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The Highland Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 122 will be having their annual fallen officer memorial service on tomorrow, at 9:00 AM, at the Main Square Park Gazebo. Next week, Munster Police will hold their service at 3pm at the police department, and on May 17th, the Lake County Sheriff's Department will hold their memorial service at the department's Memorial Gardens, directly east of the Sheriff's Department building.
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Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge will be the keynote speaker at the Porter County Sheriffs Department's annual Inspection and Memorial Service next Friday in Valparaiso. Both the inspection and service are open to the public. The annual tradition during National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Week honors the men and women whose lives have been lost. Ridge, who has since re-entered the private sector, served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 through 2001, and resigned the governorship after President George W. Bush announced that Governor Ridge would become the director of a new U.S. Office of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Ridge served as US Homeland Security Advisor, then later became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving in that position from 2003 to 2005 . He was also a longtime member of the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, from 1983 to 1995.
The Porter County Sheriff’s Department will be holding its annual Inspection and Memorial Service on Friday May 17, 2013 at the Sheriff’s Department, 2755 State Road 49, Valparaiso, IN. The inspection will start at 9:30 AM and the Memorial Service will start at 11:00 AM, and both are open to the public.
About a mile-and-a-half away, police in La Porte Police report that someone's vehicle was broken into that same night and an I-Pod was stolen from the center console, in the 400 block of Pulaski Street. The victim said it's the third time his vehicle has been entered in three weeks. Police urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to contact them.
The Lake County Commissioners determined the fate of Lake County's one-and-a-half percent local income tax this morning, but not the way it was thought would happen. Our Karl Berner was there and reports that Commissioner Gerry Scheub made multiple motions to veto ordinances for the income tax, but each motion failed to get a second from either of the other two commissioners, Michael Repay and Roosevelt Allen, Jr.. There had been widely publicized speculation, based on earlier published comments by Repay that he could not support the tax, that the income tax would be vetoed by commissioners during the board's special meeting at 8:30 this morning. A few days ago, the Lake County Council voted four-to-three to approve a one-and-a-half percent local income tax for county residents and out-of-staters who work in Lake County. If commissioners had vetoed it, the county council could have overridden that, but it would have taken a super-majority, at least five votes, to do so. Lake was the only county in the state without a local income tax. Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor President Dan Murchek called the outcome a win for Lake County municipalities, saying the tax increase will help to offset already strained police, fire and EMS services due to state funding cuts.
Senate Bill 585 was written by Valparaiso State Senator Ed Charbonneau. In our recent Region Newsmakers interview with State Senator Charbonneau, he talked to us about the measure, which he says he drafted to deal with economic development opportunities for Lake County, "but the ramifications of this from an economic development standpoint, from an investment standpoint, from a job creation standpoint," Charbonneau said, are "regionwide", and he added if the Gary Airport could be brought up to its full potential, "it would have statewide implications". The measure changes the composition of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, and also requires studies of a possible new Lake Michigan port in Gary, and the need for a level-one trauma center in the Region.
You can hear our Region Newsmakers interview here at our website.
The Lake County Treasurers Office has announced extended office hours for their Crown Point, Hammond and Gary offices again today (Fri May 10 2013), from 8:30 am to 7 pm, for the Spring property tax installment due May 10. A number of local banks in Lake County will continue to collect payment until closing today. Credit card and check payments are accepted on the Lake County Treasurer's Page at www.lakecountyin.org .
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Dept)
A 37 year old Harvey, Illinois, man is facing numerous counts of animal cruelty after Cook County Sheriff's deputies enforcing a court-ordered eviction found a number of abused dogs, including one found dead in the basement of the home. The Sheriff's office reports William Roberson was named in the eviction order for the home located in the 50 block of West 151st Street. The Sheriff's Police Animal Crimes Unit found in total seven pit bull type dogs and one Chihuahua, and reports there was no indication of dog fighting at the location. The South Suburban Humane Society took custody of the dogs, which were taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
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INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2013) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning potential homebuyers about scam artists who use authentications from the Secretary of State’s office to swindle Hoosiers into fraudulent real estate transactions. The scam artists are domestic terrorists who refer to themselves as sovereign citizens and believe the government is illegitimate. They are using authentications from the Secretary of State’s office to create the illusion they own vacant property to trick Hoosiers into illegitimate home sales.
