Tag Archives: Michigan

Michigan Man Killed After Abandoning Vehicle, Walking Into Traffic on 80/94

28 Dec interstate 80 94 accident

Gazette Staff

Porter County-A Sawyer, Michigan man was hit and killed early this morning when he stepped in front of an oncoming car on I-94 and was killed.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Jacob Raupp revealed that at approximately 1:15 a.m., this Saturday, December 28, 2013, morning Bradley A. Miner, 36 of Sawyer, Michigan, parked his 1999 Jeep Wrangler on the shoulder of I-94 west bound at the 29 mile marker (this is just east of the I-94 west bound truck scales) for unknown reasons. Miner then left his vehicle with some of his personal belongings inside and stepped out in front of a 2005 Buick LaSabre, driven by a twenty-five (25) year old man from Gary that was traveling in the middle lane.

Miner was struck and pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy with the Porter County Coroner’s Office of massive blunt force trauma. The driver of the Buick was not injured.

The right, middle and entrance ramp to the scales where closed until approximately 4:00 a.m., for reconstruction of the crash, investigation of the circumstances, removal of the deceased and car.

Man Charged in Murder of Former Lowell Resident

27 Dec interstate 80 94 accident

by Ken Davidson

New details are emerging in the December 20, 2013 killing of an Indianapolis area woman and her daughter. Marylyn Erb and Kelley M Erb were found in their Westfield, Indiana home by husband and father Thomas Erb. Marylyn Erb is originally from Lowell, Indiana.

Police arrived on the scene to find that the two women had been bludgeoned to death and their 2011 Buick Enclave had been used as the getaway vehicle. Police reports indicate that credit cards were also taken in the murder robbery and police were able to obtain video footage of an individual in a pontiac grand prix using the credit cards at various stores. The police report states:

It was determined that Chase credit cards were stolen during the home invasion and that those same credit cards were used at several locations during the afternoon hours of December 20, 2013. Video was obtained from several of these locations . . . The video shows a Pontiac Grand Prix pulling into the parking lot of the CVS.:

Police released video clips to the media and later received tips linking Christian Rene Haley to the crimes. An arrest was made and charges were filed in the matter on December 26, 2013. Police also were able to track a cell phone used by Haley to towers near the Erb home.

Those from the region who knew Marylyn Erb may leave their condolences at: http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/Batesville/guestbook.aspx?n=marylyn-erb&pid=168700621

Illinois Says to Indiana: Keep Your Petcoke and Take Ours Too

22 Dec

by Ken Davidson

Hammond corporation George J. Beemsterboer, Inc. is known to many Indiana residents as the operator of the J-Pit in Gary and a contractor at local steel mills and refineries.   As operator of the J-Pit, Beemsterboer has long been known for bringing  waste into the state of Indiana.  Now Beemsterboer is under fire for allegedly moving Petcoke out of Indiana and into Illinois.

Beemsterboer recently entered into an Agreed Interim Order with the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.  According to a release issued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the Order was designed to thwart a serious public health issue:

“The actions we are taking today mark a critical step forward in putting a stop to the
serious public health threat facing the residents that live near these facilities, but we will
continue to push for the strongest possible protections to ensure these conditions can
never happen again here in Chicago and across the state,”

Earlier in the month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel requested that citizens experiencing any problems with petcoke call the City’s 311 number.  Citizens reportedly complained of dust so thick they could not open their windows last summer.

The petcoke which was stored in Illinois by Beemsterboer came from a local refinery.  There are several refineries in the area which produce petcoke including BP in Whiting.  There are also refineries in Joliet and Lemont IL.  The most likely scenario now will be that petcoke from all of these refineries will be stored and shipped somewhere in Indiana or Wisconsin.

Petcoke is a byproduct of petroleum production.  The material is similar to coal in appearance.  The substance has been a byproduct of refining since the 1930’s.  It has become a national issue lately for several reasons.  The sheer quantity of petcoke has grown as local refineries have expanded.  The market for petcoke now lies outside the US, so it is primarily shipped overseas.  China is the main purchaser of petcoke products as many countries no longer allow the burning of petcoke as fuel.   Because shipping is the primary source of transporting the product, petcoke must be stored near water-in this case Lake Michigan or a local tributary.  Conveniently, Beemsterboer announced the purchase of the vacant State Line Energy plant after the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against them seeking to have the product removed from Illinois.  It has been reported that Beemsterboer will develop the State Line Energy site into condominiums.

