Two More Heroin Arrests Made in LaPorte

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Benjamin Heiman
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)
Amber Malstaff


The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office today report the 6th and 7th arrest made in the last two weeks involving heroin.  31 year old Benjamin Heiman was arrested at his home, in the three-hundred block of Niles Street in LaPorte, without incident on an outstanding warrant for two felony counts of dealing heroin.  The Sheriff's Office reports this afternoon LaPorte Police, assisted by the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit, took 29 year old Amber Malstaff into custody, on an outstanding warrant for felony possession of heroin, after a traffic stop was initiated in LaPorte. Malstaff is being held without bond and authorities report additional arrests are anticipated.
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Read more: Two More Heroin Arrests Made in LaPorte


EC Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of Drugs and $12,000

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East Chicago PD
Chief Mark J. Becker, East Chicago, Indiana Police Department today released the following information:
On August 15, 2013 at approximately 5:50pm, a vehicle occupied Timothy Pearson,
34 years of age and Kevin Rhodes, 40 years of age, was curbed by an officer assigned to the department’s recently established “STOP Team”.  The officer had been patrolling the area of Guthrie and Deodar Streets, East Chicago, Indiana when he recognized Pearson to be in the vehicle.  The officer had prior knowledge of the existence of an arrest warrant was on file for Pearson and proceeded to curb the vehicle.
Pearson’s arrest warrant was based on a recent traffic stop made earlier this week, again initiated by a STOP Team officer, who at that time had found him to be in possession of marijuana.  Rhodes was also found to have outstanding arrest warrants on file with East Chicago Police as well as with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Both Pearson and Rhodes are residents of East Chicago.
At the time of the traffic stop last night, as the officer approached the vehicle, he observed a clear plastic bag containing a green leaf like substance, consistent in appearance with that of marijuana, to be sitting on top of the gear shift control.  Both suspects were taken into custody.
As a result of the investigation, STOP Team officers executed a search warrant at 4016 Grand Blvd.  As the officers approached the residence, they noted a strong smell of marijuana, which was detectable from standing outside the residence.
Upon entry into the residence, Adrian Paynes, female, 34 years of age, was found to be present. The ensuing search found approximately 11 pounds of marijuana, two loaded hand guns, over $12,000 in US Currency and several television sets that are suspected to have been stolen from locations yet unknown.  Paynes was taken into custody and is facing related charges.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has joined in the investigation.  A decision will be made in the near future as to perhaps seeking federal charges.
Chief Becker commended the actions of all involved, from those involved in the traffic stops, to the detectives who executed the search warrant.  Becker also stated his gratitude for the assistance provided by the ATF, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.
Additionally, Chief Becker noted that recently area law enforcement agencies have had several discussions as to how to deal with increased murders, gang presence and other types of violent crime.  Those discussions are continuing and new initiatives will soon appear.  Although new ideas and methods are welcome, as is evidenced in this investigation, increasing traffic enforcement is a very basic and effective manner to help reduce the violence the Region has faced.  As of July 1, 2013 the East Chicago Police Department has already exceeded the total traffic stops made for all of 2012.
Research has proven that one of the simplest ways to reduce crime is to stop those who drive poorly. People who commit serious crimes oftentimes make for poor drivers. If we remain aggressive and stop would be criminals for minor traffic issues, we will positively impact our crime rate.  The STOP Team is one such initiative that the department has deployed in furtherance of increasing a very visible police presence in the city.
The STOP Team is an aggressive patrol based initiative that the department initiated in April of this year. Those assigned to the unit are expected to deal with any and all public safety issues that may arise.  Those issues range from dealing with speeding in school zones to dealing with those who would opt to use locations in East Chicago to distribute illegal drugs.   
Through July, over the course of just 3 ½ months, the team has executed nearly 800 traffic stops, made 137 arrests and continue efforts to reach out to the community to gain their trust and assistance in addressing matters such as that described in this release.  The activities of this team coupled with the diligence of all of our officers and support personnel, are very much responsible for the 18% reduction in violent crime during the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.

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Read more: EC Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of Drugs and $12,000


3 Region Students Complete Visclosky Internship

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Visclosky and Ashley Mason
Ashley Mason of Purdue University Calumet with Congressman Pete Visclosky

Three student

s from Northwest Indiana have completed a summer internship at Indiana 1st District Congressman Pete J. Visclosky's Merrillville District Office.    
According to a press release from the congressman's office those students are, Ashley Mason of Lowell, a college student entering her senior year at Purdue University Calumet, Cassidy Schwartz of Munster, a high school student entering her senior year at Munster High School and Sofia Grimsgard of Valparaiso, a high student entering her junior year at Valparaiso High School.

