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State funding for RDA tops One Region's priority list

State funding for RDA tops One Region's priority list

VALPARAISO | Securing state funding for the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority in the upcoming legislative session was identified Thursday as the top priority of a region quality-of-life organization.

13 hours ago Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Inmates running asylum of Lake County government?

MARC CHASE: Inmates running asylum of Lake County government?

If you're running a company and discover a job applicant has a past conviction for fraudulently taking 184 prescription narcotic doses from a former employer, would that keep you from hiring the applicant?

October 22, 2014 12:00 am

FBI reviews Hammond traffic stop, unreasonable force allegations

HAMMOND | Region FBI agents are reviewing the recent Hammond police traffic stop that led to allegations of unreasonable force.

October 20, 2014 7:25 pm
MARC CHASE: Government offices or probationary halfway houses?

MARC CHASE: Government offices or probationary halfway houses?

Lake County's local government offices often become bastions of second chances, and they're not always the good kind.

October 19, 2014 12:00 am

Recent civil rights case against Hammond cop isn't the first

HAMMOND | One of the two Hammond police officers accused of unreasonable force during a September traffic stop has been a defendant in four other federal civil rights lawsuits, three of which cost the city $181,850 in legal settlements, court and city records show.

October 17, 2014 7:34 pm

Hamm: No more waste district credit cards without board approval

Lake County's solid waste district chairman admonished the agency's acting director this week to hold off on any new credit card applications in the wake of spending controversies.

October 17, 2014 4:57 pm
Waste district votes to park take-home vehicles

Waste district votes to park take-home vehicles

The Lake County solid waste district board voted 12-2 on Thursday to immediately park all five of its employee take-home vehicles.

October 16, 2014 9:00 pm
MARC CHASE: Human decency for sale this Halloween

MARC CHASE: Human decency for sale this Halloween

The purveyors of all things spooky, macabre and disturbingly disgusting come out of the woodwork every year around this time.

October 15, 2014 12:00 am

Waste district chairman lauds passing marks for compost facility inspection

The chairman of Lake County's solid waste board credits a typically unheralded employee in the agency's ranks with good marks recently bestowed on the district by a state environmental inspector.

October 14, 2014 12:00 am

Niemeyer mulls renewed waste district legislative reforms

A region lawmaker who once chaired Lake County's waste district board said it may be time to renew a legislative push to reform the controversial government agency's business practices.

October 13, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Local Realtors provide selfless example, 21 times over

MARC CHASE: Local Realtors provide selfless example, 21 times over

With 21 boxes of 21 different types of food collected over 21 days, one almost wouldn't have known Winfield's Century 21 Affiliated real estate office was in the business of selling houses.

October 12, 2014 12:05 am Photos

Photos

Waste district officials seek way forward amid 'embarrassments'

Parking spaces and scissors may be key to reforming "embarrassing" spending practices within the Lake County solid waste district, several board members say.

October 06, 2014 8:00 pm
Some Lake waste district officials want review of take-home vehicles

Some Lake waste district officials want review of take-home vehicles

The 34 new vehicles were purchased over 13 years, with a combined price of $1.2 million.

October 05, 2014 10:30 pm Photos

Photos

Dining on the taxpayer dime

Taxpayers picked up the tab for at least 565 restaurant bills totaling $38,594.29 for Lake County solid waste district employees and their guests since 2008, a Times computer-assisted review of the agency's credit card bills and receipts shows.

October 05, 2014 12:00 am Related
Solid waste district spent tens of thousands on 'luxury' items

Solid waste district spent tens of thousands on 'luxury' items

The Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board was created by the state Legislature to promote recycling and divert trash from landfills.

October 04, 2014 11:15 pm Photos

Photos

Related

Waste district employee offers her side on designer purse, tuition controversies

CROWN POINT | A former Lake County waste district employee at the center of a designer purse controversy communicated publicly for the first time this week about the matter.

October 03, 2014 6:30 pm
Woman at center of waste district purse scandal resigns

Woman at center of waste district purse scandal resigns

An employee at the center of the Lake County solid waste district designer purse scandal has resigned, the agency's acting director confirmed Tuesday.

September 23, 2014 7:30 pm
MARC CHASE: Lost-and-found dog story restores faith in goodness

MARC CHASE: Lost-and-found dog story restores faith in goodness

Just when it felt like the self-interested ruled the day in Northwest Indiana, Griffith neighbors selflessly emerged on behalf of a Highland family they'd never met.

September 20, 2014 10:30 pm Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Bulldog vandals should come clean before 'cute brunette' compels it

MARC CHASE: Bulldog vandals should come clean before 'cute brunette' compels it

I remember the searing look of anger on my Dad's face -- the absolute shame of being caught fresh in flight from the scene of a juvenile act.

September 17, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: When community security gates leave the rest of us vulnerable

MARC CHASE: When community security gates leave the rest of us vulnerable

Gated communities typically are created, at least in part, to make the folks inside feel more secure. Such neighborhoods often have a security officer or team and require a gate check-in for visitors.

