REMINDER from Michigan City Area Schools-SPORTS

Posted on: January 27th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Please know that effective immediately, and for the remainder of the Winter home sports season, MCHS Athletic events will be open to the public, and MCHS has been allowed to have spectator attendance of up to 25% of our capacity.  This translates to 800 spectators being sold tickets on-site at the ticket windows on the day of events on a first-come, first serve basis.  DAC passes will be honored.  Tickets will still be $6 each, but events are no longer limited to an attendance policy of parents-only.  Please share this information with all appropriate parties!  
The home events remaining on the Winter schedule are:
Friday, January 29   Girls Basketball v Gary West Side

Monday, February 1    Gymnastics v Lake Central

Thursday, February 4   Boys Basketball v Chesterton

Tuesday, February 9    Boys Basketball v Valparaiso

Thursday, February 11   Gymnastics v Crown Point

Friday, February 12    Boys Basketball v Lake Central

La Porte County Health Department update

Posted on: January 27th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

It is with great pleasure that the La Porte County Health Department announces that they will be receiving an increased allotment of COVID-19 Vaccine from the Indiana Department of Health for their clinic located at the La Porte County Fairgrounds. Previously, weekly allotments were given at 700 doses per week for the next month, and that number has more than doubled to 1700 doses per week for the next month’s duration. LPCHD has graciously accepted this increase, and subsequently the public will soon see an increased amount of appointment slots becoming available over the course of the next month at that clinic location.

Current eligibility criteria are still in place, per IDOH:

Healthcare workers and first responders providing direct care to patients

Anyone aged 70 years old or greater

Appointments can be made by calling 2-1-1 or by going online to: www.ourshot.in.gov. There are now 6 total locations within La Porte County listed on the map. All locations are able to be scheduled through these processes listed above, with the exception of Meijer Pharmacy in Michigan City. 2-1-1 is unable at this time to schedule at Meijer Pharmacy and they are using their own scheduling system, but links are included on the website www.ourshot.in.gov to connect users how to schedule at the Meijer location if they so choose that site.

As more information is received and further eligibility tiers/groups open up, that information will be shared accordingly. Effective on 2/2/2021, the LPCHD’s clinic site will follow the following schedule:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 8AM-6PM CST. Please note the following critical information regarding this clinic:

  • No walk-in appointments will be accepted, please schedule for your appointment with the previous methods listed above, the Health Department cannot schedule appointments for you
  • Only those residing and/or working in the State of Indiana are eligible to be vaccinated
  • Please bring State issued ID to appointment
  • If you are a healthcare worker or first responder please bring your ID/badge or proof of employment

Fish Fry Westville American Legion

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

This Friday, at the Westville American Legion Post 21, there is a fish fry dinner, carryout only, from 5-7PM at American Legion Post #21 on Highway 421 in Westville. Dinner includes: Hand Breaded Pollock or chicken strips, French fries, creamy coleslaw, rolls and dessert. Special veterans and senior pricing: Adults-$10.00, Seniors(60yrs+) & Vets-$9.00, Kids 12 & under-$5.00, Preschoolers-Free. Call 219-785-2923 to pre-order for carry-outs, otherwise first come first serve. A mask is required for entry.

ArcelorMittal workers eligible for Trade Adjustment benefits

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On Dec. 15, 2020, ArcelorMittal in East Chicago became eligible to apply for benefits and services through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

TAA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). TAA assists workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade, and anyone affected can seek help at their local WorkOne center.

Any worker laid off from ArcelorMittal, a producer of steel, galvanized and aluminum sheets, on or after July 7, 2019, or any worker scheduled to be laid off before Dec. 15, 2022, may be eligible to apply for TAA benefits.

TAA services and benefits include:

  • Training—pays 100% of all required training costs
  • Income support—up to 130 weeks of income-support payments
  • Job search and relocation allowances—reimbursement of 90% of allowable costs to travel to a job-search activity or relocation for new employment
  • Wage subsidy—for workers age 50 and older up to $10,000
  • Health care tax credit—IRS tax credit of 72.5% of qualifying monthly health care premiums

For more information about the TAA program, please visit: https://www.in.gov/dwd/taa/ or call 317-914-7323 or email [email protected].