Mason majors in journalism with a minor in political science.  She is a graduate of Lowell Senior High School, class of 2010. According to the release She intends to seek a graduate degree in political science following graduation at Purdue University Calumet.

“I appreciate Ashley’s work in my Merrillville office this summer,” Congressman Visclosky said.  “Her dedication to public service is commendable and I hope that her experience in our office will serve her well in graduate school.”

Schwartz is co-president of the Munster branch of Child Rights and You (CRY) nonprofit organization.  She is also an active member of the National Honor Society and Speech and Debate Team at Munster High.  She plans on pursuing a degree in cognitive neuroscience with a minor in Spanish when she attends college next year. “I appreciate Cassidy’s willingness to take on the responsibility of serving as an intern in my Congressional office.” Congressman Visclosky said. “Throughout her internship, Cassidy’s attitude and high standards proved to be assets to my office. As someone who has dedicated their life to public service, I know these attributes will serve her well in the future.”

Grimsgard is an active member of the Valparaiso High School Student Council, French and Spanish Clubs, as well as the Speech and Debate Team.  She plans on pursuing a degree in political science and/or communications in college.  “Congressman Visclosky defines the term hardworking, so interning for him during this summer has been an absolute pleasure,” said Grimsgard.  “Also, working with the casework staff to serve the constituents of the First Congressional District has been an amazing experience.”

“I appreciate Sofia’s commitment to public service through her participation in my office’s internship program,” said Congressman Visclosky. “Sofia proved to be a valuable asset in our day to day operation and I’m thankful that at her young age she had the willingness to serve in this capacity.  I wish her continued success in all of her future endeavors and I am confident that she will be successful in her academic and professional pursuits.”
Congressman Visclosky offers internships in his district and Washington, D.C. offices throughout the year. 

Intern applicants must be enrolled in high school or college, be eligible to receive school or service organization credit, and are encouraged to have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Visit:

Visclosky and Cassidy Schwartz
Cassidy Schwartz of Munster High School with Congressman Pete Visclosky

Visclosky and Sofia Grimsgard
Sofia Grimsgard of Valparaiso High School with Congressman Pete Visclosky

(photos provided by Congressman Pete Viscosky's office)




Read more: 3 Region Students Complete Visclosky Internship


Martin Charged with Attempted Murder in Standoff

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A 45 year old man who shot at officers and barricaded himself inside his home for nine-hours Wednesday has been charged today with six counts of felony attempted murder, seven counts of felony criminal recklessness and one felony count of aggravated battery. Court documents report Eric Martin, of Porter County's Jackson Township, fired multiple shots from inside the home, located in the three-hundred block of East 1050 North.  On Thursday, a search warrant of the residence was executed and investigators found all the exterior doors had been barricaded from inside and discovered seven spent shell casings, as well as seven locations where the bullets exited the living area of the home.  The incident began after officers went to the residence to question Martin about a complaint of battery by Martin against his father, who also resides at the same residence, and who advised officers his son had punched him, gouged his eyes and cut his neck with a knife.
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Read more: Martin Charged with Attempted Murder in Standoff


Seven Killed in Three Vehicle Crash on I-65

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jasper co crash 1
(Photos Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post)

jasper co crash 2
Seven people, three adults and four children, were killed a fiery three-vehicle crash just before 10pm Thursday night on I-65 near the DeMotte/Roselawn exit.  Indiana State Police Lowell Post report a preliminary investigation revealed a semi pulling a box trailer driven by 55 year old Howard Stratton of Grand Rapids, Michigan, rear-ended a stationary Jeep Cherokee that was stopped in traffic due to a backup caused by an approaching work zone.  The impact ignited a fire which engulfed the Jeep, along with the cab and part of the trailer of the semi that struck the Jeep, and part of a trailer from a semi in front of the Jeep.  Authorities say the Jeep was taken to the Keener Fire Department to make an extrication, where a total of seven bodies were discovered.  Four of the deceased were from Merrillville, while the other three, which included the driver, were from Atlanta, Georgia.  Stratton was hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries, and the driver of the other semi was not injured.  An investigation continues. 
The names of the deceased are being released with permission from Jasper County Coroner Andy Boersman. 
- Amado Mangual, 49,  Merrillville, IN
- Lindsey Williams, 27, Merrillville, IN
- Yazmin Goldman, 5, Merrillville, IN
- Arielle Goldman, 3,  Merrillville, IN
- Jamin Osborne, 5,    Atlanta, GA
- Jasmin Osborne, 7,  Atlanta, GA 
- Yvette Williams, 35,  Atlanta, GA
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Read more: Seven Killed in Three Vehicle Crash on I-65


