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Sullair pink compressor raises $32K for ARA Foundation, $21K for Susan G. Komen

MICHIGAN CITY — Sullair has announced its one-of-a-kind, pink 185 Series Tier 4 Final portable air compressor raised $32,500 in the ARA Foundation Charity Auction.

Texas First Rentals of Cibolo, Texas, purchased the pink compressor, which became the highest bid item in the history of the ARA Foundation Charity Auction.

In addition to raising funds for the ARA Foundation, Sullair is making a separate charitable donation to Susan G. Komen Chicago to support breast cancer awareness and research.

Sullair will donate a combined $21,000 to the organization – Sullair is donating $10,000, and 11 authorized distributors teamed up to donate an additional $11,000.

The late Ed McMorrow of Peerless Energy Systems, an Omaha, Nebraska-based authorized Sullair distributor, rallied Sullair channel partners to team up and support Sullair’s efforts for Susan G. Komen Chicago.

The 11 participating distributors include Peerless Energy Systems; Brabazon Pump, Compressor & Vacuum; Diversified Air Systems; AIRITE, Inc.; Metro Air Compressor; Blake & Pendleton; Air Compressor Energy Systems, Inc.; Air Capital Equipment Inc.; CompressAir; Blackhawk Equipment; and Comairco.

“What was most gratifying throughout this campaign was the sense of community created – with our employees, our channel partners, and our neighbors,” said John Randall, president and CEO of Sullair.

“Many employees and channel partners were deeply touched and motivated to join in the cause. We are proud to know this record-setting item will directly benefit both the ARA Foundation and Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research.”

Beth White Carona, executive director of Susan G. Komen, said, “This is corporate social responsibility in action. We are so proud to be a part of the incredible partnership we’ve been able to forge with Sullair this year.

“The money raised by Sullair, its employees and channel partners will stay in our local communities and will impact your families, neighbors and community. This generous donation will work to ensure everyone has equitable access to the care and resources they deserve.”

Before the compressor was shipped to the ARA Show in Las Vegas, Sullair held a signing event at its Michigan City campus. Employees signed the unit with names and notes of encouragement for those fighting breast cancer and memories in honor of those who lost their battle.

The pink canopy was manufactured in-house in the new Sullair Michigan City-based fabrication shop with pink powder coat paint donated by PPG.

Sullair then cut, bent, powder-coated, assembled and installed the pink canopy onto the compressor. The pink Sullair compressor is powered by a 49 hp Perkins 404F-E22T diesel engine and delivers 185 cfm of air at 100 psi.


LP Schools Employee Clinic & Wellness Center opens

The La Porte Community School Corp. Employee Clinic & Wellness Center opened its doors in September, and made it official with a ribbon-cutting event last week. The clinic was established through a partnership between NorthShore Health Centers and LPCSC. Although it has only been open for a short time, the school district has seen an increase of staff members taking advantage of this added wellness benefit, located at the high school. Visit the website at lpcsc.k12.in.us/en-US/lpcsc-clinic-wellness-center -8e5fc290 for more information.


AP
Attorneys make final case to jurors in Ahmaud Arbery's death

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Attorneys made a final push Monday to persuade the jury in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, with the prosecution saying that three white men chased him solely “because he was a Black man running down the street” and defense attorneys repeatedly blaming Arbery for his own death.

In closing arguments, a defense attorney for the man who fired the fatal gunshots said the 25-year-old Arbery was killed as he violently resisted a legal effort to detain him to answer questions about burglaries in a neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick, Georgia.

“It is absolutely, horrifically tragic that this has happened,” attorney Jason Sheffield said. “This is where the law is intertwined with heartache and tragedy. You are allowed to defend yourself.”

The attorneys made their appeals to the disproportionately white jury after 10 days of testimony that concluded last week. Closing arguments were to resume Tuesday. Prosecutors will get the final word because they carry the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after a graphic video of his death leaked online two months later. Though prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged all three men with hate crimes, alleging that they chased and killed Arbery because he was Black.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after spotting him running through their subdivision on Feb. 23, 2020. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded the video of Travis McMichael opening fire as Arbery threw punches and grabbed for his shotgun.

No one was charged in the killing until Bryan’s video leaked and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. All three men are charged with murder and other offenses.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told the jury the defendants had no evidence Arbery committed crimes but instead acted on assumptions based on neighborhood gossip and speculative social media posts.

“They made the decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a Black man running down the street,” Dunikoski said. She added: “They shot and killed him. Not because he was a threat to them but because he wouldn’t stop and talk to them.”

