Reminders for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The South Shore Line will operate a regular weekday train schedule on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. All ticket offices will observe regular hours. In respect of Martin Luther King Jr Day, Monday, January 20th, the Michigan City Urban Enterprise Association has cancelled their January meeting. The monthly board meeting will resume in February. The Michigan City Refuse Department will be closed Monday, January 20, 2020 to observe the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday. Trash pickup will resume on Tuesday, January 21st, and delayed a day for the remainder of the week.

Public meetings in La Porte And East Chicago with DNR on Lake Michigan stocking changes

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Anglers and other interested parties can participate in two DNR public meetings, Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, to discuss the interim Lake Michigan fish stocking plan and provide input on future stocking plans. Announced in October 2019, changes to the current plan included stocking more yearling coho salmon, fewer fall fingerling coho salmon, reductions in Skamania steelhead stocked in the Little Calumet River, and increases in Chinook salmon stocked. The first meeting will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Red Mill County Park, 0185 South Holmesville Road in LaPorte. The second meeting will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Indiana Harbor Yacht Club, in East Chicago. (Learn about Lake Michigan fishing at wildlife.IN.gov/3625.htm.)

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) will start accepting tax filings

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) will start accepting tax filings for the 2020 individual income tax season on Monday, Jan. 27th. Customers will have until April 15, to file their tax returns and pay any taxes owed. Customers can file their individual taxes online through a certified vendor, with a tax professional or by mailing in paper forms and documentation. If individuals have questions, they are encouraged to call DOR Customer Service at 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., EST or visit a district office location. DOR encourages customers not to file their individual taxes prior to the Jan. 27 start date or before all necessary documentation has been obtained. Attempting to file without all documents can result in a lengthy delay in processing, ultimately postponing any refund a customer may receive. All employers are required to mail wage statements by Jan. 31 for the previous calendar year. Using end-of-the-year pay stubs is not recommended to complete individual tax returns, as it is not often an accurate reflection of all income received. By using inaccurate information to file, individuals will need to submit an amended return later, costing them both time and money. Customers must remember that any return sent without all the proper documentation will result in the return being put on hold for future processing and/or investigation. (For more information on what documents are needed to file an individual tax return, visit DOR’s website at dor.in.gov/6487.htm.)

10,000 Hoosiers Have Completed High-Demand Workforce Certificates

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Gov. Holcomb announced updated workforce figures during his annual Indiana State of the State address earlier this week. More than 10,000 Hoosiers have completed a high-demand certificate program through Indiana’s Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant, which provides tuition-free certificates in five of the state’s most sought-after sectors, including health and life sciences; IT and business services; building and construction, transportation and logistics; and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, more than 900 employers have taken advantage of the state’s Employer Training Grant to train more than 9,000 employees.

Free Legal Day Monday January 20th

Posted on: January 17th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Hoosiers needing answers to legal questions are invited to a free legal consultation during the Indiana State Bar Association’s annual “Talk to a Lawyer Today” on Jan. 20, 2020. Consultations are provided in-person at numerous statewide locations or via the statewide hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at 800.266.2581. See a list of residential phone numbers and walk-in locations for each Indiana county at www.inbar.org/talktolawyer

Indiana Infant Mortality Rate Shows Biggest Decrease In 6 Years

Posted on: January 16th, 2020 by Ric Federighi 1 Comment


Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell at the highest rate in six years, with the black infant mortality rate declining nearly 16 percent and the rate for Hispanic infants declining nearly 20 percent in 2018. Data from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) show 559 Indiana babies died before the age of 1 in 2018, down from 602 in 2017. The overall infant mortality rate stood at 6.8 per 1,000 babies in 2018, down from 7.3 in 2017. The 2018 infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic white infants met the Healthy People 2020 goal of 6.0 per 1,000, while the rate for Hispanic infants fell to 6.1. The non-Hispanic black infant mortality rate fell from 15.4 to 13.0. To learn about Indiana’s efforts to reduce infant mortality, visit www.in.gov/laboroflove.

