Illiana Vote Tuesday

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Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's Transportation Policy Committee votes on the Illiana Expressway tomorrow (December 3rd), and the 9am meeting's been moved to Woodland Park in Portage in anticipation of a big turnout. The full commission is scheduled to vote December 12. The proposed highway would span 47-miles – 12 miles in Indiana and 35 in Illinois – connecting I-65 near Lowell to I-55 in Illinois. The Indiana Department of Transportation has proposed amendments to add both the Illiana and an expansion of I-65 to NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan to move the project forward for federal funding.
Additional info from NIRPC: The Transportation Policy Committee consists of transportation stakeholders, transit operators, and transportation advocates from around the region. The NIRPC Full Commission consists of elected officials from all three counties, all 41 municipalities, and two townships. There is also a governor’s appointee. At the Full Commission, voting is normally one vote by each of the 53 Commissioners. A Commissioner may call for a weighted vote, in which case voting is weighted by proportional population....

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Driving Through Cook County? Buckle Up

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Drive Sober Illinois
The "Click It or Ticket" Thanksgiving weekend campaign is underway at various locations throughout Cook County, illinois. 
IDOT is partnering with Cook County Sheriff's Police, Illinois State Police and nearly 250 other local law enforcement agencies to crack down on seat belt law violators through Saturday, November 30th.
According to a media advisory, More than 700 Safety Belt Enforcement Zones will be conducted with half during night-time hours, when belt use is typically at its lowest.
To learn more about Illinois' "Click It or Ticket" program log onto:

Read more: Driving Through Cook County? Buckle Up


Police Ask Public to Help Identify Shooting Suspect

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East Chicago PD
East Chicago police investigating a shooting Saturday morning that took the life of a 23-year old man and injured his pregnant girlfriend who were both asleep at the time.
Published reports say shortly after 6:35 a.m. police responded to a shooting in the 35-hundred block of Grand Blvd. in East Chicago. A number of people, including four or five young children and a male adult were also in the home at the time of the shooting and escaped injury.
A family member reported seeing a large man lean into a bedroom window with a handgun but police say witnesses were unable to provide a clear description of the gunman.
The Lake County Coroner pronounced the victim, Rolando Munoz Cuevas III dead at 8:10 a.m. as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Chief Becker says an attempt by the deceased to sever previous gang ties may have been a motive of the crime.
Anyone with information about the shooting are asked to contact the East Chicago Police Department at (219) 398-COPS or the anonymous tip line at (219) 391-8500.
Read more about this developing story at:

Read more: Police Ask Public to Help Identify Shooting Suspect


Indiana DNR Investigates ATV Rollover Accident

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IN Dept of Conservation
Indiana Conservation officers are looking into an ATV accident that happened Saturday in downstate Morgan County that put the 71 year-old driver into the hospital with back and rib injuries.
The Indiana Department of natural Resources says the Brooklyn, Indiana man was attempting to maneuver up a steep hill on his property in the town of Bethany, about 50 miles west of Indianapolis, lost control and was thrown from the vehicle.  The machine then reportedly rolled back on top of Miller.
A preliminary report shows the driver had limited experience operating an ATV and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 
Indiana Conservation Officers urge riders to always wear a helmet and necessary safety equipment when operating an ATV.
For more information on using ATV equipment safely visit:

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Two Joliet Men Charged in Black Friday Incident

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A $400,000 bond has been set for a Joliet man who faces attempted murder and shoplifting charges in connection to a Black Friday incident at a Kohl's store in southwestern suburban Romeoville.
The Chicago Tribune reports that following an alleged shoplifting incident, police tried to stop 51 year-old Robert Russell Jr., from getting into a car driven by another man.
Russell allegedly closed the car door on the officer's arm as the car dragged him. According to the article, another officer fired shots at the car with one of those shots reportedly hitting the driver's arm.
The officer who was dragged was treated and released at a Bolingbrook hospital and the driver was also taken to a hospital but has not yet been charged.
Another Joliet man, 28 year-old Gerald Chamberlain Jr., involved in the incident reportedly stayed in the store and is in custody on a 100-thousand dollar bond.
Both Russell and Chamberlain have criminal histories will appear before a Will County judge on Tuesday....

