Caesars Entertainment

HAMMOND -  The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) on Thursday amended its order requiring Caesars Entertainment, to sell a third casino asset in the state. As a result, Caesars will continue to own and operate Horseshoe Hammond, Indiana Grand, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, and its three off-track betting locations.

Tom Reeg, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment said in a news release that the company is confident that its continued operating of Horseshoe Hammond is in the best interest of their team members, guests, the Hammond community, and the State of Indiana.


HAMMOND & WESTVILLE - Purdue University Northwest has updated its COVID-19 guidance for its campuses in Hammond and Westville and now vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear face coverings indoors when on campus.

All unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear face coverings while indoors and maintain social distancing, as well as monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, according to a university news release.

Provided by Bob Luakcsek / Northwest Indiana Times

HAMMOND - Wildlife officials have confirmed the presence of a parasitic flatworm in wild swans from Wolf Lake in Hammond.  According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, diagnostic testing was conducted at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mute swans examined by the USGS had fatal infections of an intestinal parasite, Sphaeridiotrema globulus that causes death in many species of waterfowl.  Swans also tested negative for toxic levels of lead.

City of Hammond Facebook page / City of Hammond

HAMMOND - The city of Hammond is incentivizing its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Enrolling in the program is voluntary and results in three days off for those who participate and complete the requirements.

The "Times" reports the program applies to any employee who has already received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Employees who have not been vaccinated have until August 1st to get the shots.

Employees must provide a completed vaccine card and signed affidavit affirming the documentation is true to qualify. The COVID-19 vaccine must be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the complete number of doses must be administered.   

A city of Hammond supervisor or department head must approve the personal days an employee decides to take off and can't cost the city overtime to make up any personnel shortage caused by the participant's absence.

Those who don't wish to participate in the program won't lose anything and will still have their regular personal and vacation days.

The COVID-19 personal days for city of Hammond employees will expire December 31st, 2022.

Purdue University Northwest

HAMMOND, WESTVILLE - Nineteen Purdue University Northwest faculty members will begin the upcoming academic year with promotions, as approved Friday by the Purdue University Board of Trustees. The promotions are effective August 16th.

PNW Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kenneth Holford says
the promoted faculty members demonstrated excellence as scholars and teachers, making important impacts in their chosen fields of study, and serving the university and the community.

Bishop Noll Institute

HAMMOND - For students making the transition from Middle School into High School; Bishop Noll Institute is hosting an entrance exam at 8 a.m. Saturday, January 23 at the school at   1519 Hoffman St. in Hammond.  Lakeshore Public Radio Show Host/Reporter Sharon Jackson talks to Jeff Stur, Bishop Noll's director of admissions, about the test, tuition, student population and diversity at the the longtime Catholic School.

Franciscan Health / Franciscan Health

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Franciscan Health hospitals in Crown Point, Hammond and Michigan City are going to start inoculating health care workers.  

Robert Blaszkiewicz, Communications and Media Relations Specialist for Franciscan Health - Northern Division, says the three Franciscan locations are among the hospitals designated to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

"We have received our initial doses of vaccine," Blaszkiewicz says. "And so we are ready to being vaccinating front line health care workers tomorrow on Friday."  

LAKE COUNTY - Lake County may be getting a new magistrate judge.  

The "Times" reports an Indiana legislative panel is set to decide next week.

Judge Aleksandra Dimitrijevic made her case to the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary for the need for another judge in Lake County Court Division 4.  

Dimitrijevic has a heavily increased workload, which she pointed-out to the committee saying that the judicial workload in her court already increased 40% from 2016 to 2019.

Former Whiting Mayor Pleads Guilty in Court Wednesday

Sep 9, 2020

HAMMOND - Former Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura admitted in court that he looted his campaign donations to gamble and for other personal uses over the last five years.

The "Times" reports Stahura appeared late Wednesday morning before a U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge to formally plead guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

The charges, which were filed last month, could land Stahura in prison.  They also end his long political career which includes decades of public service as a Whiting city councilman and mayor.

