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Faulty transformer leaves 1,800 without power Monday in Hammond, NIPSCO says

Sep 29, 2023

A failed transformer is being blamed for an outage that left 1,800 NIPSCO customers in the dark Monday morning in the Hammond area.

HAMMOND — A faulty main transformer is being blamed for an outage that left 1,800 NIPSCO customers in the dark Monday morning in the Hammond area.

The faulty transformer is located at the Sibley substation, NIPSCO spokeswoman Megan Henning said.

Juan Andrade Jr., the 2022 honorary degree recipient, gave the commencement address to the graduating class.

The outage began at 7:13 a.m. and crews were on site shortly after restoring service.

NIPSCO also reported nearly 100 outages Monday morning a little further south in Schererville, according to the company's outage website.

The company experienced two widespread outages late last week, both the result of motorists striking and damaging utility poles and wires.

Areas hit by those outages were Merrillville, Schererville, Crown Point, Griffith and Hammond, NIPSCO reported.

Thursday's outage forced the closure of the Lake County Government Center, which houses county offices, various courtrooms and the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

Sonic Drive-In skates into Crown Point, opening its long-awaited restaurant Monday.

The Oklahoma City-based fast food restaurant will celebrate a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its first Lake County location at 9 a.m. Monday. Guests also can get a free coffee with any purchase from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily for a limited time.

The new Sonic is located at 896 N. Superior Drive near the intersection of Broadway and Summit Street. The vintage restaurant employs about 60 people, including carhops who roller skate food out to customers' cars.

People can park and place an order via intercom, go through the drive-thru or order ahead via the app. The Crown Point location has nine drive-in stalls and an outdoor patio seating up to 16 diners.

Franchisee Majid Jaber opened the restaurant and plans to open a second Sonic in Dyer by early 2023.

"We look forward to introducing Lake County to the Sonic brand and all the variety our menu offers with the opening of Sonic Crown Point," Jaber said. "Crown Point has welcomed a number of new businesses and restaurants to the area in recent years, and we’re excited to be a part of that growth as we provide job opportunities for local residents and Sonic's signature fast and friendly service to guests."

Sonic has more than 3,500 restaurants nationwide, including an eatery in the Dunes Plaza in Michigan City and another outside the River Oaks Center in Calumet City. It grills up burgers, Coney dogs, corn dogs, French fries, onion rings and breakfast toaster sandwiches.

The expansive menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

The retro chain is especially known for its expansive selection of drinks that can be customized in thousands of different variations. Options include pop, limeades, milkshakes, slushes, lemonade, teas, ocean waters and ice cream floats.

Founded in 1953, Sonic is owned by Inspire Brands and is the largest drive-in restaurant chain in the United States with a presence in 46 states.

The Sonic in Crown Point will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, visit

Royal Tea opened Friday in Porte De L’eau Plaza in Highland.

The bubble tea place at 2160 45th St. boasts an expansive drink menu that includes an array of royal milk teas, including Royal Bubble, Royal Green Tea, Brow Sugar Bubble, Oolong Bubble, Taro Strawberry, Rainbow Jelly, Two Ladies, Matcha, Taro and Rose. It also has fresh fruit teas like Royal Fruit, Passion Fruit and Lime, Honey Lemon, Mango, Strawberry, Peach Green and Thai teas.

It also has milk foam caps, yogurt, fruit smoothies and hand roll ice cream that comes in flavors like mango, strawberry-banana, Oreo, Nutella, Green Tea and Summer Party.

Customers also can make their own poke bowl, topping white or brown rice with salmon, spicy salmon, tuna, chicken, shrimp, eel, crab or tofu. One can mix in ingredients like edamame, ginger, jalapenos, masago, mango, avocado, seaweed salad, cashews, tempura and wonton chips, and top it off with sauces like eel, teriaki, ponzu sweet, wasabi aioli, ginger dressing and yum yum sauce.

Royal Tea offers dine-in, to-go and self-ordering kiosks.

It's open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 219-513-8363 or visit

Aldi is going to open another supermarket in Valparaiso.

The Germany-based chain is known for its discounts, efficiency and no-frills stores where customers use quarters to unlock shopping carts from a corral. Aldi has multiple stores in Northwest Indiana, including at 2906 Laporte Ave. in Valparaiso Walk.

Aldi recently acquired the former Acacia Church on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso for an undisclosed sum. It plans to tear down the property at 2352 Morthland Drive and build a new store there, giving Valparaiso residents another grocery shopping option on U.S. 30 in addition to Strack & Van Til and the Walmart Supercenter.

Aldi is pursuing an aggressive expansion plan, looking to open 150 new stores across the country this year. It's on pace to become the third-largest grocery chain in the country in terms of locations by the end of the year.

CBRE of Indianapolis represented Aldi and Crown Point-based Latitude Commercial represented the seller.

"The buyer was great to work with in the transaction and I know the seller was happy with the outcome. We had a number of buyers that made offers on the property and the seller decided to go with Aldi because of the confidence that this would get to a closing table," said Aaron McDermott, president of Latitude Commercial.

European Wax Center recently opened its second Northwest Indiana location in Hobart across U.S. 30 from the Southlake Mall.

The Florida-based hair removal salon chain opened at 10349 Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland Grove Shopping Center a few years ago.

It established a second salon at 1675 East 80th Avenue in Merrillville Plaza, which has a Merrillville street address but is within Hobart city limits. It's the chain's seventh location in Indiana.

European Wax Center has around 30 locations in Chicagoland, including eight in the city of Chicago.

The company offers waxing services to men and women, such as bikini and Brazilian waxes, in private suites. It also sells a variety of dermatology-tested and cruelty-free brow, body and skincare products such as lotions and exfoliants.

Founded in 2004, European Wax Center has more than 850 salons across the United States and has been ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the country's fastest-growing companies.

Appointments are recommended.

The Hobart salon will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, call 219-206-1522 or visit

Need a yard sign or a new set of business cards?

Hoosier Postal Plus opened a business center in Cedar Lake.

The business at 13115 Wicker Ave. suite A offers packing, shipping, copying and printing services. It will ship packages and parcels via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS and DHL. It offers international shipping, mailbox rentals, computer rentals, office supplies, faxing and document shredding.

Hoosier Postal Plus will print photos, business cards, greeting cards, flyers, posters, banners and brochures.

Hoosier Postal Plus is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call 219-401-8145, visit or find the business on Facebook.

Region Recovery plans to soon open a location on Wicker Avenue in Cedar Lake.

The towing company was founded in 2013. It provides emergency towing, roadside assistance and vehicle transport services. It will take a broken-down or damaged car to auto body repair shops or dealerships across Northwest Indiana.

It operates around the clock with 24/7 live dispatch.

For more information, call 219-281-3008 or email [email protected].

If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email [email protected].

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

Thursday's outage forced the closure of the Lake County Government Center.