Bikes are a great idea, but is there another way?

I've got a much better idea than throwing away $250,000 of local tax money on an outside outfit to provide bicycles to pedestrians in downtown Michigan City. Why not subsidize local bike start-ups to rent out bikes to anyone who wants one? The bikes need not be new, just well tended and serviceable. Local young people can be trained as bike mechanics, a skill which will only increases in demand. Funds will be recycled into our own community.

Bikes are a great idea, but especially because they are needed within a limited area (for tourists that means the lakefront), this is a service that can be provided locally. Grants and subsidies can offset costs for insurance and training costs. Heck, $250,000 could pay for a whole lot of brand new bikes and infrastructure to rent, insure and care for them.

Heidi Vardeman


Michigan City


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

It is April and the days are getting longer and warmer. The birds are singing outside our window and we hear the sound of children again outside playing. April is also when we see blue ribbons and pinwheels around our community.

In 1983, April was designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, as a time set aside to remind us that not every child has a safe home or a bed to sleep in at night. In 2016 in La Porte County, 373 children received a visit from a caseworker from the Department of Child Services – more than one per day.

One 2-month-old was brought to the ER because of vomiting and was found to be extremely malnourished; a sibling group of four called 911 when they could not wake their mother due to an overdose of pills and alcohol; one young man ran from home several times before finally telling someone he was being severely physically abused; one small three-year-old boy was found wondering alone in the street in November; and one infant was born pre-maturely due to mother’s continued use of heroin and cocaine.

For each of these cases and all of the 373 children, intervention began with a call to the Child Abuse Hotline (800-800-5556). This call may save a child’s life and provide parents with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children. You can be the person who changes the future for a child by making that anonymous call.

Once these children are placed in foster care they will be appointed a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer who will be their voice and be that one constant for the child in a time of chaos. There are over 100 children waiting for a volunteer – you can be their voice. For more information, go to or call 219-324-3385.

Karen Biernacki, CEO

Family Advocates


Blood drive set for May 6

The Free and Accepted Masons Excelsior Lodge #41, celebrating 179 years of Freemasonry in La Porte, is teaming up with the American Red Cross for its annual blood drive.

The drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6, on the third floor of the Masonic Lodge, 820 Jefferson Ave., La Porte. To schedule a time to donate, call 1-800-REDCROSS or email

This is a lifesaving partnership and it feels good to be part of neighbors helping neighbors in the time of need and helping to promote a cause that saves millions of lives each year.

Donating blood is a meaningful way to volunteer in the community. Each donation can save as many as three lives. The American Red Cross empowers ordinary people from every walk of life to perform extraordinary acts of service, but they share one thing: a generous spirit, a desire to give back to their community and help others.

Summer is a difficult time to collect blood to meet patients' needs. Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with type O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.

To give, blood donors must be at least 17 years old, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. A valid for of identification must be presented to donate.

Refreshments will be available to donors.

Joseph H. Villarreal

Worshipful Master — Excelsior Lodge #41

La Porte


Thanks for lunch donations

The Senior Adult Ministry wants to thank Galveston Steakhouse and Domino's Pizza for their generous donations toward the lunch we had for the Social and Learning Institute. The donations helped to make our annual event even more special and tasty.

SAM group

Michigan City Christian Church

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