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I'm truly a national park junky and frequently haul my family along for the ride, perhaps sometimes as hostages.
At least $107,000 in annual salary and compensation, a $600-per-month government funded take-home vehicle and a district credit card used for thousands of dollars in meal purchases and gas annually could all be at risk Wednesday.
Jeff Langbehn's 21-year tenure as director of the Lake County solid waste district has survived a multimillion-dollar lawsuit settlement, a failed trash-to-ethanol contract costing taxpayers thousands more and a nearly successful legislative attempt to strip his agency's taxing authority.
Full disclosure: I now may have to admit a conflict of interest. And I've never been so excited before to admit I may have been wrong.
The region's most recognizable architectural icon is a homegrown historical collage of a who's who marriage mill, post-Civil War development and the early Northwest Indiana court system.
Sometimes folks with the biggest hearts lack comparably sized pocketbooks.
At least four Lake County solid waste district board members are calling for a review of an agency tuition reimbursement program after learning it wasn't created by board vote and isn't written in any official district policies.
Some of us spend the late days of summer mourning the impending passing of another warm season. The parents among us also look ahead with hopes of a successful school year for our children.
A $751.14 designer purse and matching accessories weren't the only perks a Lake County solid waste district employee received -- at taxpayer expense -- for completing her master's degree, a Times review shows.
If a Times reporter collected a local government paycheck on the side, would that hamper your trust in the journalist's ability to fairly cover local government news?
Lake County officials plan to meet in executive session Monday to discuss the future of an agency director who bought a $751.14 designer purse and accessories as a gift for a subordinate using a government credit card.
At least four Lake County solid waste district officials said they were misled last month by district Executive Director Jeff Langbehn regarding the purchase of a $751.14 graduation gift for a female government employee.
Back-to-school time in Northwest Indiana is a prime opportunity for reflection on that good old-fashioned grit which so thoroughly characterizes our region and the people who built it.
Amid greasy food, stomach-churning rides and wafting livestock smells came a question I've never before faced.
Oh baby, baby, it's a wild world.
Nine chiefs of police in eight years. It's not exactly a mark of stability.
God might give us only what we can handle, but that doesn't mean the Lake County justice system should up the ante.
Lake County's Range Line Road bridge is a throwback in every sense of the word.
On its face, it's certainly not a period of history to be celebrated.
Questionable expenses using taxpayer money are creeping back into Lake County Solid Waste Management District financial reports, and some officials are trashing the practice.
How does it feel to be swinging over a barrel, Lake County? Is the redness in our faces from the blood-rush of hanging upside down over the barrel, or is it the hot facial plume of embarrassment?
Most of us know of the "scared straight" programs. You know, where troubled youths visit with locked-up convicts, witness morgue autopsies or experience the fallout of any number of tragedies induced by lives of crime.
Tragedy is immense when the strong and brave fall within our communities.
Storybook endings aren't always the things of, well, storybooks. Sometimes they're real and right in our neighborhood sandlots.
Coaching youth baseball isn't exactly rocket science. It won't cure cancer either.
They're important physical connections reaching across time and reminding us of our own potential impact on history.
Gratitude has no expiration date.
With a bullet in his rib cage, another in his arm and men dying all around him, Valparaiso's Col. Isaac Suman was in the virtual depths of hell.
HAMMOND | Going beyond the letter of federal disability laws and striving for universal access at schools and other public facilities will be front and center Tuesday at a free Purdue University Calumet conference.
CROWN POINT | Two garbage-to-energy firms worked to pique the interest of Lake County solid waste officials Wednesday, hoping a past failed contract with another firm hadn't polluted the political waters.
Perhaps it will be like the summer day described in one of Hoosier author Ambrose Bierce's late 19th century short stories when I visit Stones River National Battlefield later this week in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Few things bother me more than watching region wheelchair users or other disabled folks struggling to overcome barriers created by bad planning of government officials or private businesses.
Tina, a 36-year-old mother of three in South Haven, defines it as the fight to find work when every broken-down car means another lost employment opportunity.
The 73,069 people who received $5.3 million in poor relief from township trustees in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in 2013 represent a heavy burden on local government resources, local government officials said.
HAMMOND | A father-son team of Gary grocery store operators filed plea agreements in federal court Friday, admitting to stealing from the federally funded food stamp program, court records show.
"She has my eyes, Dad."
Highland's Adolph Hufenhauser spent some of his last days alone and starving on a straw-covered bench inside a shack on Ridge Road.
HAMMOND | A Gary woman filed a Civil Rights lawsuit Friday against the city of Gary and area police, alleging officers beat her until she bled outside a liquor store and jailed her but never charged her with a crime.
HAMMOND | The public corruption trial for Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, his wife and stepdaughter has been rescheduled to Oct. 20, federal court records filed Friday state.
HAMMOND | A Michigan City woman agreed Friday to plead guilty for her role in a scheme to defraud insurance companies by staging car accidents in Northwest Indiana and Chicago, court records state.
CROWN POINT | A century and a half ago, volunteers from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties were among the Union Army soldiers fighting in a bloody Virginia campaign in which men died by the thousands.
"I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death — of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring."
VALPARAISO | Elizabeth "Betty" Brier remembers brimming with patriotism seven decades ago, following in the footsteps of five brothers by enlisting in the military during World War II.
Hundreds of reels of microfilm are the storage vaults of our region's story — from casualty reports in the Civil War to local reactions to the first man stepping foot on the moon.
With water gushing into your basement, your income shrinking and your fiscal future in doubt, would you book a junket to Vegas for yourself and five friends?
I could hear the collective gasps from a number of Lake County Government Complex officials earlier this week, and my office is several hundred yards away with sealed windows.
Mother's Day 2014 no doubt was a nightmarish void for the children of Nina Castro.
First the bad news: Lake County estimates show less than 13 percent of registered voters bothered to visit the Tuesday primary polls.
GARY | In the shadow of a siege by federal law enforcement and state and local lawmakers, the Calumet Township trustee's office is poised to receive a new leader in 2015.
CROWN POINT | Democrat Jerome Prince received the nod from voters Tuesday in his party's quest to reclaim the county assessor's office from a Republican incumbent.
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Should Jeff Langbehn resign as Lake County Solid Waste Management District executive director?