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Good Police Work Nabs 4 Burglary Suspects in MC

michigan city police
An elderly Michigan City resident in the 200 block of Emma Street told police that after hearing a loud crash, he discovered his backdoor to be badly damaged and kicked in.  Finding that nothing was taken and after speaking with family the 98 year old called police.  Then according to police reports, while taking a report of that incident last Tuesday afternoon officers received another burglary call of an elderly homeowner in the 100 block of Ashland.
The 79 year old victim told police that she was home when her power went off but that she thought it was weather related.  Then she said she herd a noise in her kitchen area and thought it was a family member.  When she went to check, she said she saw two males running out of her house and like with the earlier victim, checked with family before calling police.
Two members of the burglary task force, Cpl. Al Bush and Cpl. Tim Baker were getting ready to investigate the crime scenes when two juveniles arrived at the police station for a scheduled interview with one of the members on an unrelated case, according to reports.  
Reports say Shift ll  officer Cracknell collecting evidence from the scene relayed information to officer Oberle who was working the front desk.  Officer Oberle picked up on certain similarities from the crime scene to the two juveniles waiting to be interviewed.
After the juveniles were interviewed on their cases, they were then asked about the burglaries.  Following the interview the two juveniles were arrested for burglary.  Cpl. Bush continued to investigate the case and that led him to more suspects and on December 18th and 19th two more juvenile suspects were arrested in connection with the case.  A total of four suspects ranging in age from 15 to 17 years of age each face 2 counts of B-felony burglary charges.
Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek applauds the officers and detectives for really good police and team work.
Suspects are presumed innocenter until proven guilty in a court of law....

Wake for Local Pearl Harbor Survivor on Sunday

USS West Virginia   
A Pearl Harbor survivor from Hammond passed away on Wednesday at the age of 94. John Latko was a marine aboard the USS West Virginia and gained popularity in a picture (above photo) showing him in a boat pulling another man out of the water with the USS West Virginia burning in the background. Latko was involved with the local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, as well as the armed forces memorial in Munster. A wake has been scheduled for Sunday, at Burns Kish Funeral Home in Hammond, from 2 to 7pm.
(photo:  Provided by James M. Laud Sr., Indiana State Chairman Sons of Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors)...

Sister of Missing Michigan Doctor Posts Plea

The uncle of the missing Kalamazoo doctor, whose abandoned car was discovered on I-94 near Portage last week, told FOX 17 in Grand Rapids that the family wants authorities to keep searching the area where his niece's car was found and to also look in the direction of Gary and Gary itself.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Herman Bromfield says they would like to have missing Teleka (Patrick) back by Christmas and that their Christian faith is keeping the family hopeful of finding her.
Meanwhile, Teleka's sister has reached out to social media with a plea to help find her sister.  The photo above was found among over a dozen other posts at the popular  Pinterest website at:
According to ABC News, Doctor Patrick, who has been missing for over two weeks, vanished from her hospital parking lot. Her purse and cell phone were found at the hospital and her car was discovered abandoned in a ditch the night of December 5th on westbound I-94, just east of the Porter/Burns Harbor exit. ...

50th Anniversary of Fallen Griffith Officer Observed

Lt Tex Minter
You will find the name of Texas Minter among the names of over 19,000 other law enforcers who are honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. for their dedication and sacrifice.
According to the Griffith Police Department, it was 50 years ago on Friday, December 20th when, in the line of duty, Lt. Minter's  vehicle slid on an icy road and into the path of a passing train.  Fifty years later, members of the Griffith Police Department, Griffith town officials, surviving family members and Police Chaplain Father Mens gathered at Ridgelawn Cemetery in memory of the fallen officer.  
A police department press release says that In 1965, Texas Minter was one of four officers appointed to the Griffith Police Department when it was officially formed by the newly created Griffith Metropolitan Police Commission.  Appointed as a Sergeant, Texas Minter demonstrated himself to be a leader and was quickly appointed to the Lieutenant’s position, a position he retained throughout the remainder of his service with the department. 
Known both personally and professionally as a gentle and distinguished man, Lt. Minter was a devoted husband to his wife Elsa and an inspiring example to his nieces and nephew.  When not acting as a law enforcement officer, Lt. Minter enjoyed family and capturing the beauty of life through his hobby of photography.  When acting as a law enforcement officer, Lt. Minter was known as being fiercely protective to his oath as an officer and enjoyed a reputation of being a diligent protector of both the officers and citizens of Griffith.
Chief Mance says, “Lt. Minter’s reputation as an officer is an inspiration to us all and memorials like the one given today are a small token of our ongoing appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice he gave 50 years ago.”
In addition, Chief Mance thanked BerylMartin design studio for their donation of a memorial portrait that was given to the family and memorial programs that were given to the memorial attendees.
Chief Mance also thanked Griffith FOP lodge #161 for the memorial wreath that they placed at Lt. Minter’s grave.