One thing is clear, Beemsterboer is not storing petcoke in Chicago anymore.  So far officials have been mum as to future plans for storage of the material.

petcoke loaded onto barge in chicago

Petcoke is loaded onto a barge for shipment overseas

petcoke mountain in chicago

Petcoke Mountain on Chicago’s southeast side.

 

 

 

Reader Outlines Concerns Over Illiana

17 Dec

Letter to the Gazette:

On December 12, 2013, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission
(NIRPC) voted to accept the Illiana Toll Road into their 2040 Comprehensive
Regional Plan. By voting the Illiana public/private partnership project into
the regional plan, the NIRPC commissioners are allowing the project to clear
one of the many hurdles in its path. Public comment was not allowed at this
final meeting until after the NIRPC commission members had already voted.
NIRPC Chairman and Crown Point Mayor David Uran stated that three meetings
had been held where public comment was allowed and commission members had
reviewed comments submitted by the public. I have my doubts about how many
of the commission members truly read through the valid arguments against
adding this toll road to the commission’s 2040 plan.
> Besides the environmental impact on the region, which has three major
environmental groups filing lawsuits to stop the Illiana Toll Road, two major
business magazines have had eye-opening columns that explain in great detail
the extreme cost to taxpayers when dealing with privately run toll roads.
Openlands, Sierra Club, and Midewin Heritage Association have taken legal
action to stop the toll road based on the inevitable consequences in areas
such as Des Plaines Conservation Area and Midewin Tallgrass Prarie in
Illinois. Bloomberg News and Crain’s Chicago Business both recently printed
columns exposing the fact that overly-optimistic projections take place in
almost all of these road projects. This has led private road companies to
seek “set” payments from the states instead of accepting any risk that tolls
may not match projections. This is a lose/lose situation for the taxpayer.
You pay the toll and pay the state taxes that also pay the difference of
these exaggerated estimates. This is corporate welfare on steroids!
> Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider let the cat out of the bag in
October of this year when interviewed by Crain’s reporter Greg Hinz. When
people throw around the 28,000 jobs between now and 2043, they are quoting
“job-years”(whatever the heck that means), not total new jobs. The actual
estimate is a possible “940 full-time jobs” created. Forty-seven miles of
road cutting through the most pristine farmland and homesteads, which rely
completely on wells for water, so two governors can create 940 jobs over the
next 30 years. It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn stupid and serious.
> Schneider also completely contradicted Indiana Rep. Ed Soliday’s claim at the
NIRPC meeting that a future Peotone Airport is playing no role in pushing
this project. According to Schneider, traffic projections for Illiana done
by IDOT assumed the Peotone Airport will eventually be built. I would have
told Ed that, but public comment was not allowed.
> At the meeting on the 12th of December, which was conveniently held on a
Thursday at 9:00AM in Portage, Indiana, INDOT Northwest Indiana Chief Bob
Alderman gave an impassioned, nearly 15-minute, speech about how the Illiana
Toll Road will make the Borman and I-65 safer for travel. Really, Mr.
Alderman? You truly believe widening I-65 between U.S. 231 and Route 30 will
make things safe when the toll road will be well south of U.S. 231? You
believe diverting traffic from U.S. 30 and the Borman between 2-percent and
8-percent over the next 30 years is going to make the Borman safe?
> I drove from Hammond to the Portage NIRPC meeting on the Borman in light
traffic and still had to drive ultra-defensively because people were driving
25-miles over the speed limit. How will building a toll road make people on
the Borman drive in a safe manner? Why not widen I-65 up to and south of the
toll road? Unlike what some are reporting in the news, the “widening” of
I-65 is NOT part of the Illiana Toll Road project. It is only being approved
at the same time.
> There is so much misinformation being thrown around in support of this toll
road that it is very hard to decipher truth from fiction at this time. But
what is for certain is that we have the governor of one of the most fiscally
sound state governments in the United States making a deal with one of the
most mismanaged states in the Union. Two major business magazines have
labeled this road a bad investment for Hoosiers. Our water will be
threatened by construction, possible hazardous waste trucking spills, and
distance from Lake Michigan and access to fresh water.
> The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) transportation research group’s
(TRIP) most recent study says that 11% of Indiana bridges are structurally
deficient and 22.5% of our roads are in poor condition. Between Illinois and
Indiana, well more than 100-million dollars has been spent just studying the
feasibility of the Illiana Toll Road. That money could have been better
spent fixing our current roads and bridges instead of creating temporary jobs
to build a road 22-miles south of the Borman.
> If I weren’t 100-percent convinced that the Illiana Toll Road will fail to
provide the estimated tolls or meaningful, permanent jobs, I wouldn’t be so
determined to stop this project. If I were convinced that building this road
would make the Borman, Route 30, or any other road around here safer, I would
be in favor of it. I don’t believe any of that. But don’t listen to me.
Look up the information for yourself. Study the facts about our watershed,
private toll roads, look up comments from Illinois Transportation Secretary
Ann Schneider and others who are not so adamant supporters of this project.
Is the purpose of a toll road to create permanent jobs?
>
Dan Blankenship, Lowell

