Valpo Man Tells Judge He Wants to Remain Jailed

Jul 29, 2021

VALPARAISO - A Valparaiso man, who is accused of posting a threat of a mass killing on social media, told the judge he wants to remain behind bars.

The "Times" reports 50 year-old Brian Kelly, told the judge Thursday morning he wants to remain locked up because he is a danger to society.  

Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish upheld the current bond of $5,500 cash, but told Kelly he can opt not to post bond and remain behind bars.  Kelly faces two felony counts of intimidation. The most serious charge refers to committing terrorism.

Valparaiso Community Schools

VALPARAISO - Valparaiso Community Schools board meeting Thursday was postponed after 25 people showed up without masks and refused to put them on even when they were asked to.

The "Times" reports the school board moved the meeting to Wednesday and set it up as a virtual event.

The district sent out an agenda Monday morning that said the meeting would be held virtually in accordance with the state's public health emergency in place until May 31.

The agenda for Wednesday's meeting is largely the same as last week's with the addition of a school nutrition update.

The districts Return to Learn plan, which currently outlines in-person school five days a week with the option for students who wish to remain virtual to enroll in EdOptions Academy through Edmentum, is on the agenda for board consideration.

Public comments can be made by filling out an online form and submissions will be accepted until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Anyone who wishes to watch the meeting can do so through livestream or can watch after on the VCS YouTube channel.

Body Found in Snowbank in Valparaiso

Feb 17, 2021

VALPARAISO - Police say a man has been found dead in a snowbank in Valparaiso following this week’s snowstorm.  He has been identified, but the Porter County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it cannot release his name or provide other information about him until his family is notified. The department says the case remains an “open investigation.” Porter County Coroner Cyndi Dykes says a Valparaiso property owner found the man’s body Tuesday evening in a snowbank, and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.


HAMMOND-A former Wheeler High School Teacher has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for collecting nude pictures of female high school students.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gary Bell says 32 year-old Brian Kunze of Valparaiso, received the sentence on Tuesday from United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon after pleading guilty plea to receiving child pornography.

The 12-year sentence, will be followed by 10 years of supervised release and Kunze is ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to each of the identified victims, for a total of $30,000.

PORTER COUNTY - A county judge cited a conflict, but didn't elaborate on what it was, in his decision to decline on hearing a civil dispute over a local affordable housing project.

The "Times" reports Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish, who took over for retired Judge Roger Bradford, said in his order of recusal that the two sides in the dispute have seven days to agree on a new judge or a special judge will be appointed.

The case is JJD Properties versus Valparaiso Board of Zoning Appeals, Housing Opportunities and Neighbors Corp.

Rebecca Thiele / IPB News

Energy prices in states surrounding Indiana are expected to go up — which could make Indiana more attractive to businesses. That’s according to a new study released by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. It comes just a few weeks after a legislative task force finalized its recommendations for a statewide energy plan. 

Brock Turner / WTIU

A task force charged with developing a statewide energy plan voted to pass its final recommendations to the Indiana legislature on Thursday. Its report suggests lawmakers determine how the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission can ensure reliable electricity.

Blythe's Sport Shop logo

NORTHWEST INDIANA - It appears more people in Northwest Indiana are buying ammo at a much higher and faster rate.  

Kyle Goranson, Chief Operating Officer of Blythe's Sport Shops told the "Times," there has also been an increase of first-time gun buyers.

Customers rushed in first thing to Blythe's in Valparaiso and Griffith and bought up 80,000 rounds of 9mm ammo in 30 minutes on Tuesday.

The shipment had reportedly just arrived the night before.  When ammo shipments arrive at the stores, word spreads quickly through Facebook and by email, according to Goranson. /

VALPARAISO - It will likely be the end of October when the city of Valparaiso will know what will be done with the property on which the old W hite House Restaurant once stood.

Brandon Dickinson, Director of Redevelopment for the city of Valparaiso, says it's likely that multi family units, Brownstones, similar to what one would see in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago will built.

City of Valparaiso / City of Valparaiso

VALPARAISO- The once-grand and still historic Valparaiso mansion, known most recently as the White House restaurant, is set for demolition on Monday.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson spoke with Brandon Dickinson, the Director of Redevelopment for the city of Valparaiso, about the history of the building, why it's coming down and the future plans for the property

city of Valparaiso

VALPARAISO - The once-grand and still historic Valparaiso mansion, known most recently as the White House restaurant, is coming down.

The building will be demolished next week after falling into decades of disrepair.

Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy said in a city news release that while it’s sad to see the building go, it has been equally sad to see it so long neglected.

Murphy says as the city and its citizens fondly remember the Valparaiso landmark, we also look forward to seeing new energy at this important corner of Valparaiso’s downtown.

city of Valparaiso

The City of Valparaiso is helping to launch a new nonprofit organization created to assist qualifying homeowners in maintaining their homes.

Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy says Home Team Valpo is a way for the city and others to come together to help families make their homes safer and more  comfortable.  In partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Porter County, Home Team Valpo will be city-inspired and volunteer-driven.  Home Team Valpo will be about lifting up individuals and neighborhoods, improving quality of life, one home at a time, according to Murphy.  

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.

VALPARAISO - A Valparaiso resale shop seems to be slowly back on the upswing, after thieves stole merchandise from collection bins behind the alley in early June.  

Presbyterian Resale Shops is reportedly now experiencing more donations and fewer thefts.  Store manager Pam Skaltsas told the "Times" thefts have decreased and donations have doubled.

The shop also acquired new cameras with an app that contacts her or others from the shop when someone is illegally taking items from the bins. The store employees then can contact police.

Plans are in the works at the Valparaiso Parks Department to bring back adult and youth sports leagues.  They were canceled due to COVID-19.  The details of how the department is going to keep it safe are still being worked out but it's already been established that the traditional post-game handshake is canceled.

The "Times" reports there was a conference call scheduled Tuesday with park officials across the state to discuss how to safely proceed.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box is reminding Hoosiers of the importance of following COVID-19 safety precautions as “Stay-At-Home” restrictions are lifted across the state.

Map provided by Governor Holcomb's office

Indiana officials announced a partnership Tuesday that will dramatically expand the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity.

Welcome Project Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University

VALPARAISO, Ind. (The Times) — Valparaiso University has laid off 200 employees and has cut the salaries of others to save money during the coronavirus pandemic.


VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana judge declined to release a pregnant inmate from jail after her mother pleaded to keep her locked up, saying her daughter's history of substance abuse threatens the life of her unborn child.

Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer denied release on Wednesday for 29-year-old Alysha Ramos after her mother warned that releasing her would put her pregnancy at risk.

VALPARAISO - The Valparaiso Police Department is upping its Care Assistance and Referral Program (CARE)  to help anyone, especially senior citizens who may be vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

Sergeant Joe Hall, Commander of Support Services with Valparaiso PD, says the program is offered year-round and is normally used when the weather is at extreme temperatures, but now it's being engaged until life returns to normal after the Coronavirus crisis.

John Watkins / NWI Times

Lakeshore Public Radio, in partnership with the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, and the League of Women Voters of Porter County, hosted the 2019 City of Valparaiso Mayoral Forum, on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at the Valparaiso Memorial Opera House.

Let's Eat: Radius

Sep 13, 2019

Join Chef Nick as he chats with the lovely family over at Radius as he enjoys some great comfort food and great drinks on this edition of "Let's Eat"

Valparaiso University

VALPARAISO - President of Valparaiso University Mark Heckler is setting his sights on gaining a successor to replace him.  Heckler has been president of VU for more than a decade.  

According to the Valparaiso University website, Heckler announced on Thursday his recommendation to the Board of Directors that it begin the search process to identify the next President of Valparaiso University.

Maximilian Kwiatkowski / The Times

 On this edition of the podcast you'll hear the latest on the search for emergency housing for several residents of an apartment building in Valparaiso, the Hard Rock Casino is coming to Gary, Brandon Smith on Attorney General Curtis Hill's latest attempts to block a federal lawsuit against him, and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Donna Stuckert of the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction. All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”… 

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana midwife accused of practicing without a license has been ordered to cease her work following a lawsuit by the state in the wake of the death of an unborn child.

The Times reports Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper ruled Monday on an injunction involving Julie Lentz. She appeared without an attorney and said little on her own behalf at the hearing.

This edition of "MIDWEST BEAT with Tom Lounges" was originally aired on 89.1FM - Lakeshore Public Radio on March 8, 2019.

MUSICAL GUEST:  JIM BABJAK of   The Smithereens

17-year-old charged with murder in 2 Porter County deaths

Mar 5, 2019

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A 17-year-old Indiana youth faces murder charges for allegedly killing two other teens in what police say an informant told them was a drug deal gone bad.

Porter County prosecutors say Connor R. Kerner of Valparaiso is charged as an adult in the deaths of 18-year-old Thomas Grill of Cedar Lake and 19-year-old Molley Lanham of St. John. He was ordered held without bond Monday after preliminary not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a 13-year-old Indiana boy is charged with intimidation after he told Apple's digital assistant Siri that he planned a school shooting and posted an iPhone screenshot of the response on social media as an apparent joke.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Democrats picked up at least one seat in this week's elections even as they waited Thursday for additional results that could break the chamber's long-running Republican supermajority.

Republicans have held supermajorities of more than two-thirds in both the state House and the Senate since the 2012 election, allowing them to pass bills even if all Democrats boycotted votes. Democrats needed to pick up eight seats in the Senate to break its GOP supermajority, but got only one.

Valparaiso University / Provided

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Valparaiso University officials say the northwestern Indiana college will shutter its financially struggling law school after nearly 140 years.

School officials say students, faculty and staff were informed Monday of Friday's decision by the school's board of directors to teach out the law school's remaining students and cease operations.