Fair Numbers Up in the Region

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Now that they're all wrapped up, here's a look-back at fair attendance numbers in the Region....Lake County attendance reportedly topped last year's numbers by more than 12-thousand, for a total of nearly 222-thousand fairgoers for 2013.  In Porter County, Fair Manager Kevin Hannon says overall this year's event beat last year's numbers on many levels, including carnival, midway vendors and grandstand.  Hannon reports an estimated 120-thousand through the gates this year, on par with last year, and gate receipts up 15-percent over 2012.  In La Porte County, attendance numbers were said to be a few percentage points higher than last year.  

Read more: Fair Numbers Up in the Region


Purdue Professor Invents RoboDesk

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Alexander Lo, a researcher in the Purdue Center for Paralysis Research, uses an iPad on the RoboDesk. The RoboDesk is an assistive technology being developed at Purdue University to help people with disabilities use iPads and other mobile devices more easily. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Hoping to foster independence and improve quality of life for the disabled, a Purdue professor has invented “RoboDesk”.  The device is a motorized wheelchair tray that makes it easier to position and remove a tablet or other mobile device without being limited by a table or moving in and out of the chair.  Associate Professor of Engineering Practice Brad Duerstock says it could also be used as a writing surface or meal tray, and allows the user to get through doorways.   

Brad Duerstock, a Purdue University associate professor of engineering practice in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering, is developing the technology and other assistance technologies in the Purdue Institute for Accessible Science. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Duerstock says he hopes to get RoboDesk licensed and manufactured within the next three years.  He also says he hopes the device encourages more people with disabilities to pursue higher education. 

Read more: Purdue Professor Invents RoboDesk


Woman Located 12 Hours After Crash

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In northern Indiana, a woman involved in a crash yesterday afternoon was found late last night, several hours later.   Indiana State Police received a phone call from a distraught husband who wanted to report his wife as missing.  Less than two hours later troopers found the woman still trapped in her car after crashing into a wooded area in northeastern Elkhart County. 
State police initiated a ping service through AT&T in an attempt to locate her cell phone, and after a foot search troopers located the woman in her green 1997 Chevrolet Trail Blazer, which was nearly unnoticeable in a wooded area approximately 30 feet off the road and down an embankment. The woman had been trapped in her SUV since she crashed around 1 p.m. Thursday nearly twelve hours earlier.
She was extricated from her SUV  and transported for lacerations and trauma to her head and face. Police located her cell phone in her pocket and believe she was unable to use it due to her injuries.
It's not known why she drove off the road. The crash investigation is ongoing.

Read more: Woman Located 12 Hours After Crash


PC Residents E Cycle Over 134 Tons

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Statistics from the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County show a lot of people in the area are “e”-cycling. Porter County residents have recycled more than 134-tons of electronics so far this year. Executive Director Therese Davis says the total includes items collected at five sites around Porter County, in addition to the district-sponsored One Stop Drop event at the Expo Center in May  
The State of Indiana passed legislation in 2011, Indiana Code 13-20.5, that prohibits households, public schools and small businesses from mixing unwanted computer monitors, computers, televisions, printers, computer peripherals (such as keyboards and mice), DVD players, video cassette recorders or fax machines with municipal waste that is intended for disposal at a landfill or by burning or incineration.
To insure electronics are diverted from landfills, the district partners with local municipalities to provide opportunities for residents to safely discard their electronics. For example, while the Portage and Valparaiso street departments collect electronics curbside from their residents, the district contracts with Electronic Recyclers International, Inc., to make sure those electronics are recycled.
Other waste haulers around the county will not collect electronics curbside from their customers; however, these residents have convenient drop-off locations available to them provided by the district, including: the Valparaiso compost site, 2150 W. Lincolnway, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the Boone Grove compost site, 546 S. 400 W, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Electronics drop off locations are also available for all Porter County residents at the following street departments: Portage Street Department: 2302 Hamstrom Road, 762-4564; Valparaiso Public Works: 406 Don Hovey Drive, 462-4612; Porter Street Department: 550 Beam Street, 926-2771. Residents should call the departments to determine hours and accessibility.
Anything that has an electrical cord or is powered by batteries is accepted at these sites.
Many components of electronics are considered hazardous, including computer monitors and television screens.  Electronics contain heavy metals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium that can be harmful if released into the environment. For more information on the hazards of electrics and the benefits of proper disposal and recycling, visit:
“Recycling electronics ensures these materials are safely managed, and valuable materials such as steel, glass, and plastic, as well as precious metals such as copper, gold, tin, silicon, and aluminum are reclaimed for the manufacturing of new products,” Davis said. “Reusing and recycling raw materials from electronic waste conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution.”
For more information on electronics recycling in Porter County, call the district, 465-3694, or visit . Best Buy locations also accept electronics for recycling. Visit 
To hear our Region Newsmakers interview with Therese Davis and Donna Stuckert, Public Education Coordinator for the district, visit regionnewsteam-dot-com

