should also be taken to jail.


At one point, Moore allegedly pushed one of the officers and repeatedly yelled obscenities at law enforcement representatives and civilians. He also allegedly struggled with officers while they were leading them to a patrol vehicle for transport to the La Porte County Jail.


While at the jail, police said Moore bit one of the officers.


According to jail records, Minandi was wanted for Intimidation, Disorderly Conduct, and multiple counts of Failure to Appear in Court.

Underdog Bison Win Holiday Tournament

(New Buffalo, MI) - The New Buffalo High School boys’ basketball team received its first major taste of victory by winning a tournament a week after entering the new year.


The Bison won the Bangor Holiday Invitational on Saturday, January 6th by defeating Gobles in the finals 26 to 23.


Head Coach Nate Tripp said it was a low-scoring game by design after choosing to slow it down on both sides of the court to counter the size and speed advantage of Gobles, who have two 6’5” players and one nearly as tall.


“They are so long and athletic. They’re a really good team,” he said.


Gobles scored the first seven points of the game, which forced the undersized Bison to not panic while sticking to their game plan of working the ball, no matter how long it took until finding an open shooter.


“We intentionally slowed the ball way down,” Tripp said.


By spreading out the offense, defenders from Gobles were forced to move further away from the rim to guard opposing players.  Eventually, open shots were created down low for players like sophomore center Lucas Forker, who led the Bison with 11 points.


The Bison (4-6) also played a half-court defense style to keep Gobles from scoring on too many fast breaks.


A similar style of play was also used to open the tournament on January 4th with a 46 to 33 victory over Bangor. Forker also led the team in scoring with 18 points.  Senior Andres Becerra and sophomore Sam Tripp contributed 10 points apiece.


Tripp said slowing down the ball was a drastic move for his players used to a faster pace on both sides of the court since the beginning of last season. He said his players will continue to play at a slower pace not just to neutralize more talented teams but to cut down on the high number of costly turnovers and other mistakes they were making previously.


Tripp said his still young and inexperienced team, which won just two games last season, is much improved, but not enough to succeed with an up-tempo style of play.


“Everything is happening quicker than they can react to.  We’ll run when the opportunities present themselves. On defense, no more pressing and trapping.  That’s just not who our team is yet,” he said.


Tripp said winning the tournament seemed to be a real morale booster for his players, who want to win and work very hard to do so. The players ran out to the half-court line to accept their championship trophies.


“It feels great. They got to celebrate. They got to taste what victory is,” he said.

OWI Driver Clocked at 100 mph

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a recent high-speed pursuit of a suspected drunk driver in La Porte County.


Lucas Grams, 25, of Trail Creek was allegedly clocked at 100 miles per hour on Indiana 2 near Rolling Prairie early Sunday afternoon.


While an officer was turning around to catch up, authorities explained that Grams tried slipping away by turning onto County Road 700 East and pulling into a driveway. The officer, however, did not lose sight of the suspected vehicle and, upon approaching the driver, noticed an odor of alcohol on his breath.  


Grams was arrested while allegedly having a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal .08 percent limit. He purportedly did not respond when asked why he was traveling so fast nor why he didn't pull over right away.

Attempted Murder Alleged in Gun Mishap

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man has been charged with attempted murder for recently pulling the trigger on a gun aimed at the head of an ex-girlfriend.


The gun, though, did not fire.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said the evidence shows the intent of the suspect on January 2nd was to kill the woman, but the gun jammed.


“All of this stuff we’re going to use to prove our case,” he said.


Robert Rosenbourgh, 36, could face an up to 40-year sentence on the level 1 felony charge, along with additional time for other crimes like allegedly having a gun as a convicted serious violent felon.


According to court documents, he and the woman, after briefly dating, broke off their relationship. The next day, he reportedly showed up while she was visiting family members living in tents in a wooded area behind the Dunes Plaza shopping mall in the area of U.S. 421 and U.S. 20.


Rosenbourgh then allegedly grabbed her by the throat, but the woman managed to break loose and ran into another tent. He then followed her inside and pointed a gun to her head and pulled the trigger.


Witnesses told investigators they heard the man tell her he was going to kill her just before he allegedly tried firing the gun.


Several days later, Rosenbourgh was located and taken into custody.


He’s also facing drug dealing charges filed last month and has prior convictions for drug and gun-related crimes.

Wet Snow Causing Hazardous Travels

(La Porte County, IN) - Police have been busy today responding to motor vehicle accidents as a result of what could be viewed as the first real taste of winter for the season.


A couple of inches of wet snow overnight and into this morning left roads slippery until plows could reach what was mostly slush on the traveling surface.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said there was also ice underneath some of that slush, advising drivers to slow down and be especially careful at intersections where coming to a complete stop was sometimes difficult.


The snow is expected to turn into rain this afternoon, and then back to snow tonight.


Another one to two inches of snow is in the forecast, on top of the two of four inches of snow that fell overnight and this morning.

Sinai Temple Receives Bomb Threat

(Michigan City, IN) - A bomb threat was made at a synagogue in Michigan City this morning.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in trying to come up with a suspect.


According to Michigan City Police, the Sinai Temple at 2800 Franklin Street received the bomb threat in an email. Outside police agencies from Porter County then brought in their bomb detection dogs and no explosives were found during the ensuing search.


The FBI is involved in the investigation because of current worldwide tensions between Israel and Palestine.


According to the FBI, more than 1,100 anti-Jewish hate crimes were reported nationwide in 2022, the most recent year for which data was available.

