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Michigan City man arrested on drug charges

MICHIGAN CITY — Following resident complaints about suspected drug activity at a home on the southeast side, police have arrested a suspect.

Over the past several months, members of the La Porte County Drug Task Force have been receiving complaints of drug activity in the 500 Block of Van Spanje Avenue in Michigan City, according to Lt. Tim Richardson, commander of the Task Force.

Detectives were able to identify and infiltrate an “illegal drug distribution network” operating out of the home, he said.

During the early morning hours Monday, members of the La Porte County Drug Task Force and the MCPD Special Weapons and Tactics Team executed a search warrant at a home on that block, a statement from MCPD said.

Taken into custody was 22-year-old Marvin K. Rainey of Michigan City, police said.

The search of the home turned up suspected cocaine, packaging material, paraphernalia and firearms with high-capacity magazines, according to police.

On Tuesday, La Porte County Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Bergerson found probable cause to charge Rainey with dealing cocaine as a Level 3 felony; dealing cocaine as a Level 4 felony; and dealing cocaine as a Level 5 felony.

Rainey is being held in the La Porte County Jail on a $25,005 cash-only bond. His next scheduled appearance in Superior Court 1 is scheduled for Feb. 18.

MCPD Chief Dion T. Campbell said he “could not be more proud” of the work of the Drug Task Force.

“This unit continues to be dedicated to eradicating illegal drugs, not only in Michigan City, but throughout La Porte County,” the chief said.

Their investigations “have undoubtedly made La Porte County a safer place for its amazing residents.”

The Drug Task Force was assisted in the investigation by La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Elizabeth Boehm.

“The continued success of the La Porte County Drug Task Force is a direct result of the positive working relationship the unit has with its prosecutor’s office and court system,” Richardson said.

“If it were not for this positive working relationship, the detectives within the drug task force would not be able to efficiently and effectively investigate these complex drug-trafficking investigations.”

He asks anyone with information about criminal activity to contact 219-873-1488, or via social media.

New roof installed for shelter for troubled youth in Michigan City

MICHIGAN CITY — Jonathan Hodges, a foreman with R.L. Roofing Service, had been on the job at the Anthony Adams House for hours Monday before he realized fully what he was doing.

“Isn’t this going to be a place for homeless mothers?” he asked, before being informed it will become an emergency shelter for homeless and runaway youth.

“I didn’t realize that,” Hodges said. “I’ve had my own experience with being homeless. I was a ward of the state from the time I was 5 years old. I lived in different foster homes when I was growing up, so I know all about kids being neglected. This really does hit home.”

At the suggestion that he had come full circle and was essentially helping the younger version of himself, he wiped his face and struggled to find the words.

“People like this, people with a heart brought me in,” he managed. “What an opportunity this is for me to give back.”

Likewise, Jason Coleman, another job foreman for the roofing company, said volunteering his time and effort was a “no-brainer” once he heard the cause was a safe haven for some of the city’s most vulnerable youth.

“I used to be one of those kids,” Coleman said. “I started this job when I was 16. I was one of those teens who was at risk; but Rich (Leslie Sr.) gave me a chance, and I’ve been here ever since.”

In fact, a crew of 14 from R.L. Roofing showed up Monday to “give back.”

They tore the roof off the Eastport neighborhood residence, replaced the rotted wood, laid synthetic felt, installed shingles and cleaned up the yard.

“Every person here is donating his time,” said Rich Leslie Jr., vice president of operations at R.L.

“They really stepped up and were extremely excited to do something for the community. They’re not getting paid for this. They’re taking money out of their checks this week just to be able to give back to the community that we all grew up in and love.”

Kevin Hutson, sales team manager at R.L., said that while the roofing company donated all the wood and nails for the project, GAF donated the shingles and most of the other materials needed for the new roof.

La Porte Seamless Gutter supplied new gutters; and City Lanes provided lunch for the workers who volunteered their time and effort.

“The whole community has stepped up to make this a reality,” he said. “And that just goes to show what kind of place Michigan City is. I’ve always loved it here.

“It’s easy to live here and work here and just absorb from the community,” Hutson said. “But we saw this as an opportunity to show that we’re not just another big company that’s trying to soak up all of the resources for ourselves. We thought it would be a nice way to give back.”

Leslie Jr. said because the Michigan City community has supported his family’s business for more than 35 years, the family made the decision to donate their time and resources for one project per year – Anthony Adams House being the first of the annual contributions.

Candice Nelson, founder of the shelter, was overwhelmed at times Monday.

“I can’t even describe how I feel right now,” she said. “It’s a good feeling inside to know that these guys took time out of their day to do this, to help bring this together for me. Words can’t even explain how I feel.”

Nelson said she’d hoped to have the shelter up and running by the end of summer in 2019, but discovered while gutting the interior that the roof had three or four major leaks.

She contacted GAF to price supplies and explained to them her vision, and they recommended she call R.L. Roofing.

Expecting to have a bill of thousands of dollars to pay for her shelter’s new roof, Nelson said she was shocked when they told her it was going to be free.

“I feel so blessed,” she said, shaking her head as she watched the roofers work. “And as I’m blessed, I will be passing it on.”

And now, with the leaky roof out of the way, Nelson looks forward to being able to complete the interior construction and have her shelter open by the end of summer 2020.

According to Nelson, her organization can provide emergency shelter for runaways up to age 18, and homeless youth through age 21.

She said teens fleeing from abuse or neglect need safe places to go to connect with a trusted adult and get referrals for vital services.

But Nelson clarified that although her program is approved under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008, it does not give her the ability to harbor teens who have violated the law or fled from institutions such as a juvenile detention center.

