Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Lowest paid workers get salary bump  to $20,000 ]]>

CROWN POINT — Eighteen of the county’s lowest paid workers will all see their salaries climb to $20,000 a year before other county workers may get their first raise in eight years in 2015. The workers, all cooks, cleaning personnel and security officers in the juvenile detention center, are the only ones in Lake County that do not make at least $20,000, Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, said. The workers make between $18,650 and $18,900. Cid said county officials had passed a measure that would ensure all full-time employees made at least $20,000. “Why where they overlooked?” Council President Ted … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:57:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Lake sheriff’s cop may avoid prosecution ]]> Lead story image

A Lake Superior Court judge on Friday accepted a pretrial diversion agreement for a 10-year veteran of the county sheriff’s police on a charge of conversion. Samuel Orlich Jr., 43, of Crown Point, can have the misdemeanor charge dismissed if he commits no criminal offense during the ensuing 12 months. If he does not comply, prosecutors can pursue a felony charge of official misconduct. A special condition of the agreement requires Orlich to get psychiatric treatment regarding impulse control. Judge Salvador Vasquez set a review date for Orlich for Sept. 18, 2015. Deputy Prosecutor Michael Toth said a county grand … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:16:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ $80K study will assess housing potential around South Shore stations ]]>

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District are undertaking an $80,000 study to examine housing possibilities around South Shore stations in Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, and Portage, as well as the Munster-Dyer area. The RDA and NICTD will each provide $20,000 for the matching fund study to be done by Policy Analytics LLC of Indianapolis. It will look at land availability. RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna said the study would be done in coordination with the cities involved. Hanna said there’s little option for housing near existing stations. Last year, the RDA and NICTD agreed … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:23:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Firm sues school  district  over bids ]]>

A Chicago company is suing the School City of Hammond, claiming the school district gave a competing business an unfair advantage in a bidding process this summer. Illinois Mechanical Sales filed the lawsuit Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Hammond. A representative with the district could not be reached for comment. IMS says in the suit that the school district put out a bid in June for new water boilers for Morton High School. Stevens Engineers & Constructors Inc., based in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, put in the lowest bid at $824,999, with IMS putting in the next lowest bid … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:32:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reckless homicide plea ends with 4-year sentence for Gary man ]]>

A Gary man facing a murder charge was sentenced Friday to to four years in prison for reckless homicide in a 2010 killing. Berry Hunter IV, 25, made no statement before Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez imposed the sentence outlined in Hunter’s plea agreement in the death of Devon Wilson, 20, of Gary. Wilson’s sister, Jamice, said her brother’s homicide has greatly affected the family, especially their mother, who has been in and out of the hospital. “It’s like a disaster,” she said. “I haven’t had any peace, I haven’t had any rest. It’s just crazy.” In plea documents … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:22:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Restaurateur gets 6-month sentence, $50K fine for illegal fireworks sales ]]>

A federal judge denied a local restaurateur’s request for home confinement in exchange for pleading guilty to illegally selling fireworks without a license but did leave open the possibility that he might not serve any time in prison. U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen on Friday ordered James Gerodemos to serve six months in prison; however, he made a recommendation that Gerodemos serve his time at a halfway house in Michigan City. He also ordered Gerodemos to pay a $50,000 fine. The government had requested a 15-month sentence. The final decision on where Gerodemos, who owns a number of restaurants … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:10:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Police want help in dogged pursuit of Crown Point High School statue vandals ]]> Lead story image

CROWN POINT — Police are hopeful pictures of evidence found at the scene of the vandalized Crown Point High School bulldog will help lead them to the suspects. Police Chief Pete Land said the investigation into the overnight Sept. 13 smashing of the iconic cement statue in front of the high school remains under investigation. “Although we don’t generally release pictures of found evidence, we are hoping that someone will recognize the items and contact the police department,” Land said. Land said information and pictures of the items also are available on the police department’s Facebook page. Detectives continue to … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:11:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ Waste district gets help in search for new executive director ]]>

