Make your home page

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — La Porte-based Boss Industries is adding a manufacturer of remote mobile power units to its portfolio. The company has acquired HIPPO Multipower, headquartered in Missouri, though financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

HIPPO makes and distributes multipower units ranging from hydraulic, electric and welding power for the utility, municipal, railroad and industrial coating markets.

“We are very excited to partner with the HIPPO team to add several market-leading mobile power solutions to our ever-expanding product portfolio,” Todd Hudson, president of Boss Industries, said in a news release. “This strategic acquisition will allow us to continue providing best-in-class solutions to our customers in addition to expanding the services offered to HIPPO’s existing customer base.”

Boss Industries did not specify whether any jobs would be affected by the acquisition. Inside INdiana Business reached out to the company for more information but did not receive a response.

Boss, which manufactures air and gas compression systems, is a portfolio company of Chicago-based Wynnchurch Capital LP.

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A La Porte-based marketing agency has begun a rebranding effort. SERA Solutions, which has previously focused on digital marketing and website design, will now be known as Sera Group and is adding more offerings to businesses in northwest Indiana.

Sera Group says, in addition to the new name and a new logo, it will add more creative marketing capabilities, including video production, photography, and social media management. Founder Seth Spencer says the rebranding marks a milestone for the agency.

“We started in 2014 with the goal to be the solution for local small business website design. While website design continues to grow exponentially and is a core component of our company, we have expanded by offering creative services to complement our digital marketing solutions,” said Spencer. “As we continue to expand our vision and offer more services, we believe that now is the time to create a new brand that allows us to tell our story better. We aim to change the way that businesses across the region approach marketing.”

The agency did not state whether it is adding any jobs as a result of the rebranding.

(CNN/WISH) — The anonymous senior Trump administration official who wrote a 2018 New York Times op-ed and a subsequent book critical of President Donald Trump is Miles Taylor, he revealed in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

Taylor, who was chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, wrote a lengthy statement explaining why he penned the 2018 op-ed declaring he was part of the “resistance” inside the Trump administration working to thwart Trump’s worst inclinations. Taylor said that he wanted to force Trump to respond to the charges he was leveling without the ability to attack the messenger specifically. Trump called the op-ed treasonous.

“Much has been made of the fact that these writings were published anonymously. The decision wasn’t easy, I wrestled with it, and I understand why some people consider it questionable to levy such serious charges against a sitting President under the cover of anonymity. But my reasoning was straightforward, and I stand by it,” Taylor wrote.

“Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling,” Taylor added. “I wanted the attention to be on the arguments themselves.”

Taylor joined CNN as a contributor in September 2020. He is a 2006 graduate of La Porte High School in northern Indiana. He received his bachelor’s degree in international security studies from Indiana University and his master’s degree in international relations from the University of Oxford.

He had previously denied that he was “Anonymous.” Asked in August by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if he had written the op-ed and book, Taylor said, “I wear a mask for two things, Anderson: Halloweens and pandemics. So no.”

Taylor’s statement answers one of the biggest mysteries of Trump’s presidency. Trump responded furiously to the op-ed when it was written in 2018, and urged then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the matter. There was an internal hunt at the White House to uncover the identity of the author, and it spawned months of parlor games in Washington guessing at who was behind the op-ed through the speech patterns and phrases used.

A year later, Taylor released the anonymously authored book titled, “A Warning,” which included new details critical of the President from inside the Trump administration. He wrote that members of Trump’s team considered sabotaging him to prompt Trump to resign, and that many administration officials kept their own letters of resignation in their desks or on their laptops.

Taylor was Nielsen’s deputy chief of staff when the anonymous op-ed was published, and he was promoted to chief of staff several months later. Since leaving the Trump administration in 2019, Taylor endorsed Democrat Joe Biden in August and co-founded a Republican group that is opposed to Trump.