Franciscan Health Michigan City launches new bariatric services

Posted on: January 16th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Patients who once had to drive two counties away for bariatric surgery and services can now find weight loss assistance closer to home in LaPorte County. Franciscan Health Michigan City has opened a bariatric services office at Woodland Health Center, 8865 West 400 N. Suite 125 in Michigan City. The office will provide treatment and support for patients before and after their weight loss surgery, which can be done at Franciscan Health Michigan City. The staff includes bariatric surgeons Dr. Thomas Shin, MD, FACS, who is bariatric program medical director, and Dr. Sandra Wischmeyer, DO. Both are independent physicians who choose to practice at Franciscan Health. A full complement of registered dietitians and registered nurses are also available to assist patients on their journey to better health. Dr. Wischmeyer says they recommend patients to initially go to a bariatric seminar to learn why the surgical program is the best way to lose weight. Then the patient can make an appointment with one of the surgeons in the clinic for a consultation. The next bariatric services seminar is at 1PM, Sunday, Jan. 19 at Franciscan Health Michigan City in the Blessed Maria Theresia Bonzel Community Room. Dr. Shin encourages people struggling with weight loss to come to the seminar to ask questions and learn more about bariatric surgery. For more information about Franciscan Health Michigan City bariatric services, call (219) 214-4401, or go online at franciscanhealth.org and search for bariatric services.

January is National Mentoring Month – LaPorte County Mentoring Collaboration Offers Ways to Connect

Posted on: January 16th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Last year, January was proclaimed as National Mentoring Month in La Porte and Michigan City by each of the respective acting Mayors, inviting our community to celebrate the benefits of mentoring and the impact it has on young people. The Collaborative is hosting a special luncheon “Celebrating Our Youth” on January 30th at the Silver Palace from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Tickets are available from any of the agencies involved in Mentoring Collaborative or RSVP to [email protected] by 1/22/2020. Community members are invited to enjoy luncheon event to learn about how local organizations are changing lives and impacting our community through the power of mentoring. Organizations include:
Youth serving agencies involved in this collaborative
Youth Service Bureau’s School Buddies Program
The Boys & Girls Club’s Al Whitlow Experience
Family Advocate’s CYA Program
MCAS Safe Harbor’s H40 Mentoring Progra

Indiana State Board of Education Approves Teacher Preparation Programs, Ends K12 Interventions

Posted on: January 16th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Indiana State Board of Education (Board) met yesterday for its January business meeting and considered approval of two teacher preparation programs. The Board also ended interventions in two school districts.The Board unanimously approved teacher preparation programs at Manchester University and Vincennes University.Board members voted 10-0 to return Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy to Gary Community School Corporation, ending the Board’s intervention.Following a presentation from Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), the Board voted 6-2 to return control of Emma Donnan, Emmerich Manual, and Thomas Carr Howe to IPS, ending the Board’s intervention. The Board will next meet on February 5, 2020 in Indianapolis.

REFUSE Department closure on Monday

Posted on: January 15th, 2020 by Ric Federighi 1 Comment

REFUSE DEPARTMENT

The Refuse Department will be closed Monday, January 20, 2020 to observe the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday. Trash pickup will resume on Tuesday, January 21st, and delayed a day for the remainder of the week. 

Gov. Holcomb’s 4th State of the State features teacher pay, adoption support

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb on Tuesday delivered his 2020 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly. The governor focused on his commitment to bold ideas that will improve the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers.

Full text of Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s 2020 State of the State address is attached.

“Thanks to the energy, ingenuity and hard work of Hoosiers across our state – and the work we’re doing with them – the state of our state has never been stronger,” Gov. Holcomb said.

As a part of the Governor’s ongoing effort to improve teacher compensation, he recommended the General Assembly use $250 million from the surplus in the next budget to prepay the state’s obligations to the teachers’ retirement fund, which will allow $50 million a year to be redirected to teacher pay. This complements the action Gov. Holcomb took following last year’s State of the State address, when he announced the use of $150 million to pay off a pension liability that schools funded which is resulting in higher teacher salaries in districts across the state. The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission will make additional recommendations in the spring.

