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In brief

Emergency sewer work at U.S. 20 and Ohio

MICHIGAN CITY — Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, Michigan City Sanitary District contractor Woodruff and Sons will be performing emergency sewer repairs to pavement around manholes at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Ohio Street. Northbound Ohio at U.S. 20 and the eastbound driving lane of U.S. 20 at Ohio will be closed until repairs are completed. Southbound Ohio will remain open. The work is expected to be completed by 3 p.m.

Pancake breakfast at LP Legion

La PORTE — American Legion Post 83 at 228 E. Lincoln Way in La Porte will host a pancake breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 21, from 7-11 a.m. The menu will feature blueberry and regular pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and scrambled eggs.

Cost is $8 for adults and carryout, $7 for seniors, $5 for children 5-12, $5 for our police, fire and EMS personnel; and free for children under 5. For more information, call Kathy at 219-380-9383.

NICTD Board to conduct two meetings

CHESTERTON — The Board of Trustees of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will meet in executive session at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 22, in the Board Room of the Administrative Offices at 33 E. U.S. 12 in Chesterton, Indiana. The meeting is to discuss litigation, collective bargaining, and the purchase or lease of property. Following the closed meeting, the board will conduct its regular public meeting at 10:30 a.m., with masks and social distancing required. The meeting will also be available via Zoom using ID 85324094064 and password 213338.

Mayor calls workshop on ARP funds

MICHIGAN CITY — Mayor Duane Parry has called a workshop for City Council members, the city controller and department heads at 5 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 100 East Michigan Blvd. It will also be hosted by Zoom and stream live on the My Michigan City page on Facebook. The workshop is to discuss future plans for ARP money with Baker Tilly representatives. To access the meeting electronically, use ID 88152024349 and passcode 931843.

LP County Council to meet

La PORTE — The La Porte County Council will meet at 6 p.m Monday in the Assembly Room of the County Complex at 809 State St. in La Porte. The agenda includes discussion and vote on the 2022 Salary Ordinance, consider of 2021 job evaluations, and funding requests, including $206,000 for Baker Tilly invoices, $496,000 for payment to Browne Macke for use of the temporary courthouse site, $50,000 for elevator repairs, $30,000 for HVAC repairs, $700,000 from ARP for Kingsbury Creek culvert/drainage improvements, and $1.8 million for eight new dump trucks for the Highway Department.

La Porte County Commissioners deny contract for auditor's attorney in dispute over payments

La PORTE — The La Porte County commissioners have rejected a contract for legal representation for the county auditor, who is involved in litigation with the board, and in response, another lawsuit was threatened.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Board of Commissioners denied a contract with Kopka Pinkus Dolan of Crown Point to represent County Auditor Tim Stabosz by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Joe Haney dissenting.

In October the commissioners retained attorney Alan Sirinek to file a mandamus action compelling Stabosz to pay claims owed to county attorney Shaw Friedman. On Oct. 21, Sirinek filed a petition for payment in La Porte County Superior Court 3.

Board president Rich Mrozinski said there were too many questions about the contract as presented.

“I have to agree, the taxpayers are getting hosed over this squabble and it’s not right. I’ll be the friend to the taxpayers this time and say I’m not signing,” he said.

Commissioner Sheila Matias said she had several concerns with the contract. “It’s an open-ended, one-year contract for ‘municipal’ matters. It doesn’t actually talk about the litigation,” she said.

Matias said municipal matters could be any project a city, township or district works on. “It seems to me that is very broad category and should not be in this contract.”

Her second concern was that the attorney would be paid $175 an hour. Attorneys who work for the county, Matias said, do so at a reduced rate of $150 an hour.

“In addition, this contract talks about an additional $100 an hour for the clerks. For example, if you’re going to copy things it would be at the rate of $100 an hour. I’m sure all the county clerks out there wish that was their going rate,” she said.

The contract also referenced a retainer and the county does not have retainers in legal contracts, she said.

Matias also pointed out that Stabosz had already signed a contract with the attorney. “Only county commissioners can sign contracts,” she said.

Stabosz said it was a conditional signature upon the commissioners’ approval. The attorney, he said, has already filed an appearance in court.

“If the commissioners don’t sign this, I’ll pay out of my pocket; we’ll sue the commissioners to order them to pay ... I need to respond here to your case, obviously within a reasonable period of time,” he said.

The auditor agreed the document would need to be modified.