Defense attorneys say the men suspected Arbery had burglarized a house under construction and intended to hold him until police arrived. Security cameras recorded Arbery inside the house five times, but none of the videos showed him stealing or damaging anything.

Dunikoski said the McMichaels and Bryan chased Arbery for five minutes, using their trucks to cut him off, run him off the road and otherwise prevent him from fleeing. She repeated Greg Michael’s words to local police after the shooting that Arbery was “trapped like a rat.”

Bryan recorded Travis McMichael standing with a shotgun outside the driver’s side door of his idling truck when Arbery approched on foot, then ran around the passenger side. They met in front of the truck, which blocked the camera’s view, when Travis McMichael fired the first of three shotgun blasts. The video shows Arbery punching him and grabbing for the gun as two more shots are fired, then Arbery turns to try to run again before falling facedown in the street.

“He chose to fight,” said Laura Hogue, an attorney for Greg McMichael. She said Arbery decided “without any sense of reason to run at a man wielding a shotgun, leaving him with no other alternative but to be placed in a position to kill him.”

Referring to a smiling photo of Arbery the jury had been show at the trial, Hogue told panel: “A beautiful teenager with a broad smile in a crooked baseball cap can go astray ... And years later he can end up creeping into a home that’s not his own, and run away instead of facing the consequences.”

Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, suggested Arbery should have cried for help if he was being chased unjustly.

“Why isn’t he calling out, ‘Hey, somebody call 911! There’s crazy people after me,’” Gough said. “Maybe that’s because Mr. Arbery doesn’t want help.”

Gough said Bryan did not know the McMichaels’ had guns until moments before the shooting. He suggested a higher power guided Bryan to join the pursuit so he could record the shooting on his phone.

“You you can call it karma. You can call it fate. I would call it divine providence,” Gough said. “Somebody is guiding Mr. Bryan, whether it’s a conscious thought process or not. Something is guiding Mr. Bryan down this street to document what’s going on.”

Sheffield, who represents Travis McMichael, said his client never wanted to shoot Arbery but was forced to make a life-or-death decision when Arbery charged at him in front of the truck.

He said residents of Satilla Shores were already nervous amid reports of thefts and suspicious people in the neighborhood. He said Arbery’s frequent visits to the unfinished home made it reasonable to suspect he had stolen items from a boat the home’s owner kept in the doorless garage a short time before he installed the cameras.

Dunikoski noted that Arbery never threatened the McMichaels during the chase, and he carried no weapons.

“You can’t bring a gun to a fistfight. It’s unfair, right?” the prosecutor said.

She said it was Travis McMichael who attacked Arbery – first with his truck, then by pointing a shotgun at him as Arbery ran toward him.

“They can’t claim self-defense under the law because they were the initial, unjustified aggressors,” Dunikoski said, “and they started this.”

Arbery had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles when he was killed.


AP
Chief: No evidence parade-crash suspect knew anyone on route

Toppled chairs line W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

WAUKESHA, Wis. — The SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring 48, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha’s police chief said Monday.

Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said.

Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, had left the site of the domestic disturbance before officers arrived, and was not being chased by police at the time of the crash, according to the chief, who gave no further details on the dispute.

Police said they were drawing up five charges of intentional homicide against Brooks.

He has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster – including one in which he was accused of deliberately running down a woman with his vehicle.

On Sunday, a joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms gave way in an instant to screams and the sight of crumpled bodies as the SUV sped through barricades and struck dancers, musicians and others in the community of 72,000.

The dead were identified as four women ages 52 to 79 and an 81-year-old man. Members of a Dancing Grannies club were among those killed, as was a bank employee.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a “Norman Rockwell-type” event that “became a nightmare.”

“It looked like dummies being thrown in the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took a second to register, like, ‘Is that what we really just saw?’ And then you looked in the road and there were just people laying in the road.”

At least nine patients, most of them children, were listed in critical condition at two hospitals, and seven others were reported in serious condition.

The chief said that while police were not pursuing Brooks before he entered the parade route, an officer did fire a shot to try to stop him but ceased shooting because of the danger to others. Brooks was not injured.

Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case, filed Nov. 5, he is charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery. Records show his $1,000 cash bond was posted on Friday.

In that case, a woman told police that Brooks deliberately ran her over with his vehicle in a gas station parking lot after a fight. She was hospitalized for her injuries.

In the other case, filed in July 2020, Brooks is charged with reckless endangering and illegal possession of a firearm.

His attorney in those cases, Joseph Domask, said he was not representing him in the parade crash.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors’ $1,000 bail recommendation for Brooks was “inappropriately low,” given the charges. The DA’s office said it is investigating the matter.

Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, a former Wisconsin lieutenant governor who is running for governor in 2022, called the killings “yet another avoidable tragedy that occurred because a violent career criminal was allowed to walk free and terrorize our community.”

Brooks is an aspiring rapper. On a YouTube page, a video that has since been removed showed him rapping in front of a red Ford SUV resembling the one at the parade. The rapper uses the name MathBoi Fly on his Twitter and other social media accounts.

The horror of the crash was recorded by the city’s livestream and onlookers’ cellphones. One video shows the moment the SUV broke through the barricades and includes the apparent sound of gunfire.

“It was like a war scene walking through there” afterward, said Ken Walter, who had been riding in the parade in a hot air balloon basket towed on a trailer along with his wife and youngest son. “There were these piles of blankets with cops standing over them that you just knew were bodies.”

Walter said he saw a red SUV careen into view and watched it hit a member of his real estate-agency parade contingent, then barrel straight into members of the Waukesha South High School marching band.

The SUV continued down the parade route. Behind it, people were screaming, running, searching for family and friends and unsure whether they were still in danger, he recalled.

Schneiter said that after sheltering in a store, she emerged to see bodies in the street, along with strollers, chairs, candy and shoes.

Police identified those killed as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Facebook page that its members were “doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade, putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”

Eighteen children ages 3 to 16 were brought to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Drendel, medical director of the emergency department.

They suffered injuries ranging from scrapes on their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries, she said. Six were listed in critical condition.

The Waukesha school district canceled classes Monday and Tuesday and said extra counselors would be on hand for students and staff. The parade’s lineup included cheer, dance and band entries associated with district schools.

The parade, held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade was the 59th one.

Waukesha is about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of all charges in the shooting deaths of two men and the wounding of a third during unrest there in 2020.

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This story has been corrected to show that online court records indicate a Darrell Brooks Jr. faces charges in another case that include second-degree recklessly endangering safety and that bail in a previous case was $1,000, not $500.

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Bauer reported from Madison, Wis., and Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Doug Glass in Minneapolis, Kathleen Foody in Chicago, Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, Bernard Condon in New York and Michael Biesecker in Washington contributed.


Local
Indiana State Police to be out in force over the holiday weekend

BREMEN — This Thanksgiving, travel is expected to rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels. According to AAA, it’s predicted that 48.3 million people will be taking to the roads for the holiday, an 8 percent increase from last year.

Unfortunately, heavier traffic, combined with declining seat belt use and the prevalence of impaired driving, makes this travel period particularly dangerous for road users, according to Sgt. Ted Bohner of the Indiana State Police Bremen District.

In response, ISP is joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state for the Safe Family Travel campaign.

Over the next six weeks, officers will be out in greater numbers to discourage impaired driving and ensure drivers and passengers are properly buckled, Bohner said in a statement from ISP.

The high-visibility patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and will concentrate around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Driving impaired, not wearing a seat belt and speeding are always concerns around this time of year, said Lt. Chad Larsh, Bremen District Commander.

“That’s why we’re increasing patrols and encouraging those traveling to buckle up, drive sober and slow down. It’s better to be late and reach your destination safely, than not at all.”

In Indiana and nationwide, reckless driving incidents remain higher than during pre-pandemic times, Larsh said. As of early October, 683 people have been killed in crashes statewide, which is an 8 percent increase from the same time in 2019, and on pace with 2020 – one of the deadliest years in the past decade.

“With one of the busiest travel periods still ahead, officers will be working to reverse this trend by focusing on impaired and unrestrained driving, two of the main causes behind the rise in fatalities,” he said.

Of the total number of vehicle occupants killed in crashes so far this year, more than 40 percent were not wearing seat belts, Bohner said. Moreover, seat belt use in Indiana declined for the first time in five years from 94.9 percent before the pandemic to 92.9 percent.

“Whether you’re driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours, we’re asking everyone to plan ahead and make safety their top priority,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “Don’t be the reason there’s an empty seat at your table or someone else’s this Thanksgiving.”

ISP reminds motorists that most traffic fatalities can be prevented by taking some simple precautions:

Never drive impaired

Always wear a seat belt

Follow posted speed limits

Avoid distractions

Before consuming alcohol, plan a sober ride home, such as a designated driver or using a ride service or public transportation, McDonald said. Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.

However, impaired driving isn’t the only concern during the holiday season. Winter weather also poses challenges for motorists, and it’s important to be prepared, Bohner said.

Always have an emergency kit in the vehicle with food, water, a phone charger, sand or cat litter, flares or bright LED alternatives, a flashlight and blankets. Keep the vehicle full of gas, and make sure the battery is strong, fluids are at the correct levels and the spare tire is properly inflated.


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