“For all we’re doing to make Indiana stronger, the most important investment we can make is in our most important asset – our people,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Everything we do is aimed at ensuring every Hoosier can take the greatest advantage of their talents, drive and aspirations.”

During the speech, Gov. Holcomb announced the creation of the state’s first Adoption Unit within the Department of Child Services. The unit will bring additional staff into each region whose sole focus will be assisting family case managers with finding permanent homes for children when parental rights have been terminated. 

Gov. Holcomb also celebrated accomplishments and focused on next steps for each of the five pillars outlined in his Next Level Agenda.

Cultivate a strong and diverse economy: Operate within the state’s balanced budget, protect our Triple-A credit rating, and triple federal defense investment in the state.

Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure: Make US 31 free flow from Indianapolis to South Bend. Enact a hands-free device law to decrease distracted driving and increase safety. Connect unserved Hoosiers and businesses to high speed internet. Clean our highways with nearly 16 million pounds of litter picked up last year.

Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce: Invest in all Hoosiers to ensure access to meaningful work and careers. Eliminate unfunded mandates and unnecessary paperwork in K-12. Financially support educators who are working on the requirements to teach dual credit courses. Redesign the Department of Correction education system so more returning citizens can find jobs before release.

Strengthen public health and attack the drug epidemic: Expand OB navigator program to 20 counties. Increase penalties for retailers who sell tobacco and vaping products to underage buyers. Work to tackle health care costs by launching an “All-Payer Claims Database,” making it easier for Hoosiers to access information about hospital pricing and insurance reimbursement.

Deliver great government service: Open the first facility in the country to bring together everything our veterans need under one roof – Veterans Affairs, the DAV, Indiana Veterans Initiative, VFW, and the American Legion. Plant one million trees throughout the state.

Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court Justices, and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session in the State of the State Address. It provides an opportunity for the governor to report on the status quo of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year, and outline key priorities for the year ahead.

-30-

Purdue Northwest Nursing online programs nationally ranked

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs recognized in U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings

HAMMOND and WESTVILLE, Ind. —Purdue University Northwest (PNW) College of Nursing programs have been recognized among the best in the country in the U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings, released today.

PNW ranks 39th nationally among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Purdue Northwest’s online RN-to-BSN program, now in its 11th year, is one of the undergraduate degree programs offered by the PNW College of Nursing, a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence.

PNW also is ranked 77th nationally of Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs. A master’s degree in nursing can pave the way for more advanced roles in administration and leadership. PNW’s program has gained national recognition in only its second year.

“The PNW College of Nursing is proud to be recognized among our peers in higher education for the quality of our programs, the outstanding credentials of our faculty and the support and flexibility we offer to our students,” said Lisa Hopp, dean of the PNW College of Nursing. “Our programs are designed to meet the challenges of today’s health care environment as well as the needs of working nurses.

“Our top-50 ranking for our popular online RN-to-BSN program, and the recognition of our fast-growing online MSN program, show we are responding to those needs.”

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

U.S. News ranks undergraduate online programs based on factors that weigh how the programs are being delivered and their effectiveness at awarding affordable degrees in a reasonable amount of time. The rankings are based on data each program reports to U.S. News and a peer reputation survey. The RN-to-BSN is the only 100 percent online degree offered by Purdue Northwest. PNW’s online degree ranked No. 39 in the country and received a score of 82 on a 100-point scale, sharing the position with eight other programs.

The following table shows PNW listed alongside some other comparably-rated online bachelor’s degree programs. (Please note these are not the complete listings. For the full listings please see www.usnews.com/online.)

The South Shore Holiday update

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The South Shore Line will operate a regular weekday train schedule on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. All ticket offices will observe regular hours.

South Shore construction complete

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

South Shore Line officials announced that construction has been completed on a second tunnel entrance/exit to the East Chicago Station platform. The new portion of the station is set to open to commuters on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. The project was designed to improve ingress and egress from the station, and includes a covered walkway on the east side of the station accessing a new head house, stairwell and tunnel leading to the eastern portion of the parking lot.