Purdue’s online engineering graduate programs again rank in the top 3 nationally

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Roger Alford did his homework even before he made the leap to becoming a student in Purdue University’s online electrical and computer engineering master’s degree program.
“I evaluated every online program available at the time and found Purdue to have one of the best,” said Alford, who received his master’s in December. “It was well established, well organized, had many excellent course offerings, and had a good selection of concentrations to choose from. These features, combined with Purdue’s deeply rooted reputation for engineering excellence, made it the clear choice for me.”
Alford, an experienced professional engineer on a team developing lifesaving medical devices, is not alone in that evaluation.
As they did in 2020, Purdue’s online graduate engineering programs rank third overall in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of the Best Online Programs in the nation. Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering all ranked No. 1 in their categories.
Purdue’s overall online graduate engineering programs ranked behind only Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles. U.S. News & World Report ranked 97 colleges and universities with online graduate engineering programs. The 2021 rankings were released Tuesday (Jan. 26) and can be viewed here.
In the specialty online engineering graduate program rankings, Purdue ranked second in Civil Engineering and third in both online engineering programs for veterans and online engineering management programs, in addition to the first-place rankings for Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
“Learning is a lifelong joy that a land-grant university like Purdue can sustain through online opportunities,” said Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and Roscoe H. George Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “With leadership from Gerry McCartney and Dimitri Peroulis and their teams, Purdue Engineering has been advancing online learning with excellence and scale. From affordable master’s degrees to industry co-hosted badges, from global university partnerships to virtual lab pedagogy, we will continue to innovate learning for everyone.”
Peroulis, the Michael and Katherine Birck Head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and special advisor to the dean of engineering for online learning, said, “Our faculty have created a number of high-quality programs that meet the needs of working professionals across multiple fields. We are proud of the growing learning community of our online students who work earnestly and persistently to earn the same degrees as our on-campus students.”
McCartney, executive vice president for Purdue Online, said, “The College of Engineering is on the leading edge of Purdue’s initiative to greatly expand its online presence and to serve all types of students, with a special emphasis on working professionals. These latest rankings speak to the effectiveness of Engineering’s efforts, and I don’t doubt that there’s more where that came from.”
The organizers of the annual U.S. News rankings analyze data on such factors as the quality of students entering a program; online teaching practices so students stay enrolled and graduate; how the programs employ technologies to allow students flexibility and enable learning; student support services, career guidance, financial aid resources, student indebtedness; and more.
Also weighed are faculty credentials and training, including the degree to which online instructors’ credentials mirror those of on-campus faculty and the training instructors receive to teach distance learners.
In addition, U.S. News conducts a peer assessment survey of high-ranking academic officials — in the case of the engineering rankings, deans of engineering schools and top online learning officials — as an important element of reviewing Purdue and other institutions for ranking.
Purdue’s College of Education graduate education programs are fifth in educational/instructional media design, 10th in curriculum and instruction programs, 11th in special education programs, 19th in administration and supervision programs, and fifth in online master’s education programs for veterans. Purdue is 42nd overall in online education master’s programs.

Purdue’s online graduate engineering programs rank third overall in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of the Best Online Programs in the nation.

Purdue University Northwest’s online nursing programs recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The 2021 Best Online Programs rankings from U.S. News & World Report once again named Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) online nursing programs among the best in the country.

PNW’s nationally recognized online RN-to-BSN program placed among the top 50 online bachelor’s degree programs in the nation again this year, ranking 48 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs category. The RN-to-BSN degree provides busy nursing professionals an affordable and convenient option to gain the skills, knowledge and credentials needed to advance their careers.

The PNW online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program once again made the list of Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs and ranked 112 in the nation. The MSN program allows participants to customize their path and pace to fit their schedules with the ability to complete practicum hours where they work.

“We are proud to once again be named one of the top online bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs in the country,” stated Lisa Hopp, dean of the College of Nursing. “These rankings are a testament to our programs which are responsive and flexible to the needs of our students, and to the hard work of a dedicated faculty committed to providing the highest quality of education to those in the nursing field.”

U.S. News & World Report evaluated more than 1,600 online degree programs for its 2021 Best Online Programs rankings. To be considered, a large majority of the required coursework must be completed through distance learning. The methodology used to rank the programs was based on a combination of self-reporting and peer review and used a 100-point scale.

LA PORTE WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DEALING IN METHAMPHETAMINE

Posted on: January 26th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On Sunday Night 1/24, at approximately 11:20 PM, Deputy Alex Clemons was traveling in the 6000 west block of Johnson Road. He observed a vehicle traveling southeast on Johnson Road approaching him. Deputy Clemons activated his radar to obtain the speed of the approaching vehicle. The radar reading indicated the vehicle was traveling in excess of the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit.
A traffic stop was initiated near the intersection of Johnson Road and CR 500 West. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Stacy M. SUTTON (36 YOA) of La Porte. As the traffic stop progressed, SUTTON consented to a search of the vehicle. The search yielded illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.
SUTTON was taken into custody and transported to the La Porte County Jail (LCJ). She was arrested for Dealing in Methamphetamine (L4 Felony), Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class A-Misdemeanor) and Driving While Suspended, Prior Violation (Class A-Misdemeanor). SUTTON remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.
Assisting: Deputy Austin Wells Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations. Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Mayor seeks weekly input from residents

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

La Porte residents can now share their feedback on ways to improve the community through La Porte’s new social media campaign, according to Mayor Tom Dermody.

Last week, the city launched its new ‘Feedback Friday’ campaign on Facebook. Each Friday, a survey link will be posted to both the City’s and Mayor’s Facebook pages, asking for opinions on various topics as they relate to the city. Dermody said he and his leadership team will use this data as they make important decisions regarding the future of La Porte.

“Our residents’ thoughts and ideas matter,” Dermody said. “As we continue to look for ways to make our community better, we want to hear from them. This campaign gives them another way to make sure their voice is heard. Effecting change quite literally takes a village, and we’ve got some incredible minds here in La Porte to help guide us to success.”

