Children, the elderly and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid outside activities Tuesday because of the possibility of high ozone levels, officials said.
An Air Quality Action Day has been issued for Tuesday in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
"Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather bake vehicle exhaust, factory emissions and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties," according to an IDEM news release.
To learn more about ozone or sign up for air quality forecasts, visit SmogWatch.IN.gov or download IDEM's SmogWatch iPhone app.
A 27-year-old owner of a Portage Township pet store faces a misdemeanor criminal charge of animal neglect after police found a variety of dead animals and animals covered in their own waste at the business Saturday morning.
Porter County police said the owner, Terry Driver, of Portage, told them he had been tied up with a personal matter and unable to do much more during the past week than let a few dogs out and feed them.
Police took about 100 animals from the business, T & B's Exotic Animals at 5474 U.S. 6, Porter County Animal Shelter Director Toni Bianchi said Sunday.
The list included three dogs, and about 26 lizards, 14 snakes, five guinea pigs and other animals including birds, fish, hamsters, turtles, ferrets, rabbits and sugar gliders, she said.
Police said they were notified about the situation Saturday morning by a caller, who reported seeing a cage containing eight dead birds in a dumpster at the business and a foul odor coming from the building.
Police contacted Driver and said when he opened the door of the business, "there was a strong pungent odor of feces, urine and dead animals emitting from the shop."
Officers discovered "filthy cages full of animals covered in their own feces and urine," according to police. There also was animal waste and seed across the floor.
The three dogs were discovered in small cages in the rear of the store covered in their own feces and with hair missing from their backs, police said.
Driver reportedly told police he bought a lot of the animals when he purchased the former business, Pirates Cove.
The three dogs were taken to the county shelter, and Bianchi said she is working with people with experience in handling exotic animals to accommodate the other creatures. She hoped to have them all removed by Tuesday.
She was unsure whether the shelter will be keeping the animals and putting them up for adoption.
CROWN POINT — Police allege taunting phone messages preceded a fatal shooting Saturday in Cedar Creek Township.
Charles E. Bayne, 21, of Lowell, is charged in Lake Criminal Court with murder on allegations he fatally shot 27-year-old Cody Klotz outside a residence in the 17000 block of Mount Street.
Lake County police were dispatched at about 2:39 a.m. Saturday to the residence after receiving reports Klotz was killed, a Sheriff's Department spokesman previously said.
Klotz was found at the scene dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a probable cause affidavit. Bayne was taken into custody by police, and two other people — Bayne's girlfriend and Klotz's friend — were interviewed about the killing.
The girlfriend told a detective she and Klotz were previously engaged to be married, but the engagement was canceled in May, the affidavit states.
She said she then began dating Bayne, but Klotz continued to send them harassing phone messages, according to the affidvait.
She said she and Bayne were in bed at about 1 a.m. Saturday when Bayne received a message from Klotz on the phone messaging app Snapchat, the affidavit states.
She said the two men exchanged words before Klotz sent a message stating he was headed to Bayne's home to fight, according to the affidavit.
The girlfriend said Bayne and Klotz met outside the home and Bayne told Klotz he had a gun, the affidavit states. She said Klotz grabbed Bayne's legs and Bayne responded by firing a single shot at Klotz.
Bayne was interviewed by police and provided a similar account of the shooting, the affidavit states.
Klotz's friend told police he drove Klotz to Bayne's home.
Bayne is jailed without bond.
Klotz was a 2008 graduate of Lowell High School, according to his obituary.
*This story has been corrected and updated to delete incorrect information provided by the Lake County Clerk's Office. Bayne does not have a prior criminal record.
Motorists relying on Meridian Road to avoid the construction delays on nearby Ind. 49 are going to have to find yet another alternative this week.
The stretch of Meridian Road north of U.S. 6 to County Road 900 North in Liberty Township will have limited traffic flow and ultimately will be closed this week for repair and resurfacing work, said Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North.
A new technique, designed to combat cracking and prolong the surface, is being tested on the roadway, he said.
"We're going to spray plastic sealant on that road," Biggs said. "It's supposed extend the life of the road."
Also this week, the county will be resurfacing County Road 500 North from Ind. 49 west to the Valparaiso city limits in Center Township, he said.
County Road 475 East also will be repaved from County Road 100 North up to Burdick Road in Jackson Township, Biggs said.
"If people are frustrated this summer, well, wait for next summer," he said.
Biggs said the recent gasoline tax increase of 10 cents per gallon will help make more money available next year for road projects at the state, county and municipal levels.
The Next Level Indiana plan lists projects in Lake County totaling $112 million over the five-year period 2018-22. Porter County's total is $35.7 million, and LaPorte County's, $78.4 million.