Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Tax abatement one step closer for Valparaiso developer ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO -- The request for tax abatement would be the third financial incentive for the Thormahlen family and new partners, the Hamstra Group Inc. of Wheatfield, to build at the southeast corner of Lincolnway and Michigan Avenue. The City Council on Monday approved a resolution and a first reading of an ordinance that would create a special economic development target area for the lot and rebuilding. That would allow the city to offer the tax abatement and help the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission to set up a Tax Increment Financing district to recoup some of the up to $200,000 in grants … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:04:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County Council approves $36.5M general fund budget ]]>

VALPARAISO — With a split vote, the Porter County Council on Thursday approved a $36.5 million general fund budget that includes $9 million for health insurance and a salary increase for four employees in the auditor’s office, but no raises for other employees. The budget also includes a new human resources department and comes close to fully funding the county’s health insurance program, a sticking point for the past couple of years. It also relies on hospital interest money and county economic development income tax funds to make ends meet. Council President Dan Whitten, D-At-Large, said he wanted to give … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Chicago-Detroit high-speed rail plans outlined ]]> Lead story image

GARY — Northwest Indiana residents on Thursday got a chance to see how a proposed high-speed passenger rail line between Chicago and Detroit could take shape. A public hearing provided an opportunity for residents to comment on several proposed routes for the Great Lakes Rail corridor, which would make 10 daily trips from Chicago to Detroit at speeds of up to 110 mph by 2035. A trip that now takes 51/2 hours would be nearly two hours shorter. The Michigan Department of Transportation is overseeing the project alongside agencies in Indiana and Illinois. The plan considered using existing Amtrak lines … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso announces sewer, stormwater projects for 2015 ]]>

VALPARAISO — Three areas in the city are scheduled for storm sewer or stormwater upgrades in 2015, some directly relieving flooding. City Engineer Tim Burkman identified the projects as being a storm sewer at Kenwood Avenue, a storm sewer along Northview Drive and the replacement and upgrade of an old culvert under the railroad tracks near the ChicagoDash bus station. A fourth project, the replacement of a culvert at the Harrison Boulevard bridge over Beauty Creek, is included in the 2015 budget, although it should be finished before 2014 ends. Burkman presented the projects as part of the 2015 stormwater … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Donors still being courted for Valplayso funding ]]>

VALPARAISO — With the manual labor of volunteers over and the playground of Valplayso in place, the Department of Parks and Recreation is still looking to secure $200,000 in donations for the entire park. Parks Director John Siebert said more donations should come in now that people can see the playground portion finished. The Department of Parks and Recreation continues to talk with big donors, and the department will sell the laser-etched faceplates through the holidays, Seibert said. The faceplates, which will be photos of the faces the purchaser wants displayed, will be installed in spring. Landscaping also will be … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ INDOT boss: ‘full speed ahead for winter’ ]]> Lead story image

GARY — The calendar doesn’t recognize the first day of winter until Dec. 21, but Indiana Department of Transportation officials declared their readiness on Thursday. A few hours after their opening volley, Mother Nature fired back with a winter weather advisory citing the threat of heavy lake effect snow beginning Friday morning into evening. The National Weather Service in Chicago warned of strong northerly winds with gusts up to 50 mph and the potential for heavy bursts to snow accumulation. It’s shaping up to be a challenging night for trick or treating in Northwest Indiana. “We are preparing for this … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ House Dist. 4 candidates debate schools funding, vouchers ]]> Lead story image

The candidates for the Indiana House Dist. 4 both say education in the state needs to change but disagree on how that should happen and what role vouchers and charter schools should play. Democratic challenger Deb Porter is taking on Republican incumbent Ed Soliday for the seat in the upcoming election. Soliday the status quo of giving more money to urban schools that continue to see low success rates can’t continue. “If a school district is only graduating less than 50 percent of kids, we’ve got to do something in a new paradigm,” he said, adding that other, better-performing school … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Police to check on Porter County sex offenders ]]>