“It’s not a flop house for teens who don’t want to follow the rules at home,” she said. “It’s structured; they’ll have rules here.

“They’ll have to go to school, job search. The goal is to get them back with their families or to get them equipped with the skills they need to be successful in their own place.”

The Anthony Adams House will cooperate with agencies like law enforcement and the Department of Child Services when necessary, said Nelson, who understands firsthand the struggles of her future clients.

“I was a runaway, and if there had been a program like this, who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have gone through everything that I went through,” she said.

“My father was very instrumental in trying to get me to come and stay with him, trying to resolve the issues between my mother and I. But for whatever reason, it just didn’t work.

“So, that’s why I decided to name this after him. When I was going through that, he was the positive force that I needed. When kids go through that, they need to know that they are still loved. My father, he played that role.”

Anthony Adams died unexpectedly in June 2015.

Months prior, he’d told Nelson he had a gift for her, and advised her to do something special with it, as opposed to simply paying bills.

The Anthony Adams House is his legacy, she said.

Although the shelter will not be operational until at least late summer, Nelson said those in need of immediate referrals for services for homeless and runaway youth may contact her at 219-214-6505 or candice.nelson@ aa-house.org.

For more information, visit aa-house.org or “Anthony Adams House” on Facebook.

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Snow on tap before Arctic blast brings coldest temps of year

MICHIGAN CITY — Following a winter storm expected to bring 4-6 inches of snow to Northwest Indiana, a powerful Arctic front will surge south from Canada, bringing the coldest air of the season.

“So far this winter, Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes residents have been able to save a few dollars on heating costs thanks to mild weather, but the heaters will be working overtime later this week,” according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

And as the cold air mass surges southward, it will join forces with a separate storm system Wednesday night in the Midwest, helping to inject a fresh shot of cold air on the back side.

The combination of atmospheric disturbances is expected to bring accumulating snow to places like Chicago, Northwest Indiana, Detroit and Cleveland, Sosnowski said.

As snow continues to fall Thursday morning, school closures and travel delays are possible, he said.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan from noon Wednesday through noon Thursday, with snow possibly creating hazardous road conditions.

The Weather Service is calling for 3-5 inches of snow across the area, with another 1-2 inches of lake-effect snow possible after the main storm passes.

“As the forecast stands right snow, storm total snow of 3 to 5 inches is possible across the area,” NWS said in its forecast discussion. “Confidence on pinpointing locations of higher amounts due to banding is low this far out.”

Lake-effect showers are possible over the course of the day on Thursday, with models showing a persistent band into Friday producing around 1-2 inches of snow, according to NWS.

“For now, Lake and Porter counties are favored for highest overall accumulations through as they appear best in line for lake enhancement Thursday evening, with minor additional snow Thursday night,” NWS said.

Sosnowski said blame open water on the big lake.

“Typically by this time of the season there has been enough cold air to freeze over a larger portion of the Great Lakes, restricting the amount of lake-effect snow that is possible,” he said.

But as of Sunday, total ice cover on the Great Lakes was only 11.4 percent, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory National Ice Center. On the same date last year, more than 50 percent of the Great Lakes had ice coverage, and ice covered more than 60 percent of the lakes in 2018.

“The lack of shelf ice this year is at least partially attributed to the lack of long-duration cold over the region this winter,” Sosnowski said.

Temperatures have ranged from 6-9 degrees above normal from Chicago to Boston since the start of 2020, during what is typically the coldest and snowiest part of the year.

As the snow storm tapers off, the bitter cold will encompass the region later Thursday, and Chicago and Northwest Indiana will likely feel the coldest air of the season so far, Sosnowski said.

Subzero temperatures combined with a brisk north wind will send wind chills plummeting to dangerously cold levels Thursday morning, he said.

“For many areas around the Midwest and Northeast, this air mass will surpass the lowest temperatures of the winter so far by an average of 5-15 degrees, even though the mainly unfrozen waters of the Great Lakes will modify the air slightly,” he said.

“Another result of the Arctic air mass setting up shop across the area Thursday into Friday will be single-digit low temperatures Friday morning and negative wind chill values,” NWS said.

“With the entire area likely to have at least some snow cover, there is a very good and increasing chance that many locations will have their first sub-zero reading of the winter on Friday morning.”

The Arctic air starts to make an exit Friday night into Saturday morning as a clipper system sweeps across the western Great Lakes.

The mild winter is also causing concern for gardeners.

“The mild conditions have created soft bud conditions – a blast of severe cold like that anticipated late this week can kill some of the buds and lead to damage in vineyards and orchards,” Sosnowski said.

The Lake Michigan shoreline could also take another battering, with strong and gusty northwesterly winds developing Thursday and persisting into Thursday evening, with a gradual slackening overnight.

This could build waves into the 8- to 11-foot range, with occasionally higher to 14 feet or so, primarily along the Porter County shore, according to NWS.

“This increased wave action across an already vulnerable region due to ongoing shoreline erosion may result in additional impacts, most notably Thursday afternoon through the evening hours.”

The official Weather Service forecast – as of late Tuesday afternoon – calls for rain and light snow likely after noon Wednesday, becoming all snow in the evening, with a high near 35.

An inch or less of snow is expected through the day and evening, but snow picks up Wednesday night with a low of 27, a 90 percent chance of precipitation and 2-4 inches possible.

Thursday will begin with an 80 percent chance of snow early and lake-effect snow later into Thursday night. The high will be near 31 before temps start to drop, with a low near zero Friday morning.

Friday will be sunny and cold with a high near 17, and temps could again drop into the single digits overnight. Saturday brings a 30 percent chance of snow and a high near 35, while Sunday could see snow and rain with a high near 40.

The President’s Day holiday will see a chance of rain and snow with a high near 43.