“I am a Republican, and I wanted this president to succeed,” Taylor said in his statement Wednesday. “But too often in times of crisis, Donald Trump has proven he is a man without character, and his personal defects have resulted in leadership failures so significant that they can be measured in lost American lives.”

The White House has criticized Taylor since his endorsement of Biden, and Trump called him a “disgruntled employee.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Wednesday after Taylor’s identity was revealed that “this low-level, disgruntled former staffer is a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading.”

“It is appalling a low-ranking official would be granted anonymity and it is clear the New York Times is doing the bidding of Never-Trumpers and Democrats,” McEnany said.

Taylor said he was hopeful that more people inside the government would speak out against Trump, noting that several senior officials have done so in different ways since leaving the administration.

“I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job over the course of two-and-a-half years inside the administration. Everyone saw it, though most were hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisals,” Taylor wrote.

In the 2018 op-ed, which was titled, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” Taylor anonymously wrote that “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

But Taylor said that original assertion was incorrect.

“The country cannot rely on well-intentioned, unelected bureaucrats around the President to steer him toward what’s right,” Taylor said Wednesday. “He has purged most of them anyway.”

This story has been updated with a statement from the White House.

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The LaPorte County Council has approved a resolution in support of a Dallas-based manufacturer’s expansion to the county. Corsicana Mattress Co. in August announced plans to lease and equip a 165,000-square-foot facility in La Porte and create up to 350 jobs.

The council says the economic revitalization area resolution will support a graduated property tax relief measure for the company. Corsicana Chief Operating Officer James Booth says the county has been “incredibly welcoming” since its first introduction to the area.

“I have helped to open manufacturing plants all over the world and am happy to have chosen La Porte County for Corsicana’s new home,” said Booth. “We saw the entire La Porte County team work together to help us make this move as seamless as possible. We could not be more happy with our choice to expand here.”

Corsicana is currently operating out of a temporary location in Michigan City.

Renovations to the La Porte facility are underway and Corsicana says it plans to hold a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony in January.

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Dallas-based mattress manufacturer is expanding to northern Indiana. Corsicana Mattress Co. plans to invest nearly $9 million to lease and equip a 165,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in La Porte and create up to 350 jobs by the end of 2023.

The new facility will be used to manufacture Corsicana’s boxed bed product line. The company says its new Midwest location will allow it to access key markets and provide same-day shipping for customers.

“We have had significant growth in our boxed bed business and require a facility that is appropriately equipped with well-trained employees to provide the manufacturing efficiency to support that growth,” said Michael Thompson, chief executive officer of Corsicana Mattress. “Indiana was a great location for us and the local, regional and state agencies we worked with have been very helpful and welcoming throughout this process.”

The company says it will begin hiring and training employees immediately for manufacturing and warehouse positions at a temporary location in Michigan City.

Corsicana expects the facility to be operational by the end of the year.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Corsicana up to $2.3 million in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. The LaPorte County Council and County Commissioners have approved additional incentives.

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A struggling property in La Porte will soon have new life thanks to a major retailer. The La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership says Rural King plans to invest at least $1 million to renovate the 221,000-square-foot Maple Lane Mall, which has been without an anchor tenant for three years.

The partnership says Rural King will also renovate additional tenant spaces at the mall as part of the project, however other potential tenants have not been identified.

La Port Mayor Tom Dermody says the project will be a “major shot in the arm” for the area.

Bert Cook, executive director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, says the project is a collaboration involving the La Porte Redevelopment Commission and the La Porte Urban Enterprise Association.

“We are very pleased Rural King has chosen to locate a store here in La Porte,” Cook said in a news release. “We believe the partnership between the La Porte Redevelopment Commission and La Porte Urban Enterprise Association is a unique one that allows us to make dramatic improvements in our community. We are excited to see this building put back into use and appreciate Rural King’s investment in La Porte.”

The new Rural King store is expected to open by March 2021 and the partnership says other new tenants could open around that time as well.

Cook says a specific number of new jobs that would be created by the project is not yet known, however “at full build-out, the tenants of the mall should employ a couple of hundred people.”

