Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ ValPlayso: A park by the people, for the kids ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Kaye Frataccia walked around ValPlayso on Sunday like a real estate agent showing off the amenities of a nearly finished new home. Against the reverb of hammers and power tools, Frataccia, co-coordinator of the project with Rob Thorgren, pointed out the playground’s wide ramps for greater accessibility, the artwork of students and local artists that graces the equipment, and the additional seating and greater site lines offered by the new playground, as opposed to the old one. “One of the reasons we redid it was parents said visibility was not good,” she said, before pointing out the benefits … ]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 02:05:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Municipalities guard against casino tax reduction bid ]]> Lead story image

As state legislators look at various ways to help its casino industry stem revenue losses caused by increased competition in neighboring states, more area communities may be asking them to take elimination of the admission tax off the list. The state currently charges casinos a $3 admission tax for everyone who enters one of the state’s 11 casino boats, every time they enter or re-enter, even if they aren’t gambling. Lake County and its communities have had a share of some of the money generated from that tax, using it to make much neede infrastructure improvements, such as street paving … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:02:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Vet reaches goals of public service, education ]]> Lead story image

HAMMOND--Bill Emerson Sr. is not unlike his peers among the ranks of Vietnam veterans in that he has undergone a political evolution. He has gone from untried teenage draftee to reflective elder. It was that political baptism by fire that led in part to his current role in politics, serving as a Democratic councilman representing Hammond’s 4th District. “I came from the era if you were rich or well-connected, you didn’t go [to Vietnam] and I was none of that,” Emerson said. “My dad worked hard in the mill.” A self-described “third generation mill rat,” Emerson found he emerged from … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:01:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Event raises funds for memorial honoring slain Merrillville police officer ]]> Lead story image

MERRILLVILLE — Irene Chorba wiped back tears as she talked about slain Merrillville police officer Nickolaus Schultz. “I thought I was over it, but I’m not over it yet,” Chorba said as she looked at a table full of T-shirts with the wording “Gone but never forgotten” for sale. Chorba and her husband, Ron Chorba, were among a large crowd of people who attended a fundraiser in honor of Schultz on Saturday at Catch 22 Bar and Grill in Merrillville. The Chorbas recalled being at the Merrillville Town Hall a little over a year ago when their own son, Officer … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:01:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Purdue Cal students protest alleged police brutality in Hammond ]]> Lead story image

HAMMOND — Change doesn’t happen when people vote as much as it does when they protest for change, some believe, and when one group protests, others tend to follow. Members of Purdue University Calumet’s Social Justice Club, along with community members, protested police brutality outside Hammond City Hall on Saturday morning. The pelting rain and miserable temperatures seemed to work in their favor, a student named Mariah said. “It shows we’re here, and if (standing in the rain) is what it takes to get change, we’ll be here,” Mariah said. Mariah, a sociology and history major, served in the Navy … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:02:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ NAACP on Hammond police brutality allegations: ‘We’re going to see it through to the end’ ]]> Lead story image

HAMMOND — Clergy and activists are hopeful changes the Hammond Police Department seeks to make in light of alleged officer aggression will work, but they’re ready to take further action if those efforts don’t work. Residents met with community leaders at the Ophelia Steen Center on Friday evening to discuss actions they’ve taken since Lisa Mahone and Jamal Jones filed suit against the city. The two allege that Hammond police Lt. Pat Vicari and Lt. Charles Turner used excessive force during a Sept. 25 traffic stop when Mahone and Jones refused to leave Mahone’s vehicle. The officers broke the passenger … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:02:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Oktober Fest ends festival season in Crown Point ]]> Lead story image

CROWN POINT — Residents donned multiple layers and stood near outdoor heaters Saturday as they soaked in the last hoorah of the city’s festival season — the annual Oktober Fest celebration on the downtown square. The threat of rain dampened the size of the crowd but the weather hardy were ready to enjoy the entertainment, food and of course a selection of Crown Brewing Co.’s craft-brewed finest including seasonal favorites Oktoberfest Lager and Ignus Faatus, the brewery’s pumpkin-style brew. “It’s a little sweet and spiced like pumpkin pie,” Elaine Radke of Crown Point said. Radke and her husband, Bill, said … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:06:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Woman at center of brutality suit makes harassment claim ]]> Lead story image