State Police Investigate Fatal Crash in Newton County

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On Sunday, January 12, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Trooper Brian Runyon responded to a single vehicle crash in Newton County.  Preliminary investigation by Trooper Runyon revealed that a black, 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Andrew Kepchar, 29, from Crown Point, IN, was traveling north on County Road 400 West near Morocco, IN.  The Silverado left the roadway and struck a utility pole.  The vehicle then rolled onto its passenger side and caught fire.  As a result of the initial impact, the power lines were knocked down at the scene which hindered first responders being able to access the vehicle.  A passenger in the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene by the Newton County Coroner’s Office.  Mr. Kepchar was taken to Franciscan Hospital of Rensselaer where he consented to a certified test (blood draw) for alcohol consumption.  The results of that blood draw are pending testing by the Indiana Department of Toxicology.  Mr. Kepchar was arrested and transported to the Newton County Jail.  He is tentatively charged with Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death- Level 5 Felony.  The crash remains under investigation by the Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team. 

The Indiana State Police were assisted at the scene by the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, Newton County Coroner’s Office, Morocco Fire Department, Newton County EMS, Morocco Police Department, Village Motors, and Newton County REMC. 

The deceased has been identified as Thomas Richardson, 30 years of age, from Morocco, IN.  Notification of family has been made.

*All persons named in this release are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.  All charges mentioned are merely accusations, actual charges will be determined by the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Michigan City and La Porte communities will be the location of two wellness screenings

Posted on: January 13th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Michigan City and La Porte communities will be the location of two wellness screenings provided by the Wellness Outreach department of La Porte Hospital. Screenings offered include a blood glucose screening and a depression screening. Information about cervical cancer will also be available. These events are free and registration is not required. Stop by between 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. for screenings and to chat with a wellness coach. Wednesday, January 15: Wellness Screening in the lobby of the Physician Offices at 3777 N. Frontage Road, Michigan City, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 21: Wellness Screening in the Lobby at La Porte Hospital, 1007 Lincolnway, La Porte, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

La Porte County Drug Task Force Releases 2019 stats

Posted on: January 13th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The La Porte County Drug Task Force is releasing their yearly statistics and activity report.  The La Porte County Drug Task Force, an initiative of Indiana HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area), is a multi-agency unit comprised of investigators from The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan City Police Department, La Porte City Police Department, and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  In their third year of existence, The La Porte County Drug Task Force had the following statistics in 2019:

                             393 total cases worked

                                175 controlled narcotics purchases

                                131 individuals were arrested

                                24 search warrants were executed

                                49 firearms were seized/purchased through various investigations

                                20 investigations were conducted assisting the partnering agencies detective bureaus

As a result of our investigations, The La Porte County Drug Task Force has purchased and / or seized the following amounts of narcotics from the streets of La Porte County:

                Cocaine: 852.1 grams

                Heroin: 127.00 grams

                Methamphetamine: 942.90 grams

                Ecstasy: 127.70 grams

                Marijuana: 5864.20 grams

“The La Porte County Drug Task Force continues to aggressively investigate the illegal distribution of narcotics and firearms; while investigating the sources of those drugs and firearms from inside, and outside, of La Porte County. The La Porte County Drug Task Force has shown great success due to our cooperation with surrounding agencies as well as the public’s assistance. HIDTA’s continued support of our unit enables us to efficiently and effectively investigate the illegal distribution of drugs and firearms within our community. Several Drug Trafficking Organizations were disrupted in 2019 due to the efforts of the detectives/agents assigned to this task force.  A remarkable number of firearms were also seized.  I am proud of the work and dedication that each investigator puts forth daily to preserve the quality of life for our citizens within our community”, said Lt. Tim Richardson Commander of the La Porte County Drug Task Force.

