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Investigation Continues into Portage Bait Shop Robbery

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In Portage, police are seeking the public's assistance as they continue their investigation into an armed robbery at a business Sunday morning in the 62-hundred block of US 20. Portage Police report the suspect allegedly entered Quick Step Outdoors bait shop around 10am, used a knife from the store's counter to threatened the owner and left with an undisclosed amount of money. Police report the suspect is described as a white male, 5'10” with a heavy build, in his mid 30's, wearing a blue coat and a blue winter cap. Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station reportedly shows the suspect driving a large white SUV, with an Indiana handicapped license plate from White County. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Portage Police. ...

Read more: Investigation Continues into Portage Bait Shop Robbery

 

Poachers Caught Hunting Illegally in National Lakeshore

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Officials say two men were apprehended hunting illegally in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in separate incidents this month. On Friday November 15th, National Park Service rangers say they located a Buchanan, Michigan man hunting in a tree stand approximately 75 yards inside the park boundary near Mount Baldy in Michigan City. The next day, a ranger on patrol in the Pinhook Bog area of the park discovered a Valparaiso man allegedly standing in an illegal tree stand about 150 yards inside the park boundary in possession of hunting gear. Hunting within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is prohibited under federal law and both men are facing charges. Violators are also subject to the seizure and forfeiture of all equipment, including firearms and vehicles.
Additional information from the National Park Service:
Hunters may not pursue, dress out, or transport legally wounded or killed animals that end up within park boundaries unless they are accompanied by a park ranger. Hunters should call 1-800-ParkTip to report any such incidents and to request assistance. Legally taken animals may not be stored overnight anywhere in the park, including campgrounds, parking lots, or any other visitor facilities. All park roads are closed to the transportation of lawfully taken wildlife, unless specifically approved in writing by a park ranger. Individuals hunting near the park boundary are reminded to be familiar with the location of the park and to confirm that the area they are hunting in is not inside the boundary.
The National Park Service welcomes the public’s assistance in helping to protect the park’s wildlife. Illegal or suspicious hunting activity can be reported to the 1-800-ParkTip line 24 hours a day seven days a week. Reporting parties do not have to identify themselves and all reports are kept confidential.  For more information click http://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm...

Read more: Poachers Caught Hunting Illegally in National Lakeshore

 

Extra Police Patrols in Valpo for Thanksgiving Holiday

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Police in Valparaiso will be working extra patrols tomorrow night and throughout Thanksgiving weekend as part of the “Safe Family Travels” enforcement blitz. Officers will be searching for aggressive driving, speeding motorists, seat violations and impaired drivers. Valparaiso Police report the night before Thanksgiving has become a popular night for consuming alcohol, so they are encouraging everyone who does drink to please drink responsibly. Motorists are also encouraged to report impaired drivers from their cell phone when they observe erratic driving....

Read more: Extra Police Patrols in Valpo for Thanksgiving Holiday

 

Winter Weather Ban Issued for Indiana Toll Road

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Traffic-Advisory
ITR Concessions Company has issued a Winter Weather Ban in effect Tuesday, November 26, 2013 beginning at 07:00 pm EST through Wednesday, November 27, 2013 07:00 pm EST from Valparaiso through South Bend West on the Indiana Toll Road. This ban is in effect for all triples, and long-doubles including steel haulers.

...

Read more: Winter Weather Ban Issued for Indiana Toll Road

 

Gov Pence Accepts State Auditor's Resignation

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced that he has accepted Dwayne Sawyer’s resignation as State Auditor, effective next month. In his letter of resignation, Sawyer said he was leaving due to “family and personal concerns.” In August, Sawyer, former town council president for Brownsburg, Indiana, was named auditor to finish Tim Berry's term, which runs through 2014. Sawyer was the first black Republican to hold statewide office in Indiana. Berry left after being elected chair of the State Republican Party.
“I have accepted Dwayne Sawyer’s resignation as Auditor of State effective December 15, 2013.  His reason for resigning had to do with personal and family circumstances, and I respect his decision to step aside. Hoosiers can be assured that Mr. Sawyer’s resignation had nothing to do with his fiduciary responsibilities for the state or his execution of his duties as Auditor. This office will always be grateful for Mr. Sawyer’s service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Sawyer stated in his letter of resignation, “Due to family and personal concerns, I have come to the conclusion that it will be in the best interests of my family and the people of Indiana whom I have been honored to serve that I resign from the office of Indiana auditor of state.”...

