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Authorities Collect Samples from Wheeler Area Fire

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An ongoing investigation continues into a structure fire in the Wheeler area Tuesday night that required fire crews from three counties to help fight the blaze. Union Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Beach tells the Region News Team a Portage Fire Department K-9 hit on three different spots at the log cabin style home on County Road 625 West that was being rebuilt after a fire there in 2011.  Beach says the ATF and State Fire Marshal gathered samples at the three spots for further testing. No injuries were reported and Beach says the house is a total loss. Crews arrived at the scene shortly after 10pm and left the scene just before 3am....

Read more: Authorities Collect Samples from Wheeler Area Fire

 

Salvation Army Celebrates Thanksgiving in East Chicago

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(Photos Courtesy of the Salvation Army Lake County)
SA Thanksgiving 2
The Salvation Army of Lake County held their Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday in East Chicago and served about 500 meals. The Salvation Army event was made possible with the help of Ameristar Casino, who provided all the food and Ameristar employees were on hand to serve the meals. East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland made a special appearance as a serving guest and students from Ivy Tech assisted with serving food, drinks and cleaning up to make room for more guests.
SA Thanksgiving 3

Meanwhile donations to their annual Angel Tree Program are being accepted now until December 13th. Individuals wishing to assist can find angel tree tags at their local Salvation Army or Wal-mart.  If a tag cannot be located, an item costing about $30 which is appropriate for a child ages 0-12 can be purchase.  All items can be dropped off at a local Salvation Army location or you may call to make other arrangements.
·        East Chicago, 513 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312, 219-398-2939
·        Gary-Merrillville, 4800 Harrison, Gary, IN 46408, 219-887-6588
·        Hammond-Munster, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321...

Read more: Salvation Army Celebrates Thanksgiving in East Chicago

 

NASBE to Facilitate Conversation with SBOE Members

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz on Tuesday agreed to have the National Association of State Boards of Education, or NASBE, facilitate a conversation among members of the Indiana State Board of Education, or SBOE, regarding roles, responsibilities and the operations of the Board. Earlier this month, Ritz adjourned a State Board of Education meeting after a resolution written by Governor's Center for Education and Career Innovation, which operates separately from the Department of Education, was proposed. Ritz claims the resolution would improperly inserted State Board of Education staff to take over the academic standards review process, which she called a violation of the law. ...

Read more: NASBE to Facilitate Conversation with SBOE Members

 

Local Pharmacy Tech Arrested for Stealing Pills

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In Portage, police say a local pharmacy technician was arrested Tuesday after allegedly admitting to stealing about four-thousand hydrocodone and xanax pills, for her own use, since June. Portage Police say the 27-year-old woman said she would conceal about twenty-to-forty pills of varying strengths each shift she worked at the Walgreens store in the 59-hundred block of Highway 6. A manager told police the store up a surveillance camera after being alerted to shortages of the two medications. The woman told police she had multiple medical issues. The suspect was taken into custody on a D-Felony charge of Theft. ...

Read more: Local Pharmacy Tech Arrested for Stealing Pills

 

Chicago Looks to Ban Use of E-Cigarettes in Public

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Chicago could be the first city to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public. ABC News reports the Chicago Health Commissioner says the battery operated smoking devices, containing nicotine and other chemicals are geared towards children, with flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy. He and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are calling for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes to be banned in any place public where smoking is already banned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the number of young people trying electronic cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012. A vote by the Chicago city council could come before the end of the year.
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: Chicago Looks to Ban Use of E-Cigarettes in Public

 

Federal Judge Blocks New Indiana Abortion Law

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A federal judge in Indianapolis Tuesday temporarily blocked Indiana's new chemical abortion law. Legislation passed earlier this year mandated clinics that perform such abortions, like the Planned Parenthood in Lafayette, meet the same standards as those that perform surgical abortions.   U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Senate Enrolled Act 371, which was scheduled to take effect the first of January.
As the lawyer for State government, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office defended SEA 371, which the Legislature passed in April, and Zoeller issued this statement:
 “This new law reflects the policy judgment of Indiana legislators elected by our citizens. The Court’s decision faulting the law for treating nonsurgical abortion clinics different from physicians’ offices must be thoroughly reviewed. Because of the narrow ruling, we will consult with our clients and decide how next to proceed in the case,” Zoeller said.
 ...