Judge Admonishes Mother of Child Abuse Victim

(La Porte, IN) - A near maximum sentence has been given to a LaPorte County woman for doing nothing to stop the ongoing torture and other forms of abuse that resulted in the death of her four-year-old son.


Mary Yoder was given a 37-year prison sentence in LaPorte Circuit Court for Level 1 felony Neglect of a Dependent Causing Death.


Her live-in boyfriend and the victim’s father, Alan Morgan, is currently serving a 70-year sentence handed down in November of 2022 for murder and battery.


Morgan reportedly cited potty training as the reason for his cruel and, ultimately, fatal punishment of his son, Judah, who died in October of 2021 in the family’s home near Kingsford Heights.


Yoder received another five years on Level 5 felony Domestic Battery for beating her youngest then-23-month-old child.


“She struck him multiple times and threw him to the floor and kicked him,” said La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan, who also noted that the toddler was not seriously injured.


Before being sentenced on Friday, an often emotional Yoder in the courtroom said she did not go to the authorities, feeling she could influence Morgan at some point to stop abusing her son. She also described herself as being “selfish” for placing her fears over what might happen to her family if she reported the abuse over the needs of Judah.


“This has taught me in the hardest way possible how important it is to reach out and ask for help and when it’s offered to listen and accept. I wouldn’t have tried to handle things myself and hope things would change,” she said.


Yoder went on to express regret over not protecting him as a mother should have, saying that the only thing that eases her pain is knowing that Judah is in “a better place” where “all of his wounds have been erased.”


“I pray that someday you can forgive me,” she said.


Judah had been living with a foster family until being placed with his biological family during the last six months of his life, during which he was punched and choked by Morgan and left alone in a dark basement in urine and feces without food for days at a time while bound in duct tape following mishaps with potty training.


An autopsy revealed Judah had internal bleeding on many of his organs and bruises from head to toe, the cause of death was ruled as being blunt force trauma to the head which resulted in a massive brain injury.


A security camera at the family’s home captured Morgan abusing the child just days before his death, authorities said.


LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens dismissed the remorse shown by Yoder in the courtroom, explaining that Yoder wanted Judah out of the family’s home a month before his death and told a family member not to contact the police about the abuse. Havens said there was also no evidence she was ever afraid of retaliation by the boy’s father, and also noted that Yoder never kept up with the housekeeping. The living conditions were described as horrific by authorities who entered the home to remove the boy’s corpse.


“She knew for months what to do to stop the madness. She just didn’t care to,” Havens said.


Defense Attorney Ryan Beall said Yoder was doing well in complying with requests of Child Protective Services and her scheduled visits with her son before he was placed back into the home. However, he said her biggest stumbling block in trying to get her life back together was smoking marijuana.


“She wasn’t always this monster she’s portrayed to be,” he said.


Judge Tom Alevizos also expressed doubt over Yoder’s expression of remorse and displayed a photo of the boy’s naked body for her to realize the consequences of her not going to the proper authorities.


“This is what your son looked like after he was tortured systematically by you and your boyfriend,” he said.


Yoder then briefly screamed and turned her head before Alevizos resumed speaking to her. 


“Look at him.  You won’t look at the picture, will you?  Unbelievable,” he said.

Driver Stuck in Field Allegedly Impaired

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver who wound up stuck in a muddy La Porte County field last night was arrested for Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


John Kehoe, Jr. drove his red 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser into a field adjacent to U.S. 6 and 350 East.


The 76-year-old South Bend area man then tried driving out but, his spinning tires kept sinking deeper into the soft soil, the engine eventually shutting off due to overheating.


Kehoe told investigators he was trying to get home after consuming about a half dozen beers at a bar during a four to five-hour period.


His alleged blood alcohol level was .108 percent.


He was charged with a felony due to a prior OWI conviction.

Thieves Crash Birthday Party

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are trying to determine who shattered windows to steal items from two vehicles during a birthday party.


On Saturday, officers were called to the 2500 block of East 850 North outside Rolling Prairie, where windows on two cars had been shattered to steal articles left in the vehicles such as credit cards. The crimes were not discovered until close to the end of the two-hour party.


One of the victims told investigators she received an alert that one of her credit cards was used at the Meijer in Michigan City, but the over-$500 transaction was denied because of insufficient funds in her account. Another victim reported her credit card was used at the same Meijer, but she had enough funds for the $250 purchase to go through.


She said a second credit card belonging to her was used on the over-$500 transaction that was denied, but that one was rejected again because of insufficient funds in her account, according to police.


A video recording at Meijer captured the male suspects, described as teenage and black.


The hope is to identify the suspects during the ongoing investigation.

Hopes High for La Porte Hosting Tourney Again

(La Porte, IN) - Talks will soon be going underway for La Porte to once again host basketball games featuring some of the most highly recruited boys’ college prep players in the nation.


The third annual La Porte Invitational, televised this year by ESPN and YouTube TV, is viewed as easily the most heavily attended edition of the event, with high attendance and sell-out crowds for most of the 10 games over a three-day period.


Nearly every one of the over 1,300 seats in the historic Civic Auditorium was filled for the last game on Saturday night between La Lumiere, the hometown team from northern La Porte County, and Wasatch Academy out of Mount Pleasant, Utah.


10 of the 12 teams are in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference.


La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jack Arnett said the conference will decide whether the three-day invitational comes back to the city, but he can’t think of a reason for it not to return given factors like the heavy attendance.


