March County Unemployment Rates Reflect Two Extremes

The March unemployment rates in Starke, LaPorte and Jasper Counties are well above the state average, while Marshall and Pulaski Counties are slightly under that number. That’s according to figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Continue reading

Mock Crash Demonstration Scheduled at South Central Schools

A demonstration to bring awareness to student driver safety is set for Friday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. CT at the South Central School Corporation.

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office is focused on safety for the upcoming prom season. Sheriff John Boyd stated that LaPorte County has not seen any accidents involving teen drivers during this time of the year, and he wants that to continue.

Sheriff Boyd wants to focus on the importance of safe driving habits including distracted driving. Cell phone calls and texting are two issues surrounding distracted driving.

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Structural Concerns Delay LaCrosse Feed Mill Explosion Investigation

Boom 28Concerns over the stability of a grain elevator that exploded last week, injuring four employees, have delayed the investigation into the cause of the blast. Experts at the LaCrosse Feed Mill site say some work will need to be done first to make the structure safe for entry. Continue reading

IU Health Starke Hospital President Talks Partnership, New Building

Felty, Craig

IU Health Starke Hospital President Craig Felty

IU Health Starke Hospital President Craig Felty hopes to close on the sale of the Knox and LaPorte facilities to one of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital groups by the end of the year. He told the Starke County Council the hospitals and Community Health Systems are still in their due diligence period prior to finalizing the purchase. Continue reading

INDOT Encourages Safety with Farm Equipment on Roadways

Area motorists may have noticed farm implements on the roadways.

That’s because planting season is in full swing. Farmers often use local roads to navigate between fields. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, this means car drivers should be more alert.
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Grain Accident Prompts Reminder of Facility Hazards and Occupational Injuries

Boom 28Last week’s grain elevator accident in LaCrosse has prompted the Indiana Department of Labor to urge employers and employees to review grain handling facility hazards and how to prevent occupational injuries and fatalities.

Four employees at Co-Alliance were injured in an explosion caused by an industrial accident on April 15.

According to the Department of Labor, the grain handling industry is a high hazard industry where workers can be exposed to serious and life threatening hazards including fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation. Other hazards include suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights and crushing injuries, and amputations from equipment.

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LaPorte Jail Inmate Pronounced Dead, Investigation Ongoing

The death of an inmate at the LaPorte County Jail is prompting an investigation.

The female inmate was found unresponsive by authorities around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. CPR was applied, but was unable to resuscitate the victim. Her name has now been released by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department. 33-year-old Rachel Barnes was described as the victim.

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Identity Theft is an Issue When Filing Tax Returns

 Police continue to take reports of identity theft from residents attempting to file their 2014 income taxes.

An 18-year-old LaPorte man told LaPorte Police that his parents recently attempted to file their tax return with him listed as a dependent. The tax return was rejected, citing that someone else had already claimed the victim as a dependent. The victim also attempted to access his credit score and learned that a credit card, mortgage and home equity loan were fraudulently established using his identity.

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DNR Seeks Lifeguards At State Park Facilities

Those looking to qualify for a summer job, and who may want to get bronzed in the process, can now retrieve a bit of information through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR says it’s taking applications for summer lifeguard positions. Tests are required for first-year lifeguards at State Park facilities. Applicants who have already been lifeguards at more than 10 locations around the state are exempt from taking the test.

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Co-Alliance Official Releases Updates On LaCrosse Explosion Victims

Boom 28A Co-Alliance employee injured in yesterday’s grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse has been transferred from Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso to the burn unit at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. Company officials confirm 26-year-old Chris Ford was moved yesterday. He suffered first and second-degree burns and remains sedated. A hospital official tells WKVI News he is in critical condition. Continue reading

Initial Findings Indicate LaCrosse Grain Elevator Explosion was Accidential

Boom 28A Thursday morning grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse that badly burned four Co-Alliance employees appears to have been the result of an industrial accident, according to officials with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, OSHA and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are continuing the investigation, which could take a couple of days to conclude. Continue reading

LaCrosse Grain Elevator Explosion Critically Injures Four Employees

Boom 28A grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse this morning critically injures four employees. Jonah Pacione, 19, and Emilio Galicia, 43, were airlifted to St. Joseph Burn Center in Fort Wayne. Craig Chase, 34, and Chris Fort, 26, are patients at Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso. All four sustained burns, but none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Co-Alliance CEO Kevin A. Still says company personnel will be on-site at the hospitals to provide support and assistance to the employees and their families. Continue reading

La Crosse Grain Elevator Explosion Injures Four

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The explosion at the Co-Alliance grain elevator in LaCrosse critically injured four employees, two of whom were airlifted to Fort Wayne. The others were taken to Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso.

It didn’t take long for emergency responders to arrive to the scene of an explosion on Thursday morning in La Crosse.

The 911 Center in La Porte County received a call of an explosion just before 9:00 a.m. An Indiana State Trooper was in the area and heard the explosion before arriving on scene.

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Indiana Senator Implores Committees For Drug Abuse Funding

Joe Donnelly

Senator Joe Donnelly

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is urging additional support to combat what he says is a nationwide opioid and heroin epidemic.

Indiana’s Democratic Senator wrote a letter to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, and several subcommittees with the goal of combating the problem in the 2016 fiscal year budget.

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National Weather Service Cautions Against Burning

Northern Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning until 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT this evening. That means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will develop shortly. In this case a combination of gusty wind and low relative humidity will cause any fires that develop to spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. Be careful when discarding cigarettes and cooking on grills as well.

Income Taxes Due Today

Federal and state income taxes are due today. Michelle Bachtel from H&R Block says you need to file an extension if you can’t finish your return. Doing so gives you six additional months to file but does not  defer payments due. If you owe, pay as much as you can. Otherwise you will be assessed interest and penalties from April 15th. Continue reading

Formal Charges Filed Against LaPorte Councilman

Formal charges have been filed in Porter County Superior Court against a LaPorte County councilman accused of dealing in marijuana.

On Wednesday, April 8, at 11:04 a.m., the Porter County Drug Task Force conducted a controlled narcotics operation involving Matthew E. Bernacchi, 33. In this investigation, Bernacchi allegedly gave an envelope containing a clear plastic baggie of marijuana to an undercover officer. According to court documents, Bernacchi had the envelope in the center console of his truck and gave it to the officer while inside the truck. Once the officer exited the vehicle, detectives from the Porter County Drug Task Force approached the truck and arrested Bernacchi.

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Don’t Ignore Income Tax Filing Deadline

Federal and state income tax returns need to be filed tomorrow. Michelle Bachtel with H&R Block says you have options if you owe and are not able to pay. She adds the most important thing is not to panic

“If you can’t pay the full amount by April 15, just pay what as much as you can,” Bachtel said. “Even though interest will accrue on the amount owed, you’re not going to be arrested, and they’re not going to come knock on your door and seize your home.” Continue reading