Read more: Federal Judge Blocks New Indiana Abortion Law

 

Extra South Shore Train Scheduled

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Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District reports an an extra eastbound train will be running from Millennium Park to Michigan City this afternoon (Nov 27) to accommodate Thanksgiving travel. It will leave Millennium Station at 2:00 PM, run express to Hegewisch and make all stops between Hegewisch and Michigan City (Carroll Avenue).The extra train will stop at Van Buren.
NICTD says the South Shore Line will run on weekend/holiday schedule Thanksgiving Day, and all ticket offices except Millennium Station and Van Buren ticket offices will be closed.  South Shore trains will run on regular weekday schedule on Friday, November 29. The Hegewisch ticket office will be closed, but every other ticket office will be operating normally.
NICTD website:  www.nictd.com ...

Read more: Extra South Shore Train Scheduled

 

Several Depts Respond to Wheeler House Fire

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Crews from three counties responded to a structure fire in Wheeler Tuesday night. Union Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Beach tells the Region News Team the blaze on County Road 625 West broke out at a house that was being rebuilt after a fire there in 2011.  "From what I'm being told, ninety-percent of the home was rebuilt, and they were getting ready to get some appliances, and I believe move in within the next couple of months," said Beach.  Chief Beach says crews arrived shortly after 10 pm and the log cabin style home was fully involved. Fire crews from around northwest Indiana responded, from as far as Crown Point and Westville in Lake and La Porte Counties, along with crews from across Porter County.  There were no injuries. Beach says the house is a total loss. Crews left the scene just before 3 am and Beach said investigators from Union Township, Indiana State Fire Marshal, ATF, and Porter County FIST, Fire Investigation Strike Team, were on scene today. ...

Read more: Several Depts Respond to Wheeler House Fire

 

Local Restaurant on 'Restaurant Impossible'

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A local restaurant is being featured on a national television show tonight. The episode, titled “Unlucky Seven” on Food Network's “Restaurant Impossible” unveils details of a visit from Chef Robert Irvine and his staff to the La Porte eatery called “SEVEN” back in September. The show says their crew takes on the challenge of renovating and rejuvenating a struggling restaurant, updating menus and decor, and retraining staff, in two days on a ten-thousand dollar budget.  (9 pm Central Nov 27)...

Read more: Local Restaurant on 'Restaurant Impossible'

 

New Jury Chosen in Lake Co Jail Officer's Death

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In Lake County court, opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of a Lakes of the Four Seasons man accused in an alleged hit-and-run crash that killed Lake County Corrections Officer Brittney Meux and injured three others in March 2012. 43-year-old Jason Cozmanoff faces multiple felony counts. A mistrial was declared this past June, after a jury was selected, after officials say a man who was part of the jury pool informed the court he witnessed the accident. Police say the officers were struck while jogging along 93rd Street not far from the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point....

Read more: New Jury Chosen in Lake Co Jail Officer's Death

 