“It’s a little early to say for sure but the City of La Porte wants it, La Lumiere wants it and the community wants it,” he said.


He said local restaurants and hotels. extremely busy from the influx of spectators including former NBA superstar Carmello Anthony, would also like to see it return.


Anthony, who played mostly for the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks,  attended the Thursday and Friday games to watch his highly recruited son, Kyrie, a junior at Long Island Lutheran High School.


“I’m just kind of being a proud parent. Just coming to support the kids. That’s what it’s about,” he said.


Anthony was later spotted having dinner at Trattoria Enzo, a family-owned Italian-style restaurant at Michigan Avenue and State Street across from the downtown courthouse.


“The restaurants are getting hit hard. Our hotels are going to get a spike from this.  That’s why we do these things to bring the dollars into our county,” Arnett said.


A little uncertainty seems to have been cast on the future of the La Porte Invitational because footwear company Nike has recently become involved with the conference and could have a major voice in the decision-making.


Arnett noted how negotiations, in previous years, involved strictly members of the conference, but now striking another deal could hinge on new faces.


“With Nike just coming in, we don’t know who’s going to have the final say on the television rights and all of that,” he said.


Arnett said another strong selling point comes from the Civic Auditorium providing an atmosphere similar to the movie “Hoosiers” since the structure was built in 1929.


The building underwent some recent renovations, such as replacing the original all-wooden seating with much more comfortable seats, in addition to wider aisles and handrails for spectator safety at all of the Civic Auditorium events.


Thomas Kelley, as assistant men’s basketball coach for Michigan State University, relished the venue Saturday night while scouting players on the court.


Kelley heard about the facility from previous coaches who attended the invitational but it was more than he expected during his first visit.


“I didn’t believe it was going to look like this, though. This is real nice. Great setup.  Great environment,” he said.


Arnett said he also believes U.S. Steel becoming a sponsor of the games this year also provides an edge in the competition returning next year and, perhaps, in the years to come.


He said his focus in the talks will be on landing a multi-year deal.


“I’d like to nail this down long-term so we can do some long-term planning and marketing,” he said.

Yoder Sentenced for Role in Son's Murder

(La Porte, IN) - "Intense and emotional." That's how prosecutors described the atmosphere in the courtroom Friday as Mary Yoder appeared for sentencing. In August, she pled guilty to one count of neglect resulting in the death of a dependent and one count of domestic battery to a child.


Her husband, Alan Morgan, is already serving a 70-year sentence for his part in the murder of their son, 4-year-old Judah Morgan in October of 2021.


On Friday Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos sentenced Yoder to 42 years in prison.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan was happy with the sentence, but not with the circumstances. "One of the greatest things a person can have is the role of mother; Mary Yoder failed horribly at it," said Fagan. "She got what we felt she deserves. Justince is served for Judah."


In court, Yoder expressed her remorse, but a La Porte County Sheriff’s officer who investigated the case testified to the horrific conditions in which Judah lived and died.

ISP Adds Two Officers to Lowell Post

(Lowell, IN) - The northwest Indiana State Police district has added two new officers to the ranks. They recently graduated from the 84th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy.


Probationary Trooper Aidan Baker hails from Monticello. Before joining the State Police, Baker was a crew leader with the Indiana Department of Transportation and worked as a jail officer in White County.


Probationary Trooper Dawson Patrick is from Knox. After graduating from high school there, he joined the Indiana Army National Guard where he currently holds the rank of sergeant. Patrick served a tour of duty overseas. He was previously a patrol officer and member of the volunteer fire department in Knox. 

Candlelight Tour Hoping to Continue Momentum

(La Porte, IN) - Organizers of La Porte’s Christmas Candlelight Tour are already laying the groundwork for next year’s event.


The tour returned in December after a three-year hiatus and was a huge success. The halls were decked and open to the public in six historic downtown La Porte homes.  As an added bonus, the First United Methodist Church and County Courthouse were also open for exploring.


The tour is a fundraiser for Preserve Historic La Porte, a nonprofit citizens’ group dedicated to historic preservation. Organizers said just under 800 people bought tickets to see the sights.


For those who were unable to attend, there are a limited number of the 48-page tour program books available for free. The books feature background information on the homes and are available through the end of January at the La Porte County Historical Society Museum.


Candlelight Tour organizers are now looking for homes and historic structures to feature in the next tour, which is scheduled for December 7th and 8th, 2024.   If you own a historic home in greater La Porte (generally mid-20th century or older) that you would like to have considered for the 2024 tour, you may call or text Pam Ruminski at 219-363-2094, or email her p_ruminski@yahoo.com.

Koronka Running to Stay on Council

(La Porte County, IN) - County Councilman Adam Koronka has announced that he’s running to retain his at-large seat. He was appointed last January to fill a council opening.


In a statement, Koronka, a Republican, said he intends to focus on fiscal responsibility in county government, getting away from deficit spending. “The residents and county employees deserve representation dedicated to running local government as a stable business should be,” he said. “The county cannot continue to operate by deficit spending or continue to gain negative attention due to dysfunctional public meetings and infighting. It starts with having leaders who will focus on each problem and find a sustainable solution while keeping things non-personal and business-like.”


Koronka has a goal to create a plan for the county to sustain a minimum of 15% year-end balance in the General Fund every year.  “With  this  strategy,” he says, “the  county  can  then  create  and  execute  long  range  capital investment plans for supporting and improving county infrastructure and property.”