“We obviously have a dispute between two statutory authorities and, unfortunately, if we don’t reach an agreement – Rich and I met together today, which is good – this needs to be dealt with through the courts. Each side needs to be able to have an attorney. I don’t disagree with you that this probably needs to be rephrased,” Stabosz said.

Matias said she was worried about creating a precedent of calling in attorneys every time officials have a dispute.

“The bottom line is, in politics, you need to find a way to get along. Every day in government there are tough and complex issues, and to fight with lawyers duking it out, that’s not the way good politics runs or good government runs,” she said.

She said the best solution would be for the auditor to pay the claims. “Mr. Friedman pays people who work in his office. They’re worried about their paychecks.”

On Nov. 13 Friedman sent an email to County Council members requesting action regarding claims due to Friedman & Associates P.C.

“Several of you who have run small businesses like I do know that once a month you sit down ... going through the bills and cut checks to both employees and various vendors and suppliers. I do it each month ... and this month it appears that rather than pay my five employees ... from ongoing cash flow, I’m going to have to dip into firm savings to pay them because Auditor Stabosz has unlawfully and unethically held up a total of nearly $12,500 in claims that are due my office and is likely to do the same with another one of our ‘miscellaneous non-litigation’ checks due to be cut on the 20th,” Friedman wrote.

He previously said Stabosz withheld $156 from an itemized claim submitted in July, $1,107 from an itemized claim from August, and additional payments of over $11,000 for litigation from September.

However, Commissioner Joe Haney said, according to Indiana Code, commissioners approving claims is one step in a five-step process

“At no point has the State Board of Accounts said the commissioners have the authority to order the auditor to ignore Indiana code. ... The idea that we can order the auditor to ignore state law ... is preposterous,” he said.

“I really think you guys are quite campy in this in saying that you don’t want it to cost taxpayers’ money, but yet you were ready to jump to sue the auditor.”

Gas station robbed at gunpoint on U.S. 20 in Michigan City

MICHIGAN CITY — Police are still searching for an armed suspect who ran away after trying to rob a gas station on U.S. 20 in Michigan City early Thursday.

At about 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 18, officers from Michigan City Police Uniform Patrol Shift 3 responded to the Citgo gas station at 509 E. U.S. 20 (corner of U.S. 20 and Cleveland Avenue) for a report of a robbery in progress, a statement from police said.

Upon arriving, officers learned that an unknown subject, wearing a black coat and armed with a handgun, approached an employee and demanded money, MCPD Sgt. Steve Forker said in the statement.

The subject then ran out of the store and headed south toward Pahs Road on foot, he said. Police did not say if the suspect got any cash from the store.

An immediate search of the area was conducted, but officers were unable to locate the suspect, Forker said.

A witness was interviewed and evidence was collected at the scene. Detectives continue to interview witnesses, search for video surveillance and process evidence.

Officers from the Trail Creek Police Department also responded to the scene.

Additional information will not be released in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, Forker said.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, has additional information, or has video surveillance/cell phone video, should contact Det. Mark Galetti at 219-874-3221, ext. 1088, or mgaletti@emichigancity.com.

Tips can also be made to the MCPD via Facebook, the crime tip hotline at 219-873-1488, or the WeTip Hotline for General Crime or 800-78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon arrest and conviction.

Chester M. Krusinski

Chester M. Krusinski, 91, of Michigan City, Indiana, passed away Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at 10:03 a.m. in Franciscan Health Michigan City.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 1506 Washington St., Michigan City, Indiana, with Rev. Walter Ciesla officiating. Burial will follow in St. Stanislaus Cemetery. Visitation will be from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, 418 Washington St., Michigan City, Indiana, 46360.

He was born Feb. 22, 1930. in South Bend, Indiana, to the late Frank and Mary (Wroblewski) Krusinski.

Surviving is his son, Leonard Krusinski of Michigan City, Indiana.

He was also preceded in death by his wife, Arlene Krusinski; three sisters, Barbara Plamowski, Bernice Krusinski and Virginia Krusinski; and three brothers, Sylvester, Casimir and Leonard Krusinski.

Chester worked as a plumber with the Local Union 210 and served as the Michigan City Plumber Inspector from 1966-1976, and again from 1985-1995. He was a U.S. Army Veteran of the Korean Conflict and a member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, St. Joseph Young Men’s Society, Moose Family Center 980, Parents Without Partners and the American Legion Skwiat Post 451.

Contributions may be made to St. Stanislaus Renaissance Campaign, 1506 Washington St., Michigan City, IN, 46360.

To sign a guest book and leave condolences online visit our website at www.otthaverstock.com.

