Buncich trial, Krieg pipe bombing charges and Lake Central teacher allegedly doing drugs in classroom did not make list of most popular stories in 2017
January 1, 2018-Looking back at 2017, region crime, the Aruba Trip by elected officials and the opioid epidemic were the top stories on the Northwest Indiana Gazette. The arrest of Christopher Dillard after the murder of 24 year old Nicole Gland topped the list of crime stories as the most viewed of the year. Breaking crime stories tended to get 5-10 times the interest that crimes reported after charges were filed garnered. The exception to this rule was the story of Whiting Animal Control Director Martin Jakubowski admitting to dog fighting. The story did not come out until nearly a year after charges were filed because only the plea agreement outlined the insidious nature of Jakubowski’s conduct over a prolonged period of time. As part of his plea agreement, Jakubowski admitted to housing fighting dogs from 2011-2016, giving at least two dogs to a dog fighting ring, and providing antibiotics from the shelter to the dog fighting operation. Mayor Joe Stahura made matters worse when he initially defended his long-time friend.
The most popular political story of the year, and possibly of all time, was the taxpayer funded Aruba trip taken by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly Robinson and Township attorney Rinzer Williams among others. Mayor Freeman-Wilson was given a pass by other media when she defended the trip saying federal, rather than local, tax money paid her way. Trustee Kimberly Robinson still has not explained her role in the trip, the expenses incurred, or who went to Aruba at Township expense. Other political corruption stories, including the Federal trial of Sheriff John Buncich were well covered by other media sources and did not generate as much buzz on the Gazette.
The region opioid epidemic was reported in terms of arrests, deaths and warnings from law enforcement. Together the stories generated more interest than virtually any other category of story.
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