“Today, a judge sentenced Shela Amos of Indianapolis to 34 years for defrauding victims using the vacant home sale scheme,” said Secretary Lawson. “While this will stop Amos, unfortunately, others are waiting to pick up where she left off. Hoosiers should use extreme caution when dealing with sovereign citizens. They have no regard for the law and are master manipulators.”
The vacant home sale scheme is popular among sovereign citizens. At first, they identify abandoned homes and create documents claiming they own the property. Then they have a notary sign the document. They bring the signed document to the Secretary of State’s office and request an apostille, a gold seal for overseas authentications, to certify the notary’s signature is authentic. After the document has an apostille, they file it with the county recorder’s office. Once the document has the seal and is on file with the recorder’s office, the scam artists bring prospective home buyers to the recorder’s office to show them the document they created as proof they own the real estate they are selling.
In a majority of cases, sovereign citizens target Hispanics with a language barrier. They lead their victims to believe they have legitimately purchased property even though they don’t own the property or have the legal authority to sell.
The Apostilles and authentications they use are exclusively for international business and other transactions, specifically, in patent and trademark registrations and foreign adoptions. They have nothing to do with property.
“Con artists target members of the Hispanic community, but all Hoosiers should be cautious when dealing with sovereign citizens. Because of their disregard for the law, they concoct many schemes using phony authority and even retaliate against law enforcement and government officials who work to stop them.”
After sovereign citizens like Shela Amos are sentenced for their crimes, many harass the law enforcement officers, judges or prosecutors they believe wrongly convicted them. They often file fraudulent Uniform Commercial Code financing statements or real property liens against the law enforcement officer or civic leader for millions of dollars. These fraudulent filings cause issues when the victim attempts to buy or sell a home or open a line of credit. Many victims don’t even realize they have been targeted until they go to sell or buy property, but it can take years to have the statement or lien removed causing major headaches.
Just last month, the General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1054, giving the Secretary of State’s office the ability to prevent the filing of these deceitful documents. Previously, the Secretary of State’s office did not have the authority to reject financing statements or liens. The ability to reject fraudulent filings will protect those in law enforcement and civic leaders from the harassment of criminals.
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(Photos Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Dept)
(Photos: top Tepper-Hunt, bottom Bibbs)
Tips provided by citizen's resulted in two men being arrested in Griffith Wednesday for dealing and possessing drugs. The Lake County Sheriff's Department reports 41 year old Franklin Tepper-Hunt, of Griffith, is charged with dealing and possession of a controlled substance and 38 year old Andre Bibbs, of Harvey, Illinois, is charged with dealing and possession of a controlled substance, as well as possession of a stolen handgun, after officers executed a search warrant at the Mansard Apartment Complex.
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Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence today vetoed House Enrolled Act 1546, concerning unauthorized collection of local option income tax in Jackson and Pulaski counties after legal authority for those tax collections had expired. The Governor issued the following statement:
"If Hoosiers owe taxes, they should pay them. But when Hoosiers pay taxes that are not owed, they deserve relief, and this legislation does not meet that standard.
"HEA 1546 would approve, after the fact, the collection of taxes that were not owed. While there are valuable elements of this legislation, retroactive approval of the taxes collected is not the proper remedy and for that reason I am vetoing this legislation.
"I look forward to working with the General Assembly next session to resolve this issue in a manner that works for these counties and is in the best interest of Hoosier taxpayers."
Governor Pence has directed the Office of Management and Budget to develop options for refunding or crediting the revenues in question.
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"Our Hoosier students deserve every opportunity to be successful," said Governor Pence. "That includes having the choice to attend the school that works best for them. Thanks to this legislation, Hoosier students and their families now have more educational options available to meet their individual needs. I applaud the General Assembly for their commitment to quality education in Indiana."
HEA 1003 expands the state's choice scholarship program, which allows students who qualify to use a voucher to offset the costs of attending a school of their choice. Students with special needs, siblings of current voucher recipients, and students who receive a scholarship from a Scholarship Granting Organization will now qualify. The new law permits current voucher recipients to continue participating in the program if their family incomes rise above the base income threshold. It also allows children who live in low-performing school districts to receive a voucher without having to attend one year of public school first.
