LP man sentenced to 60 months in prison

SOUTH BEND – Mario Ward II, 23, of La Porte, was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. upon his plea of guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch. 

Ward was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. 

According to documents in this case, in July 2018, Ward possessed a firearm after being convicted of a felony offense.  

Ward was in a car that led police on a high speed chase while he had a stolen 9 millimeter firearm. The car crashed in a residential neighborhood, after which a second stolen 9 millimeter firearm was found in the car as well as over 50 grams of marijuana. 

While criminal charges from that incident were pending, Ward was released under court supervision. While on release, investigators went to arrest Ward at his home for a pre-trial release violation. During that arrest, investigators found a firearm that Ward admitting to handling as well as over 50 grams of marijuana and over $1,000.00 cash.

This case was investigated by ATF with assistance from the Michigan City Police Department, La Porte County Drug Task Force and US Marshals Fugitive Apprehension Street Team. The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly E Donnelly.

Federal grant for South Shore freight line

MICHIGAN CITY — The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant to improve railroad safety in La Porte County.

The $2,831,705 grant has been awarded to the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad to upgrade 7.5 miles of rail between Michigan City and La Porte. According to the project description, it will replace the existing 90-pound track with 115-pound track to improve the reliability and efficiency.

“Rail safety is of paramount concern to residents in La Porte County and throughout Northwest Indiana, and I congratulate the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad for successfully identifying and utilizing this federal grant program,” U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky said. U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski added, “A safe and reliable rail system plays a critical role in driving our economy and making our region attractive to job creators. This important investment will upgrade our local rail infrastructure to help businesses transport goods more efficiently and to make our communities safer.”

Todd Bjornstad, president of the railroad, said, “By making these improvements to our track, we will be able to enhance the safety and reliability of the service we provide to our customers. This project will also ensure we have the ability to meet future business growth needs in La Porte County.”

Nominations open for Leadership NWI

PORTAGE — Nominations are now open for Purdue University Northwest’s Leadership Northwest Indiana program, which has more than 1,400 successful graduates over its 30-year history.

The expanded program now works closely with leadership experts in the PNW School of Business and other university leaders to apply expertise and resources to improve the development program, designed for emerging leaders and others across the region ready to invest in their professional development.

The LNI program is designed to teach leadership skills and encourage personal growth through rigorous skill building, regional and national leadership topics, and hands-on learning activities. The nomination and application forms can be found at pnw.edu/leadership-institute. The program is conducted at the PNW Portage facility one day a month for 12 months.

For more information, email leadershipinstitute@pnw.edu or call (219) 989-2802.

New subdivision on planners' agenda 

La PORTE – The La Porte County Plan Commission will meet on  June 25, with a proposed subdivision in Coolspring Township on the agenda.

Pritz Family LLC has petitioned the commission to subdivide a 16.4-acre parcel around 8202 W. Pahs Road into a 27-lot subdivision. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Meeting Room 3 at the La Porte County Complex. 

United Way golf outing slated

MICHIGAN CITY – Tickets are now available for the 15th Annual Golf Outing benefitting the United Way of La Porte County, which will be held Aug. 12, at Pottawattomie Country Club, 1900 Springland Ave., Michigan City.

Registration and lunch begins at 11 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon, and prime rib dinner and awards ceremony at 5 p.m. 

Cost for a foursome is $900, which includes golf, cart, lunch by Blue Chip Casino, dinner, games, prizes, water and soft drinks, food and beverage sampling booths and hole-in-one contest sponsored by Sauers GMC/Buick. Cost for an individual is $225.

For information or tickets, visit secure.qgiv.com/for/unitedwaylpc/event/74725/ or call (219) 210-3534.

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