VALPARAISO — Local police agencies are asking parents to be wary of sex offenders as they send their trick-or-treaters out the door. The Porter County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a blitz, checking 109 sex and violent offenders to make sure that all are in compliance. The department will release the results of the blitz next week. The Valparaiso Police Department is providing the names and addresses of registered sex offenders living within city limits. Additional information is available regarding those seven offenders, including photos, on the department’s website, The offenders are David Sultzer, 1903 Chicago St., Apt. 19; … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Election complaint targets Dem sheriff candidate ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Porter County Republicans have filed a complaint with the county’s election board, claiming David Reynolds, Democratic candidate for sheriff, did not properly itemize the donations he received during a fundraising golf outing, which raised $53,778. The election board has scheduled an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Friday in the commissioners chambers of the county administration building to hear the complaint. “I’d like his forms restated so they document and itemize the donors,” said Mike Simpson, chairman of the Porter County Republican Party, adding the party isn’t seeking punishment against Reynolds, just the amended forms. Reynolds, who served two … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:02:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Session on public transportation brings call for regional cooperation ]]> Lead story image

HIGHLAND — Frustration often bubbled to the surface during a public transportation hearing held by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday afternoon, but the message was clear: the patchwork bus service currently available does not adequately meet the needs of residents, particularly for the disabled. NIRPC held the hearing — on the performance of current services and how future service could take shape — as part of a settlement agreement with disability advocacy group Everybody Counts. The settlement ended years of litigation in federal court. More than 50 people gathered at Wicker Park Social Center to discuss the … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:02:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Status of auditor’s non-reverting fund questioned ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO – The expenditures from Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski’s non-reverting fund have outstripped the income for all but the first year he was in office, in 2011. Additionally, more than one-third of the $1.97 million spent out of the fund since then went to three consultants, Jim Kopp, who is now deceased; Jim Bennett; and Neil Hannon. And despite a change in state law that took effect July 1, 2013, mandating that anything collected through homestead credit violations over $100,000 after expenses are paid go back into the county’s general fund, Wichlinski has not returned any money to the … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:47:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jasper, Porter investigating fatal crash on bridge ]]>

PLEASANT TOWNSHIP — The Porter County coroner’s office and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department are investigating a fatal head-on collision that occurred at 6:33 p.m. Tuesday on Indiana 49 along the bridge that separates the two counties on the Kankakee River. Timothy Jacobs, 52, of Knox, one of the drivers, was transported to Porter Regional Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Jacobs was traveling north in a 2001 Ford F150 pickup truck on Indiana 49 when an oncoming Honda SUVcrossed the center line and struck his vehicle, investigators said. … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:03:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso sets up bonds for Pratt expansion ]]>

VALPARAISO -- The city is issuing economic development bonds for up to $10 million for the wastewater pretreatment plant at the Pratt Industries. As part of the deal that brought Pratt’s $260 million recycled paper plant to Valparaiso, the city is issuing the 10-year bonds that Pratt will pay off, so taxpayers shouldn’t be directly affected. The city took two steps towards issuing the bonds this week. The City Council had a first reading of the ordinance for the bonds Monday and will have final vote Nov. 10, while the City Utilities Board on Tuesday passed a resolution approving their … ]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:22:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County employees to keep same medical benefits in 2015 ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — The health insurance benefits for Porter County’s approximately 600 employees and their families will not change. That was the decision at Tuesday’s county council meeting, which drew more than 100 people, frequent applause and occasional tense moments between members of the council and the county commissioners, who were there for a budget hearing and to discuss the health insurance plan. Last week, commissioners voted on a self-insurance plan that consultant Stephen Brady said could save the county $2.1 million over this year’s costs but greatly increased out-of-pocket expenses and offered only one plan. Hours before Tuesday’s meeting, Eric … ]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 02:03:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order ]]>

Porter County Bullet fired from  distance into house A seemingly stray bullet from a hunter or target shooter went through the sliding-glass door of a home in the 200 South block of County Road 600W, east of Lakes of the Four Seasons, Porter County sheriff’s police reported. They said the bullet, discovered about 8:45 a.m. Monday, appeared to be from a high-powered rifle fired from an unknown location south of the house. Man rages against  the machine A South Haven man was arrested early Sunday after he lost $1 in a vending machine at Porter Regional Hospital and shook the … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:04:00 -0500