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LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — With Halloween two weeks away, the American Licorice Co. in La Porte has moved past that candy consumption period and shifted production towards its Christmas offerings. The manufacturer of Red Vine licorice and Sour Punch candies says the fall season is important, which is why it launched several new Halloween-themed treats this year, including Candy Corn Twists and Ghoulish Grape Ropes. For Christmas, it is producing gingerbread-flavored licorice.

“You have to stay on top of it. You’re always having to come up with new and interesting things for the consumer,” said Vice President of Marketing Kristi Shafer in an interview with Inside INdiana Business. “For a company like ours who plays in the non- chocolate arena, it’s very important. [Halloween] is our largest seasonal holiday.”

While the company distributed Spooky Straws and Mummy Mix to retailers, the spookiest threats might be the supply chain and the rising prices for materials and transportation.

“Everything has skyrocketed from ingredients to the cardboard boxes that we ship in. Everything has just gone up exponentially,” said Shafer. “It’s such a challenge right now to get ingredients [that] we are paying double, triple quadruple just to get things, so we don’t run out of candy.”

Shafer says the gaping holes on the candy shelves at retail stores boils down to competition. She says all candy makers are vying for the same ingredients, whether it is sugar, flavorings or colorants, which drives up their production costs. The added expense gets passed along to customers.

“It’s been extremely challenging to not pass a price increase. We did one and we’re on the cusp of, potentially, having to do another one in the near future.”

Another burden is the cost to ship goods and the lack of workers in the transportation sector. She says the problem is rooted to the beginning of the pandemic

“We got hit with that early on last year when the pandemic first happened. Retailers were so focused on keeping the toilet paper, the hand sanitizer, the soap, the essential needs in their stores, the candy and the chips and all that kind of went by the wayside.”

She says as the choked-off pipeline began to ease, demand for their products increased as stores worked to replenish barren shelves. Shafer says some retail companies overbooked their normal size of their orders, hoping to get at least a portion of the products.

“There are so many gaping holes that customers are like, ‘you know, I used to order 500 cases a month. I’m going to put my order in for 1000 and hope I get the 500. If I put in the 500, they might only give me 200,’” explained Shafer. She says her company is now working out a strategy to allocate the resources.

“We’re all up against a lot. Not just the candy industry, but all industries across the board,” said Shafer. “We’re doing the best we can to kind of manage all the obstacles we’re facing. But at the end of the day, it’s candy and we just want to deliver happy consumer experiences.”

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — La Porte-based Surf Broadband Solutions is growing its internet service portfolio. The company says it has acquired MapleNet Inc., a residential internet service provider headquartered in Elkhart, though financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Surf Broadband Chief Executive Officer Gene Crusie says the acquisition will allow the company to extend its fiber optic services to MapleNet’s customer base as it continues to build service throughout northern Indiana. 

Wes Herschberger, chief executive officer of MapleNet parent MapleTronics, says he and Crusie are not strangers to one another. The two founded MapleNet in the late 1990s.

“I know that MapleNet and Surf have the same DNA, we each strive for exceptional customer service. I believe that our MapleNet customers will be in excellent hands with the Surf team,” Herschberger said in a news release. “This transaction allows MapleTronics to continue to focus on serving its customers while transitioning the MapleNet customers to the best residential broadband platform available at Surf.”

Surf Broadband began providing support and service to MapleNet customers earlier this week.

WASHINGTON (WISH) — The Defense Department announced this week that it’s identified two brothers from La Porte, Indiana, who were killed during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class Harold F. Trapp, 24, and Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William H. Trapp, 23, were accounted for on Nov. 24, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The announcement comes just days before the observance of Pearl Harbor Day on Monday.

The Trapps were assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which sustained multiple torpedo hits from Japanese aircraft and capsized. The Trapps were among 429 crewmen who died on the battleship. The Oklahoma was moored on Battleship Row at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, on the morning of the attack, according to a report in Stars and Stripes.

The report said the ship was refloated and salvaged in 1943. Some crewmembers’ remains from the Oklahoma were so badly burned or decayed that identifications were not possible, and they were buried in gravesites for the unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Before 1942, it was common for brothers to serve together on U.S. military ships.

LA PORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties and the city of La Porte will Friday break ground on a $35 million mixed-use development. The company says The Banks will bring 194 high-end apartment units and 5,000 square feet of retail space to NewPorte Landing.

Flaherty & Collins says the development will include a resort-style pool, outdoor courtyard and a pet park, among others.

“The economic impact of our development will be tremendous for La Porte – an estimated $45 million over the first five years,” said Julie Collier, vice president of development and lead project developer for Flaherty & Collins Properties. “The Banks will bring new residents to the area and with strong disposable income to make employee recruiting easier and help support the local business. These new residences will help drive the demand for further development in the NewPorte Landing area.”

The developer says the project is scheduled to be completed by 2022.

The La Porte Redevelopment Commission is helping to support the project with Tax Increment Financing.

LAPORTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health and Beacon Health System in South Bend have cut the ribbon on the new Franciscan Beacon Hospital in LaPorte. The health systems say the hospital will officially open its doors to patients in the coming weeks.