September 06, 2014 8:00 pm Photos

Photos

Lake County solid waste board terminates Langbehn's contract

Lake County solid waste board terminates Langbehn's contract

The Lake County solid waste district terminated the contract of its longtime executive director Wednesday amid accusations he misled board members about a $751.14 designer purse and accessories given to a female subordinate.

September 03, 2014 7:45 pm Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: History geeks unite behind Pullman National Park plan

MARC CHASE: History geeks unite behind Pullman National Park plan

I'm truly a national park junky and frequently haul my family along for the ride, perhaps sometimes as hostages.

September 03, 2014 12:00 am
Langbehn stands to lose highest statewide waste district salary

Langbehn stands to lose highest statewide waste district salary

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.

September 02, 2014 12:00 am Related
Will a designer purse end Langbehn's career?

Will a designer purse end Langbehn's career?

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.

September 01, 2014 11:00 pm
MARC CHASE: A happily disclosed conflict of interest

MARC CHASE: A happily disclosed conflict of interest

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.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Pence putting money where his mouth is on adoption

MARC CHASE: Pence putting money where his mouth is on adoption

Sometimes folks with the biggest hearts lack comparably sized pocketbooks.

August 24, 2014 12:00 am
THE SOUTH SHORE IN 100 OBJECTS, DAY 50: Old Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point

THE SOUTH SHORE IN 100 OBJECTS, DAY 50: Old Lake County Courthouse in Crown Point

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.

August 24, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Waste board members calling for fiscal scrutiny

Waste board members calling for fiscal scrutiny

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.

August 23, 2014 11:00 pm
MARC CHASE: Life lessons of a heart-shattering summer

MARC CHASE: Life lessons of a heart-shattering summer

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.

August 20, 2014 12:00 am

Expensive graduation gift isn't only perk for waste district employee

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.

August 19, 2014 5:30 pm
MARC CHASE: Trusted messengers observe boundaries

MARC CHASE: Trusted messengers observe boundaries

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?

August 17, 2014 12:00 am

Waste district board to discuss purse purchase, Langbehn's future

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.

August 17, 2014 12:00 am
Official's 'briefcase' gift actually designer purse, accessories

Official's 'briefcase' gift actually designer purse, accessories

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.

August 11, 2014 7:00 pm Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Education in region grit behind some school names

MARC CHASE: Education in region grit behind some school names

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.

August 10, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: A granddaddy of a question on the midway

MARC CHASE: A granddaddy of a question on the midway

Amid greasy food, stomach-churning rides and wafting livestock smells came a question I've never before faced.

August 06, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: When Fido has scales -- and can eat your face

MARC CHASE: When Fido has scales -- and can eat your face

Oh baby, baby, it's a wild world.

August 03, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: New Gary chief will need firm grip to right spinning ship

MARC CHASE: New Gary chief will need firm grip to right spinning ship

Nine chiefs of police in eight years. It's not exactly a mark of stability.

July 30, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Giving spirit survives senseless, preventable tragedy

MARC CHASE: Giving spirit survives senseless, preventable tragedy

God might give us only what we can handle, but that doesn't mean the Lake County justice system should up the ante.

July 27, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Historic bridge a symbol of troubled infrastructure waters

MARC CHASE: Historic bridge a symbol of troubled infrastructure waters

Lake County's Range Line Road bridge is a throwback in every sense of the word.

July 23, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Dillinger exhibit move helps region embrace history

MARC CHASE: Dillinger exhibit move helps region embrace history

On its face, it's certainly not a period of history to be celebrated.

July 20, 2014 12:00 am

Lake County waste officials trash district's spending practices

Questionable expenses using taxpayer money are creeping back into Lake County Solid Waste Management District financial reports, and some officials are trashing the practice.

July 17, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Powell, bad government swing taxpayers over barrel

MARC CHASE: Powell, bad government swing taxpayers over barrel

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?

July 16, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Disgraced officials should 'scare straight' region leaders

MARC CHASE: Disgraced officials should 'scare straight' region leaders

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.

July 13, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Lessons of community rise from fallen Gary officer

MARC CHASE: Lessons of community rise from fallen Gary officer

Tragedy is immense when the strong and brave fall within our communities.

July 09, 2014 12:00 am
MARC CHASE: Stuff of legends in a Crown Point sandlot

MARC CHASE: Stuff of legends in a Crown Point sandlot

Storybook endings aren't always the things of, well, storybooks. Sometimes they're real and right in our neighborhood sandlots.

July 06, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Coach helps team, player's mom hit life's curveballs

MARC CHASE: Coach helps team, player's mom hit life's curveballs

Coaching youth baseball isn't exactly rocket science. It won't cure cancer either.

July 02, 2014 12:00 am Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Lessons of a bullet, a photo and human terror

MARC CHASE: Lessons of a bullet, a photo and human terror

They're important physical connections reaching across time and reminding us of our own potential impact on history.

June 28, 2014 6:30 pm Photos

Photos

MARC CHASE: Region 'angel' spreads wings at Hell's Half Acre

MARC CHASE: Region 'angel' spreads wings at Hell's Half Acre

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.

June 21, 2014 6:19 pm Video Photos

Photos

Broader disability access targeted at PUC conference

Broader disability access targeted at PUC conference

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.

June 20, 2014 6:50 pm
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