Event Types

Prosecuting Attorney John Espar is a La Porte County native, born and raised in Michigan City. He graduated Elston High School in 1980, and attended Indiana University~ Bloomington, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1984, cum laude with special honors in Forensic Studies and a second major in English. Upon graduation, John was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. In 1987, John received his law degree from the University of Southern California~ Los Angeles. Prosecutor Espar has spent his entire 30-year legal career as a prosecutor seeking to balance a victim’s plea for justice, a justice system’s obligation to right the wrongs of others, and the community’s right to peace and security. Over the past 30 years, Prosecutor Espar has personally prosecuted some of the most-difficult and most-disturbing cases imaginable, including the death penalty prosecution of Timothy Buss for the abduction, sexual mutilation and murder of a nine-year-old child – one of two cases which instilled in John a passion to pursue justice for the victims of violence, and in particular, justice for the most-vulnerable among us, our children. Prosecutor Espar began his first term as the elected Prosecuting Attorney for La Porte County, in 2015 after securing more than 70% of the vote in a contested primary and 100% of the vote in an uncontested general election. Upon taking office in January 2015, Mr. Espar immediately set out to overhaul the very structure of the Office of Prosecuting Attorney and the very manner in which the staff of prosecutors conducted the people’s business within the criminal justice system, saying, “We were not elected to maintain the status quo; We were elected to overturn it.” In his first act as the newly-elected prosecutor, Mr. Espar set out to dismantle an office structure comprised of a staff of part-time prosecutors, divided between the demands of their private clients and their duties to the public as prosecutors. Today, the entire criminal division of the Office of the La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney is staffed by full-time prosecutors, dedicated as public servants to seek justice for victims of crime, accountability for criminal offenders and peace and security for our community. Prosecuting Attorney Espar launched a number of other unprecedented initiatives under his new administration, including the formation of the La Porte County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit to investigate, intervene and prosecute, individuals who use technology and the Internet to prey upon children for purposes of sexual exploitation. Prosecutor’s Espar’s ICAC Unit works in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Indiana ICAC Task Force, and various other federal, state and law enforcement agencies across the country, to intervene in the online exploitation of endangered children. After forming the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, Prosecutor Espar formed the first Prosecuting Attorney’s Special Victims Unit and spearheaded the formal implementation of the La Porte County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of compassionate professionals to meet the unique needs for the effective investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual assault. Prosecuting Attorney Espar has been called to testify before the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee in support of legislation on behalf of the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force. And Mr. Espar’s work on behalf of child-victims of crime, has been recognized by the Dunebrook Child Advocacy Center, which named him the 2017 recipient of the Lester Radke Community Service Award.  John is a member of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Program, the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys, Inc. and the National District Attorneys Association. On a personal note, John is the fifth of seven children born to Margaret and Bill Espar. In 1985, John and Yolla began their, now 32-year marriage, during which they raised their three, now adult, children, Christina, Emily and Andrew. John and Yolla are members of Queen of All Saints Church where John serves as a lector. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Saint Anthony Maronite Aid Society and is presently on-leave from active membership in the Rotary Club of Michigan City.

John Espar
Mar 22, 2018
Mar 28, 2018 2:30 PM

La Porte County joined Indiana’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group in January 2017, focused on people bringing drugs to La Porte County from Chicago or Detroit on Interstate 94, on the South Shore train, etc. Sheriff John Boyd told the media that he applied for this designation under a belief that the drug war is best attacked as a region and the effort locally, although enhanced the past several years, wasn’t enough.  Through the HIDTA group, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with other agencies including the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Indiana State Police.  This brings additional manpower, funding and resources to aid in La Porte County’s war on drugs.

Sgt. Andy Hynek
Mar 29, 2018

Talei Thompson is a professional speaker. He specializes in leadership growth and personal development as a member of Dr. John C. Maxwell’s leadership team. He volunteers his time as a mentor for the Black Star Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to enhance the educational experience of students in the Chicago land area.  As a volunteer for this organization he speaks to thousands of students each year, encouraging them to use their talents, gifts, and abilities to accomplish their dreams, goals, and aspirations. 