During his time as Whiting mayor, Stahura coordinated the revitalization of the city’s downtown retail district and lakeshore recreational area.

The 64-year old Whiting native told the court Wednesday he knew it was illegal to convert re-election campaign funds to his personal use, but did it repeatedly for five years, between 2014 and 2019.

Stahura also admitted to filing a false 2018 federal income tax return that didn’t account for the diverted money from his campaign account, as well as a false 2018 campaign finance disclosure report to the county that overstated his repayment of money he took from his campaign fund.

As part of the plea deal, Stahura agreed to waive his right to a jury trial. He also resigned last week as mayor as part of his deal with U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II  in exchange for Kirsch to recommend Stahura receive leniency.  Kirsch also is opting not to charge Stahura’s wife, Diane, with any involvement in misusing campaign money.

If U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody accepts Stahura’s guilty plea and the plea deal, he will likely sentence Stahura in the first week of December.

UPDATE:  Stahura's attorney Kerry Connor said in a statement sent to Lakeshore Public Radio on Wednesday:

"The full story is that over the years Joe routinely made payments back to his political campaign account, and he returned the vast majority of funds to the account long before he had any inkling that he was being investigated. No city money was ever touched."

United States Department of Justice

HAMMOND - A 41 year-old Schererville man and member of the Latin Kings has been sentenced to 87 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.  

According to a news release from the Department of Justice and the office of U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch, U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon issued the sentence on Monday in Hammond.  As part of his guilty plea, Mark Toney also gets 2 years of supervised release.

Premiere YMCA Could Be Coming to Highland

Aug 13, 2020
Town of Highland / Town of Highland

HIGHLAND/WICKER PARK - YMCA officials are considering building premiere facility in the Wicker Park area of Highland.  

It would be similar in "size and scale" to Crown Point's 120,000 square foot location that was renovated and unveiled last year.

Jay Buckmaster, CEO of Crossroads YMCA, told the "Times" the organization is exploring a $35 million project with stakeholders, including officials with the town of Highland and North Township for a "new regional YMCA."

July 30, 2020: NWI Midday News Update - Stay tuned for the latest on a shooting that left a toddler in critical condition, then one university's plans for admissions this fall, while another region high school moves to e-learning.

It's going to take communication, according to Lieutenant Steve Kellogg, Public Information Officer for the Hammond Police Department, to rebuild a trusting and respectful relationship between the black community and police officers.


Hammond, IN - A mostly peaceful  protest in Hammond, Indiana Tuesday afternoon resulted in  the arrest of one man and police using pepper spray on a crowd of about a hundred young people.

HAMMOND -  Peaceful protests in Hammond over the weekend led to  a larger police intervention on Saturday, after a small group broke-off from the event and headed for 80/94.  Hammond Police Department Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Steve Kellogg says the police action was to protect the safety of all.  

Indianapolis imposes curfew after 2 nights of violence

May 31, 2020
Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star via AP

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis mayor ordered an overnight curfew after two nights of violent protests over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd led to several shootings and widespread downtown damage.

Woman Hits Walmart After Medical Emergency

Apr 16, 2020

HAMMOND - A woman crashed her vehicle into a Walmart in Hammond after having a medical emergency while driving.

The "Times" reports it happened just after 3 p.m., at the location at 1100 Fifth Avenue in Hammond.

The woman was taken to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and did not suffer any major injuries.

No one else was injured in the incident. There was some minor damage to the building but the store remains open.

Provided / Lake County Police Department

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana judge has approved a new attorney for a man who wants to seek a mistrial after being convicted in a sledgehammer attack that wounded another man outside of a school.

A Lake County judge ruled Wednesday that Patrick J. Ross of Hammond will be assigned a new public defender to help him pursue a motion for a mistrial.

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A state senator from northwestern Indiana says he will continue his campaign for governor rather than seek the congressional seat being given up by Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky.

Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary announced Friday he is "firmly committed to becoming the next governor of Indiana and fighting to improve the quality of life of every Hoosier." Melton is one of three candidates for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in the 2020 election.