Koronka has 23 years of experience in engineering and management in heavy manufacturing. He has lived in La Porte County since 2006. Prior to serving on the council, Koronka was a member of both the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Plan Commission for La Porte County.

Stabosz Makes Commissioner Run Official

(La Porte County, IN) - Tim Stabosz has officially announced that he will be running in the Republican primary for County Commissioner in the 2nd District. The seat is currently held by Rich Mrozinski.


Stabosz currently serves as La Porte County Auditor but said in a statement that he can do more for the county as commissioner. “I feel compelled to run for no other reason than the disturbing things I have witnessed in La Porte County the last three years as auditor,” he said, “and because I feel my background makes me very highly qualified to serve.” Stabosz said, as commissioner, he will continue to oppose no-bid contracts and what he calls “influence peddling among elected officials.”


Stabosz graduated from DePaul University in 1990 with an accounting degree, and worked for two years as a federal credit union auditor. Since moving to La Porte over 30 years ago, Stabosz has been a private investor. He served two terms on the La Porte City Council and was a member of the Finance Committee the entire eight years.


Stabosz is a long-time member and officer of the local non-profit Preserve Historic La Porte, and he has been a major supporter of the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, including as a sponsor of the symphony’s Children Concerts.  Stabosz also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Parents Television and Media Council out of Los Angeles, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization advocating responsible entertainment, whose mission is to protect children and families from graphic sex, violence, and profanity in the media.


Stabosz said that his decision to run for commissioner is not agenda-driven.  “I believe that our people need to be delivered from something that has dragged all of us down for decades, and that they, and the fight, are worth it,” he said. “I promise that my decisions, and my votes, will be based on what is best for La Porte County, and that no other considerations will be at play.”

Former Mayor Part of New Mayor's Team

(Michigan City, IN) - The new mayor of Michigan City has added a former mayor of the community to her administration.


Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch appointed Sheila Brillson Matias, the first woman to serve as Michigan City mayor after being elected in 1995, to the city’s Redevelopment Commission.


“The Redevelopment Commission plays a key role in projects and economic development. I'm excited to be able to tap into my experience to help Michigan City at this important time in our history,” Matias said.


She was previously elected mayor for two terms, and most recently served four years as a La Porte County Commissioner until last year, also serving on the city council before becoming mayor.


“I'm a big believer that in making development decisions, the city should be smart, selective, have expectations, and be future-focused when it comes to growth. I see this as an exciting opportunity to help our community."


The other two people added to the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission were Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, and Bill Gertner, the assistant vice-president and commercial loan officer at Horizon Bank.

Meth Dealer Could Face Hard Time

(La Porte, IN) - A man could be facing significant prison time for allegedly having drugs in his possession during a La Porte traffic stop.


Martin Mrak, 52, of Michigan City has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 2 felony Dealing in Methamphetamine and Level 4 felony Possession of Methamphetamine.


On December 10th, Mrak was recognized by a police officer as having a warrant out for his arrest regarding a previous meth dealing charge. He was in the area of Lincolnway and J Street when he passed the officer, who knew him from past law enforcement-related dealings.


During a traffic stop, police allegedly recovered over 16 grams of methamphetamine and other drug-related materials from his vehicle.


According to court documents, Mrak told the officers the drugs were for his personal consumption.  However, a scale typically used by dealers for weighing drugs was reportedly recovered from his 2002 Dodge Durango.


Mrak could face as much as a 30-year sentence on just the Level 2 felony charge.

Pigeon Racing a New 4-H Offering

(Rensselaer, IN) - A northwest Indiana man wants 4-H youth to experience the same excitement and joy he receives when his racing pigeons find their way back home after a long flight.


Mike Parrish has started a 4-H Racing Pigeon Club in Jasper County and will begin the process of recruiting more potential members during a meeting on January 13th in the Community Building at the Jasper County Fairgrounds.


“There’s been quite a few people interested,” he said.


Parrish said he and others involved in the sport will answer questions from the audience and have racing pigeons at the event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Eventually, his goal is to include racing pigeon programs in the 4-H offerings in surrounding counties such as Lake, Porter, and La Porte if what he started in Jasper becomes popular enough.


Parrish, of Wheatfield, said he’s been racing pigeons for about 12 years and has won cash prizes in some of the competitions. He grew up on a farm in nearby Francesville and currently is an environmentalist for the Jasper County Health Department.


“Do I win a lot of money? No, I don’t. I just love the sport,” he said.


According to historians, pigeon racing as a sport began in Belgium, where the first long-distance competition of more than 100 miles was held in 1818. The sport then gained prominence about a half-century later in the U.S., Great Britain, and France.


Parrish, a founder of the 15-member Northern Indiana Racing Pigeon Club, said the homing birds rely a lot on instinct apparently to find their way back home, even if they’re several hundreds of miles away.


According to researchers, homing pigeons seem to use odors from the different areas they travel to create sort of a road map in their minds for finding their way back. They also believe pigeons appear to have the ability to detect Earth’s magnetic field to use as sort of a compass and have a keen sense of landmarks and geographical features to help as a guide on return trips.


Parrish said he tries to keep about 40 young pigeons a year and begins training them about a week after birth. Initially, he lets them go in and out of an aviary fastened to a cage and loft about the size of a large shed where they’re housed to get familiar with their immediate surroundings. Over time, he keeps placing them at greater distances from the aviary to enhance their ability to find their way back.


“Once you get really out past 10, 15, 20 miles, they know their way home,” he said.