Talei is the C.E.O of E.T and T Enterprises Inc. He is the former interim President of the Chicago land south suburban chapter of SPAA, the Speakers Publishers and Authors Association.  He is also a board member and president of the Rotary Club of Maywood-Proviso, recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. Talei also serves on the Board for The Answer Inc., an Autism awareness non-profit organization.

Mr. Thompson studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia, is the loving father of two boys, as well as a member of Fellowship Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago

Talei Thompson
Apr 12, 2018
Apr 25, 2018 12:00 PM

Since 2015, Brandi Lewis has served as Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City. Prior to joining the Boys & Girls Club movement, she worked for Dunebrook for over 14 years developing her passion for empowering others and serving the community. Under her leadership, Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City has benefited from an array of innovative programs, expanded partnerships and increased involvement in the greater Michigan City community. 

Brandi studied for 3 years at Indiana University Bloomington before receiving both her undergraduate degree in Communications and MBA from Purdue North Central.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a graduate of Leadership Northwest Indiana. Born and raised in Michigan City, she is married to her high school sweetheart with 3 children.

Brandi Lewis
Apr 26, 2018

The Rotary Club of Michigan City will present its inaugural Teacher of the Year Award, honoring an educator within the Michigan City Area Schools system who embodies the Rotary motto of Service Above Self and exemplifies this message in his or her classroom.

Service Above Self Teacher of the Year Award
May 10, 2018
May 23, 2018 12:00 PM

Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has served donors, nonprofits and local communities. As La Porte County’s community foundation, it manages approximately $31 million in assets, administers more than 325 charitable funds, and has distributed approximately $16 million through direct grants and scholarships. Unity’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and, being a catalyst for social and economic vitality

Unity Foundation of La Porte County
May 24, 2018

The Social and Learning Institute has been serving the La Porte County area since 1976 as a privately funded non-profit organization providing a day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Institute’s mission is rooted in the idea that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are defined by their own strengths and abilities--not by their disability--and that each person deserves every opportunity to thrive and participate fully in society. Programming is designed to expand minds, teach essential life skills, and help individuals recognize their worth through a structured balance of socialization and learning activities. Learn more.

Debbie Sellers
May 31, 2018
Jun 27, 2018 2:30 PM

Enjoy a picnic at the Barker Mansion garden. Invite your family and friends!

In 1968, the Mansion, also known as Barker Civic Center, was presented to the City of Michigan City under terms of a legal agreement between the City and the donor, Catherine Barker Hickox. Her wish was that the Mansion, her childhood home, should be used as a cultural and civic center in memory of her father, John H. Barker. A commission was established to direct the Center’s activities which would include restoration, preservation and documentation of the Mansion and its artifacts. These activities are for the purpose of education, research, and interpretation of the life-style of a wealthy industrialist of the late 19th century for a broad public audience.

Such is the background for the evolution of the Barker Civic Center whose specific mission is as follows:

  • Present a historically accurate portrayal of Barker family life, especially that of John H. Barker - family man, citizen, entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist; and also that of his daughter Catherine Barker Hickox - orphan at age 14, heiress, businesswoman, and founder of the Barker Welfare Foundation.
  • Offer tours, programs and exhibits portraying the cultural, social and economic activities of the period, thereby fostering the public’s appreciation of the mansion’s original furnishings, architecture and gardens.
  • Serve area schools with specially focused tours, games and programs.
  • Create a gracious and hospitable atmosphere for usage by non-profit civic and cultural groups and for lectures, recitals, and weddings.
  • Welcome the public to the Mansion and to our many programs as a volunteer.
  • Preserve and maintain the Mansion and its contents in order to ensure its place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Annual Rotary Picnic at Barker Mansion Garden
Jul 12, 2018
Jul 25, 2018 2:30 PM