Dermody said once the survey link is posted on Fridays, residents have until the following Monday morning to submit their response. He said residents may also continue sharing their thoughts with him by phone at 219-363-7293 or by contacting him through Facebook Messenger.

State Police Conducting Death Investigation at State Prison

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On Thursday, January 21st, the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division at the Lowell Post was contacted by the Indiana Department of Correction for a death investigation at the State Prison located in Michigan City.  Deceased is Daniel L. Heflin, 30, originally from Goshen, IN.  Family has been notified.  Heflin was incarcerated, having plead guilty to murder in 2012 in Elkhart Circuit Court. 

This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available to be released.

Wisconsin Woman Arrested for Meth Possession

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On Friday, January 22nd, at 8:20 a.m., S/Trp. Potesta and Trooper Marlowe were on patrol in LaPorte County when they observed a silver Lexus at the Speedway at U.S. 20/U.S. 35.  While speaking with the occupants, the odor of burnt marijuana was detected.  Further investigation lead to the discovery of several hypodermic needles including one that contained a brown substance.  A female subject was then taken into custody.  Once transported to the LaPorte County Jail, two plastic baggies were discovered on her person that contained  suspected narcotics.

Nicole Orlopp, 36, from Waukesha, WI, was arrested and booked on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine- Level 5 Felony and Possession of a Hypodermic Needle- Level 6 Felony.

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 LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office.

DEPUTIES INVESTIGATE SINGLE VEHICLE FATALITY CRASH

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Saturday morning at 12:55 AM, Deputy William Masterson was dispatched to the area of SR 39 and CR 1800 South, rural Prairie Township, reference a motor vehicle crash.  At 1:01 AM, Deputy Masterson arrived at the scene.  He located a vehicle fully engulfed in flames in a ditch off the west side of SR 39 south of CR 1800 South.

The crash investigation completed by deputies determined the following had occurred.  A white 2015 Hyundai Tucson had been traveling southbound on SR 39 when it entered a curve.  For an unknown reason, the driver failed to navigate the curve.  The vehicle left the southbound lane of SR 39 and traveled straight off the roadway along an embankment for approximately 309 feet before colliding head-on with a tree.  

The driver (lone occupant) was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver was later identified as Lorie A. MYERS (45 YOA) of Knox, Indiana.  

Assisting: Sergeant James D. Arnold, Deputy Michael Sweet, Knox-Center Township Fire Department, Hanna Township Volunteer Fire Department, La Porte County EMS, La Porte County Coroner’s Office and John’s Garage 

Two Michigan City residents shot in the 100 block of Edward Street

Posted on: January 25th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center received a 911 call on Saturday, January 23rd , 2021 at approximately 08:39 PM for an adult female suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at Crown Food Mart (1302 East Michigan Blvd.). Officers from Uniform Patrol Shift 2 responded to the scene and found a 31 – year – old female from Michigan City suffering from multiple gun shot wounds . Responding officers immediately began providing medical aid to the victim before LaPorte County EMS transported her to Franciscan Health Michigan City with non – life threatening injuries.The LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center received a second 911 call on Saturday, January 23rd , 2021 shortly after the first one. The caller reported an adult male was suffering from a gunshot wound in the 100 block of Edward Street. Other responding officers arrived and discovered 27 – year -old Michigan City resident Demetrius Howell deceased from a suspected gunshot wound.Responding officers secured both crime scenes at Crown Food Mart and in the 100 block of Edward Street so investigations could continue. The Investigative Division eventually took over both crime scenes and learned both victims were together in the 100 block of Edward Street when the shooting took place. Officers and detectives worked tirelessly throughout the night and early morning hours to collect evidence from both crime scenes. Witnesses were also interviewed at both crime scenes to gather more information regarding this incident. Detectives continue to interview witnesses, follow up on potential suspect leads, search for video surveillance, and process evidence collected from both crime scenes. Additional information pertaining to this incident will not be released at this time in order to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has any additional information, or has video surveillance/ cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detectives Corporal Lendell Hood at (219) 874 – 3221 ; Ext . 107 4 or Sergeant Anna Painter at (219) 874- 3221 ; Ext. 1077.Other first responders were from the Michigan City Police Department’s Uniform Patrol Shift 3, Investigative Division, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, Trail Creek Police Department, Long Beach Police Department, Michigan City Fire Department, LaPorte County EMS and LaPorte County Coroner’s Office .We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219- 873 – 1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78 – CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office. You can always request to remain anonymous! Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations. Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Dermody: COVID Testing Extended Through March

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Mayor Of La Porte Tom Dermody announced from the Civic Auditorium that COVID-19 testing has been extended through March. Check out lhi.care/covidtesting to schedule a test and see the full video announcement on Tom Dermody’s Facebook page where he also talks about vaccines.

Valparaiso Community Call With Mayor And County Health Officer

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Join the City of Valparaiso for a Community Call with Mayor Murphy & Porter County Health Officer Dr. Maria Stamp on Monday, January 25th at 3:30 p.m. This meeting will be held via phone. To listen to the call live, call 1-717-275-8940 and use participant access code 3179197.Members of the public are encouraged to email questions for Dr. Stamp to [email protected] The call will be recorded and posted later for those unable to join.