Read more: PC Residents E Cycle Over 134 Tons


At Least Two Killed in I-65 Crash

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Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say at least two people were killed in a fiery three-vehicle crash that shut down northbound I-65 near the DeMotte/Roselawn exit last night near mile marker 230. Due to the severity of damage to a Jeep that was struck from behind by one semi, pushing it into the back of another, investigators say they have yet to determine the number of casualties inside. The Jeep has been taken to a secure location so emergency personnel can extricate victims. Police say at least two bodies were observed in the wreckage at the crash scene. Troopers say a preliminary investigation shows the first semi and the Jeep stopped due to traffic backup from an approaching work zone, when the Jeep was rear-ended by the second semi, igniting a fire that engulfed the Jeep and part of both semis. Northbound lanes were closed from shortly before 10-o'clock last night until about 6:30 this morning.

Read more: At Least Two Killed in I-65 Crash


Fatal Crash on NB I-65

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Indiana State Police say a fatal accident involving two semis and a third vehicle has had all lanes blocked on northbound I-65 near Demotte/Roselawn, at mile marker 231.  The crash happened around 10-o'clock last night.


Read more: Fatal Crash on NB I-65


TradeWinds' Kids Run to Support Animals

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ColorRun.Group Celebration
(Photo Courtesy of TradeWinds)

A group of children participating in the TradeWinds Summer Camp program heard about the sad plight of animals on “death row” at Gary Animal Control and decided to do something about it.  Friday, August 9th, the youngsters, ranging in age from age 5 to 18, took part in the first ever “Color Run”.
The children pledged to run for donations of food, pet supplies and blankets to be delivered to the Gary Animal Control Facility in the hope of prolonging the lives of the abandoned animals until they can be fostered and eventually adopted.  Both TradeWinds Staff and the summer campers have been busy collecting donations for the ten-lap run.  At the completion of each lap runners were  splashed with a non-toxic paint.
TradeWinds’ Director of Programs Lisa Previs said that community awareness and involvement is one of the hallmarks of the TradeWinds’ children’s programs.  “Despite their own special needs, these children are looking outward and making a difference – literally a life and death difference—on behalf of these unfortunate animals.  It’s their hope that their time, talent and compassion will save the lives of the dogs and cats until they can be placed in safe and loving homes.”
Children attending the TradeWinds Summer program come to camp with various abilities and disabilities.  “Tolerance and acceptance of one another is the one of the fundamental keys of the program,” said Previs, “and thinking about and caring for others is a very important life lesson.”
The fundraiser took place at TradeWinds’ main center in Gary, IN. TradeWinds is a non-profit agency that supports children and adults with disabilities whose mission is “Serving people with special needs by empowering them to realize their full potential.”  For more information visit  
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Read more: TradeWinds' Kids Run to Support Animals


Reminder: Watch for Children and School Buses

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school bus dangerzone
Many schools in the region and across the state have already begun, which is why Indiana State Police are reminding motorists to watch out for children in school zones and waiting to board buses, especially in the early morning hours.  Motorists are also reminded that whenever a school bus arm is extended that you are required by law to stop. State Police want to remind parents to emphasize the danger zone immediately surrounding the school bus and to encourage your children to carry all articles in a back pack or book bag and never chase after dropped items.  Westville Schools are scheduled to begin today with even more slated to start next week. 

Parents should also remind children of these school bus safety tips:
•Wait for the bus in a safe place away from traffic.
•No horseplay at the bus stop.
•Wait until the bus and other traffic comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus.
•When on the bus remain seated and talk quietly so the driver will not be distracted.