Submit your letter, comments or thoughts to the Gazette:

Teleka Patrick Still Missing, Vigil Scheduled for Tonight

16 Dec

by Ken Davidson

Indiana and Michigan police continue to search for missing physician Teleka Patrick. Dr. Patrick went missing on December 5 in Kalamazoo, Michigan after being dropped at her car by a friend. The family is now taking to social media to try to find information regarding her whereabouts. Using the hashtag #findteleka, the family has connected with thousands of twitter followers. On the Find Teleka Facebook Page the family has connected with another 4,000 people. The family travelled to Portage and Gary this weekend to drop off flyers at local businesses. Dr. Patrick’s 1997 Lexus ES300 was found on December 5 by an Indiana State trooper. The car was abandoned along the roadside on I-94, just east of the Porter/Burn’s Harbor Exit. When asked what others can do, Dr. Patrick’s father told Fox News ““Keep sharing it. Forward it. Share it. Get the word out. We want everyone to know her face, and know her name.” ( http://fox17online.com/news/stories/missing-kalamazoo-woman-teleka-patrick/#ixzz2ndxUnWhJ )

Dr. Patrick recently finished her dual doctorate degrees in medicine and psychology at Loma Linda University. She was in Michigan to complete a residency program in psychiatry. Dr. Patrick’s father is a pastor in Florida which has rallied the religious community to help find her. The vigil is planned for tonight at 6:00 pm at Trinity Temple SDA Church 1615 East G Ave, Kalamazoo Township, MI 49004.

Teleka Patrick has been missing since dec. 5

Teleka Patrick has been missing since dec. 5

 

teleka patrick

Family Members of Teleka Patrick posted flyers in Portage and Gary this weekend.

Man Charged in Death of One Week Old Child May be Morton Grad

11 Dec

by Ken Davidson

The Gazette received a tip that a 23 year old Michigan man charged with murdering his one week old child is a Hessville native. According to The News-Herald of Michigan, Luis Marco Smolen was charged with First Degree Felony Murder in Taylor, Michigan earlier this week. The charges stem from a call to emergency personnel reporting that the child was not breathing on December 7. The police immediately believed foul play was involved according to the News-Herald. Under Michigan law Smolen faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

A search for Luis Smolen in Hammond, Indiana reveals a birth record in 2009, presumably for another child, and a mention on the Scott Middle School honor roll in 2005 for an 8th grade student. The Gazette has not yet positively confirmed that this Luis Smolen is the individual who graduated from Morton High School. We continue to follow this story and welcome any information from our readers.

Missing Michigan Woman's Car Found in Porter, IN Police Seek Your Help

10 Dec

Gazette Staff

The Indiana State Police and Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department in Michigan are
asking for any assistance in locating Teleka Cassandra Patrick who has been reported
missing since Friday, December 6th, 2013.

Teleka Patrick, 33 of Kalamazoo, Michigan was reported missing on December 6th when
she failed to report for work in Michigan. She was last seen Thursday, December
5th, evening when she was dropped off at her vehicle in the parking lot at a
medical center in Kalamazoo.

Patrick’s gold 1997 Lexus ES300 was found abandoned by a trooper late Thursday,
December 5th night on I-94 west bound just east of the Porter/Burns Harbor exit in
Indiana.

Patrick is described as having black hair, brown eyes, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 160
pounds.

We asking anyone who may have seen Patrick, possibly gave her ride or have any
information about her whereabouts to call the Indiana State Police at 219-696-6242
or the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department at 269-383-8748.

Teleka Cassandra Patrick missing from Michigan; car found in Porter, Indiana

Teleka Cassandra Patrick missing from Michigan; car found in Porter, Indiana