CROWN POINT — Waste district board members will be looking for some outside assistance in the search for a new executive director. The Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board agreed to have William Moreau with Barnes and Thornburg to assist them in coming up with the parameters of the search to replace former executive director Jeff Langbehn. “(The search) is going to be a precise process that is something agreed to by all of us, or at least most of us,” Dave Hamm, board president, said. Cliff Dugan, the board’s attorney, said Thursday that Moreau has offered his services … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:11:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gary, EdisonLearning urge state to make school turnarounds smoother ]]> Lead story image

GARY — The 2011 removal of Roosevelt High School from the Gary Community School Corp. seemed like a hostile takeover, members of a State Board of Education committee learned Friday. “It was very clear the district felt indicted by our very presence,” said Thom Jackson, chief executive and president of EdisonLearning Inc., the education manager tapped to turn around the failing school under a 1999 state accountability measure. Jackson and Gary School Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt told the State Board Committee on School Turnarounds that collaboration, not conflict is critical to a successful transition during a takeover. Roosevelt is one of … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:06:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Drug panels look for reasons why people use marijuana ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — With marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington, and medical marijuana legal in 23 states so far, panelists from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties met Friday for a sweeping discussion of why people use the drug. About 120 people attended “The Blunt Truth About Marijuana: The Public Health Issue,” held at the Memorial Opera House and sponsored by the Porter County Substance Abuse Council, the Lake County Substance Abuse Council and the LaPorte County Drug Free Partnership. The summit is the first of what organizers hope will be an ongoing working partnership between the councils, said Beatrice Owen, director … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:24:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Reporting illegal dumping in Merrillville may lead to $100 reward ]]>

MERRILLVILLE--Stormwater Utility is encouraging residents to report any instances of illegal dumping near the town’s waterways, adding the potential of receiving a $100 reward as an incentive. The utility department, in conjunction with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District, is posting illegal dumping signs at various locations near the town’s ditches and creeks. Solid Waste will pay the $100 reward if a person is convicted of illegal dumping, Stormwater Utility Executive Director Matt Lake said. “We’re doing what Solid Waste has already done, but we’re putting it by the waterways. The incentive is a very unique approach to enforcement,” … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:18:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Lake Station mayor, wife ask feds for delay in trials ]]> Lead story image

Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, his wife and his stepdaughter are seeking to delay their criminal trials until February. In two motions filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, attorneys for Soderquist and his family say that his wife, Deborah Soderquist, is experiencing health problems that make it impossible for her to take part in her two trials, which are scheduled to begin Oct. 20. They are asking that the trials be continued until at least February. A grand jury indicted Soderquist and his wife in April in two separate cases. In the first case, the two are … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:54:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ 6-year sentence for Gary inspector’s carjacking ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a Gary man to six years in prison on Friday for carjacking. Dwayne Crisler, 23, admitted in court Aug. 19 that he and two other people walked up to Kenneth Jenkins, building inspector for the city of Gary, on March 25 while Jenkins was working. Crisler pointed a gun at Jenkins’ head and demanded he get out of his city-issued Ford Escape. Crisler then got behind the wheel and drove away. Deputy prosecutor Thomas Mullins said Jenkins wanted the judge to know that he had forgiven Crisler, but that the crime has affected … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:24:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Guilty pleas entered to reduced charges in death of Highland football player ]]>

Two 21-year-old Hammond men have pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in a 2013 shooting that killed a former Highland High School football player during a marijuana deal that went bad. Jayveon Jatay Daniels and Duane Snelling Jr., both face two to eight years in the death of LaKice Brooks, 17. Daniels and Snelling admitted in court on Friday that they met with Brooks on Aug. 26, 2013, in the Aldi parking lot in the 7900 block of Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond, for a marijuana transaction. During the deal, a struggle ensued and Snelling took Brooks’ weapon. Brooks was shot in … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sex with 13-year-old brings 17-year sentence for Hammond man ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a Hammond man to 17 years in prison for child molesting involving a 13-year-old girl. Joseph Thaddeus Lenart, 28, admitted in court when he pleaded guilty on July 3 that he knew the girl was 13 when they met at a Hammond restaurant in June 2013 and exchanged phone numbers. From then until July 23, 2013, Lenart and the girl exchanged text messages that became sexual in nature, including nude pictures of his genitals. Lenart also admitted he picked up the girl, drove her to his parents’ home in Hammond where he was … ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:54:01 -0500