The La Porte County Drug Task Force encourages citizens who wish to report suspected illegal activity to do so via social media or the countywide crime tip hotline (219) 873-1488.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lt. Tim Richardson at 219-874-3221 X-1068 or email at [email protected]

Holy Name Catholic Church’s Baby Bottle Ministry helps expectant mothers

Posted on: January 13th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Spare change from parishioners at Holy Name Catholic Church added up to a valuable donation to help expectant mothers in need at the Prenatal Assistance program at the Franciscan Health Franciscan Health Crown Point St. Clare Health Clinic

A check in the amount of $1,913.33 was presented to the Franciscan Health Foundation on Jan. 6 by Sandy Lewis, who oversaw the effort to raise money through the Holy Name Baby Bottle Ministry. In the fundraiser, members of the Cedar Lake church fill empty baby bottles with their spare change. Lewis said the church collected more than 33,000 coins.

The Prenatal Assistance program at St. Clare Health Clinic, 1121 S. Indiana Ave., provides vital prenatal care and outreach to expectant mothers with limited family income, providing pregnancy education and hospital services.

To donate to the Franciscan Health Foundation, go to franciscanhealthfoundation.org or call (219) 661-3401.

Jeff Santana Files Candidacy For 3rd Term For Laporte County Council At Large

Posted on: January 13th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Jeff Santana has filed his candidacy for a 3rd Term for Laporte County Council At Large. Santana stated he has been very emphatic and passionate in saving all the taxpayers money, which by the way, I too am a taxpayer and watch the spending of dollars closely. I could list numerous accomplishments that the Council has made during my first 2 terms, but in doing so I could fill up a whole newspaper page. Santana said being retired from Michigan City Fire Dept., in which he served over 28 years, has allowed me to have the time for the position and a way for him to continue to serve and give back to the people of LaPorte County. He said “I’m a people person that loves the interaction with others and enjoys problem solving when called upon.” He said “I receive lots of calls from citizens when they are having problems and don’t know where to turn when they are dealing with County issues.” We have a great group of employees and Department Heads in the County that when called upon by me get whatever the task at hand investigated and resolved. This is truly a position that I take to heart and will continue to work, represent and be All the taxpayers voices in LaPorte County Government! Santana said the future of LaPorte County is Now and with the 2 newly elected Mayors in our 2 largest cities progress is coming and there is going to be some exciting times in the upcoming years! I have never been labeled a “rubber stamp” and will continue to work with all officials regardless of their political affiliation. I have and will continue to be accessible to all residents and kindly ask for your support in the upcoming May 5th primary election! Santana wants to make sure that any and all he can assist contact him at the following:
Home # 219-874-8832
Cell # 219-873-4876
Email [email protected]

Another Casino in NW Indiana

Posted on: January 13th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Construction has officially begun on the new, land-based Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary. Officials last week broke ground on the $300 million casino, which was approved by the Indiana General Assembly last year. The groundbreaking included representatives from Hard Rock International, state and local officials, and three members of the Jackson 5, who are from Gary. The 200,000-square-foot complex will include 1,650 slot machines and 80 table games; a sportsbook and bar; six restaurants, including a Hard Rock Cafe; a Rock Shop retail store and a 2,000-seat Hard Rock Live venue, according to the publication. A Hard Rock hotel is also planned for the site, though it is not expected to be added until a few years after the casino opens.

Indianapolis-based Spectacle Entertainment is developing the casino, which will replace the existing Majestic Star riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan. The new Hard Rock casino could open as early as the end of this year, but is more likely to open in the first quarter of 2021.

Bomb Threat Investigated, Found False at Valparaiso High School

Posted on: January 12th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

During the Friday afternoon lunches at Valparaiso High School, students were overheard discussing a potential bomb threat within the school. School staff and law enforcement were immediately notified by those students who had heard the comments and an investigation ensued. The students were quickly identified and spoken with. The threat was found to have no credibility and the students admitted to be joking about any such action.  School officials and the Valparaiso Police Department are confident the school is safe for normal operations. VPD is advising parents to educate your children about the dangers of making any such statements regarding school violence and remind them to report any such actions to the school and police authorities if they are made aware of a potential harmful situation.  

