Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Porter County $1.3 million behind in insurance payments ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Six weeks worth of unpaid health insurance claims, totaling nearly $1.3 million, is putting Porter County’s discounted rates from providers at risk, Board of Commissioners President John Evans, R-North, said Wednesday, the day after the County Council learned Auditor Bob Wichlinski has not been making the payments. “The problem is, we work very hard to get agreements with the providers to give us the discounted rates. Part of that is, we are committed to a prompt pay agreement, and the auditor’s actions are jeopardizing that agreement,” Evans said. “If we can’t make prompt payment, we may lose that … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:02:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso panel nears recommendation on fluoride in water ]]>

VALPARAISO — A recommendation on whether the city should continue to fluoridate its drinking water will come in two to three weeks. The Valparaiso City Utilities Fluoride Commission will make a decision at its fifth meeting and formulate a report on it for the City Utilities Board. If it passes there, it will go on to the City Council for a vote. Commission members didn’t set a date for their next meeting beyond a few weeks into August, but on Wednesday they did finalize some questions and begin clarifying what was two nights of expert testimony. On June 19, pro-fluoridation … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:38:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Autopsy results pending in trampoline death ]]>

CHESTERTON — A representative from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday it could be two weeks before a conclusion is reached on why a 2-year-old Chesterton boy died after a fall from a trampoline. The Chesterton Police Department was called to assist the fire and EMS departments at 9:13 a.m. Friday in the 1000 block of Woodlawn Avenue in response to a report that the boy fell off a trampoline and was not breathing. Police are continuing their investigation into what happened. Bentley Mihal was pronounced dead at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, according … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:02:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Veterans look back on a decade of 4-H in Porter County ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Joel Johnson has spent the last 10 years of his life in 4-H. That comes to an end with the Porter County Fair this week. Wednesday, he and other 10-year 4-H’ers prepped their livestock for the beef cattle show, and reflected on what 4-H has meant to them. Johnson, 19, of Washington Township, will attend Purdue University Northwest in Westville to major in nursing. He hopes to be on the junior fair board next year, but admits it won’t be the same. “It’ll be waking up every morning and not having anything to go out to the barn … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:02:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order: Oops! Auction goods not for sale ]]>

A Seattle man who was vacationing in Mexico got a disturbing surprise this week — some of his personal possessions were for sale online by a Chesterton auction firm, according to Chesterton police. ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:03:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ Mayor’s campaign finance reports taken in Portage ]]>

VALPARAISO – Agents with the FBI spent about 10 minutes in the Porter County Voter Registration Office Monday, getting copies of campaign finance reports for Portage Mayor Jim Snyder. All of the information is public record and is available on the county’s website, at, said Sundae Schoon, Republican representative in the office, who handled the agents’ request. “They asked for copies of Mayor Snyder’s campaign finance reports,” she said, as well as those for a political action committee from his run for mayor in 2011. The reports covered from 2007, when Snyder first ran for office, to the annual … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:42:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Grant to help pay for Valpo sewer repairs ]]>

VALPARAISO — By winter, the city will have more than 19,361 feet — roughly three miles — of sewer line repaired. It will cost the city about $325,000, thanks to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant of $1 million. The sewers Valparaiso will repair are 40 years old or older and scattered through the city, although many are in the Green Acres subdivision north of town. Most are one to three blocks long. “Without this grant, it would’ve taken us 10 years to even approach this,” City Utilities Director Steve Poulos said. The city is putting “sleeves” into the … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:07:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Councilwoman: Porter County behind on insurance payments ]]>

VALPARAISO — Porter County is behind on paying its health insurance, which is the responsibility of Auditor Bob Wichlinski. Council Vice President Karen Conover, R-3rd District, said at the end of Tuesday’s meeting that the county is six payments behind on the insurance, including one due that day. Wichlinski, who said he has been busy with livestock at the Porter County Fair, said he learned of the matter earlier Tuesday. “I will be attending to it immediately,” he said. The county has $1.3 million in appropriated but unspent funds that would be a possible option for closing the gap for … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:44:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Nature preserve doubles in size; restoration planned ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, a former Girl Scout camp north of Valparaiso owned by the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, has more than doubled in size after the purchase of 80 acres of adjacent land. Meadowbrook, in Liberty Township on County Road 700N, has grown to 54 acres of protected land. The property includes the trust’s headquarters, as well as the Meadowbrook Conservation Center, for environmental education and outdoor recreation activities. Plans are underway for a major restoration project that will transform fallow agricultural fields on the new addition into forested habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The trust … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:02:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fair vendors keep cool while selling their wares ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — From gourmet food to bathroom remodeling, the commercial building at the Porter County Fair is a one-stop shop for just about anything. Clothing, jewelry, sweets — it’s all available, and that’s not to mention the free stuff, like candy, pens and refrigerator magnets that vendors hand out to entice the public. On Tuesday, when the temperature outside was sweltering, the commercial building had another freebie, and that wasn’t just handshakes from Porter County politicians getting the word out before the November general election; it was air-conditioning. There were shoppers, too, like Robert Phillips of Porter Township, who bought … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:01:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso traffic signals to get upgrade ]]>

VALPARAISO — The city’s traffic signal system will be modernized, beginning next summer. The board of works has approved an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation for the $351,900 project, in which 80 percent of the cost will be covered by federal funds. The project includes battery backups for power outages, illuminated street signs, audible pedestrian-crossing signals and pre-empting red lights for emergency vehicles. About 20 traffic lights around the city will receive some improvement, although some won’t need all the work done, according to city officials. In another matter, the board of works approved construction plans for Lakes … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:58:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order: Chronic traffic violator in trouble again ]]> Lead story image

A Porter man faces a felony charge of being a habitual traffic offender after Chesterton police pulled him over for speeding and found out he did not have a driver’s license to operate a motorcycle, according to police. ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:02:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County Commissioners seek options for hospital sale ]]>

VALPARAISO — The Porter County Commissioners and the county council will move forward with exploring legislation to gain greater flexibility for investing some of the proceeds of the sale of the county hospital, while continuing to work toward a private foundation to handle some of the money. That was the outcome of a joint meeting Monday between the two boards, which included a presentation by Brian Burdick, a former state deputy treasurer who drafted the legislation that allowed greater investment opportunities for money the state received when it privatized the Indiana Toll Road. Those changes allowed the toll road funds … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:03:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Wings of Freedom  visits Porter Co. airport ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Tony Cook took a break from peering out of the windows of a B-17 Flying Fortress making a loop toward Lake Michigan and back to Porter County Regional Airport. The plane was loud, and the hatch over the radio room was open, bringing warm air blowing through the tight quarters of the World War II bomber. Cook smiled and made an “OK” sign with his fingers. Cook, 88, of Lakes of the Four Seasons, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the Air Force’s predecessor, from August 1944 to January 1946. After training in Mississippi, he served in … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:01:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Portage cops use app for finding a cellphone to nab suspect in attack ]]>

Portage police used an app for finding a cellphone to locate a Portage man Sunday night and arrest him for allegedly attacking his estranged, pregnant wife and violating an order of protection, according to police. Thomas Childers Jr., 34, faces felony charges of battery and intimidation and four misdemeanors after he attacked the woman at her residence and stole her cellphone, police said. Police used the woman’s “Find My iPhone” app to locate Childers about 11 p.m., using the phone’s “ping” sound to find him at a friend’s apartment and recover the phone, which had been thrown out a window, … ]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:03:45 -0500