Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Meat market owners keep secret promise to close, sell business ]]> Lead story image

Bruce Ruge remembers all too well the worst day of his business life. “Some things you just never forget,” he told me, leaning back in his office chair. It came in early December 2002, when his family’s landmark meat-processing business, Ruge Meats, burned to the ground. Firefighters from 15 departments responded to the late-night inferno in Liberty Township, a losing battle into the next morning. “It’s all gone, it’s all gone,” Ruge repeated to friends, still in shock over hearing the words from his own mouth. “In three days, it would have been 57 years,” he told the Post-Tribune the … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 02:00:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: School bus driver hits 45-year mark today ]]> Lead story image

Betty Smith told her husband she only wanted to earn enough money for a down payment on a new car. “So I need to get a job,” she told him. A friend told her about a job opening for the Gary Community School Corp. as a bus driver. With no experience and nothing to lose, she took the job. In just a few months, she earned enough paychecks for that down payment and went shopping for that new car. “It was a 1969 Chevy, and it took just six months to get it,” she said proudly. That’s right, this all … ]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:01:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Merrillville officer’s funeral recalls his bravery, sacrifice ]]> Lead story image

The electronic marquee sign outside the Star Plaza Theatre paid its respects — “In Memory of Merrillville Police Officer Nick Schultz.” Just underneath that flashing tribute, two words jumped off the towering sign facing Interstate 65, words I’ve never noticed after all these years — “Exit Now.” How fitting, I thought. How coincidental. How sad. I noticed this Monday morning before the funeral service for Schultz, who was shot Sept. 5 while responding to a call at a Merrillville condominium complex and died two days later. He was just 24, an early exit from a law enforcement life filled with … ]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 02:01:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Why the uproar was different after a baby’s murder ]]> Lead story image

Have you ever heard of Antonio (West) Santiago? I’m guessing you haven’t, and there is a heated debate as to why. The 13-month-old toddler was shot and killed last year during an attempted armed robbery of the boy’s mother. Two teens approached the mother, who was pushing her child in a stroller, and one demanded her purse. When she replied she had no money, one of the teens, De’Marquise Elkins, threatened to shoot her baby if she didn’t comply. “He kept asking and I just said, ‘I don’t have it,’ ” Sherry West told The Associated Press. “And he said, … ]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:30:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Boy Scouts’ stolen cash teaches many lessons ]]> Lead story image

You don’t need to be a Boy Scout to learn a lesson regarding the stolen money from last weekend’s Popcorn Fest in Valparaiso. If you recall, someone stole $3,500 from Boy Scout Troop 920, whose young members sold corn-on-the-cob at their booth. Lesson No. 1: They collected more than $3,500, including donations. Wow, who knew you could sell so much corn in such short time, even in Indiana? Anyway, as the Scouts cleaned up their booth for the day, their money box was heisted and they lost everything they earned. According to the police report, the Troop’s 65-year-old chairman placed … ]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 02:02:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Gary plant owner comes clean when talking about city ]]> Lead story image

Jim McGlothen has been cleaning up other people’s messes for decades. Spilled gas, leaked oil, escaped poisons, odorous sludge, hazardous chemicals, you name it and McGlothen has cleaned it up along with colleagues David Woodworth and Joe Brakley. Together, they own and operate Great Lakes Plant Services in Gary, which keeps industrial buildings clean as well as within environmental compliance. It’s a messy, dirty, thankless job. It’s also essential in this highly industrialized region, considered the most populous in the country for such cleanup and disposal businesses. “People don’t realize there are more hazardous materials flowing through Northwest Indiana than … ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 02:02:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Mosquitoes are Public Enemy No. 1 ]]> Lead story image

My neighbor sprayed his lawn with a thick fog of chemicals in a desperate attempt to kill the infestation of mosquitoes on his property. “The city should be doing this!” he yelled angrily when I drove past him. I nodded my head, knowing he’s right. But I doubt it would matter much this season, considering the conditions. Mosquitos have become Public Enemy No. 1 in Northwest Indiana, with millions (billions?) of them swarming across this region. School students are getting sprayed with repellent before waiting for the bus. Seniors are wearing Hazmat suits to get their mail. Our state bird … ]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 02:01:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Know-it-alls seem to know best how to hijack a conversation ]]> Lead story image

It doesn’t take much to set off some people, sending them reeling into what I call their default obsession. You know, those hot-button issues that immediately polarize us and preoccupy them — illegal immigration, abortion, gun rights/control, same-sex marriage, race relations and anything about President Obama, among others. Regardless if the conversation is about, say, rainbows or lollipops or toddlers, these fanatical know-it-alls respond with kneejerk urgency to redirect any topic to their default fixation. Surely, you’ve had such conversations with people who do this. “Hey, you sure do have a cute toddler,” these people will tell you, fooling you … ]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 02:03:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Grandparents raising grandchildren — a graying trend ]]> Lead story image

At age 60, Bob McGuire didn’t think he would be raising a preteen grandson, but he and his wife, Kathy, are doing so. Their 11-year-old grandson, Riley, came to live with them 10 years ago this month. “We both believed it would be temporary,” said McGuire, a Hobart businessman who lives in Valparaiso. “As it turned out, it wasn’t.” Riley’s parents never married, and, due to a series of unfortunate events, he was taken from them by Child Protective Services and placed in a foster home. “When my wife found out that our grandson was in foster care, she called … ]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:02:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: No simple answers to heroin scourge ]]> Lead story image