He said the NIRPC hosted nine races last year, ranging from 50 to 300 miles away from where the competitive birds are permanently kept.


Electronic bands containing software that keeps track of aspects like time are clipped on the leg of each of the racing pigeons. Once the birds arrive home, Parrish said winners are determined by the average time it took for them to travel a certain distance while heading back. That's because not all of the birds live an equal number of miles from the starting point. The software in the electronic bands provides the calculations.


“If you get a little bit of a tailwind those birds may be flying 1,500 yards a minute,” he said.


Parrish said the 4-H youth will be required to take part in at least one race and show the birds during the fair. A bird’s time in the race, along with scoring by show judges, will determine the winners. He went further, explaining how each youth will be provided with a half dozen or so pigeons to take care of and train for racing at home.


His reasons cited for starting the program include wanting to get children outside and feeling the excitement that comes from discovering a bird has just found its way back after several hours in the sky. However, Parrish said, his birds don’t always return though, from either getting lost or becoming prey to a hawk.


He said the 4-H races will probably be no more than 75 miles to keep the youth from getting discouraged and having to stick around for several hours waiting for them to return.


“We’ll keep it small, keep it interesting,” he said.


Jasper County 4-H educator Peyton Newman said three children have signed up for the program since open enrollment began in October. She expects more youth to join the program in the coming weeks and months.


“I’m super excited about it,” she said.


So far, Newman said she hasn’t found any other 4-H program in Indiana that offers pigeon racing.


“I think we’re pretty unique in the state for having this now,” she said.

Heart Attack Blamed for Deceased Driver in Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - It appears a medical condition was the cause of a two vehicle crash and death of one of the drivers in La Porte County earlier this week.


La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson explained that an autopsy revealed 60-year-old Charles Adams had heart disease and a prior heart attack before the Wednesday afternoon collision.


Witnesses reported he was driving erratically before hitting another westbound vehicle in the rear on U.S. 20 near 500 West. Swanson said the erratic driving was more than likely caused by Adams having another heart attack.


After the rear-end collision, police said his vehicle went into a ditch and rolled multiple times.


The autopsy reportedly revealed Adams suffered crushing head injuries, but it’s strongly believed he died from a heart attack before the collision.


“He had extensive heart disease,” Swanson said.


Adams was from Seattle, Washington. The other driver, 55-year-old Mark Burch of Porter was not injured.

Former NBA Superstar at La Porte Invitational

(La Porte, IN) - A former NBA superstar was in La Porte last night to watch his son compete against some of the best college prep basketball teams in the nation.


Carmelo Anthony was seated in a designated area close to the rim on the opposite side of the court from the front doors at the hallowed Civic Auditorium. 


His son, Kiyan, is a member of the Long Island Lutheran High School team, which played against La Lumiere to open the third annual La Porte Invitational televised on ESPNU.


His 6’4” junior son is a shooting guard and one of the highest-recruited players in the nation.


Anthony said he went to the game to support his son, his school, and the other teams in the invitational.


“Just kind of being a proud parent. Just coming out to support the kids. That’s what it’s about,” he said.


Anthony grew up in New York City and retired after the 2021-22 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, spending most of his illustrious career with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.


He ultimately played 20 NBA seasons and scored over 20 points a game annually until his last five, but he still had productive years in the league.


Nowadays though, Anthony said his focus is on being the best father he can be.


“I’m trying to be a dad. That’s what I’m trying to be. That’s all. Trying to be a good dad. That’s it,” he said.


Right now, Anthony said, he wants his son to enjoy his life as it is right now and, even though he's encouraged by his son’s level of play, only time will tell if he reaches the NBA.


“It’s still early for these guys. I’d rather them enjoy this moment here first. We got a long way to go,” he said.


At halftime, Anthony went outside, which did not go unrecognized by his teenage fans who waited for his return in hopes of getting his autograph.


“He’s like one of my favorite players of all time,” said Isaac Seifert, a sophomore at New Prairie High School.


Seifert and about a dozen other children rushed toward Anthony when he came back inside the building, signing autographs for several of his fans before returning courtside to watch the second half.


No. 11 ranked team La Lumiere, trailing by double digits at halftime, cut the lead to two points in the third quarter, but No. 2 ranked Long Island Lutheran proved too much and won the game by nearly 20 points.

High Caliber Basketball Weekend Starts Today

(La Porte, IN) - Everything is set to go for the third annual La Porte Invitational, featuring some of the nation’s top-ranked high school basketball players.


Today's first game starts at 4:30 p.m. with La Lumiere, the 11th-ranked team in the nation, facing No. 2-ranked Long Island Lutheran.


All of the games, televised nationally on platforms like ESPN and YouTube TV, will be played at the Civic Auditorium, as Auditorium Director Brett Binversie notes that the nearly century-old facility looks like a major basketball venue just hours from game time.


“The platforms are up. The cameras are up. The sponsor banners are going up right now. It’s looking like a great time for basketball,” he said.


The first 800 people through the gates will receive a free La Lumiere t-shirt to wear during the game to show support for the Lakers.


Binversie said he expects a near-sellout crowd for the game.


“We’re expecting at least 900 to 1,000 people here. We’re really looking forward to a great atmosphere for all of the games this weekend,” he said.


There are two more matches between some of the best teams in the nation following tonight’s La Lumiere game, with tickets still available for games today, tomorrow, and Saturday.


The doors today open at 3:30 p.m.