LA PORTE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana couple has accused a special education teacher of strapping their 8-year-old autistic daughter into a homemade restraining chair in the classroom.

Charles and Heather Castle allege in a federal lawsuit filed last month that the teacher and two paraprofessionals at Kingsford Heights Elementary School tied their daughter down to a plywood chair with a belt, causing bruises and abrasions to her body, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

The lawsuit alleges the La Porte Community School Corp. violated its own policies regarding student restraint and never informed the parents that their daughter was placed in the device. The defendants include the school district, the South La Porte County Special Education Cooperative and its administration, Kingsford’s principal and administrative assistant, and the teacher and paraprofessionals accused of restraining the girl.

The parents had concerns about their daughter’s care before this past school year, the complaint stated. The girl came home from school in April 2017 wearing no shoes, socks or coat. The bus driver told the Castles the girl was not wearing those items when she got on the bus at school. The child came home next month with bruises, which her teacher said happened when fell on a desk, the lawsuit said.

The Castles grew suspicious after the fall semester began, when their daughter began exhibiting “new and troubling behaviors” at home, including emotional outbursts and a refusal to wear a seat belt, according to the lawsuit. The parents also noticed bruises and abrasions on the girl’s hips, back and arms, the complaint stated.

Charles Castle says the school stopped him from escorting his daughter to the classroom each morning. Castle walked into the classroom Sept. 21, where he was “shocked” to see a homemade wooden restraint desk with his daughter’s name on it and a tan belt next to it, the lawsuit contends.

The girl’s individualized education plan did not allow for the use of a restraint chair, and the Castles said they never received an incident report detailing the use of restraint.

The parents met with school officials a week later, where they told the Castles that an attorney for the district said “they had not done anything wrong” and that the teacher’s father built the chair, the lawsuit states.

Indiana Administrative Code prohibits the use physical restraint in schools except where “the student’s behavior poses imminent risk of injury to self or others.” Furthermore, it prohibits using all “mechanical restraints,” or devices attached to or adjacent to a student’s body so that the student cannot remove them.

Superintendent Mark Francesconi and special education cooperative Director Paula Nichols didn’t reply Thursday to the newspaper’s request for comment.

LA PORTE, Ind. (AP) – Officials in northern Indiana are investigating a video that they say shows “heinous” sexual abuse of a high school student as sex extortion.

The investigation comes after the video was viewed and shared on social media by a number of people.

LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney John Espar said Friday that his office was investigating the video as a case of sexual exploitation and extortion. The prosecutor said the student “did not act willingly” but he would not describe the video’s contents or give the student’s age or gender.

LaPorte High School administrators sent a robocall to parents warning that possessing or distributing the video may lead to child pornography charges.

Police said it was shared on “a number of internet sources” including Facebook Live. Espar said authorities asked Facebook to take the video down and the company cooperated.

Never miss another Facebook post from WISH-TV

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deliberate killing of a pet donkey stemming from a domestic dispute.

Authorities said the incident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday when deputies were dispatched to a home in the 8600 block of Wilhelm Road on reports of a domestic dispute.

Upon searching the residence, a deputy found a pet donkey had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. It died before medical assistance arrived.

50-year-old Olvydas Abromavieius was charged with domestic battery and domestic violence animal cruelty.

Never miss another Facebook post from WISH-TV

LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) – Authorities say a suspect has been charged with murder in an investigation that began after a man’s body was found concealed in a sewer line in a northern Indiana wildlife area.

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that Scott Irvin was charged in Elkhart County, Indiana. It was not immediately clear if Irvin is represented by an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

A utility worker found the body of 41-year-old Mark A. Huber of Goshen on Friday morning during a routine weekly maintenance check in the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area in LaPorte.

An autopsy Monday determined Huber died from a gunshot wound to the head. Irvin was charged Monday evening. Investigators say Huber was killed in Goshen and his body was moved to the wildlife area.