Shooting range hours change for January and February

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Through February, all shooting ranges operated by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife will operate under adjusted hours. During this period, the ranges at the following fish & wildlife areas will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT, depending on their location: Crosley, Deer Creek, J.E. Roush Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Kingsbury, Pigeon River, Sugar Ridge, Tri-County, Wilbur Wright, and Winamac. Regular shooting range hours will resume March 1.Archery ranges at these properties remain open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Purdue Northwest faculty members awarded Cybersecurity Grant

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Three Purdue University Northwest – (PNW) faculty members secured a federal grant of $205,921 to develop an educational program designed to encourage high school students to consider careers in the growing field of cybersecurity. The project is part of a national educational cybersecurity initiative sponsored by the National Security Agency.


The grant will feature a collaboration among faculty members in the university’s College of Technology and College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, and from three different programs.
The PNW team will develop a series of web-based, interactive cybersecurity games for students in kindergarten through high school. The goal is to encourage the development of high school courses that can be used as elective or transfer college credits.
The Purdue Northwest participants are Michael Tu, lead principal investigator and professor of computer information technology; Ge Jin, co-principal investigator and professor of computer information technology and graphics; and Yueqi Zhang, co-principal investigator and associate professor of communication and creative arts.


Tu said the activities will feature practical, game-based learning.
“As part of a national K-12 cybersecurity education initiative, this project is expected to inspire more K-12 students’ interests in cybersecurity education and introduce more students into the pipeline of the future cybersecurity workforce to fill the ever-increasing national demand,” Tu said.
Zhang said the project will include phases in market research, visualization and programming during this year.
“I believe that the project provides a great opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration,” Zhang said. “Also, it is an academic endeavor for applying innovative visual communication design philosophy with cutting-edge computer information technology and computer graphic technology, and benefiting the Northwest Indiana youth community.”

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Chief Dion Campbell selected as Executive Journey Fellowship recipient for 2021

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Journey is pleased and honored to announce Chief Dion Campbell for being chosen as 1 of 29 distinguished leaders across the State of Indiana as an Executive Journey Fellowship recipient for 2021 . The Journey is home to a variety of programs that support and renew current and prospective youth workers in Indiana and around the country. The Journey is about those who have a passion for serving young people for both practicing professionals and students who are considering making youth work part of their career. It is for leadership and career development, personal and professional renewal, and learning experiences focused on the individual, their organization, and professions. The Executive Journey Fellowship is a year- long program for youth- serving professionals of influence. Each year up to 30 leading youth workers are nominated and selected to create a learning community and attend four in- state retreats to invest in their own personal growth and professional development. The intention is to help transform the profession and field of youth work by grounding leaders in who they are, building a professional community, and inspiring the beliefs of those who dream and do on behalf of young people. The Michigan City Police Department would be eligible for up to $10,000.00 upon completion of the program.

Crown Point High School student collects technology to assist Franciscan Health’s efforts to provide virtual care to seniors

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Crown Point High School sophomore Charlotte Annes wanted to find a way to give back during the pandemic. By teaming up with a student-run organization, she is helping Northwest Indiana senior citizens and veterans connect with their healthcare providers through technology.

Charlotte and her mother, Izabela Annes, delivered eight laptop computers and an iPhone XR to Franciscan Health Crown Point on Jan. 15. The COVID-19 pandemic “puts the elderly population at serious risk from the virus,” Charlotte said. “A lot of seniors don’t have devices to use telemedicine services.”

Franciscan will put the technology to work as part of its TeleHealth program, which connects doctors and patients via online video, reducing the risk of an in-person visit.

“Since the start of the pandemic we have been striving to quickly expand our technological capabilities to improve the ways in which we deliver care. We have leveraged virtual technology to not only allow our patients to communicate with their loved ones outside the hospital but also to improve how our team provides direct patient care, coordinates with one another and engages with our patients,” said Dr. Erik Mikaitis, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health Crown Point.

When she was researching non-profit organizations, Charlotte came upon TeleHealth for Seniors, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded by four Yale University students. The organization has volunteers in 26 states, who have collected more than 3,200 devices and raised over $180,000.

Charlotte serves as the Indiana lead for Telehealth for Seniors, donating 39 devices, including 12 new Amazon Fire tablets to the Veterans’ Administration outpatient clinic in Crown Point thanks to a $1,000 donation from the Crown Point Community Foundation. “It really does feel good to help out these people,” she said.

And the help doesn’t end with the donation. Tech support flyers in English and Spanish are available for seniors who might be technologically challenged. “If patients have any questions on how to use their devices, we have tech support seven days a week, and that is also student-led” Charlotte said.

Charlotte’s parents, Jason and Izabela Annes, have been supportive of her efforts. “They really like the organization and what we do, and they’re very proud of me,” said Charlotte, who hopes to eventually enter the medical field.

Dr. Mikaitis said the donation fills a need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This has helped us to prioritize safety and compassion during these unprecedented times. Ms. Annes’ incredibly generous donation will go a long way to helping us expand upon that work. Her thoughtfulness and support are greatly appreciated by our entire team at Franciscan Health Crown Point,” he said.