Mary Beth Watterson

On Friday, Sept. 24, the Lord’s angels carried Mary Beth Watterson’s soul to meet Him and be reunited with her parents.

She was born May 16, 1949, in La Porte to Jim and Helen Reed.

She married the love of her life, Charles Watterson Jr., who survives, on July 3, 1992. They moved to Rutherfordton, North Carolina, in 2019.

Mary Beth and Charlie had a very strong, loving and supportive relationship throughout their years together. They took many trips throughout the United States and loved rock concerts.

Mary Beth has a soul that loves unconditionally. That love was mirrored by the love that affected everyone who ever knew her – all of her family and friends – and she loved to make all of us laugh.

She is survived by her beloved blended family: daughter, Audra (Chuck Watterson) and their children, “Boo” Charles IV and wife Natalie; great-grandchild, Eleanor Ivy (who brought Mary Beth great joy); Jake Watterson and Maddy Watterson; and son, Joe Lewinski (Angela Pearce).

Also, Tim (Melissa) Watterson and their children, Emma, Jared and Grant Watterson; and Ben Watterson and his daughter, Sadie Watterson; and Mary Beth’s brother, Jim (Phoebe) Reed of Mills River, North Carolina; and sister, Janis (Richard) Rosenbaum of Rutherfordton, North Carolina; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family plans a private service and a memorial at later dates.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Hospice of Rutherford County, 374 Hudlow Road, Forest City, NC, 28043.

Condolences may be shared with the family online at www.cutler cares.com.

Phyllis Ann Carty

Phyllis Ann Carty, 91, Michigan City, Indiana, passed away Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at 8:10 a.m. in her home.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church, 606 S. Woodland Ave., Michigan City, Indiana, with Rev. Jordan Fetcko officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday at the Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, 418 Washington St., Michigan City, Indiana.

She was born Dec. 29, 1929, in Coolspring Township, Indiana, to the late George and Anna (Dreyer) Nowatzke. On April 29, 1956, in Michigan City, Indiana, she married Adrian Carty. They celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary before he passed away on October 2009.

Surviving is a stepson, Larry (Maria) Carty; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was also preceded in death by her sister, Joan Iseminger; four brothers, Raymond, Norman, Elmer and Lester Nowatzke; and stepdaughter, Janice Tincher.

Phyllis attended St. Mary’s grade school and high school and graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing, Kankakee, Illinois, in 1951. She worked at Holy Family Hospital in La Porte, Indiana, and later for Dr. Robert Erwin in La Porte for 30 years.

She was a member of Queen of All Saint’s Catholic Church.

Phyllis enjoyed reading, gardening and cooking. She will always be remembered for her sweet and giving nature, her faithfulness to God, her positivity, sense of humor and warm smile, and her love for her family. She touched countless lives with her kindness, compassion and love. She will be deeply missed by so many.

Contributions may be made to the Share Foundation for the Handicapped, PO Box 400, Rolling Prairie, IN, 46371.

To sign a guest book and leave condolences online visit our website at www.otthaverstock.com.

Pedestrian killed on I-94 in Springfield Township near Michigan state line

SPRINGFIELD Twp. — A pedestrian who was struck and killed by a semi truck on I-94 in La Porte County near the Michigan state line on Thursday morning has yet to be identified.

At about 7:16 a.m., Indiana State Police Lowell Dispatch received a call from a trucking company advising them that one of their drivers believed they had struck a pedestrian, a statement from ISP said.

The trucking company initially called at 6:28 a.m., reporting the driver had struck a deer and was waiting at a rest park at the 1-mile marker in Michigan to make a report, Sgt. Ted Bohner said in the statement.

But responding troopers located a pedestrian who was deceased near mile marker 45.5 eastbound near CR-1000N in unincorporated Springfield Township, according to police.

La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson said the victim was a man, but remained unidentified as of early Thursday afternoon.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the red 2012 Volvo semi was eastbound in the right lane when the pedestrian was struck and killed, according to ISP.

The pedestrian was dressed in dark clothing at the time he was hit, according to police.

The right lane of I-94 was shut down for approximately an hour and a half for investigation of the crash.

The driver of the Volvo is cooperating with this investigation, Bohner said, and neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be factors in the incident.

Troopers and the Coroner’s Office continue to investigate to identify the victim and determine the reason he was on the interstate.

Maude McLane is seen pouring punch at the American Associate of University Women Tea for high school graduating girls on June 6, 1961.

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