Representative Bob Behning (R) authored the legislation to expand the school choice scholarship program. Representatives Todd Huston(R) and Dale DeVon (R) coauthored it. It was sponsored by Senators Doug Eckerty (R) and Carlin Yoder (R) and cosponsored by Senators Dennis Kruse (R) and Jean Leising (R).
Pence also signed HEA 1334, which creates an additional option for teachers to cost-effectively insure themselves against professional liability by creating a statewide insurance pool that teachers can opt into if they choose.
"Teachers should be able to focus on educating our kids without fear of defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits and incurring expensive legal fees out of their own pockets," said Pence. "HEA 1334 creates a means for teachers to shield themselves against professional liability so they can concentrate on leading their classrooms and helping our children reach their highest potential."
HEA 1334 was authored by Representative Jeffrey Thompson (R) and coauthored by Representative Woody Burton (R). It was sponsored by Senators Dennis Kruse (R) and Phil Boots (R) and cosponsored by Senators Scott Schneider (R) and Brandt Hershman (R).
Both pieces of legislation were part of a package of education reforms the Pence Administration advanced in this session. Also passed were HEA 1005, which addresses the need for remediation and dropout prevention in Indiana, HEA 1348, which will help increase on-time college graduation rates, SEA 465, which created Indiana Regional Works Councils, and SEA 532 which makes available more loans to higher education students.
Hoosiers can learn more about the bill signed by the Governor at: http://www.in.gov/gov/billwatch.htm.
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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)
An investigation into a vehicle check led authorities to arrest an 18 year old LaPorte man and charge him with dealing heroin. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports officers located a vehicle today parked in the Stone Lake Beach parking lot, and upon checking the vehicle, called upon investigators from the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit to assist. The Sheriff's Office reports a subsequent on-scene investigation led to the arrest of Christopher Miller, who was taken to the LaPorte County Jail, and at last check was being held on a 100-thousand dollar bond.
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(Photos Courtesy of the Portage Twp Trustee's Office)
Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy, along with the staff at the Bonner Senior Center recently received a 250-dollar “Edible Community Garden Grant” from the Porter County Master Gardeners Association. The Bonner Senior Center has formed a garden club comprised of senior volunteers to prepare, plant, and tend the garden, which has become a therapeutic outlet for seniors with a passion for gardening, but who lack the space of funds to establish their own. Last year one-thousand pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were donated to the Portage Food Pantry and this year's grant will be used to continue the community garden.
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Starting Sunday Indiana State Police will be participating in a program to deter unsafe driving behavior by passenger vehicle and commercial motor vehicle drivers when they interact on the roadway. Indiana State Police say the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's “Ticket Aggressive Cars and Trucks”, or TACT campaign, uses education and high visiblity traffic enforcement to reduce the number of crashes, and will specifically look for motorists who drive dangerously around semi trucks and other commerical motor vehicles. Some of the violations troopers will be concentrating on include: unsafe lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, following too closely and aggressive driving. In many crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, the crash is caused by non-commercial drivers operating in an unsafe manner. The campaign runs through June 8th.
Indiana State Police encourage all drivers to follow these safety tips when driving around commercial motor vehicles:
• Allow plenty of space between you and the commercial motor vehicle. Drivers should allow one car length between their vehicle and the commercial motor vehicle for every 10 mph of travel or follow at least three to four seconds behind the semi.
• Stay out of the truck driver’s blind spot. If you can’t see the mirrors on the truck, the driver can’t see you.
• Always make safe lane changes around commercial motor vehicles. Use signals and leave plenty of space between you and the truck. It can take over 500 feet for a fully loaded truck going 65 mph to come to a complete stop.
• Always yield the right of way to commercial motor vehicles.
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- Mayor Meer to Give MC State of City Address May 21st
- Dedication Ceremony Tomorrow of Quentin P. Smith Bridge
- Shops on Main Anchors Announced
- What's Next for Hebron Schools?
- Homicide in East Chicago
- Governor Signs Felony Code Overhaul
- Opera House Repairs Continue
- State's Top Teacher Visits Schools in Northwest Indiana
- Pence Signs School Safety Laws and Improvements to Healthcare
- Coroner Frey Educates on Reducing Infant Deaths
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