Red Kettle Campaign needs your Help to Reach Goal

salvation army red kettle
In it's final week for Red Kettle Ringing the Salvation Army of Porter County are a little over three-quarters toward this year's goal. 
According to a press release as of last Wednesday (12/18) $111,451.98 of their $150,000 goal has been reached and with the Army's annual mail drive, the overall campaign goal for Porter County is $280,000 however, mail drive donations will be accepted through January 30, 2014. 
According to a press release, monies raised (excluding Sundays) will be used to assist those in need in Porter County for Christmas and throughout the 2014 fiscal year.  Specifically the Salvation Army in Porter County has brought spiritual light and love along with food, clothing and gifts to over 433 families, 819 senior citizens and 722 children in the county, according to the release.
The Army also sponsors other Christmas events including the Angel Tree Food, Clothing and Toy Assistance, Collection and Distribution, Adopt-a-Family Assistance, Christmas Nursing Home/Shut-in Senior Gift Distribution, Christmas Food Distribution and Youth and Family Christmas Parties, Christmas and New Year Worship Services along with the Salvation Army's daily help with food, rent/mortgage. utility. medicine, employment and transportation assistance.
Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or send a check to your local Salvation Army. Donors can also contribute on-line at:, or through a virtual red kettle on any number of corporate or individual websites.
HISTORY:  The Red Kettle campaign, first begun in San Francisco in 1891, has traditionally been The Salvation Army’s most prominent fund-raiser.  Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army to provide assistance to more than 34 million Americans in need.  About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide. Almost 34 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 

Precipitation to change to all rain in the Region

National Weather Service
Despite an earlier issued freezing drizzle advisory from the National Weather Service, the mercury is hovering a few degrees above freezing in most areas of the Region.  While there is still a slight chance of freezing rain, especially in the southern suburbs, the Region should expect any mixed precipitation to change over to all rain by 3 p.m. CST.
If you are headed north and west, there is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for the Chicago metro area but does not include northwest Indiana.
However, because of melting snow and the prediction of additional rain, the weather service has issued a flood watch in effect until early this evening for Newton and Jasper Counties along the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers as well as farm fields and low lying areas.
For the first full day of winter on Sunday, there currently is a 50% chance of snow, mainly before noon, with a high or 35 predicted.
Drivers should still allow for extra time, increase the distance between other vehicles and double check that their headlights are on as fog and misted reported in the Region is limiting visibility in some areas.

Union Carpenters Help Build New Building at Tri Town

Tri Town Safety Village
Thanks to the volunteer work of union carpenters of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, Tri Town Safety Village in Schererville has a new building. According to a press release, union carpenters help to frame out and build Tri Town Safety Village's newest business--NIPSCO. The building features a classroom which will allow Tri Town to expand their curriculum to help kids learn about gas and electric safety.
Mike Stavitzke, IKORCC Senior Manager, says, “We were happy to play a role in building the NIPSCO structure. Tri Town Safety Village is the first facility of this type to educate children about gas and electric safety. As carpenters we understand the severe importance of this and are happy to do our part to help educate our local kids and hopefully prevent a lot of accidents."
William Jarvis, Tri Town's executive director praised the carpenters union saying, “Without the continued support of the Carpenters Union I did not know how we would be able to build this classroom.”
According to the release, Tri Town Safety Village in Schererville, is a “child-sized” town, complete with houses, roads, replicas of local businesses, and operational street lights and railroad crossings. This model city is a hands-on learning experience for local children, educating them on an array of safety topics such as fire, traffic, railroad, and police safety.  The safety village serves the Schererville, St. John and Dyer area. 
The NIPSCO building is slated for completion in late March, 2014. For more information about Tri Town’s Safety Village, please visit:

The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters represents more than 32,000 professional tradespeople in 43 locals in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and parts of West Virginia and Tennessee. A proud affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, which has a century-plus tradition of representing the best of the building trades, the council works in partnership with more than 30,000 contractors, helping them find the best possible talent for their projects. The hallmark of the regional council is three-fold: training, professionalism and partnerships for economic development.
To discover more about IKORCC log onto:


Gary's Dollar Home Program Results to be Revealed

Just in time for Christmas, several Gary residents have received some great news that they are the recipients of a home for one-dollar.  Chelsea Whittington director of communications says Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will be announcing the first round results of the City's dollar home program during a brief press conference to be held on Tuesday morning, Christmas Eve at City hall....