The woman who filed a civil suit against the city for police brutality is alleging continued harassment by the Hammond Police Department. Lisa Mahone told the Post-Tribune on Saturday that a number of officers in a mix of marked and unmarked vehicles from the LaPorte Police Department and Indiana State Police showed up at her residence Wednesday morning. She said they were knocking on the doors and windows, including the patio door that leads to Mahone’s daughter’s room. “My daughter ran into my room crying, ‘Mommy! I’m scared,’ ” Mahone said. Mahone said she called the U.S. Marshals Service to … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:02:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Killer finds God, asks court to reduce sentence ]]>

In the first hearing of its kind in Lake County since the law changed, a convicted killer is seeking a sentence modification for a 1997 stabbing that killed a 22-year-old Gary man. Before the new law went into effect, the prosecutor had to agree to a sentence modification. Now, the modification hearing doesn’t need the prosecutor’s approval. On Friday, Jermaine Ellis told Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray he had completely changed from the uneducated, addicted 18-year-old who committed the homicide in 1997. Now 35, Ellis said he has been drug-free, has continued his education with a GED, associate and … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:01:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Visclosky and Leyva vie again in round six ]]> Lead story image

Contrasting political views are crystallized in the 1st District U.S. House race between 15-term Democrat Peter J. Visclosky, and six-time GOP candidate Mark Leyva. Donna Dunn, of Hammond, is the candidate of the Libertarian Party of Indiana. The district includes Lake and Porter counties and a section of LaPorte County. The seat has been a safe one for Democrats for decades and it’s not likely to change. Visclosky’s campaign has raised $722,276 to Leyva’s $4,580, according to Open Secrets, a research group that tracks political funding. Visclosky, of Merrillville, has held the seat since 1985 and is centering this campaign … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:03:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Lake Denention Complex chief retires after 37 years ]]>

Bob Bennett turned 65 on Thursday, and on Friday retired with more than 37 years as director of the Lake County Juvenile Detention Complex with a sense of pride and accomplishment. “I’ve talked to thousands of kids over the years and I hope some of them heard me,” Bennett said. “I had a job to do and I did it to the best of my ability. I’m not a boastful individual, but I had the finest detention staff in the whole world. They have been some great people to work with.” Bennett, a low-key man who others describe as a … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:26:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Probation for 2 in Merrillville robberies ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell sentenced two Gary men to three years on probation for robbery. Devon Marshawn Reed, 21, who pleaded guilty to the charge in September, admitted that he and co-defendant Rodney Perry Jr. took about $830 from Marcus Taylor and a watch and cellphone from Randie Roberson on June 3 as they were in the area of 55th Avenue and Hayes Street in Merrillville. Reed was sentenced on Friday. The robbery occurred under the use or threat of force. Perry, 19, who was sentenced Thursday, must earn his high school diploma or GED, complete an … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:03:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Gary man, 65, going to prison on possession charge ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell sentenced a 65-year-old Gary man to five years on Friday for possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a public park. Oscar Hines Jr., who has five prior felony convictions, admitted in court Aug. 14 that he had 191 hydrocodone pills in his possession on March 19, 2013, at his residence in the 1100 block of Decatur Street in Gary, which is within 1,000 feet of June Labroi Park. Hines had been charged with two counts of dealing in a controlled substance, which were dismissed under terms of the plea agreement. … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:04:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Mom gets probation for neglect after infant is injured ]]>

Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray sentenced a Hammond woman to two years on probation on Friday for neglect of a dependent. Venesa Rose Espinoza, 31, admitted in court Friday that she consumed alcohol to the point of being unable to properly care for her infant, who was injured on July 14 while in her care. Court records indicate the child fell out of his stroller when she was walking with him and her three other children in Hammond. Espinoza apologized for her actions, said she attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, is employed and is working to regain custody of her … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:00:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Lake Station man charged with child molesting ]]>

A Lake Station man has been charged in Lake Superior Court with child molesting, child solicitation and performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor. Miguel A. Perez-Cruz, 25, is charged with molesting the girl between Aug. 14 and Oct. 3, when she confided in her father about the incidents. The 6-year-old told police that Perez-Cruz molested her on her first day of school and performed other sexual activity. The child molesting charge is a Level 4 felony, which is punishable by two to 12 years. … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 13:56:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Knight Foundation bullish on Gary ]]> Lead story image

GARY — The city hopes the demolition of the Sheraton Hotel, a decades-old eyesore, will represent a symbol of redevelopment and hope. So does the Knight Foundation. Over the next three years, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a private, independent organization based in Miami, Fla., will invest $15 million to answer these questions in Gary and 25 other communities across the country. Knight Foundation spokeswoman Erika Fizer said Tuesday that $5 million will available in this cycle among the Knight communities. She said the Knight Foundation may award any amount, and the foundation has made no determination as … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:02:50 -0500