HOBART - A draft version of a revitalized downtown Hammond was shared Thursday at the annual One Region luncheon at the Avalon Manor in Hobart.

The "Times" reports the organization's President and CEO Leah Konrady led a discussion with nationally known urban planner, Jeff Speck and two former Grand Rapids, Michigan, officials on their experiences with redeveloping downtowns.

HAMMOND - A Hammond woman is making a name for herself in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM field and has been named "Up & Coming Woman of the Year in STEM.

The honoree, Michele Murday, Northwest Indiana Branch Manager for EnviroForeniscs, was chosen by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women's Association.  

Murday, who moved up through the ranks at EnviroForensics in Hammond, plans to help young women who want to get into STEM fields.

excelcenter.org / Goodwill Excel Center

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Certain students in Gary and Hammond who want to get into the IT industry, now have an easier path.  Goodwill LEADS (Learn, Educate, Advance, Develop Students) Inc. has received a $25,000 Legacy Grant for Goodwill's Excel Center, a free, public high school serving students 18 and older.  

Lakeshore Public Radio Show Host Reporter Sharon Jackson spoke with Guy Fisher, Vice President of Mission Advancement for Goodwill Industries about the grant and how it will be used.

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Goodwill LEADS, a non-profit affiliated with Goodwill Industries of Michiana, has received a $25-thousand dollar grant to offer training in Hammond and Gary for entry level IT certifications.

The grant came from Lake County’s Legacy Foundation for The Excel Centers.  

The donation enables the Excel Center to offer training in entry-level IT certifications, such as: CompTIA IT Fundamentals and CIW Social Media Strategist.  


HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — One of two men charged in connection with a rash of copper wire thefts in northwestern Indiana and neighboring Illinois communities has been sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 24-year-old Diquan Ray also was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $114,000 in restitution to Cook County, Illinois; Hammond, Indiana; East Chicago, Indiana; and South Holland, Illinois.

Alleged Latin King member convicted of drug conspiracy

Jul 10, 2019
Lake County Sheriff's Department

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Indiana say an alleged member of the Latin Kings gang has been convicted of conspiracy and racketeering charges in a scheme to distribute illegal drugs.

Jeremiah Farmer of Hammond was convicted Tuesday of being part of a conspiracy that also resulted in the June 1999 beating deaths of 74-year-old Marion Lowry and 67-year-old Harvey Siegers. The men were beaten was a small sledge hammer at Calumet Auto Rebuilders.

2 charged in vandalism of northwestern Indiana church

Jun 3, 2019
Video Still / WGN

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say two men are facing charges after they allegedly ransacked a northwestern Indiana church and left behind painted hate messages.

The Times reports Hammond police announced Saturday that 23-year-old Aaron J. Vanoppens and 22-year-old Nicholas D. Reding were charged with one count each of burglary and institutional criminal mischief. Court records Monday didn't list lawyers for the Hammond men.

Shutdown of road across Indiana-Illinois line irks drivers

May 31, 2019

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — The surprise shutdown of a road across the Indiana-Illinois state line due to deteriorating pavement conditions is irking drivers who use the busy route.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports Hammond, Indiana, on May 24 closed 136th Street, known locally as Boy Scout Road and as 134th Street on the Illinois side.

Police seek suspects in vandalism of NW Indiana church

May 30, 2019
Video Still / WGN

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Northwestern Indiana police are investigating after vandals ransacked a church's interior and left behind painted "hate messages."

Hammond police say Faith United Church of Christ's interior sustained significant damage after an unknown suspect or suspects broke into the Hammond church earlier this week.

An altar, an organ, restrooms, a display case and an office were damaged during the break-in and subsequent vandalism.

Nathan Holth / Historicbridges.org

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana scrap-metal dealer convicted of razing a historic railroad bridge and selling the metal contends he didn't receive a fair trial.

Kenneth Morrison of Whiting, Indiana, is seeking a new trial following his December conviction on a charge of interstate transportation of stolen goods.