Read more: Two Joliet Men Charged in Black Friday Incident


NWI Mobile Food Pantry to Visit Hammond Monday

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Mobile Food Pantry NWI
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana mobile food pantry will be making a stop to distribute food Monday afternoon in Hammond.
All Region residents in need of assistance can receive food food bank officials say participants should bring valid proof of Indiana residency and bags or boxes to carry food.
The mobile pantry will be at the North Township trustee's Circle of Services building located at 2835 165th Street in Hammond from 3 to 5 o'clock Monday, December 2, 2013.
You can hear more about programs offered by the food bank by downloading our recent Region Newsmakers interview with the food bank's executive director Arlene Peterson at http://www.regionnewsteam-dot-com. ...

Read more: NWI Mobile Food Pantry to Visit Hammond Monday


Gary Man Dies in Friday Shooting

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Gary Police and the Lake County Sheriff Crime Lab continue to investigate a shooting that resulted in the death of a Gary man Friday afternoon.
According to the Lake Count Coroner's office, shortly before 4 o'clock, investigators were called out to the 4400 block of Virginia Street in Gary, where they found 33-year old Eugene Jackson with multiple gunshot wounds.  The death has been ruled a homicide....

Read more: Gary Man Dies in Friday Shooting


Congratulations! Andrean 59ers are 3A State Champs!

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Capping off a 14-0 season, Andrean just brought back to the Region the Class 3A state title with a final score of Andrean 35, Brebeuf Jesuit 27.  Congratulations to coach Phil Mason in his sixth year at Andrean and the entire Andrean Football team in their victory. ...

Read more: Congratulations! Andrean 59ers are 3A State Champs!


Outage Affected Hammond, Highland Area

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Northern Indiana Public Service Company reports about three-thousand customers, both businesses and residents, lost power for about ninety-minutes this busy Black Friday morning in and around the Hammond/Highland area, just a little east and west of Indianapolis Boulevard and both north and south of 175th Street due to an apparent problem with a transformer at a substation. Power was restored by about 11 am. The outage also affected traffic lights along a stretch of the Boulevard....

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Gary Event Paying Tribute to Historic Game

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This year's CN Lakeshore Classic at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary tomorrow (Sat Nov 30) is featuring a tribute to two high schools that made history when they met at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis more than half-a-century ago. In 1955, for the first time in the Hoosier state, and the US, two all-black schools – Gary Roosevelt and Indianapolis Attucks – played each other for a state basketball title. Attucks won that game 97-74. Members of that groundbreaking game scheduled to be in Gary for this weekend's ceremony include NBA legends Oscar Robertson from the Attucks and Dr. Dick Barnett from Roosevelt. The National Basketball Retired Players Association says TNT, one of the NBA's home cable television networks, is sending a crew to cover the reunion. ...

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Public Invited to Hobart Doughboy Ceremony

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Today is the final Friday of the month, the day of the Hobart Marine Corps League Howlin' Mad Detachment Number 93 Doughboy ceremony where the names of fallen soldiers are read out loud – three names are being read tonight. The public is invited to the service, which starts at 5 pm at the Hobart Doughboy statue at 7th and Main. Doughboy was a term used to describe U-S infantrymen of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I....

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Valpo HS Students Set Up Walk-Thru Roundabout

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Here's a new spin on training for the new Five Points Roundabout. A mock walk-through roundabout was marked out using blue tape on the floor of a hallway at Valparaiso High School to designate and simulate how vehicles would flow through the new roundabout at Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads. It was part of a safe-driving activity sponsored by the school's chapter of SADD , Students Against Destructive Decisions, formerly called Students Against Drunk Driving....

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Lowell School Buildings Damaged in Severe Storms

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Administrators with Tri-Creek Schools in Lowell say some of the district's property was damaged in the severe weather outbreak that struck the Region and the Midwest November 17th. Part of the roof was compromised at the administration center, but officials say only storage areas were affected. There was also some damage reported to roofing and vents at the high school and Lake Prairie Elementary....