To learn more, or to donate to Telehealth for Seniors, go online at telehealthforseniors.org and hit the donate button. Camera-enabled devices that are still functioning are accepted after filling out a form about the device. A volunteer will arrange a pickup or have the device shipped. Monetary donations, which go toward the purchase of devices, go to the organization’s GoFundMe page.

INDIANA SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Sheriff John T. Boyd announced today that the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association (ISA) will again be awarding college scholarships to qualified high school seniors or college students who are pursuing a degree in criminal justice studies. There will be approximately 40 – $750 scholarships awarded to qualifying students throughout the state.
The ISA Scholarship Fund was established for the purpose of receiving, investing, and dispensing of funds to provide college scholarships to qualified students who are committed to pursuing an education and career in the law enforcement field.
To qualify for one of these scholarships, the applicant must be an Indiana resident, be a current member of the association or a dependent child or grandchild of a current member of the association, attend an Indiana college or university, major in a law enforcement field and enroll as a full-time student (12 hours).
Applications needed to apply for the scholarships are available from your high school counselor or the LCSO. The scholarship application can also be downloaded from the ISA website: www.indianasheriffs.org. The applications must be completed and received by the ISA on or before April 1.

Burglary at Sunglass Hut Outlet Store

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Officers from Uniform Patrol Shift 1 were dispatched to Sunglass Hut Outlet Store (419 Lighthouse Place) on January 20th , 2021 at approximately 10:00 AM for a burglary investigation. Officers met with maintenance staff from Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets who discovered a burglary had taken place at Sunglass Hut Outlet Store , while clearing snow from the walkway. Officers discovered numerous sunglasses and an undetermined amount of currency were taken during the burglary. Detectives are reviewing video surveillance from inside the business and nearby businesses to gather additional information pertaining to the items taken along with a description of the suspect(s).Additional information pertaining the burglary investigation will not be released at this time to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has any additional information, or has video surveillance / cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detective Sergeant Anna Painter at (219) 874 – 3221; Extension 1077 or at [email protected] We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219 – 873 – 1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78 – CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office. You can always request to remain anonymous!

Beech leaf disease added to Michigan’s invasive species watch list

Posted on: January 20th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced the addition of beech leaf disease to the state’s invasive species watch list.

Invasive species on the watch list have been identified as posing an immediate or potential threat to Michigan’s economy, environment or human health. These species either have never been confirmed in the wild in Michigan or have a limited known distribution.

Beech leaf disease is associated with the microscopic worm Litylenchus crenatae, a nematode that enters and spends the winter in leaf buds, causing damage to leaf tissue on American beech and European and Asian beech species. Infestations result in darkened, thick tissue bands between leaf veins, creating a striped effect on the leaves, leaf distortion and bud mortality. Trees weakened by leaf damage become susceptible to other diseases and can die within six years.

Map showing the spread of beech leaf disease across the U.S. from 2012-2020
Beech leaf disease has not been found in Michigan. The disease was first discovered in Ohio in 2012. Since then, it has been identified in seven eastern states and Ontario. Michigan is home to approximately 32 million American beech trees. Recognizable by their smooth bark, they are an important component to forests, providing food and shelter for wildlife. The disease’s proximity to Michigan, its potential rapid spread through the region and its devastating effect on beech trees, already under attack from beech bark disease, provide the rationale for inclusion on the watch list.

Another cause for concern is that very little is known about the disease. Scientists are still working to understand if the Litylenchus crenatae nematode is the primary cause of the disease or the carrier of another causal agent responsible for the disease.

“Many questions about beech leaf disease remain unanswered,” said Simeon Wright, DNR forest health specialist. “Because of this, we don’t yet know all the ways the disease might be spread, and currently there are no known treatments to protect trees or reduce disease impacts. We are working with the U.S. Forest Service, several other states, Ontario and Michigan State University to better understand the disease and the potential effects it will have in Michigan’s forests.”

The microscopic nematodes cannot move long distances on their own. It is possible that the disease can spread through the movement of infested nursery stock and other beech material containing leaves and buds. As a precaution, beech trees, tree material and firewood should not be moved from areas of known infestation.

What to look for

Beech leaf disease causes dark stripes in leaves
The most evident symptom of beech leaf disease is darkening and thickening of leaf tissue between the veins. This striping or banding can best be seen by looking upward at the tree canopy on a bright day. As the disease progresses, leaves may pucker or curl. While leaves on some branches of the tree may show signs of infestation, others may remain healthy. Because it may take a few years for symptoms to become apparent, the disease may become established in a large area before it is detected; however, detection is important to help slow further spread.

What you can do

Striping on leaves becomes visible at leaf-out (when a tree or plant sprouts and opens leaves). DNR and MDARD encourage monitoring for any signs of the disease. If you suspect you have found a symptomatic tree, take one or more photos of the infested tree, including close-ups of affected leaves, note the location, date and time, and report it to:

Be aware of look-alike diseases

Some other, more common diseases of beech trees may be mistaken for beech leaf disease. Be familiar with these and do not report them. Each can be managed by regular tree maintenance or with the help of a certified arborist.