Outlet Mall Suspects Face Formal Charges

michigan city police
There's been a development in connection to the stabbing and robbery of an elderly man and his wife in the parking lot of popular outlet mall in Michigan City. Police say the two suspects, identified as Willie Jones and Kenisha Simpson now face formal charges of Robbery, Aggravated Battery and Fraud--all felonies.
Cpl. Tim Baker conducted a probably cause hearing in front of Honorable Judge Lange in Superior Court today (Friday). According to published reports, with the assistance of Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Neary, probable cause was found by testimony presented by Cpl. Baker.
Both suspects have been issued a 100-thousand dollar cash only bond....

Governor Reacts to A-F Accountability Grades Release

Gov Mike Pence
The Indiana State Board of Education has approved the release of the 2012-2013 A-F accountability grades. Responding through a statement, Governor Mike Pence  thanked all the education board members including Superintendent Ritz, for "working together to complete this important task and for all their efforts on behalf of Hoosier kids."

The governor went on to say "Today's release of the...accountability grades demonstrate that our schools have risen to the challenge of improving outcomes across the state of Indiana and our kids are better for it."
Pence also said, "Education in Indiana is improving every day and our kids, our teachers and our schools deserve to be commended." ...

INDOT to Drivers this Weekend: Plan Ahead

Indot Logo color
The Indiana Department of Transportation is alerting holiday weekend travelers of the potential for changing road conditions due to different weather conditions expected in the Region.
INDOT's Matt Deitchly says that the Region is experiencing some rain this afternoon and with the snow that is already out there is melting, "and there is a serious risk of high water conditions throughout Northwest Indiana."  Deitchly is encouraging drivers to plan ahead and if you do see high water on the roadways, "obviously never drive through that it could be a very dangerous situation because you don't know how deep that water is."
The INDOT spokesman also says the department stays current with changing conditions monitoring different forecasts prepared just for INDOT.  He adds, "if it looks like were getting to that time where the temperature is dropping,  we'll have trucks on the road patrolling just watching to see where things are icing up."   Once the road begins icing up the crews will get right to work on that salt.
Freezing road surfaces are not drivers only concern as the National Weather Service Dense fog advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. CST Friday.  The latest forecast for Saturday is calling for freezing rain possible in the morning with snow and sleet possibly mixing with freezing rain Saturday afternoon, with temperatures near 34 degrees.
For the latest major road conditions in Northwest Indiana log onto:

WB Borman Backing up Due to Crash near Chase St.

12-20-13  WB Borman car in ditch
Traffic westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) is currently backed up from before the Broadway exit due to a two vehicle crash near Chase St. A traffic tipster reporting a vehicle landed in the right hand ditch and another vehicle was stopped on the left hand shoulder. Drivers should be alert to stopping traffic and delays westbound on I-80/94.
Along with a dense fog advisory in effect until 7p.m. CST for the Region, the Indiana Department of Transportation is warning drivers to be on the lookout for high water now as well, and potentially slick conditions later this weekend due to changing weather patterns being forecasted.

During this afternoons commute drivers are being advised to allow extra driving time, to increase the distance between them and other vehicles and to be sure they are driving with their vehicles headlights on.

Trooper Scott Patrick Memorial Marker to be Unveiled

Trooper Patrick
A memorial marker is being placed at the location where Indiana State Police Trooper Scott Patrick of Wheatfield was killed in the line of duty in Gary ten years ago. Police say Trooper Patrick was responding to help a stranded motorist at the Grant Street exit of the Borman Expressway on December 22nd, three days before Christmas 2003, when he was fatally shot. The marker will be unveiled Saturday night in a ceremony beginning at 8 pm (Sat Dec 21) that will include special guest speakers, Indiana State Police Honor Guard and the Scott Patrick family. Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith filed a naming resolution which was passed by both chambers of the Indiana legislature and resulted in the declaration dated January 13, 2013. Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say these efforts were enhanced with the assistance of Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh and INDOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Alderman. Gary Police and Fire will set a traffic pattern southbound on Grant Street to close the right lane for overflow parking and divert south traffic into the left lane. ...