Read more: Lowell School Buildings Damaged in Severe Storms


Historic Stained Glass Tours Return to Michigan City

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stainedglass one
The Historic Stained Glass Tours are returning to Michigan City. Michigan City Mainstreet Association Executive Director Tiffany Bley says the downtown, better known now as the Uptown Arts District, is home to several of the area’s finest pieces of stained glass, and most of the stained glass is housed within the district’s churches.  [Photos courtesy Michigan City Mainstreet Association]
stainedglass two
The Stained Glass Tours are self-guided tours featuring the Uptown churches. Each church will showcase the story, provide refreshments and tour the historic stained glass pieces they hold. Churches participating include Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 Franklin Street; First United Methodist Church, 121 E. 7th Street; St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, 818 Franklin Street; and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 411 W. 11th Street.
Each church will have a resident tour guide, as well as the Stained Glass Tour Brochure which lists the other locations on the self-guided tours. Free horse drawn wagon rides and Santa visits will also be taking place in Uptown both of those days from 12noon to 2pm, as well as on December 7th an Arts and Crafts Bazaar at Barker Hall behind Trinity Church from 2pm to 5pm. For more information on these Winter Wonderland events, visit  ....

Read more: Historic Stained Glass Tours Return to Michigan City


Illinois Soldier and Dog Reunited 9 Days After Tornado

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Spc. Montgomery and Dexter (Photo courtesy Illinois National Guard)
A member of the Illinois National Guard has been reunited with his dog, more than a week after the six-month-old puppy disappeared when tornadoes struck the state.  
When Spc. Jacob Montgomery moved to Washington, Illinois, from Champaign six months ago to accept a promotion in his civilian job, he got a pit bull puppy as a companion.
But the pup, Dexter, and Montgomery were violently separated on Nov. 17 when a devastating tornado ripped through Washington and destroyed Montgomery’s third-floor apartment. Although Montgomery looked through the wreckage of his apartment several times since the tornado, Dexter was nowhere to be found.
On Tuesday, Montgomery got a Facebook note on his smart phone from a neighbor. “He said ‘I’ve got your dog right here.’” After nine days, Dexter was found under the rubble near where the apartment used to be. “The vet said he has no real injuries – just a few scrapes and cuts. He was malnourished, but he’s going to be fine.”
Montgomery and his neighbors found a powerful new ally in their search for pets and property after the tornado. “We are all networked together,” he said.
Montgomery’s neighbor had been searching for his cat with an animal rescue organization, Rescuing Animals in Need (RAIN) of Central Illinois, when they came across Dexter partly buried in rubble. They coaxed the 6-month-old puppy out of the rubble with hot dogs. The neighbor knew right away whose dog it was because of the pictures Montgomery had posted on social media. “As soon as a heard, I went straight there,” Montgomery said in an Illinois National Guard news release. “As soon as Dexter saw me, his tail started going.”
“As a National Guardsman, you train to respond to emergencies all the time, but I never really had it happen to me,” said Montgomery, who has been a military police officer with the Illinois Army National Guard for more than five years and is a member of the 333rd Military Police Co. of Freeport. “I am lucky. All I had in my apartment is gone, but my dog was all I really had to worry about.”
Montgomery is staying with a friend near Peoria until he can find a new apartment for him and Dexter....

Read more: Illinois Soldier and Dog Reunited 9 Days After Tornado


Salvation Army Angel Tree Program

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[Captain Rebecca Simmons in studio for our Region Newsmakers series]
On this Black Friday, The Salvation Army Lake County is asking Region residents to think about putting something under the tree for area children whose families are experiencing financial hardship. The Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree Program provides not only toys but clothing and special-needs gifts, and in Lake County there are nearly four-thousand children whose parents have already requested assistance for this Christmas. Salvation Army Lake County Coordinator Captain Rebecca Simmons says angel tree tags can be found at the East Chicago, Gary-Merrillville, or Hammond-Munster Salvation Army locations.  "Recently we had a call from a group in Crown Point, " said Captain Simmons, "a Girl Scout Troop, who wanted to adopt angels, and they're just really excited about being able to adopt angels and buy gifts for other kids, just like them, who are in need." You can hear more of our Region Newsmakers interview with Captain Simmons here at our website. For more info call 219-838-0380 (Hammond-Munster), 219-887-6588 (Gary-Merrillville), or 219-398-2939 (East Chicago).
For more info online visit


