Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Police: Missing Michigan doctor’s body identified ]]> Lead story image

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The mystery of a missing Michigan doctor came to an end Wednesday with the announcement that the young woman’s body recovered from Lake Charles in Porter was Teleka Patrick. Patrick’s family did not attend Wednesday’s news conference at the Kalamazoo County sheriff’s office, where Sheriff Richard Fuller said autopsy results had positively identified the body found by a Porter fisherman on Sunday. “Short of anything big, the investigation is closed,” Fuller said, adding that he spoke with Patrick’s sister before the news conference. “My heart goes out to her family and friends. They have asked for privacy.” … ]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:22:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Good Friday tradition returns to Valpo ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — It’s been two years since Jesus last walked through downtown, carrying his cross to the crucifixion site at Valparaiso University. It still draws people to their front porches as the procession passes, and most people had their smartphones out to record the event. The Via Crucis — the Way of the Cross — is common in Latin American countries. In Valparaiso, it’s happened every Good Friday since 2007, except for 2013 because of predicted cold weather. “This isn’t something you usually expect to see,” said Alli Meyer, a senior at Valparaiso University, who was working at the Chapel … ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:50:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Paved school parking lot OK’d ]]>

VALPARAISO — The Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals heeded neighbors’ concerns and told a representative of Victory Christian Academy the school could expand its parking lot but only if it was paved. Paul Erspammer, a board member for the private school, came to the board Wednesday requesting additional parking for the facility, at 360 North County Road 325 East in Valparaiso, because the existing lot can’t handle all the cars for sports and school activities. Drivers park their cars on neighbors’ property, he said, or along 325 East, making for a dangerous situation. The increased parking also would provide … ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 17:14:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order ]]>

PORTER COUNTY Shoplifter arrested  at dollar store Police arrested Chrissy Lopez, 30, of Portage, for felony theft at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday. An employee stocking shelves at Family Dollar, at 6040 Central Ave., told police she saw Lopez hide merchandise in her purse, despite paying for other items. An officer reportedly found shoplifted items worth $70.89 while confronting Lopez outside the store, police said. Couple victimized  by vacation scam A Chesterton couple is out $1,130 they wired to rent a vacation home for a week in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The couple contacted police Tuesday, about one month after they sent … ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:06:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ Law & Order: Six-year sentence for Portage home burglary ]]>

A man who broke into a Portage house September 2012 was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for felony burglary. ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:06:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Newcomers join incumbents in GOP bid for Union Twp. Board ]]> Lead story image

UNION TOWNSHIP —Four Republican candidates face off in May for the three Union Township Board places on the November ballot. Incumbents James Foreman, George J. Topoll, and Robert D. “Bob” Emery and political newcomer Bryan Waisanen are vying to be come the Republican candidates for the positions. Each of them considers the township’s fire department and fiscal viability the most important issues of their office, although the responsibilities of township assistance and cemetery care are also important. The township has some financial difficulties in the early part of this century. Emery has lived in Union Township for 16 years and … ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:07:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter Airport TIF district moves ahead ]]>

VALPARAISO — The Porter County Redevelopment Commission moved a county-sponsored special taxing district another step forward Thursday, supporting a district around Porter County Regional Airport with an amendment that provides extra protection for school corporations. A public hearing on the tax increment financing district, which facilitates development through financial incentives, drew little comment, except from East Porter County School Corp. Supt. Rod Gardin, who has been actively involved in the process. Gardin said he liked that the allocation of tax revenue from the TIF district could not be amended without consent of the school corporation. Under the district’s terms, 60 … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:06:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Budget dilemma spotlight of Dist. 4 GOP battle ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Budget woes and how best to handle investing $159 million in proceeds from the sale of the county hospital top the list of concerns for candidates for the District 4 seat on the Porter County Council. Three Republicans face one another during the May 6 primary for a spot on the November ballot, where the winner will challenge Democrat Don Ensign. They are incumbent Jim Polarek, 47, who is completing his first term on the council; Anthony Pampalone, 38, the Union Township Trustee since 2007; and Michael Jessen, 50, who is completing his second term on the Union … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:11:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tempers flare even as NIRPC, group reach tentative settlement ]]> Lead story image