More Details Released on Fatality

(La Porte County, IN) - Police have released more details regarding a fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred late Wednesday afternoon in La Porte County.


La Porte County Police said the accident occurred on U.S. 20 in the area of 500 West in Springfield Township.


The victim has been identified as 60 year old Charles Adams of Seattle, Washington, with the investigation showing Adams was behind a westbound pick-up truck he struck in the back end.


After the collision, his car reportedly traveled through a ditch and rolled several times.


The other driver, 55-year-old Mark Burch of Porter was not injured.


At about 4 p.m., La Porte County Police officers were directing traffic at U.S. 20 and Indiana 39 to keep motorists away from the crash site.  Westbound travel was restricted until the crash site was cleaned up and investigated.


La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death and whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Tires from Moving Semi Damage Business

(La Porte County, IN) - Two tires that came off a moving semi-truck caused significant damage to a building in the Wanatah area this week.


At about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, La Porte County Police responded to Morton Buildings at 9705 W. U.S. 30, where an investigation revealed the tires came off of a westbound semi-truck on U.S. 30 and rolled about 300 feet before hitting an outside wall. Breaking through the exterior wall, they then reportedly crushed walls on the inside and part of the ceiling structure in a conference room.


“Debris from the inside of the building scattered down the hallway to the front office,” police said.


An office supply closet was also destroyed.


According to authorities, the truck driver, after realizing what had happened, pulled into a gas station and contacted the company to make arrangements for the damage's costs. The 50-year-old driver also stayed to speak to police about what just transpired.  Both tires came off the passenger side of the trailer.


No estimate was given on the cost of repairs.

New Dean of Nursing at PNW

(Hammond and Westville, IN) - Purdue University Northwest has announced Amy Fry as its next dean to lead the College of Nursing following a nationwide search.


Fry is a registered nurse licensed in Indiana and Illinois and has served in the college since January 2022, as well as the College of Nursing’s interim dean since July 2023.


She has held positions as a clinical associate professor of Nursing and as director of the college’s nationally recognized online programs, including PNW’s RN-to-BSN program and Master of Science in Nursing online programs.


“Dr. Fry brings a wealth of clinical nursing expertise that will directly benefit our students, as well as experience managing allied health, online, and graduate programs. I am truly excited about the future of Nursing at PNW,” said Chancellor-Elect, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kenneth C. Holford.


As dean, Fry will lead a college with approximately 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as more than 45 faculty and staff members.


Before coming to PNW, Fry served as a clinical faculty member and associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. Collectively, she has taught undergraduate and graduate-level nursing students for over 12 years, both through in-person and online classroom settings.


“I am honored to be chosen as the dean of the College of Nursing at Purdue University Northwest,” said Fry.


“The College of Nursing is known for its exceptional education that prepares its students to be effective and innovative leaders in health care,” she said.

Man Killed in U.S. 20 Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - A fatal motor vehicle crash occurred late Wednesday afternoon in Springfield Township, on U.S. 20 in the area of 500 West.


At about 4 p.m., La Porte County Police officers were directing traffic at U.S. 20 and Indiana 39 to keep motorists away from the crash site. Westbound travel was restricted until the crash site was cleaned up and investigated.


So far, police have not shed light on how the accident occurred or how many vehicles were involved.


However, La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson identified the victim as 60-year-old Charles Adams of Seattle, Washington.


Swanson said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

NIPSCO Equity Purchase Completed

(Merrillville, IN) - NISource, the parent company of NIPSCO, has completed the issuance of a 19.9% indirect equity interest in the utility serving northern Indiana.


The buyer of the equity interest is Blackstone Infrastructure, which acquired what was described as the non-controlling equity interest in NIPSCO Holdings II LLC. NiSource still owns 80.1 percent of the LLC.


Blackstone Infrastructure is an active perpetual capital investor across the utility, energy transition, transportation, digital infrastructure, and water and waste infrastructure sectors.


According to NiSource, Blackstone Infrastructure seeks to apply a long-term buy-and-hold approach to large-scale infrastructure assets and is focused on responsible stewardship and stakeholder engagement to create value for its investors and the communities it serves. The firm is committed to investing in NIPSCO's energy transition and decarbonization programs, as well as helping to increase gas and electric grid resiliency for the customers of Indiana, according to NiSource.


NiSource intends to use the capital infusion to support its fastest-growing utility and its ability to serve customers, strengthen its balance sheet, and fund ongoing capital needs associated with the renewable generation transition underway.


Since 2018, NIPSCO has been executing one of the fastest transitions from coal-fired electricity in the U.S.  


“We are pleased to announce the completion of this transaction and are excited about the long-term partnership we have entered into with Blackstone,” said NiSource president and CEO, Lloyd Yates.


“The transaction strengthens our balance sheet, supports our financing plan, and provides greater flexibility to execute on high-quality capital investments that will enhance the safety, reliability, and sustainability of our gas and electric systems for the benefit of our customers,” he said.

GOP Hosting Event for Potential Candidates

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Republican Party will be hosting an event for candidates and people considering a run for public office this year.


La Porte County Republican Party Chairman Allen Stevens said party and elected officials will be on hand to answer questions and help with matters such as filling out the paperwork necessary to run for office.


“This will be an excellent opportunity for anyone in our community that has ever considered running for office to learn what it takes to get started,” he said.


Offices on the ballot this year in La Porte County are two seats on the Board of the La Porte County Commissioners and three at-large La Porte County Council seats.  Races for auditor, treasurer, surveyor, coroner, clerk, and recorder will also be decided this year.


