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La Paz says say Lakeville's withdrawal leaves them worse off


Residents of North Township, which includes La Paz, say they’re the biggest losers in the recent Lakeville-La Paz ambulance saga, even though the dispute had nothing to do with them.

North and Union Township had been contracting with the nonprofit Union North Ambulance Service since the ‘70s. Each township owned half of each of the two ambulances used.

But tensions started in May when North Township and La Paz were considering forming a new fire territory. Union Trustee Kelly Carrico, who had just taken office, says the ambulance service wouldn’t guarantee service for Union, which includes Lakeville, because it was planning to form the territory.

After taking the matter to court, the two townships have divided the ambulances, with North getting the 2019 model and Union taking the 2015 vehicle.

North and La Paz officials in March OK’d the territory, which still needs state approval.

But Tom Vetne, attorney for North, says whether they had formed the territory would have had no effect on the ambulance service’s coverage of Lakeville. And he said no ambulance service can guarantee service because there could be more calls than ambulances to respond at any given time.

For now, Vetne says North and La Paz are coming out worse off. They’ll try to buy a second ambulance but don’t know if they’ll have the money this year.

"Union has primary service through South Bend," Vetne said. "North Township doesn't have primary service through anyone other than the ambulance service. The ambulance service was more of a backup for Union Township than anything else."

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).