“Heroin, be the death of me.” — The Velvet Underground Heroin. Are you tired of hearing about it? So are the county coroners in Northwest Indiana who have to deal with its addiction aftermath each week. Another overdose. Another death scene. Another soiled syringe found next to a lifeless body. In Porter County, residents are more likely to die from a drug overdose than a traffic crash, statistically speaking. The county’s rate for heroin usage is 320 percent above the national average, according to a study commissioned by Porter Starke Services. “A lot of people in Porter County have this … ]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:44:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Don’t let ‘empty nest syndrome’ clip your kids’ wings ]]> Lead story image

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the blissful return of football. Or pumpkin-flavored everything. Or the end of summer, which I mourn like the death of an old friend. For millions of parents, it’s the sad season of “empty nest syndrome” when their college-aged teenagers fly the coop and, finally, learn to soar on their own. (Or, sometimes, they first fly into their own reflection, spiral to the ground and limp back to their parents’ welcoming nest.) This past week, I’ve read post after post on social media from shellshocked parents who act like they … ]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 02:01:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Cold case from decades ago finally solved? ]]> Lead story image

Dick Wylie had a hearty chuckle when he read my column about the three women who disappeared from Indiana Dunes State Park in July 1966. The former Post-Tribune photojournalist has been dogging this mysterious cold case since Day 1, and he believes it’s finally warming up. “I am ready to break this case wide open so nobody will go digging for bodies on Mount Baldy,” he told me from his Florida home. “This story is really just getting started after 48 years.” Patricia Blough, 19, Renee Bruhl, 19, and Ann Miller, 21, all from Illinois, never were found or heard … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:01:31 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Working man’s reality embraces time on the job ]]> Lead story image

On this Labor Day, are you enjoying a bonus day off from work, or are you getting paid to be somewhere you’d rather not be? If it’s the latter, you’re among the rising ranks of U.S. workers earning a paycheck on a holiday that we celebrate the social and economic achievements of the 156 million Americans in the labor force. Here’s a snapshot list of professions working today as if it’s just another Monday on their calendar: Casino personnel. Retail employees. Healthcare professionals. Railroad workers. Construction crews. Entertainers. Self-employed business owners. Jail and prison guards. College educators. Global-minded computer system … ]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:01:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Do sobriety checks trample on our rights? ]]> Lead story image

Are police-conducted sobriety checkpoints a necessary law enforcement tool to remove drunken drivers from our roads? Or are they an unreasonable search of our property and an unconstitutional invasion of our rights and privacy? Hammond Police Department Lt. Patrick Vicari insists that sobriety checkpoints are a valuable, and measurable, public safety tool that curbs the number of impaired motorists from traffic. ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:00:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jerry Davich: Ice bucket challenge dumps cold memories on one ALS survivor ]]> Lead story image

Have you watched enough of the impossible-to-miss ALS ice bucket challenges? It seems everyone and their grandmother has done the once-novel and now-trendy fundraising challenge for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. I wonder if Lou Gehrig himself would have done it, too. Somehow, I don’t think so. As you know, millions of good-hearted Americans have dumped a bucket of icy water over their heads while being video recorded. Beforehand, each one “nominates” three other people to do the same thing within 24 hours or donate $100 (or both) to the ALS fund. They then post that video on social media … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:03:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Explosion rocked Whiting 59 years ago today ]]> Lead story image

John Hmurovic remembers. Do you, too? On Aug. 27, 1955, at precisely 6:12 a.m., he remembers being held tightly by his mother as she watched in horror the massive explosion near their Whiting home. Without a flicker of warning, a series of explosions ripped apart the Standard Oil Refinery’s 250-foot tall fluid hydroformer unit 700. On that warm, quiet and otherwise typical Saturday morning, something went terribly wrong when the hydroformer was restarted and, as witnesses recall, all hell broke loose. Deadly debris showered down in a quarter-mile radius from the blast site. One 10-foot steel pipe sliced through a … ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:03:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: Local author’s book prompts national union’s resolution for gays ]]> Lead story image

Anne Balay has never worked in a steel mill, though she completely understands what it’s like to do so as a gay steelworker. The 50-year-old former English professor from Miller, a lesbian who came out years ago, wrote a book about such experiences, especially in Northwest Indiana mills. It’s titled, “Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers,” released in April by University of North Carolina Press. “It explains how and why basic steel mills are inhospitable, even dangerous to queers, and demonstrate that we can’t understand what it means to be GLBT without including working-class, blue-collar voices and … ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:53:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Davich: GHA resident has heard too many empty promises ]]> Lead story image

Billie Morris sighed. Not out of pity. Not for theatrics. Not because her 10th-floor apartment felt like an oven. No, the 72-year-old Gary woman sighed out of sheer frustration for the lack of routine maintenance at her public housing complex. “Promises, promises, promises, that’s all we ever get,” she told me Wednesday while giving me a tour of her Genesis Towers senior citizen building in Gary. I purposely met with her that day, just hours after U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro made a stop in her city for a press conference and photo op. Morris lives … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:06:17 -0500