Read more: Gov Pence Accepts State Auditor's Resignation

 

Driver's Ed for Valpo's Newest Roundabout

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5 Points Roundabout Rendering
[Image/courtesy City of Valparaiso]
Valparaiso residents who might be a little uneasy about taking a spin through the city's newest and most high-profile roundabout –Five Points at Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads– the city wants to help. Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers' family runs a local driving school, Excel Driving School in Valparaiso, that he says is offering some free training for adult motorists next month as a public service to the community.  "The student will come to the office and spend about a half hour doing some paperwork, signing some releases and watching the video on how to drive a roundabout, and then a professional driving instructor will meet them in a driver-ed car, " Summers said, taking the motorist through the roundabout at Cumberland Crossing then the new one that's opening at Vale Park on the north side of the city.
A ten-minute video on driving a roundabout is also available at the city's website: http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1244...

Read more: Driver's Ed for Valpo's Newest Roundabout

 

Indiana State Police Urge Motorists to Buckle Up

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Indiana State Police want you to buckle up, not just for Thanksgiving travel, for for whenever and wherever you travel.  "It's the best way to protect yourself against injury in a crash as well as your loved ones, " said Indiana State Police Trooper Glen Fifield. Trooper Fifield says it's also important that parents have a properly-installed child safety or booster seat, and for more information you can visit www.childseat.in.gov for a list of locations and a toll-free number to speak with experts about proper installation.  
You'll be seeing officers taking part in high-visibility patrols as we're entering the holiday season. In an effort to make the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday travel period safer, the Indiana State Police are joining approximately 250 other law enforcement agencies statewide in participating in the annual Safe Family Travel campaign which began Friday, November 8th and runs through Sunday, December 1.  The Indiana State Police will be conducting enforcement efforts including sobriety check points and saturation patrols targeting impaired drivers and unrestrained motorists.
Officials say in 2012, alcohol-impaired driving in Indiana was linked to 150 fatalities (increase from 140 fatalities in 2011) and 2,112 injuries. Alcohol-impaired collisions were less than 3 percent of all Indiana crashes, but accounted for 20.3 percent of Indiana 779 traffic fatalities in 2012.   Indiana State Police also say roughly six out of ten fatalities in alcohol-impaired collisions were the impaired driver from 2008 to 2012. Approximately 80 percent of serious fatal and incapacitating injuries from alcohol-impaired collisions occurring during the 2008-2012 period were suffered by impaired drivers and their passengers.

Indiana State Police ask everyone to help make the Thanksgiving Holiday travel period safe by observing the following safety rules:

 If you are planning to travel make sure you are well rested, a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver
 Avoid tailgating; remember the two-second rule
 Make sure everyone is buckled up
 Put down the electronic devices and drive
 DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
 MOVE OVER - SLOW DOWN for emergency and highway service vehicles...

Read more: Indiana State Police Urge Motorists to Buckle Up

 

Portage to Offer Auto-Calls for Emergencies and More

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In Portage, the city has approved offering a new auto-call system that'll get the word out to residents via phone, text, and email. The messaging is expected to be operational next month. There will be no cost to use it, and residents who don't want it can opt out. The system can be used to send emergency info like severe weather warnings or a broken water line notification to information like a change in garbage pickup, and residents will be able to choose what they want to be notified about....

Read more: Portage to Offer Auto-Calls for Emergencies and More

 

South Shore to St John by 2023?

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Region commuters could be catching the South Shore train in south Lake County by 2023 – within about a decade – according to a preliminary report. The first phase of the West Lake extension would stop in St. John, with an eye toward Lowell later. The investment plan being discussed by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District also looks at enhancements to the current line, like replacing cars, and improvements to stations here in the Region.  In other NICTD news, members of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Executive Board have voted to ban e-cigarettes on all trains. Smoking is already prohibited on all trains along the South Shore line. ...

Read more: South Shore to St John by 2023?

 

Lake Effect Expected to Impact the Region

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[Image/Chicago National Weather Service]
A lake effect snow event is expected to impact the Region just as holiday travelers may be taking to major highways for Thanksgiving travel. Forecasters with the National Weather Service says lake effect snow is likely especially the further east you go in Northwest Indiana, into Porter and especially La Porte County, including the Indiana Toll Road and Interstate 94, starting tonight and continuing through Wednesday.   Currently we have Lake Effect Snow Watches posted tonight through Wednesday for Porter and Starke Counties, with a Lake Effect Snow Warning for La Porte County tonight through Wednesday.
Chicago National Weather Service:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/    
Northern Indiana National Weather Service:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/...