Architecture Talk at Barker Mansion

Posted on: January 11th, 2020 by Ric Federighi 1 Comment

A free architecture talk will be offered at Michigan City’s Barker Mansion on Saturday, January 18 at 2 pm CST. The mansion’s newest Heritage Interpreter, Lillie Magers-Pershing, will lead the 30-minute discussion. Magers-Pershing comes from South Bend, where she also leads tours at the historic Oliver Mansion.Her talk will consist of photographic images, many historic, detailing the finer design elements of the mansion. After the program, guests are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the mansion for fee of $5 per youth/senior and $8 per adult. Reservations are not needed.The Barker Mansion is located at 631 Washington Street. Visit www.barkermansion.com or call 219-873-1520 for details.

Road Rage Incident on I-94, One Arrested

Posted on: January 11th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Friday morning at approximately just before 10:30 a.m., the Indiana State Police Regional Dispatch Center in Lowell received a report of a subject displaying a firearm on I-94 in Porter County.  Troopers located the suspect vehicle and initiated a traffic stop for speeding on I-80 near Burr Street. Further investigation revealed that the suspect was in possession of a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun.  Trooper Potesta determined that 31 year old Steven D. Krucina, of Valparaiso, had been cut off by the driver of a silver Honda SUV in the area of I-94 and State Road 249. In response, Krucina displayed a handgun and pointed it at the other driver.  No shots were fired and no injuries were reported. Krucina was transported to Porter County Jail where he was charged with pointing a firearm.Senior Trooper Potesta reminds motorists involved in a road rage incident to safely create distance from other involved parties and not to attempt to handle the situation on their own.  After distance is created motorists should contact 911 and report as much information as possible to dispatchers.

Wellness Screenings in Michigan City and La Porte

Posted on: January 11th, 2020 by Ric Federighi 1 Comment

The Michigan City and La Porte communities will be the location of two wellness screenings provided by the Wellness Outreach department of La Porte Hospital. Screenings offered include a blood glucose screening and a depression screening.  Information about cervical cancer will also be available. These events are free and registration is not required. Stop by between 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. for screenings and to chat with a wellness coach.  Wednesday, January 15: Wellness Screening in the lobby of the Physician Offices at 3777 N. Frontage Road, Michigan City, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.Tuesday, January 21:  Wellness Screening in the Lobby at La Porte Hospital, 1007 Lincolnway, La Porte, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

UPDATE: On an arrest that was made in reference to the armed robbery that occurred at Charley’s Eastside Liquors on January 8th, 2020.

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On January 8th, 2020 at approximately 11:00 A.M.; a male subject entered Charley’s Eastside Liquors located at 1509 E. Michigan Blvd. with a portion of his face covered and a blunt force object in his hand.  This male subject demanded money from the cashier, which she supplied.  The suspect took an amount of United States Currency and fled from the store.  Initial responding officers gathered all the evidence that was observed from the scene, including obtaining images from the liquor stores video surveillance system.  The immediate area was searched, and the suspect was not located.  Images that were obtained from the video surveillance system were distributed to all officers within the Michigan City Police Department in an attempt to identify the suspect.

On Thursday January 9th, 2020 at approximately 9:00 A.M.; Officer Al Schutz and Officer Dave Baker were in the area of E 6th Street and Cedar Street, when Officer Schutz observed a subject walking in the area that was wearing clothing that was identical to that of the suspect in the Charley’s Eastside Liquors robbery on the previous day. This subject was identified as Kenneth Ashley, 62 years of age.  Ashley was transported to the Michigan City Police Department for further investigation.  Detective/Sergeant Kevin Urbanczyk and other detectives of the Michigan City Police Department Detective Division fully investigated this incident.  During the course of the investigation, additional evidence was obtained, and Ashley was positively identified as the suspect involved in the armed robbery of Charley’s Eastside Liquors. 

On Friday January 10th, 2020; Kenneth Wayne Ashley was formally charged in La Porte County Superior Court #1 with one count of Armed Robbery as a Level 3-Felony.  Ashley is currently being held at the La Porte County Jail on a $25,000 cash only bond.  Ashley will have his initial court appearance in La Porte County Superior Court #1 on Tuesday January 14th, 2020 at 8:30 A.M.