  • Beech leaf curl aphid causes puckering and curling at the leaf margin, with aphids or their cast skins usually visible inside the curled areas of the leaf, but usually isn’t harmful to tree health.
  • Erineum patch, caused by eriophyid mites, creates light green or yellowish to orange patches on the upper side of the leaf, rarely affecting overall tree health.
  • Anthracnose creates small brown or black spots on leaves that eventually cause dead areas. New leaves may curl. Fungi infect leaves and stems and are most active in wet spring seasons, with a limited impact on tree health.
  • Powdery mildew, affecting many trees and shrubs, causes beech leaves to turn yellow. It may cause defoliation but won’t kill beech trees.

For more information on beech leaf disease and other species on Michigan’s watch list, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.

WANTED SUBJECT ARRESTED AFTER ATTEMPTING TO DRAG RACE A DEPUTY

Posted on: January 20th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

This morning at approximately 1:13 AM, Captain Andy Hynek was traveling south on US 35 approaching Kingsbury Avenue. The area at the time was experiencing heavy snowfall and the roadway surface was completely snow-covered.
A sport utility vehicle turned onto US 35 from Kingsbury Avenue in front of Captain Hynek and began traveling south in the outside lane. Captain Hynek passed the vehicle and shortly after doing so, the vehicle passed him but then reduced its speed until he caught up again. It was then the driver of the vehicle began to rev the engine as Captain Hynek could hear the after-market exhaust, even with his windows in the upright position. The vehicle proceeded to accelerate to an unsafe speed on the snow- covered roadway and slow down two more times. Captain Hynek realized the driver was attempting to engage him in a race.
A traffic stop was initiated on US 35 near Boyd Boulevard. The driver was identified as Jonathon F. KRUEGER (26 YOA) of La Porte. KRUEGER’S drivers license was found to be suspended and it was learned that he was a wanted person by the LCSO and the La Porte Police Department (LPPD). Captain Hynek began to complete an operating while intoxicated investigation and KRUEGER was taken into custody a short time later. Information obtained from passengers in the vehicle was that KRUEGER was indeed attempting to race Captain Hynek, not realizing that it was a police vehicle.
KRUGER was transported to the La Porte County Jail (LCJ). He was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (C-Misdemeanor), Driving While Suspended (DWS) (A-Misdemeanor), LCSO Warrant – Failure to Appear (DWS – Prior) and the LPPD Warrant – Public Intoxication and Criminal Mischief.
KRUEGER remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.

EDCMC moves into new year with new member, chair

Posted on: January 20th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City team is welcoming new leadership and a new member to its Board of Directors.

Linda Simmons, director of marketing for Visit Michigan City-LaPorte, has taken on the helm as board chair and Seth Spencer, founder and CEO of SERA Solutions, has joined the board as a new member.

“We are honored to have such strong leaders serve on our board, especially as we enter a new year and move forward from 2020,” said EDCMC Executive Director Clarence Hulse. “While Linda is now serving as chair, she has continuously been an integral part of our board.

“As a young entrepreneur, Seth brings a fresh perspective and unique insight to discussions on what we hope to accomplish in 2021.”

Simmons takes on the role of chair from Stephanie Oberlie, president & COO at Harbour Trust & Investment Management Company. Oberlie is now past chair of the board.

“I have served over three years on the EDCMC board representing the tourism industry and marketing and promoting our destination to create economic growth from visitor expenditures,” Simmons said. “The importance of the EDCMC to the Michigan City community is spelled out in our mission, vision and objectives. Our position is to provide economic growth and quality of life for all of our citizens in Michigan City.

“The city’s largest event each year is our Great Lakes Grand Prix Powerboat racing on Lake Michigan, which had an economic impact of $13.2 million. Our growth depends on how successful we are in marketing our area. Tourism works hand-in-hand with economic development.”

Spencer joins the board after the retirement of Rick Dekker, CEO of DEKKER Vacuum Technologies, who served for about five years. Spencer has an extensive entrepreneurial background after starting a competitive gaming tournament website at the age of 14. Today, he leads his digital marketing agency as well as volunteers with area youth.

“The EDCMC serves a unique and vital role in our community by ensuring Michigan City remains a place where businesses and residents can prosper and grow. It is often the first place a business looks to for assistance when looking to open or expand,” he said. “Having started and grown a business from the ground up, I understand the obstacles that local entrepreneurs face. I look forward to sharing my experiences, identifying potential solutions to obstacles as well as shine a light on the existing programs and services that work.

“My goal is to bring innovative ideas and solutions to the table that allows the EDCMC to have a real and lasting impact on our community.”

Brenda Temple, general manager of Blue Chip Hotel, Casino & Spa, was elected as Vice Chair for the board and Dennis Kuhn, executive vice president at Horizon Bank, was elected Treasurer. 