Read more: Lake Effect Expected to Impact the Region

 

Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole

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In Lake County court, a Gary man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of a Griffith woman in April 2011. Last month, a jury convicted 40-year-old Robert Lewis the third of charges that included murder and murder during the perpetration of criminal deviate conduct. Authorities say 37-year-old Jennifer Kocsis, a former teacher in Hammond and Whiting, agreed to give Lewis a ride from a restaurant. Her body was found by schoolchildren the next morning behind the former Riley Elementary School building at 43rd and Ohio Street in Gary. ...

Read more: Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole

   

Numerous Spin-outs and Crashes Due to Icy Roads

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Late Monday afternoon rush hour drivers encountered icing road conditions all across northwest Indiana as area temperatures dipped below freezing. 
Dozens of traffic tipsters reported extremely hazardous conditions and spin-outs, including one eastbound on the Indiana Toll Rd. at the Broadway exit, which was moved to the left shoulder.
Icy roads may have contributed to a crash involving a semi and three other vehicles affecting the northbound lanes of Cline Avenue at the US 20/5th Avenue exit.  Emergency crews responded to a rollover wreck on US-231 at Montgomery Street just east of the intersection.
 
Shortly before 6:30p.m. CST reportedly a semi jackknifed blocking the left lane northbound I-65 just south of the US 231 Crown Point exit. 

Around the same time a traffic tipster reported that southbound State Road 49 was at a standstill just south of US Highway 6 and that traffic was moving about 20 mph.
A traveler from Virginia driving northbound on I-65 reported in on the Northwest Indiana Traffic Tip Hotline (219-405-7743) that she first encountered icy conditions just south of Winimac in the Fair Oaks area where she reportedly saw a police car in the ditch.  About the same time another driver reported that I-65 in the same area was nothing but a sheet of ice.
A public service worker on the way to her police job called in to say that the Broadway overpass over I-94 was a sheet of ice in the Gary area and that it took her 10 minutes to make it over it and she said cars attempting to cross were spinning out with no traction.
INDOT has dispatched their entire fleet of trucks to salt all the major expressways and area roads.  Drivers are being urged to stay off of area roads as travel is extremely hazardous, if not impossible in some areas....

Read more: Numerous Spin-outs and Crashes Due to Icy Roads

   

Merrillville Rotary Club Donates Turkeys for Holidays

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(Photos Courtesy of Franciscan Alliance)
Thanksgiving turkeys were recently purchased for 40 area families by the Merrillville Rotary Club. Franciscan Alliance reports club members raised nearly four-hundred dollars for the turkeys, which were purchased at a Strack and Van Til store in Crown Point and club members Ralph Neff and Brian Popp offered to match and double the donation, which was made to St Clare health Clinic in Crown Point today.
st clare 2 ...

Read more: Merrillville Rotary Club Donates Turkeys for Holidays

   

Gary Man Found Guilty for Rape of Elkhart Woman

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A sentencing date of December 20th has been scheduled for a Gary man found guilty by a jury of raping an Elkhart woman. 42 year old Ronald Thompson was convicted of rape, criminal deviate conduct, battery, robbery and criminal confinement for the incident that occurred in August of 2012. Thompson had been accused of raping the woman at his Merrillville business after offering her a ride while she waited at the Gary Metro stop for a bus. Thompson was convicted in June for a similar assault on a Gary woman for criminal confinement, battery and sexual battery and sentenced in September to four years in prison....

Read more: Gary Man Found Guilty for Rape of Elkhart Woman

   

Secretary of State: Be Smart Spenders!