Stevens said there are also 30 delegate positions for the Indiana Republican State Party Convention up for grabs in this year’s election.


The event will be Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the La Porte County Republican Party headquarters at 814 Jefferson Ave. in downtown La Porte. A notary will be available along with the paperwork necessary to file for office. Lunch will be provided in turn. 


The period for people to file their candidacies begins on January 10th and closes on February 9th


For additional questions or information, follow La Porte County Republican Party on Facebook or visit the website at laportecountygop.com/.

Clashing Follows Commissioners Meeting

(La Porte County, IN) - The La Porte County Commissioners rang in the New Year today without much in the way of typical longstanding political conflict until two elected officials got into a heated face-to-face argument following the meeting.


It was over a local realtor being nominated by a commissioner to fill a vacant seat on the La Porte County Property Tax Board of Appeals during the annual reorganization portion of the meeting.


La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz objected, claiming the local realtor was taking a homestead deduction that she wasn’t eligible for on her property taxes for the past three years.  He said it would be inappropriate to appoint someone to such a governing body who’s been “cheating the county.”


The commissioners voted to reconsider the appointment until they find out more about the sudden allegations. 


The remainder of the meeting was rather uneventful, but immediately after being adjourned La Porte County Assessor Mike Schultz quickly approached Stabosz.


Schultz argued that her property on the city of La Porte’s south side is a vacation home that she can claim as a homestead exemption from living there for at least the past six months.  A number of politically related insults were then exchanged between the two men until Schultz began walking away.


“Walk away, Mike. Walk away,” Stabosz told him.


Stabosz then stood and walked up to Schultz before he reached the doors and made additional heated remarks.  Schultz turned and more lightning-rod verbal exchanges followed between the two men.


La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski told Stabosz to “get help” while another person in the audience with a raised voice joked “Happy New Year.”  Mrozinski and Stabosz have been among the main public officials involved in the almost constant political fighting over the past three years.


Afterward, Stabosz said the woman paid $6,945 for back taxes owed from the wrongful homestead exemption claims over the past three years.


“That’s an admission as far as we’re concerned,” he said.


He said she recently applied for a homestead exemption again on the property.  Stabosz said appointing the woman to the board would be unethical and a conflict of interest since the property tax appeals board decides challenges on things like homestead exemption claims. 


“I don’t think a person who didn’t tell the truth or misrepresented an application to collect property tax benefits for a house she didn’t live in should be put on that board to oversee waivers when she, herself, has shown to be either negligent or dishonest in her activities. That is outrageous,” he said.

John Wooden Once Coached at Civic Auditorium

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte is being viewed by some as the basketball capital of Indiana this week after the Slicers defeated Lowell last night in a high school basketball game at the Civic Auditorium,  64 to 51.


Not only did the Slicers play at the historic Civic Auditorium last night, but some of the nation’s most talented college prep players will be competing starting Thursday in the nationally televised third-annual La Porte Invitational.


The Civic Auditorium used to be home for the Slicers in basketball until the high school gym was constructed in the 70’s.


A long time ago, college basketball coaching legend John Wooden, when he was coaching at the high school level, was there on several occasions with his teams from South Bend competing against La Porte.


Our very own Voice of the Slicers, Chip Jones, grew up next door to Wooden’s brother Bill on Indiana Avenue and was friends with John Wooden’s nephew.


Chip said Bill Wooden was shop teacher at Kesling Middle School and one day, while he was shooting baskets with a friend, Bill Wooden retrieved the ball as it was rolling away and provided a glimpse of his basketball talent.


“Bill Wooden, the brother, played at Purdue but hurt his back. He didn’t play very much. Mr. and Mrs. Wooden were walking by and the ball rolled out. He picks that thing up. It’s got to be 30 feet away from the sidewalk on this guy’s basket and he drills a two-hand set shot,” he said.


Bill Wooden remained in La Porte until his death while his brother, John Wooden, later won 10 NCAA championships at UCLA in the 60’s and 70’s.

Horse Killer from Past Jailed Again

(La Porte County, IN) - A Westville area man was arrested after falling asleep behind the wheel in the middle of a road.


A La Porte County Police officer discovered the vehicle stopped on Wozniak Road north of Route 6 at about 2:30 a.m. earlier this morning. The driver, 40-year-old John Skomac, Jr., reportedly woke up, but not until after the officer repeatedly pounded on the driver’s side window.


1.7 grams of methamphetamine, along with a smoking pipe, were allegedly recovered from the vehicle. Skomac allegedly told the officer he purchased some meth earlier in the day. 


In July, Skomac was arrested for allegedly leading police on a chase through a Westville area tomato field.


In 2008, he was charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a draft horse in the Union Mills area, and later being given an 18-month prison sentence. The shooting resulted in the passage of a new law making the shooting of an animal a Level 6 felony in the state. 

Slicers Boys Basketball Game at the Civic Tonight

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte High School boys’ basketball team plays at the Civic Auditorium tonight, as the Slicers (7-4) take on Lowell.


La Porte defeated the Red Devils (2-7) by more than 20 points in a recent holiday tournament at Slicer Gym.


Our very own Voice of the Slicers, Chip Jones, said it’s not a game for La Porte to take lightly, because of how hard the players from Lowell play for their head coach.


“You can’t sleep on Lowell. I’m impressed by how hard they play,” he said.


Chip said the Slicers should win, though, as long as they have an average or above-average night in their performance on the court.