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Read more: Reminder: Watch for Children and School Buses


Police Seeking Vehicles Alledgedly Involved in Shooting

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Police in Merrillville are seeking the public's help in locating a vehicle believed to be involved in a shooting that took place this afternoon.  Authorities report officers were dispatched to 58th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street around 4pm.  Anyone who may have witnessed a maroon van and a silver Dodge Durango in the vicinity of that area around that time is asked to please contact the Merillville Police Department.  At last check there were no reports of any injuries.
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Read more: Police Seeking Vehicles Alledgedly Involved in Shooting


SR 312 Closure in EC for Rail Crossing Repair

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Indot Logo color
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of State Road 312 at the railroad crossing in East Chicago between Huish Drive and Grasselli Street beginning Monday, August 19th through Friday, August 23rd. Crews will be repairing the railroad crossing.
A detour will take eastbound SR 312 traffic north on U.S. 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), east on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on SR 912 (Cline Ave), and back to SR 312. Westbound SR 312 traffic will be detoured north on SR 912 (Cline Ave), west on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on US 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), and back to SR 312.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, “like us” at and “follow us” at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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Read more: SR 312 Closure in EC for Rail Crossing Repair


LMMSDC Elects Officers

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A commission charged with developing a comprehensive environmental master plan for redevelopment and development within the Lake Michigan corridor elected its officers today.  The Lake Michigan Marina and Shoreline Development Commission met at the NIRPC building in Portage and during the meeting elected Michael Kuss, manager of the Michigan City Sanitary District representing the Mayor of Michigan City, Chairman. Anthony Copeland, Mayor of East Chicago, was elected Vice Chairman, and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary was elected Treasurer.
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Read more: LMMSDC Elects Officers


Hammond PD Hires Four New Officers

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new hammond officers
(Photo Courtesy of the Hammond Police Department)

The Hammond Police Department welcomed four new officers to the force today.  Chief Brian Miller reports all four are current sworn police officers that were serving on different departments. The new officers are Gabriel Nava and Michael Rivera, both formerly of the East Chicago Police Department, Albert Hulitt formerly of the Gary Police Department, and Thomas Uszakow formerly of the Munster Police Deaprtment.  Chief Miller says his department is very fortunate to have these four officers, who each bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience, and will be in their Field Officer Training Program in the next few weeks. 
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Read more: Hammond PD Hires Four New Officers


Martin to be Charged Friday

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porter co sheriff dept
The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports charges will be signed tomorrow against a 45 year old Jackson Township man who barricaded himself inside his home for nine-hours Wednesday.   Police say the incident began when officers went to Eric Martin's home, on County Road 1050 North, to investigate an alleged battery by Martin against his father.   Authorities say Martin was eventually subdued by hard foam beanbag rounds.

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Read more: Martin to be Charged Friday


Charges Filed Against Man Who Claimed to be Shot

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portage pd
Police report false informing charges have been filed against a 33 year old man who claimed he was shot outside of his vehicle, at a gas station on US 6 and Swanson Road late Saturday afternoon.  The Times reports Portage Police investigated the incident, and determined the man was accidentally shot at a Portage residence by another person who was handling the gun.  Charges have been forwarded to the prosecutor's office for review, but no charges have been filed against the man who shot him.

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Read more: Charges Filed Against Man Who Claimed to be Shot


Record Enrollment at La Lumiere School

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La Lumiere School
La Porte, Ind. – August 14, 2013 – La Lumiere School began its 50th Anniversary year Sunday, August 11 with 216 students, the largest opening day enrollment in school history.  The student body is comprised of a diverse group of day and boarding students.  Day students come from as far east as South Haven, MI, and as far west as Schererville.  Boarding students choose La Lumiere from 10 countries and eight states.  Countries represented among the current student body include Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Egypt, Grand Bahamas, Japan, Korea and Panama. States represented include Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.
La Lumiere School is pleased to announce the further development of the School’s academic Areas of Excellence, as well as new program offerings for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond.  The Areas of Excellence strategy provides an intensive educational experience for our students in critical subjects.  Among the first academic Areas of Excellence are 21st Century Math & Science and Global Studies.  La Lumiere’s recent efforts to develop Areas of Excellence have driven the national and international recruitment and hiring of several new teaching faculty.
About La Lumiere School
La Lumiere School is a co-educational, independent boarding and day secondary school providing a college-preparatory education based in character, scholarship and faith.  Our rigorous education, personal relationships, and focus on values create a rich learning environment for students.  They are known by faculty, staff and other students from all grades.  This familiarity enables our students to make lasting connections, engage in academics, participate socially and define their paths.  Founded in the Catholic tradition in 1963, the student body consists of over 200 students from a rich diversity of backgrounds. It is situated on a beautiful rural estate, 25 miles west of South Bend, 60 miles east of Chicago, and 8 miles from both La Porte and New Buffalo. La Lumiere School is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA).
More information about La Lumiere School can be found at

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Read more: Record Enrollment at La Lumiere School


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Region News Team
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