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Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson wants Hoosiers to be more responsible with their money this holiday season and has offered useful tips on ways to save. Lawson says her office has put together a smart shopping guide and will be releasing helpful tips on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest over the next five-weeks.
Secretary Lawson’s Top Five Tips
1)      Don’t assume the best deals will be found on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Some items – like toys, brand-name TVs, and Christmas decorations – drop in price much closer to the holiday.  Exercise equipment, winter clothes, and international airfare prices drop in January and February.
2)      Beware of restocking fees!  You may have to pay for a returned item to be repackaged and replaced.  Some retailers charge up to 25 percent or more, so it’s important to check the retailer’s return policy.
3)      Don’t be afraid to ask for price adjustments.  Hold onto your receipts and watch ads to see if the items you’ve purchased drop in price.  Most stores will credit you the difference if you show them your receipt.
4)      Pay with cash or use a debit card.  When you run out of money, you’re done shopping.  If staying on budget is important to you, then leave the credit cards at home.
5)      Beware of  free holiday lunches or dinner investment seminars!   Scammers exploit emotions of loneliness during this time of year by providing free meals.
Secretary Lawson's office teaches Hoosiers about investment fraud and financial literacy through Indiana Investment Watch.  The education program is funded primarily from fines imposed on violators of securities laws.  Indiana Investment Watch has educational materials covering various types of fraud, as well as general financial literacy tools.  Workshops and outreach events held throughout the state provide more in-depth information on detecting and avoiding scams.  Secretary Lawson believes the most effective form of investor protection is investor education....

Read more: Secretary of State: Be Smart Spenders!

   

Cook County Coroner: Trotter Died Due to a Stroke

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We now know what killed celebrity chef Charlie Trotter. Here's ABC News reports Trotter was known worldwide for his culinary expertise. Now the Cook County Medical Examiner in Chicago says Trotter died from a stroke related high blood pressure. He was only 54 years old. Trotter's wife has said he had an aneurysm months before he died and that he was taking medication for his blood pressure and cholesterol. ...

Read more: Cook County Coroner: Trotter Died Due to a Stroke

   

Tips to Help Families Prevent Home Burglaries

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The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office is offering the public some tips to help prevent your family from becoming burglary victims this holiday season. The Sheriff's Office reports would-be thieves take advantage of you being out-of-town, so to assist law enforcement in helping to prevent burglaries they ask you secure all doors and windows in your home. Authorities also suggest using automatic timers to turn on house lights and to stop mail or newspaper delivery if out-of-town for an extended period.
Other tips include:

- Have a neighbor/relative remove snow to give appearance as if someone is home
- Report suspicious activity to law enforcement IMMEDIATLEY
- Record serial numbers to ALL valuables, and keep the list of numbers hidden
- Do not place “big box items” or valuable item boxes at curb for recycling/garbage as this just advertises to potential thieves. Rather, break down boxes and/or turn boxes inside-out.

Having serial numbers to all electronics, weapons, and other valuables; greatly increases the probability of solving your case, should you become a victim.
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department works hard to prevent burglaries, and solve those that do occur. Any civic organization that is interested in having a property crimes detective come and speak about this topic at greater length is asked to contact Sgt. Andy Hynek at 326-7700 Ext 2401....

Read more: Tips to Help Families Prevent Home Burglaries

   

Harvey Officer Shot Twice While on Robbery Call

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A six-year veteran of the Harvey Police Department was in stable condition at last check and was scheduled to have surgery today after he was shot twice on Sunday night. Officials say Robert Rolfe was responding to a robbery call, at a store at West 159th and Wood Street, when he was shot. Investigators report a person of interest was being interviewed. ...

Read more: Harvey Officer Shot Twice While on Robbery Call

   

Possibilty of More Arrests in Wednesday's Shooting

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alexander newton
(Photos Courtesy of Michigan City Police;
Above: Alexander Newton. Below: Isaac Newton)
Police in Michigan City report an investigation continues into two groups shooting at each other Wednesday afternoon, near the intersection of Vail Street and Michigan Boulevard, as numerous people were walking and a school bus with children were on the same block as the shots fired. Police report 21 year old Alexander Newton and 19 year old Isaac Newton have each been charged with criminal recklessness, carrying a handgun without a permit and resisting arrest. The 19 year old also faces a felony attempted battery charge. Police say there is a possibility of more arrests in the near future and thank the public for their support and help with this investigation.
isaac newton ...

Read more: Possibilty of More Arrests in Wednesday's Shooting

   

Counterfeit $ Turning Up at Schererville Fast Food Stops

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Schererville PD
In Schererville, police are advising employees to be aware of change you maybe receiving and to make sure for possible counterfeit bills. Commander Brian Neyhart says there have been five incidents of counterfeit bills being reported since Thursday and all of them have occurred at fast food restaurants. Commander Neyhart has the last two incidents occurred over the weekend at Culver's and Panera Bread. Neyhart says a ten dollar counterfeit bill was used at Panera bread and that counterfeit twenty-dollar bills have been used in the other incidents. The counterfeit money will be turned over to the Secret Service....

Read more: Counterfeit $ Turning Up at Schererville Fast Food Stops

   

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