Chief Dion Campbell would like to commend the communication and teamwork shown in this investigation between the investigative and patrol divisions.  Chief Campbell states, “It is because of the open line of communication and teamwork between all divisions within this agency that allows serious crimes such as this to come to a speedy conclusion.”  Chief Campbell applauds the efforts of Officer Schutz and Officer Baker for having the situational awareness to identify this subject and take swift action to protect the citizens of Michigan City.

The investigation is ongoing and future arrests/charges are possible.  If anyone has any information that would assist in this investigation, please contact Detective/Sergeant Kevin Urbanczyk at 219-874-3221 Ext: 1042.

Celebrate MLK Day of Service by volunteering for DNR

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by becoming a volunteer at one of Indiana’s DNR properties this year. DNR provides a variety of ways for citizens to make a difference in maintaining, improving, and restoring Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage. Several opportunities are available, including maintaining trails, helping in nature centers, sharing photography or artwork. DNR also welcomes citizens to bring their own unique talents to a volunteer opportunity. This is a great time to explore the DNR volunteer website for more information at on.IN.gov/dnrvolunteer. On Jan. 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some properties will have self-directed service opportunities, such as litter pickup along trails. Check the DNR Calendar at calendar.dnr.IN.gov for lists of activities on Jan. 20 or for upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Brown Bag Gardening Series Begins with a Panel Discussion on Local Food Growers

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


The public invited to bring their “brown bag” lunch and learn a little about gardening during four sessions presented by La Porte County Master Gardeners. The four sessions will focus on aspects of gardening from local food, attracting pollinators, landscape design, to learning about Potager gardens.
At the first session in the Brown Bag Gardening Series on Wednesday, January 15, a panel of local food growers will be present. The public is invited. The fee is just $5 for each session, which includes informational handouts, or $15 for all four sessions. No need to pre-register; just show up. For more information about the sessions in the Brown Bag Gardening Series, 219-324-9407 or visit lpmastergardener.com.

La Porte County Drug Task Force Gun Eradication Effort

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


The La Porte County Drug Task Force (LCDTF), announced the seizure of 52 illegally possessed handguns in 2019. These efforts were joint operations involving the Laporte County Drug Task Force (LCDTF), the ATF and the DEA. In late 2018, Laporte County, especially the Michigan City area, experienced an outbreak of gun violence, including several homicides. Many of the shootings were a direct result of Illegal gun possession. Administrators from the involved departments and agencies met and agreed that Illegal gun possession in LaPorte County was extremely high on the priority list. A gun eradication effort began on December 12th, 2018. Over the consecutive 52-week period, LCDTF detectives and agents pursued numerous illegal weapon possession cases. Lt. Tim Richardson lauded the efforts of the investigators and agents involved in year-long initiative. He asks the community to speak with their children and encourage an open dialogue regarding these dangerous firearms. Sheriff John Boyd, Michigan City Police Chief Dion Campbell, and LaPorte Police Chief Paul Brettin are encouraged by the number of illegally possessed firearms removed in 2019.

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority announces selected teams for first ever HOME Innovation Round including LaPorte County

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced the three teams that have been selected to participate in the agency’s first HOME Investment Partnerships Program Innovation Round and Project Development Training. The program will invest up to $6 million towards primarily the new construction of single-family homes in Elkhart, Hamilton and LaPorte counties. For LaPorte County the project lead is Housing Opportunities, Inc. in Michigan City. In October, IHCDA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking to select up to three non-profit respondents to propose an innovative affordable housing project to target an unmet need through the development of affordable rental and homeownership units.

Arrest Made in Liquor Store Robbery Investigation

Posted on: January 10th, 2020 by Ric Federighi No Comments


Michigan City police announced on Thursday that an arrest has been made involving a robbery that occurred at Charlie’s Eastside Liquors Wednesday. Police are waiting on the filing of formal charges before releasing further details. Additional details will be released today.