The partners joined forces in 2018 to create a state-of-the-art hospital that includes a 24-hour, 10-bed Emergency Department.

“This joint venture is a symbol of the great relationship between our two organizations and of our commitment to LaPorte and surrounding communities. People want to receive the very best medical care when and where they need it. We are honored to be working with Franciscan Health to offer this new hospital, providing high-quality, convenient option to the people of LaPorte,” said Kreg Gruber, chief executive officer of Beacon Health System.

The 92,500-square-foot facility, which includes more than 30,000 square feet of new construction, features eight inpatient beds with nursing station, laboratory services, an on-staff pharmacist, physical therapy, telehealth connectivity and the latest imaging and diagnostic equipment.

The hospital is located at the Beacon Medical Group campus. Franciscan Physician Network providers are joining the expanded facility.


A Silver Alert issued Thursday for MaryAnn Elizabeth Llewellyn was canceled Friday night.

For more information on this cancellation, call the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department at 219-326-7700.


LAPORTE, Ind. (WISH) — Authorities in northern Indiana have issued a Silver Alert for a missing LaPorte woman believed to be in extreme danger and who may require medical assistance. 

MaryAnn Elizabeth Llewellyn, 50, was last seen 9 a.m. Wednesday in LaPorte, driving a tan 2009 Honda Odyssey minivan with an Indiana plate reading SYS710. 

Police describe Llewellyn as a white female, 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 98 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Llewellyn, you’re encouraged to call the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department at 219-326-7700 or dial 911. 

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) – A state board dominated by construction industry representatives has been blocking efforts by some local governments in Indiana to require carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties.

The Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission voted unanimously last week to reject Michigan City’s carbon monoxide detector ordinance. It also postponed action on more stringent rules proposed by St. Joseph County and didn’t consider an appeal filed by Chesterton officials after the commission rejected its ordinance in October, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

State law requires cities and counties trying to pass ordinances that differ from state building code and fire safety laws to seek permission from the 11-member commission, which is appointed by the governor.

During last week’s board meeting, the commission’s director, Douglas Boyle, deemed the Michigan City ordinance defective because of its immediate effective date and other general “language” issues. But he repeatedly declined to tell Michigan City Fire Marshal Kyle Kazmierczak what exactly would pass muster with the commission.

Kazmierczak said he’s frustrated by the panel, which he described as “inept” since it primarily is made up of building and construction industry representatives.

“Until there’s parity there these ordinances will never be enacted,” Kazmierczak said. “What they’re doing, in my opinion, is trying to draw it out as long as possible so we just go away.”

The pending proposals would require carbon monoxide detectors in new home construction, with St. Joseph County adding existing rentals, nursing homes and motels.

The city of LaPorte is the only community in the state to have local requirements approved thus far, yet had to make three attempts, according to Dot Kesling, founder of the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation that advocates for awareness about dangers from the odorless gas produced by malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances.

Commission members appeared more opposed to the St. Joseph County ordinance that would require new and existing homes, as well as some 32,000 rental units, have carbon monoxide detectors, similar to the state law that mandates smoke detectors in all residential dwellings.

“There’s no way that you could police this by any means,” said board member Gregory Furnish, a homebuilder from Memphis, Indiana.

The Indiana Apartment Association, which represents apartment building owners, argued in a letter to the commission that “it is best to have statewide codes, especially when thinking that every local community could instead review and adopt their own codes which would create inconsistency throughout the state.

Association President Lynne Petersen said the group would have to consider variables, such as the required locations, number and decibels of the detectors, before deciding whether to support a statewide requirement for carbon monoxide detectors.

Mt. Vernon defeats Covenant Christian 78-48.

GREENCASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — A visitor to a state prison confessed to authorities that she smuggled illegal drugs into the facility by putting them in her bra on multiple occasions.

Angelica White, 35, smuggled the drugs on visits to see Derrick Proctor, who is serving consecutive sentences out of Marion and LaPorte counties, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Correction. In LaPorte County, he was convicted of trafficking, online records show.

“Proctor surrendered narcotics from his rectum upon completion of his visit with her” on June 25, the release said.

The release did not indicate in what community Angelica White lived.

The Putnam County prosecutor is handling the case, which is not yet listed in online court records.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The education advocacy group Early Learning Indiana has awarded $72,500 to programs across the state designed for youngsters.

Fourteen different programs were selected for the group’s Family Engagement Prizes. They include grand-prize winner Walnut Hill Early Childhood Center in Goshen, which was awarded $25,000.

St. Mary’s Child Center, 901 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., in Indianapolis was among eight programs receiving $5,000 awards. The others were Apple Tree Child Development Center YMCA in Muncie, Bona Vista Early Head Start in Kokomo, Head Start of LaPorte County, School City of East Chicago, the Monroe County Community School Corp. in Bloomington, Montessori Garden Academy in Indianapolis and Cradles of Clay County in Brazil.

The awards were granted to early childhood school programs that demonstrate “a deep level of commitment and care for families.”

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