Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Indiana lawmakers spend $343,490 on travel ]]>

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers took 188 trips during the past 26 months costing taxpayers a total of $343,490 during a time when Gov. Mike Pence has already said he plans to eliminate some state programs as he develops a proposed two-year budget. Most of the trips involved government and legislative conferences around the country, but some included swanky hotel rooms and expensive flights to locations as far away as Alaska and Florida, according to a published report. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, who spent no public money on his own travel, said he believes the trips are worthwhile. He … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:12:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Autumn’s Army helps in fight against cancer ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Autumn’s Army was in full force Sunday, with many in the 16-member brigade wearing pink shirts that said, “Fight like a girl” on the front. The group was on the courthouse square to support Autumn Degard, 35, of Portage, during the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Degard, wearing a decorated survivor’s sash, said she was diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago, during a check-up for liver cancer, which she had in 2010. Since her breast cancer diagnosis, Degard’s liver cancer has returned. The mother of four is undergoing chemotherapy, … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:03:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Democrat Urbanik in 2nd bid to top Wichlinski for auditor ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Democrat Vicki Urbanik, candidate for Porter County auditor, said she would bring bipartisanship, better communication, and greater accuracy and responsibility to the office if elected. Urbanik, the County Council’s budget and finance specialist for the past year and a half and a former reporter for the Chesterton Tribune, faces incumbent Bob Wichlinski, a Republican seeking his second term in office in the Nov. 4 election. Wichlinski did not return a request seeking comment. Urbanik, 51, of Morgan Township, touted her credentials for the post, including recently passing the certified public accountant exam; she plans to apply for her … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:03:43 -0500 <![CDATA[ 1850s-era Valparaiso building in line for upgrdes ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — The building that houses Tommy B’s restaurant is scheduled to get some improvements this year, and the city’s facade improvement grant program may help fund it. Charlie McGill, owner the building at 13 E. Lincolnway, presented his application for the grant at last week’s Plan Commission meeting and got a vote of recommendation to get City Council approval at its Oct. 27 meeting. However, McGill doesn’t have a specific dollar amount he’s requesting because the city is asking that the Tommy B’s sign be brought into code. The sign is supposed to have raised letters and gooseneck lighting, … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:01:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hunter with a plan promotes deer cull on county land ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Bryan McFadden has a plan. He would like to help control the deer population on public land in the area, including property owned by the Porter County Parks and Recreation Department, and, through grant money, have the deer that are killed by bow hunters processed and donated to local food pantries. The plan, he said, would keep the deer population healthy; protect the county parks, particularly Brincka-Cross Gardens, from the devastation of deer damage; and provide food to the needy. “There’s a bad rap for hunters to a certain extent, I feel, and the program I’d install goes … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:01:06 -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[ Walk for heroin casualty brings attention to treatment ]]> Lead story image

PORTAGE — Jeff Yates can describe how he felt when his son Dylan died of a heroin overdose in May when he was 23. “How it destroyed my family and tore us all apart. That’s pretty much it,” said Yates, who lives in Valparaiso. About 100 people gathered at Willowcreek Middle School to walk along Central Avenue on Saturday for the Heroin Awareness 5-mile Walk/Run, held in Dylan’s memory on what would have been his 24th birthday. A similar event also was held in Casper, Wyoming, where Dylan’s mother lives and where he used to live as well. Event organizer … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:02:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ East Porter hunting for bus drivers ]]> Lead story image

KOUTS -- Getting children to school is a challenge for the East Porter County Schools district. “Bus drivers are like gold,” said Jill Bibler, board president. “Every corporation struggles to keep them. In fact a couple places have to run double routes and the kids have to get on earlier.” The drivers must have a Certified Drivers License but the school provides free training. “We need as many as we could get for regular routes and back up for them, too,” she said. “Typically, farmers used to do it. It was a good job for them through the winter months, … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:03:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ New contract for NIRPC director ]]>