The Slicers have won most of their recent games after beginning the season with consecutive losses.


Chip said impact players out with injuries before the start of the season are becoming well enough to return to the court. One of them is senior Malik Corley, the team’s starting point guard.


“He hurt his knee during the summer and he has just gotten progressively better.  He’s back to being the Malik Corley we’ve been used to for the last couple of years,” he said.


The junior varsity game starts at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity match to follow at the Civic Auditorium, which was once home for the Slicers until the 1970’s.

Drag Race Leads to OWI Arrest

(La Porte County, IN) - Drag racing on a public roadway ended up with one of the drivers being arrested for Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


On Saturday night, an officer was fueling up his vehicle at the Family Express on Indiana 2 at Fail Road before spotting a car and a pick-up truck rapidly accelerating eastbound from the traffic light at the intersection.


The officer, after measuring their speed coming in at more than 90 miles per hour, managed to pull both vehicles over on Indiana 2 near 350 East.


One driver was allowed to go after a computer check revealed he had a valid driver’s license and was not being impaired. However, the other driver, Louis Ruiz, 53, of New Carlisle was investigated for impairment resulting in physical symptoms of intoxication and him crossing the fog line while traveling at high speeds, per authorities.


He was arrested for having an alleged blood alcohol level close to three times the legal limit, and could face an up to one year jail sentence on the Class A misdemeanor charge.

Dogs Blamed for More Chicken Deaths

(La Porte County, IN) - Two dogs are blamed for killing more chickens in southern La Porte County.


On Saturday, La Porte County Police were called to the 18-thousand block of S. 1050 West in Dewey Township, where a man reported that two dogs were attacking his dog, killing his only chicken in the backyard and then leaving his property.


Authorities then went to another nearby residence, learning that another chicken, belonging to a woman who blamed the canines for killing six of her other chickens in September, had been attacked by the animals.


She described her chicken as being in “bad shape,” following the incident.


An officer has reportedly gone to the home where the dogs reside but was unable to make contact with the owner. The case has been turned over to animal control to possibly further the investigation.

Alcohol Cited in Crash at Residence

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man has been charged with driving while impaired after a collision outside a residence.


According to La Porte County Police, on Thursday night 58-year-old Jeffrey Clougher was traveling in the opposite lane of County Road 450 North in Center Township before cutting across a yard, and hitting a retention wall at a residence.


He attempted to leave, but his vehicle wound up stuck in soil damp from that day's rainfall.


There did not appear to be any damage to the retention wall, police said.


Clougher, who could barely stand, reportedly claimed he drank four to five whiskey and cokes despite having an alleged blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. He was previously charged with a felony from a prior OWI conviction in July.

Historic Swearing In of New Mayor

(Michigan City, IN) - Angie Nelson Deuitch paused with emotion while being the first African American ever sworn in as mayor in Michigan City on Saturday, officially taking the seat on January 1st.


“187 years and here we have arrived,” said former longtime state representative Scott Pelath, the emcee of the ceremony and former classmate of the incoming mayor.


“Better sooner than later,” shouted a member of the enthusiastic crowd.


Supporters of Deuitch recognized the occasion as historic, but also strongly pointed out what they believe are the skills the soon-to-be new mayor brings to the position.


“I just hope that it’s not what everybody concentrates on that she is an African American. She is qualified and ready to go,” said Bryant Dabney, who took the oath of office for his second term on the City Council.


Eight other incumbent and newly elected members of the council were also sworn in before more than 500 people at Blue Chip Casino.


It was more of a gala event, which included the presentation of colors by the Michigan City High School Reserve Officers Training Corps, along with the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” with help from the Krueger Middle School Choir.


Also featured were expressions of wisdom and encouragement from the city’s first-ever female mayor, Sheila Brillson Matias, previously elected to two terms beginning in 1995.


She said Deuitch has traits such as guts, persistence, insistence, and vision that the city’s forefathers had during the early industrial heydays of the community established in 1836.


Matias also said Deuitch is the right mayor to guide the city into another, more prosperous, era that seems fast approaching because of the investments already being made from the nearly completed South Shore Railroad commuter line’s double track.


“We are on the cusp of change in Michigan City and I can’t think of anyone better, smarter, and with more leadership skills than you Mayor Angie to guide this ship,” she said.


She advised Nelson Deuitch to lead the city with her heart and “be real.” Matias also suggested she get to know all of her city employees on a more personal level and treat them with respect.


“Nothing is more important than that,” she said.


Deuitch, 52, is a former longtime employee of NIPSCO and who’s wrapping up the last of her two separate terms on the city council.


Currently, she 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.


Deuitch addressed the crowd by first giving thanks to God and all of the people beginning as a child who helped her achieve success.


“Everybody always told me the sky was the limit for me. I didn’t get it all of the time. Sometimes, I veered away from it and ran from it, but it’s led me to this moment,” she said.


However, Deuitch emphasized the occasion was not strictly about her. She said everyone, from City Council members to department heads, was asked to take the oath of office separately but together to show everyone a team approach is key to moving the city forward.


“This is truly about the future of Michigan City,” she said.


Marty Corley, who will become the city’s new police chief, said one of his top priorities is continuing the effort that began last year to reduce the number of shootings. Corley, a veteran of the Michigan City Police Department, also said he felt having an African American mayor would make a difference in bringing the community together, given that 30 percent of the city’s population is black.


“It gives people hope. We have a lot to give but now I think everybody is ready to pitch in and do their part,” he said.

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