Indiana Unemployment Rate Drops in November

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana gained 25,300 private sector jobs in November, the largest one-month increase in The Hoosier State on record. All employment sectors saw significant growth, with the exception of the leisure and hospitality sector, which was unchanged for the month. Employment sectors experiencing the largest increases in hiring over the month were Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+6,800), Construction (+5,400), Manufacturing (+4,800), and Professional and Business services (+4,700). Indiana was responsible for nearly 13 percent of the nation’s private sector job growth in November.
Indiana’s unemployment rate declined in November as well, dropping 0.2 percent to 7.3 percent, lower than all neighboring states. Fewer Hoosiers are now unemployed (232,400), than in November of 2008 (240,600).
"Today's job numbers are welcome news to every Hoosier and are a testament to the hard working people of our state and the businesses that power Indiana's economy every day", said Governor Mike Pence. "The continued downward trend in unemployment and the significant growth in private sector jobs demonstrate that Indiana's economy is strong and growing stronger every day," said Governor Mike Pence.
“November was a historic month of job growth in Indiana,” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “It is encouraging that fewer Hoosiers are unemployed than in November of 2008, and the unemployment rate has dropped by more than a percentage point over the past few months. However, we need to keep the ball moving by strengthening Indiana’s pro-growth climate.”
Sanders also noted claims for unemployment insurance continue to be at their lowest levels since 2000. [News Release/Graphs Indiana Dept of Wokrforce Development]...

Governor Pence Seeks Tax Break for Hoosiers

Indiana Governor Mike Pence continued detailing his 2014 legislative proposals, focusing on Hoosier families and communities during remarks at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Wayne Thursday. Pence's plan, which he calls his 2014 Roadmap, calls for vouchers for a pre-K program for low-income families, a state tax credit for any individual or family who adopts a child, and increasing the income tax exemption for Hoosiers, including dependent children, in Indiana's tax code. Pence says Indiana's average individual exemption is one-thousand dollars, compared to an average of nearly three-thousand dollars in other states. [Photo/courtesy Governor's office]...

Board Says Talks Can Begin on New Air Show Site

In Lake County, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors has given the okay to begin negotiations with Fair Oaks Farms over a contract to hold the South Shore Air Show there in 2014. For over a decade, the air show has been along the shores of Lake Michigan at Gary's Marquette Park. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr was among those who spoke against the plan to move the show about fifty miles south to Newton County.  The proposal still has to come back before the visitor's authority for final approval. ...

Homicide in East Chicago

In East Chicago, police are investigating a homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 40-year-old James Currie of East Chicago died from multiple gunshot wounds in the 35-hundred block of Block Avenue early today (Fri Dec 20) . The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 6-o'clock this morning. No other information was available on the fatal shooting at this time....

Valpo Schools Supt Retiring in August

Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Mike Berta has announced his retirement effective August 6th. The 64-year-old Berta is leaving after two years, after coming out of retirement to fill the post. Berta retired from Portage Township Schools in June 2012, and less than two months later he was asked to join Valparaiso....

Illinois Gov Quinn Wants $10 Minimum Wage

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is renewing his call for an increase in the state minimum wage. The current minimum wage of $8.25 an hour in Illinois has been in place since 2010. Quinn would like to see it raised to at least ten-dollars an hour saying no one should work 40 hours a week and still be living in poverty.  Opponents argue such an increase would be hard on businesses, especially small businesses already struggling to make payroll each month. Quinn says increasing the wage would be good for the Illinois economy.  Indiana's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, same as the federal minimum....

Man Found Guilty in Molestation Trial

A jury in Porter County deliberated about three hours Thursday night before finding a 39-year-old Portage man guilty of nine felony counts in connection with accusations of molesting four boys. Sentencing for Christopher Truman was scheduled for February 25th. Defense attorney Larry Rogers critical of the evidence presented was quoted in final arguments as telling the jury the case “ought to scare” everyone in the courtroom. Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said molestation is a crime of a private nature and one that can lack physical evidence....

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