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Today's News

LaPorte Officials Evacuate City Block after Suspicious Package Found

A LaPorte city block was evacuated this morning after police found what appeared to be three pipe bombs inside of a box.

LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo informed residents on her Facebook page that the LaPorte Police Department responded to a call of a suspicious package in the 700 block of Philadelphia Street. Once officers determined what was inside the box, the Porter County Bomb Squad and the ATF were notified. Those officers successfully removed the package.

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Nathan VanDerAa to be Sentenced Friday

Nathan VanDerAa

Nathan VanDerAa, of Star City, is expected to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in South Bend on Friday, March 23rd.

He was arrested on two separate occasions in 2011 on various drug charges and police found that he illegally possessed firearms. The Pulaski County Prosecutor filed charges but the ATF took over the investigation. On July 14th, 2011, a Federal Grand Jury in South Bend indicted VanDerAa with two counts of Unlawful User of Controlled Substances in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition and one count of Manufacture of a Controlled Substance.

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Knox Man Sentenced in Federal Court

Taylor Wagers, of Knox, was recently sentenced in U.S. District Court in South Bend on a charge of a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He plead guilty to the federal charge and he was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release.

He will serve 12 months on home detention and fined $100. Wagers was charged in Starke County in December of 2010 after police found that he was on probation on a felony sentence for maintaining a common nuisance and that he in possession of a variety of firearms while living at his residence.

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Nathan VanDerAa Pleads in Federal Court

Nathan VanDerAa

33-year-old Nathan VanDerAa, of Star City, plead guilty before a Federal Magistrate Judge on Thursday, October 20th.

VanDerAa plead guilty to the felony offense of being an Unlawful User of a Controlled Substance in Possession of a Firearm. Sentencing is set for January 27th, 2012. A charge of Manufacture of a Controlled Substance was dropped as part of his plea agreement.

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Brooke’s Trial Continues, Defense Calls Character Witnesses

John Brooke

The trial of John Brooke continued Wednesday morning in Starke Circuit Court. The Prosecution called its first witness of the day to the stand: Starke County Detective Ron Lawson. Lawson testified that he had been called to a shooting incident on Summerholme Drive at Bass Lake and received a briefing from officers on the scene. He also said that he had interviewed John Brooke on three separate interviews to correct or understand discrepancies between interviews with Brooke, Michael Drogosz, and Kimberly Hitchens, who were also involved in the incident.

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