Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Recession, smoke ban slam bingo revenues ]]> Lead story image

The thrill of yelling, “Bingo!” in a hall full of players appears to be waning across the state, and in Northwest Indiana. The glory days of packed banquet halls at churches and nonprofits on bingo nights are gone, some organizers say, hurt by the one-two punch of the economic recession and the state-imposed smoking ban that took effect on July 1, 2012. The numbers of players has dropped, dramatically at some places, in the past few years. Many of the churches and organizations quit having bingo nights altogether. Indiana Gaming Commission statistics show there were 61 bingo halls in Lake … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:00:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gary courthouse to be closed ‘until further notice’ ]]>

GARY — The Lake County Courthouse in Gary will be closed indefinitely following a small fire Thursday that damaged a key electrical component. Lake County Commissioner Michael Repay, D-Hammond, said Friday the minimal smoke issues from the fire have been repaired, but a vital component of the electrical system has been destroyed. “The component, a switch gear, has a long lead time for production and will cause the Gary Courthouse to be closed until further notice,” Repay said in a press release. Repay said administrators and staff from the courts, county clerk, prosecutor and sheriff departments met with commissioners’ staff … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:03:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rain douses Highland’s inaugural Labor Day Fest ]]> Lead story image

HIGHLAND — Austin Guerra happily chomped on his ear of corn, basking in the joy of the day. A member of Highland’s cross county team, which placed second at the Hammond High Invitational earlier Saturday, Austin, 16, with pals Sam Pizzuto and Liam Curran, both 15, reveled in his team’s showing while taking in one of summer’s last festivals, the town’s inaugural Labor Day Fest in Main Square Park. Doing well makes everything more tasty, anyway. “I really wanted corn,” Austin said as his pals watched bemused. “And anyway, my dad (John Guerra, also of Highland) was at the Notre … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:01:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Man arrested after fatal stabbing outside LaPorte bar ]]>

LAPORTE — LaPorte police have arrested a 26-year-old man on a preliminary murder charge in a fatal overnight stabbing outside a bar in LaPorte. Police found a 25-year-old man bleeding heavily in a parking lot behind the Lucky Bar about 2:30 a.m. Saturday and the man was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The victim’s name has not been released. La Porte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi tells WSBT-TV investigators say there was a fight between the victim and the suspect in a parking lot behind the bar that led to the stabbing. Police have arrested 26-year-old Justin Lower on a … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:02:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Ex-teacher urges court to toss sex conviction ]]> Lead story image

A former Hammond teacher who pleaded guilty to possessing naked pictures of two students now claims he’s innocent because the pictures were not lascivious in nature. Jon Erik Lilly, who filed a motion in May to vacate his conviction, filed another brief Friday in support of his motion. Lilly, who taught at Morton High School, waived almost all of his rights to appeal as part of his plea deal, a point that federal attorneys have argued. However, Lilly claims in his new filing that his innocence should trump this. He admits in the new filing that he asked the students, … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:04:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ IDEM to investigate explosion, fire at BP ]]> Lead story image

An explosion in a BP Whiting refinery process unit Wednesday caused it to exceed its allowable level of sulphur dioxide emissions. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management will investigating the incident. An explosion and fire Wednesday night produced a booming sound and shook houses in the community and beyond, and officials said there were no serious injuries. Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Dan Goldblatt said BP contacted the agency around 4 a.m. Thursday about more than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide being released due to the incident. BP’s air quality permit with IDEM allows the plant to release up … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:03:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Three-day birthday celebration  for ‘King of Pop’ gets underway ]]> Lead story image

GARY — The Michael Jackson Festival of the Arts kicked off with music and dancing, but the real star was the King of Pop’s mother. Katherine Jackson sat on a bench outside the family’s former house in Gary at 2300 Jackson St. and watched as students from Wirt-Emerson High School kicked off the festivities with a medley of some of her son’s most famous songs. Katherine Jackson organized the event to honor her son’s 56th birthday and his fifth since he died in 2009. Fans gathered around the fence surrounding the house, cheering and waving as Katherine Jackson walked out … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:03:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gang member to plead guilty in murder from 11 years ago ]]>

An affiliate of the Two Six street gang is admitting his role in an 11-year-old East Chicago murder. According to a plea agreement filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, Oscar Cosme, 41, of East Chicago, will plead guilty to one count of murder resulting from the use of a gun during a violent crime or drug trafficking. In exchange, federal attorneys have agreed to make a binding request that Cosme be sentenced to no more than 30 years in prison. If a judge were to not accept that, then Cosme would be allowed to revoke his guilty plea. … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:06:07 -0500