Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Street gangs targeted in new indictments ]]>

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hammond will announce another gang-related indictment Friday, according to a release. The indictment, which will be announced at a press conference at the East Chicago Police Department, involves more racketeering charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has targeted several local gangs in recent years, filing racketeering charges against members of the Latin Kings, Imperial Gangsters and the Two-Six street gangs. … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:02:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Firefighters in Gary battle abandoned-building blaze ]]> Lead story image

GARY — Gary firefighters are investigating a suspicious fire that gutted an abandoned building Wednesday afternoon in the Glen Park neighborhood. The fire broke out shortly before 4:20 p.m. at the two-story, red building at 4395 Broadway. Smoke from the fire was visible from Merrillville and the building was fully engulfed, with flames were pouring out of the windows and doors when firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported. Four engines battled the blaze more than an hour. Capt. Erik McDaniels said they were doing “surround and drown” to ensure it didn’t spread to the nearby houses. Fire investigator Mark Cohill … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:04:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Small Gary rally supports victim   in Ferguson, Missouri, shooting ]]> Lead story image

GARY — Heavy rain did not keep Pastor Curtis Whittaker of Progressive Community Church in Gary from hosting a “Gary in Solidarity With Ferguson” rally Thursday evening. Originally scheduled to take place outside at 13th and Broadway, it was moved inside at the small church. And while the crowd was small, the message was loud and clear as Whittaker shouted, “Hands up!” and the audience, with raised hands responded, “Don’t shoot!” Whittaker and community activist Natalie Ammons coordinated the rally to show solidarity with those protesting the Aug. 9 shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:02:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hammond man gets 7 years for stabbing ]]>

A 21-year-old Munster man received a seven-year prison term on Thursday for stabbing a man during a marijuana deal rip-off in April 2013. Taylor Spinosa told Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas that he was ready to make some positive changes in his life, admitting that he had started using drugs at a young age and was a gang member. “I crave knowing what it feels like to be on the right path,” Spinosa said, adding that he has a 10-month-old son he wants to raise. Spinosa pleaded guilty to battery, admitting that he and another person had arranged to … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:24:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Illinois woman gets probation for theft ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas on Thursday placed a Matteson, Illinois, woman on probation for 18 months for theft, ordered her to pay restitution and perform 30 hours of community service. Rechelle Cooper, 23, pleaded guilty to stealing items in January 2013 from a Hobart apartment, including designer purses, electronic equipment and clothing but denied taking a woman’s jewelry or $5,000 cash. Deputy Prosecutor Michael Haynes said some of the stolen items were returned to the victim. Charges of burglary and residential entry were dismissed against Cooper in exchange for her guilty plea. Correspondent Ruth Ann Krause … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:22:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ 10-year sentence in Hammond sex case ]]>

A Hammond man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for sexually molesting a teenage girl during a two-year period. Kenneth Gordon, 47, pleaded guilty in July to having sex with the girl between May 2009 and May 2011 when he was living on New Jersey Avenue in Hammond. The girl was between 14 and 16 at the time. Gordon apologized for his actions and told Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell that he wanted to maintain a relationship with the rest of the teen’s family, but Boswell told him he had scarred the victim for life. “You … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:22:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Soldier, editors recall work, friendship of slain journalist ]]> Lead story image

John Villegas still is reeling from the news that James Foley is dead. Villegas, 47, of East Chicago, served in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard’s 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2008. Foley was embedded with the team as a Post-Tribune correspondent, and the two became friends during the year they spent together. Foley, 40, a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was killed by Islamic State militants. A video of his death by beheading was released Tuesday; he had been missing since November 2012 while freelancing in northern Syria. Villegas learned Tuesday of Foley’s death from … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:01:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Detroit tarp firm buys former Gary dealership ]]>