Other Board members include: Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry; John Beutner, manager at Captain Ed’s; Katie Eaton, president of Michigan City Chamber of Commerce; John Hendricks, leader, gas field engineering at NIPSCO; Dean Mazzoni, president and CEO of Franciscan Health-Michigan City; Brian Tylisz, vice-president, sales of Sullair – A Hitachi Group Company; Barbara Eason Watkins, superintendent at Michigan City Area Schools; Bill Hackney, publisher of the Herald-Dispatch; Angie Nelson-Deuitch, City Council at Large, Michigan City Common Council; and Tim Haas, president of Hass & Associates.

The EDCMC Board of Directors aims to uphold the mission and objectives of the organization. The members bring one-of-a-kind backgrounds and experiences to best guide the EDCMC team on policy decisions, strategy and resources. 

Multiple vehicles and buildings struck by gunfire in the 2100 block of Goldfinch Lane

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On January 17th , 2021 at approximately 06:28 P.M. is when officers from Uniform Patrol Shift 2 responded to the 1700 block of Goldfinch Lane for a report of gunshots being fired. Officers found multiple vehicles and buildings struck by gunfire upon their arrival. No one was reportedly injured as a result of this incident. Officers canvased the area for evidence and located numerous spent ammunition cartridges laying on the pavement. Witnesses were interviewed at the scene by officers to gather more information regarding this incident. Officers learned a dark colored passenger vehicle parked near the 1700 block of Goldfinch Lane a short time before the gunshots were heard by witnesses. Three people were then observed walking away from the general vicinity of where the dark colored passenger vehicle was parked. Witnesses continued to watch as these three people proceeded towards the 1700 block of Goldfinch Lane shortly before the gunshots were heard by witnesses. Gunshots were then heard around the same time these three individuals entered the 1700 block of Goldfinch Lane. Additional details regarding the dark colored passenger vehicle or people seen walking towards the 1700 block of Goldfinch Lane were not available to officers on scene. Detectives continue to interview witnesses, attempt to identify any suspect(s), search for video surveillance in the area and process evidence that was collected.
Additional information pertaining to this incident will not be released at this time in order to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has any additional information, or has video surveillance/ cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detective Corporal Marty Corley at (219) 874 – 3221 ; Extension 1073 .Other responding emergency units were from the Michigan City Police Department’s Uniform Patrol Shift 3, Laporte County Sheriff’s Department, Trail Creek Police Department, Michigan City Fire Department and La Porte County Emergency Medical Service.
We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219- 873 – 1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime.

Robbery Results In Bodily Injury

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On January 15th, at approximately 7:29 P.M. is when officers from Uniform Patrol Shift 2 responded to the 500 block of Center Street for a subject that had been battered during a robbery. Officers found a 40-year-old male victim who was severely bleeding from multiple lacerations to his head and right hand up on their arrival. Officers learned the suspect and victim were both together at a residence in the 100 block of Blaine Street earlier in the day on January 15th. It was reported to officers the suspect took personal property from the victim during a physical altercation at this location. LaPorte County EMS transported the victim to Franciscan Health Michigan City where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
A witness was interviewed to gather more information about this incident and evidence was also collected during this investigation. Detectives continue to interview witnesses, search for video surveillance and process evidence that was collected.
Additional information pertaining to this incident will not be released at this time in order to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has additional information, or has video surveillance/ cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detective Melissa Sopher at ( 219 )874-3221 ; Extension 1049.Other first responding emergency units were from the Michigan City Police Department’s Uniform Patrol Shift 2, Michigan City Fire Department and La Porte County Emergency Medical Service.
We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800)78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office. You can always request to remain anonymous! Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations. Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Police Investigating Crash

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

The Valparaiso Police are currently on scene of a personal injury crash, involving a semi-truck and East Porter County School Corporation bus.  The only injury reported is minor, involving a student that was on the bus.  Early reports indicate the bus was traveling westbound, crossing State Road 49 on Burlington Beach Rd., when the semi-truck disregarded the red light while traveling northbound through the intersection.  East Porter County Schools have been notified of the crash and staff is currently on scene.

Due to the crash, State Road 49 and Burlington Beach Rd. will experience partial closures, as the vehicles will be removed and debris cleaned up.  The semi-truck has also lost part of the trailer load, consisting of metal piping, that will need to be recovered.  Please take caution if you must travel through the area; however, an alternate route would be recommended for the immediate future. 

Trooper Struck While Investigating Crash on I-80

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

For the third time in as many weeks, an Indiana State Trooper has been struck while investigating a prior crash. This morning at 4:07 a.m., troopers from the ISP Lowell Post were investigating a multiple vehicle crash on I-80/94 eastbound at the 1.7 mile-marker.  As a result of this crash, the right three lanes were blocked as one of the vehicles stalled and was unable to be moved from the lane.  Preliminary investigation by Sgt. Dwayne Dillahunty and Trooper Nicole Maenza shows that Trooper Jarah Burgin parked his fully marked police car behind the disabled vehicle with its emergency lights activated.   He also placed approximately 30 flares on the roadway to block the lanes.  This is done for several safety reasons, including to alert drivers of the blocked lanes as well as to provide additional warning lighting at the scene.  There were also at least three other police cars at the scene with their emergency lights activated. 