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Officer Dragged, Shot Fired After Alleged Shoplifting

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In the Chicago-area Thursday night, authorities say a driver was shot by a police officer after an alleged shoplifting incident at a Kohl's department store in Romeoville. Officials say two suspects ran from the store to a waiting car, where an officer got caught in a struggle and was dragged by the vehicle. That's when another officer fired his gun, believing his fellow officer was in danger. "The driver was struck, we believe, one time in the shoulder area," said Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey, "and at that time the car came to a stop".   The injured officer and the driver were sent to the hospital.  "The officer was dragged, quite some distance," Chief Turvey said, "He couldn't get out." Three people were arrested....

Read more: Officer Dragged, Shot Fired After Alleged Shoplifting


14-0 Andrean Plays for State Title Today

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[Image/Andrean HS Official State Bound T-Shirt]
The Andrean Football 59ers punctuate their phenomenal season as they vie for a state title at Lucas Oil Stadium today.  Andrean, with an unbeaten regular season record of 14-0, is attempting to win their second state title in school history and first undefeated 15-0 season.  Top-ranked Andrean is playing in their first football championship game since 2004 title year.  The Fighting 59ers are ranked #1 in both the Associated Press and state coaches polls.  They are one of three unbeaten teams remaining in the state, the others being Columbus East and Eastern Hancock.  Their opponent, Brebeuf Jesuit, is making its first appearance in the football state finals on the heels of winning the school's first sectional title.  The Braves are one of two teams playing in a state championship game for the first time, the other being Tri-Central.  There's a big sendoff in Merrillvile at the school this morning for the team. The 3A state championship game kicks off in Indianapolis this afternoon at 2:30 Central/3:30 Eastern.
More info from IHSAA:

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'A Christmas Story' Window Travels to Riley Hospital

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A window scene from the annual "A Christmas Story" Comes Home exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond will be spending this holiday season in a special place downstate.   According to Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, the organization wanted to share Northwest Indiana’s holiday cheer with Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis
“Watching the holiday classic ‘A Christmas Story’ has become tradition for many families. We wanted to provide Riley Hospital for Children’s patients and families the chance to experience the annual exhibit during their time at Riley,” said Batistatos. In addition to providing one of the window scenes for display, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority will be coordinating several special events. The special events will offer patients and families the opportunity to experience Christmas traditions while at Riley Hospital for Children.
The “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit, which is presented in agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will open at the Indiana Welcome Center on Saturday, Nov. 9 and run through Sunday, Jan. 5. The Indiana Welcome Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, Indiana 46323.
For more information on the exhibit, weekend and holiday hours, special events, or the partnership with Riley Hospital for Children, contact Bethany Randolph, special events and services manager for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, at 219-554-2229 or visit

Read more: 'A Christmas Story' Window Travels to Riley Hospital


Merrillville Town Council Vote Favors Illiana

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The town of Merrillville has officially thrown its support behind the proposed Illiana Expressway. At this week's town council meeting, the vote was five-to-one, with one councilman absent, in favor of regional planners including the project in the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan, an important step to get federal dollars. Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's board is scheduled to take that vote December 12th. The 47-mile highway would link Interstate 65 in south Lake County near Lowell to I-55 in Illinois.   Published reports say Councilman Richard Hardaway, who cast the vote against, said his objection comes not against the project itself, but in light of the opposition from residents of south Lake County who would be affected by the highway, noting that Lowell State Representative Rick Niemeyer and Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong of Crown Point are against it. Niemeyer and Strong made a joint announcement earlier this month urging NIRPC to vote it down saying money would be better spent on existing projects in the Region....

Read more: Merrillville Town Council Vote Favors Illiana


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Region News Team
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