GARY — A Detroit company that sells tarps for flatbed trucks is buying the former Tyson Ford dealership on Grant Street, south of Interstate 80/94. The Redevelopment Commission approved the sale to Verduyn Tarps on Wednesday for $113,000. Verduyn was the highest of two bidders for the 7.5-acre property at 3333 Grant St., acquired by the commission last year from Ford for $10. The commission initially attempted to lease the property but decided to sell it because of little interest from potential renters, said Joseph Van Dyk, director of the Redevelopment Department. Van Dyk said Verduyn liked the location near … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:02:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Everybody Counts slams outreach ]]>

PORTAGE — Several disability advocates spoke Thursday during the public comment portion of the of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission meeting to criticize NIRPC’s efforts to communicate with stakeholders. Everybody Counts executive director Teresa Torres said NIRPC’s stakeholder list is “incomplete, generic and disorganized.” “​They don’t include such basic resources such as area Human Rights Commissions, Social Security offices, Housing Authorities, NAACP chapters or other civil rights groups, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, or Mayor’s Organizations on Disabilities,” she said. Torres said it represents a frustrating pattern underserved groups have experienced, specifically mentioning the experience of Portage resident Travis Jones. Jones, … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:03:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Retirements slowing INDOT road repairs ]]>

PORTAGE — INDOT is still busy repairing much of the damage winter wrecked on local roads, deputy commissioner Bob Alderman told members of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. “The emergency repair contracts started in St. Joseph County and are moving west,” Alderman said Thursday. “But he biggest damage was in northern Lake County. Almost every road north of U.S. 30 was damaged from winter.” A rash of retirements — stemming from changes to the Public Employees Retirement Fund — is making that work and preparing for the winter season much harder. “We’re experiencing the loss of 20 people in … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:03:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Mayor: Cline Avenue toll bridge advancing ]]> Lead story image

PORTAGE — East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland announced Thursday that FIGG Engineering Group plans to make an announcement in the next two to three weeks about the proposed Cline Avenue toll bridge. The topic came up Thursday at a meeting of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission when Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott expressed concern about heavy truck traffic — which previously stuck to Cline Avenue — tearing up city roads. Copeland said that Linda Figg, the firm’s president and CEO, told him that the financing is lined up for the bridge, which is estimated to cost $150 million. He said … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:04:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Former Gary officer claims entrapment ]]> Lead story image

A former Gary police officer who admitted he illegally sold pot and a gun now claims he is innocent and a victim of entrapment. David Finley Jr., who is serving a 30-month prison sentence, says in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Hammond that he now realizes that, “He has been entrapped by men, who like him, are sworn officers of the law.” Although the motion does not provide any details of how he was entrapped, it does add that Finley no longer thinks he committed a crime. The filing is a motion to advance, one of several … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:01:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Lawyers spar over embattled Hobart cop ]]> Lead story image

HOBART--Disagreements among attorneys for Police Chief Richard Zormier and the police officer he is seeking to terminate erupted into a verbal confrontation following a city board meeting Wednesday. The matter started low-key, with the Board of Public Works and Safety approving a request by hearing officer James Meyer to move the hearing for Police Officer Kirk Homoky from next week to 9 a.m. May 21 and 22. Meyer said he determined that the board can take no further action against the police officer while a criminal charge is pending. Meyer said two criminal charges against Homoky were dismissed during a … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:48:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hobart ‘15 budget calls for 3 percent raises ]]>

HOBART--The city’s proposed $17.85 million budget for 2015 includes an ambitious road paving program and 3 percent raises for most city employees and elected officials. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 in the council chambers with final adoption set for Oct. 17. Last year, the council adopted a proposed budget of $18.2 million, but Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Longer said it was later adjusted to $16.8 million. Longer said there are two highlights to this year’s proposed budget: it’s the first time the city will have a better idea of how much the new … ]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:20:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Unidentified man found dead in Gary ]]>

GARY — The body of an unidentified man was found dumped in the road on the city’s far west side early Thursday morning. The man’s body was in a pile of dirt and debris in the 6700 block of West 15th Avenue, not far from the city limits. A news release from the Lake County coroner states the victim died from blunt force trauma and appears to be a homicide. Police said the man appears to be white or Hispanic. Police received a call shortly before 5 a.m. after a motorist saw a body in the pile of dirt. There … ]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:02:45 -0500