As Trp. Burgin was standing outside of his police car and about to enter it, a tan 2007 Buick disregarded the flares and lighting and struck the 2020 Dodge Charger police car.  The Buick then struck Trp. Burgin, catapulting him into the air and striking the windshield of the Buick before the vehicle eventually stopped.  Trp. Burgin’s handcuffs were lodged in the windshield of the Buick.  Troopers at the scene immediately began to render aid to both Trp. Burgin as well as the driver of the Buick, Jennifer A. Spikes, 35, from Gary, IN.   Both patients were transported to Community Hospital in Munster.  Trp. Burgin sustained serious injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.  As a result of the crash, evidence at the scene led troopers to believe that alcohol may be a factor.  Ms. Spikes was offered field sobriety tests as well as a certified chemical test for intoxication and drugs, but she refused all tests.  A search warrant for a blood draw was requested through the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.  Once approval by a judge was obtained, the search warrant was executed, and a blood draw was completed.  The results of that test are pending. 

Jennifer Spikes was later released from the hospital and transported to the Lake County Jail.  She is preliminary charged with the following:

  • O.W.I. Causing Injury- Level 5 Felony
  • O.W.I. Endangering a Person- Class A Misdemeanor
  • O.W.I. – Class C Misdemeanor
  • Driving While Suspended Causing Injury- Level 6 Felony
  • Failing to Yield to Emergency Vehicle- Infraction

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 Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.

TRAFFIC STOP PRODUCES FELONY DRUG ARRESTS

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

On January 16, 2021, at approximately 3:45 AM, Sergeant Jon Burger was traveling northbound on Franklin Street, north of CR 400 North.  He began to travel behind a silver Honda passenger vehicle.  The vehicle caught the attention of Sergeant Burger due to a license plate not being visible.  

A traffic stop was initiated along Franklin Street, south of US 20.  Once the vehicle had stopped, Sergeant Burger observed a temporary license plate that was not properly secured to the rear of the vehicle.  In addition, the temporary license plate did not belong on the sliver Honda, rather was registered to a green Ford.  

The driver was identified as Susan D. HOPPER (24 YOA) of Warsaw, Indiana.  The passenger was identified as Blake J. BROWN (28 YOA) of South Bend, Indiana.  

Michigan City Police Department Officer Michael Petrie and his K9 partner Edo arrived to assist.  Officer Petrie deployed Edo around the exterior of the vehicle for a free-air sniff to which Edo provided a positive alert.  A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.  

HOPPER and BROWN were taken into custody and transported to the La Porte County Jail (LCJ).

HOPPER was arrested for Dealing in a Narcotic Drug (L2 Felony) and Possession of a  Hypodermic Syringe (L6 Felony).  She remains housed in the LCJ and is being held on a $50,005.00 cash-only bond through Superior Court I.  

BROWN was arrested for Possession of a Narcotic Drug (L6 Felony) and Possession of a Hypodermic Syringe (L6 Felony).  He remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.  

Assisting: Deputy Austin Wells, Deputy Jet Balenia and Deputy Austin Howell

Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations.  Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Companies Can Now Earn Recognition for Excellence in Safety

Posted on: January 16th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

Northwest Indiana firms that prioritize safety and quality across their operations can now earn recognition for their achievements by submitting a 2021 Safety Awards application. Companies will be judged across a range of performance criteria and the best among them will be honored at a ceremony scheduled to be held in May.

Award applications are available at NWIBRT.org/awards.

Applications are now available and are due by February 15th.

Healthcare Foundation of La Porte Now Accepting Grant Applications

Posted on: January 15th, 2021 by Ric Federighi No Comments

In pursuit of its mission and vision, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) invites g rant proposals for health and wellness projects and prog rams through March 5, 2021. HFL’ s mission is to empower residents to live healthy and well to achieve the vision of La Porte County becoming one of the 10 healthiest communities in Indiana by 2030. As of January 15, HFL ’s grant portal i s open . HFL welcomes proposals for Strategic Grants and Responsive Grants . Strategic Grant s are grants that address specific , board -approved , major community needs with a defined impact on health and wellness. HFL ’s three Strategic Areas are Healthy Children, Healthy Living, and Healthy Minds. HFL’ s Healthy La Porte Responsive Grants meet community health and wellness needs that fall outside of the three Strategic Areas . Healthy La Porte Responsive Grant proposals must demonstrate a connection to HFL’s mission and vision . HFL is accepting proposals through M arch 5, 2021. Organizations interested in applying for a Strategic Grant over $25,000 are required to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) as a first step by January 29 . All grant applications and letters of inquiry must be submitted online through the grant portal to be considered for funding, a link to which can be found on HFL’s website. To learn more about HFL’s funding priorities and eligibility requirements , visit hflaporte.org/grants . The website also contains grant FAQs , tutorials, and instructions for how to apply. Since HFL’s first grant cycle in 2017 to the end of 2020, over $17 million has been invested in our community . To learn more about grant s awarded and community impact , please visit our 2017- 2020 Report to the Community her e . For more information , contact HFL at 219.326.2471 or [email protected] , or visit the website at hflaporte.org