PORTAGE — Despite an agreement in principle announced Thursday that could end a federal lawsuit, Everybody Counts’ leader Teresa Torres continued to clash with the officials from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Plan Commission. Torres engaged in a shouting match with Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor as he presided over a NIRPC board meeting Thursday morning. Torres, who heads the nonprofit disabled rights group, became agitated when Snedecor refused to let her speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. Snedecor said Torres did not sign up to speak on a specific agenda item. When Snedecor told Torres she couldn’t speak, … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:11:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Court says Lake judge must seal Valpo man’s record ]]>

INDIANAPOLIS — A local judge must seal a former convict’s criminal record under a 2013 state law, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. In a 3-0 decision, the state court reversed a Lake County judge’s ruling that rejected a Valparaiso man’s request to have a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor sealed. Jason Taylor met the requirements of a law enacted in 2013 that allows low-level felonies or misdemeanors to be expunged, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in the nine-page order. The order also says that the language of the law clearly required Judge Salvador Vasquez to grant the … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:09:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County absentee votes trickle in ]]>

VALPARAISO — Early voting in Porter County is off to a slow start, which isn’t unusual for a primary, an official with the Voter Registration Office said Wednesday. “Walk-ins have been very slow,” said Sundae Schoon, Republican director in the office, adding that on Monday two people voted at the Portage location in the North County Government Complex; three people voted at Chesterton Town Hall; and one person voted in the county courthouse. Early/absentee voting started April 8 and since then, Schoon said Valparaiso has had about 51 voters; Portage, 25; and Chesterton, 43. Early voting is typically slow during … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:12:02 -0500 <![CDATA[ Graduation rates show improvement ]]>

Most Northwest Indiana school districts improved their graduation rates in the 2012-2013 school year, but statewide the number declined slightly. In Lake County, 11 districts increased their overall graduation rates from the 2011-2012 school year, while five districts in Porter County improved their rates. Statewide, the overall graduation rate for all schools was 88.6 percent, virtually unchanged from the prior year’s rate of 88.7 percent. Indiana’s non-waiver graduation rate was 81.72 percent, up from 80.46 percent in 2012. Non-waiver data provides a fuller picture of the number of students that are successfully passing their end of course assessments. “There is … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:05:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Holy Week connects Christians to Jesus’s passion ]]> Lead story image

For Christians, this is a time of sacrifice, reflection and redemption. Holy Week began on Palm Sunday, tracing Jesus’ tortuous journey to the cross where he was crucified on Good Friday. Churches are busy this week holding special services to also mark Maundy Thursday or the Last Supper, Good Friday, Saturday vigils and Easter Sunday sunrise services. “The entire year leads up to Holy Week and redemption,” said Bishop Dale Melczek of the Gary Diocese. “Jesus teaches us best of all that God is love. He not only became one of us, but gave himself in death for our salvation. … ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:05:05 -0500 <![CDATA[ Events put spotlight on organ donation ]]> Lead story image

Winamac resident Rhonda Berger lost her daughter, Jennifer Spurgeon, in an apartment fire in January 2009. Berger and the rest of Spurgeon’s family were devastated by the loss, but Spurgeon’s decision to become an organ donor has allowed a piece of Jennifer to live on. “It was a great relief to go through that terrible tragedy but know that she gave hope to others,” Berger said. Berger has met and become friends with the two recipients of Spurgeon’s kidneys — a 60-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. “Meeting Betty, it’s almost like Jennifer is still here; she giggles and has … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:04:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Porter County mulls $20k request from high-speed rail group ]]>

VALPARAISO — High-speed rail may becoming through Valparaiso in five years, on a line connecting Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. Members of the Porter County Board of Commissioners put off a request Tuesday from the Fort Wayne-based Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association to kick in $20,000, part of $70,000 in seed money from Valparaiso and the county to get the project going, but said they would consider it at their next meeting. “This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream,” said Fred Lanahan, president of the rail association, adding the public-private partnership project will spur both jobs and economic development. The service, using … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:06:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ 37 Lake, Porter schools earn state four-star status ]]> Lead story image

More than three dozen schools in Northwest Indiana achieved Four-Star School status for the 2012-13 school year. The 37 schools in Lake and Porter counties qualified by being in the top 25th percentile of schools in three categories based on ISTEP+ scores. Statewide, 311 schools received the award. Ritz congratulated these schools Tuesday. “I am honored to name these schools as our Four Star Schools for this year,” Ritz said. “Winning this award required excellent work by teachers, administrators, students and parents throughout the year and on behalf of the entire Indiana Department of Education I send them my sincere … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:05:46 -0500