PORTAGE — Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Tyson Warner has a new two-year contract, approved last week by NIRPC’s board of commissioners. Warner will receive an annual salary of $132,275 and the contract expires Dec. 31, 2016. Warner joined NIRPC in 2012. The board also approved its 2015 general fund budget of $3.29 million, 5 percent lower than its $3.46 million 2014 budget. Warner said the commission saved about $50,000 when it negotiated a new lease with the Portage Redevelopment Commission. NIRPC, a 51-member commission composed of mayors and other elected officials from three Northwest Indiana counties, nearly … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:02:33 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso Harvest fest draws thousands of children, families to downtown ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO – The ghosts and goblins, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Elsas from “Frozen” were out in full force Friday on Lincolnway for the annual Fall Harvest Festival. And merchants were ready for the 3,000 trick or treaters the event brings out. “It’s just fun to see all the costumes on the children,” said Carol Hannon, a sales associate at Seasons on the Square, as she handed out Kit Kats to a steady stream of costumed kids, adding she’s been with the store for 18 years and always works the day of the festival, “so I get the job of … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 02:01:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sheriff candidate leads way in campaign funds ]]>

VALPARAISO – Democrat David Reynolds, the former two-term Porter County Sheriff who is seeking the post again, has raised the most money of any candidate running in the Nov. 4 general election, more than twice the amount generated by his Republican opponent. Campaign finance reports, which were due at noon Friday in the county’s Voter Registration Office, include money raised and expenditures through Oct. 10. Any candidate fundraisers in the final run-up to the election will appear on reports due in January. Reynolds raised $126,721.21 for his run for sheriff. That included $29,821.31 in similar reports filed last year. His … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 02:01:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Valparaiso school chief announces grades the state held ]]>

VALPARAISO -- Although the school accountability grades are being held by the state and are not yet official, local schools have an idea of their scores. Valparaiso Community School Superintendent Ric Frataccia said Thursday that Valparaiso High School and seven of the eight elementary schools have an “A” status. The other elementary school has a “B,” as does one middle school. The other middle school has a “C” grade. Frataccia would not disclose which schools earned which grades. Because of problems with some charter schools and other schools, the state has not officially released the grades yet, he said. Also … ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:06:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order ]]>

VALPARAISO Two charged  in vehicle burglaries Two city residents have been charged with breaking into several vehicles in the city and are suspected of committing more vehicle burglaries, according to police. Jonathan Racine, 20, and Tristan Landrum, 18, were arrested early Wednesday after police got a call about men entering vehicles in the 1800 block of Cedar Street, police said. They said Racine ran from police and was arrested after an officer used a stun gun on him, and Landrum, who was initially released at the scene, was arrested at 2:30 a.m. Racine was charged with theft and resisting law … ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 02:07:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County ‘15 budget final reading announced ]]>

VALPARAISO – The Porter County Council made quick work of housekeeping matters Thursday. In a meeting that lasted about six minutes, Council President Dan Whitten, D-At-large, announced the final reading of the county’s 2015 budget was continued to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the commissioners chambers. The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28, also in the chambers, for a second reading of several budgets, including the Board of Commissioners. That will include discussion about hiring a human resources director and assistant for the county, for a cost of $127,000, including $72,000 for the director’s salary and $41,000 for … ]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 02:01:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ PNC breaks ground on $33.4 million student complex ]]> Lead story image

WESTVILLE — Purdue University North Central entered what officials hope will be a new era Thursday when it broke ground on a new Student Services and Activity Complex. About 150 people crowded into a tent over the area where the ceremonial groundbreaking for the 102,239-square-foot, $33.4 million building took place. The complex will be the first new building at PNC since 1995 and will house a gymnasium, a walking track on the second floor, two exercise rooms, a student study lounge, student activities offices and a great hall capable of holding 500 in banquet style or 980 for speaking events. … ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 02:02:44 -0500