Lunchmeat Co Moving S Holland Center to Munster

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A company based out of Homewood, Illinois, has announced plans to relocate its South Holland distribution center to Munster, putting 55 additional jobs in Lake County by 2016. Indiana officials say Carl Buddig & Company, a producer of sliced and packaged lunchmeat, will invest $3.7 million to lease and refurbish the 65,000 square-foot former Dawn Foods facility at 215 45th Ave. in Munster. The facility, which is expected to begin operations in March, will enable the company to increase its available warehouse and dock space, growing capacity for added production lines across the company. Buddig currently employs more than 1,000 associates nationally with its subsidiary Old Wisconsin Sausage. 
"Illinois companies are on the move--to Indiana," said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. "From Buddig to recent announcements from firms like MAC Medical and Tec Air, Illinois companies continue to discover that our low taxes, limited regulations, growing infrastructure and skilled workforce make Indiana a state that works for business. Welcome to Indiana, Buddig, and may you enjoy many years of growth and job creation here in the Hoosier State." 
"Moving into the new Munster facility was an easy decision for the company," said Dan Wynn, chief operating officer of Buddig. "Finding a food grade facility within 10 miles from the plant was a major factor in the decision. Also, since the Dawn facility was partially refrigerated, the company was able to reduce the investment needed to refrigerate the entire facility. Last, lower real estate tax rates and an overall more affordable cost of doing business definitely created an attractive financial proposition."
Founded in 1937, Buddig is a family-owned and operated business.  The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Carl Buddig and Company up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Munster approved additional incentives.
"We are always proud to announce when another company decides to relocate to the town of Munster," said Joseph A. Simonetto, president of the Munster Town Council. "When it is a renowned and family-owned company like Buddig that announces they would like to open logistical operations in the town of Munster, we are ecstatic. The investment dollars and the jobs this company brings are wonderful for our community."
Last month, Illinois-based MAC Medical and Tec Air announced plans to move operations east of the Illinois-Indiana border to Munster, creating a combined nearly 300 new Hoosier jobs and more than $16 million in capital investment....

Read more: Lunchmeat Co Moving S Holland Center to Munster

   

Comments Fly Over Air Show Announcement

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Discussion continues to swirl around the South Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau decision to move the air show, held for more than a decade at Marquette Park in Gary's Miller Beach, to Fair Oaks Farms. Talk began most publicly perhaps within about 24-hours of last week's announcement, after critical comments from Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. questioning the decision to move the Lake County event about forty miles south to Newton County. A Facebook page against the move has since sprung up. South Shore CVA President CEO Speros Batistatos says Fair Oaks Farms is growing at an exponential rate and hosting the air show there will be an opportunity to "bring in new facets to an event that is already a 'must-attend' for residents and visitors," according to a news release issued by the visitors bureau. This past summer's air show in Gary was canceled due to automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration....

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FBI Requests Info on County Wellness Contract

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Last year the Porter County Board of Commissioners changed the wellness and health clinic services contract for county employees from HealtheACCESS to Porter Regional Hospital's CareEXPRESS. Now the FBI has reportedly requested documents regarding the decision that was made last December. Mike Anton of Anton Insurance serves as servicing agent for Porter County's employee health plan and told the Times the process was transparent and he knew of no reason for concern. Officials say of the proposals considered, Porter's was the only one not charging a flat fee regardless of use....

Read more: FBI Requests Info on County Wellness Contract

   

Region Invited To Community Thanksgiving Dinner

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For most Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and eat a big meal. What if that wasn't an option? Would you stay home alone? Skip the holiday all together? The Sales family in Laporte has a better idea, come to the William D. Sales Thanksgiving Dinner. The dinner is open to anyone who would like to stop by American Legion Post 83 in Laporte, Thanksgiving day from 11a-2p. For more information listen to today's 219 or Annie's full interview with David Sales On Demand here on our website....

Read more: Region Invited To Community Thanksgiving Dinner

   

Low Number of Weapons Turned In at Gun Buyback

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City of Gary
The City of Gary held a gun buyback event on Saturday at six local churches but police report the turn in number was very low compared to previous events. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says a total of 29 weapons, 23 pistols and six rifles were turned in, despite an incentive from the city to give GED testing vouchers to the first 50 people. City Director of Communications Chelsea Whittington says even with the low turn out, anytime you get guns off the streets it is a victory.
Whittington says ten citizens signed up to receive the testing vouchers on Saturday and the city plans to continue using the GED testing voucher as an incentive with future gun buybacks, the next occurring by the first of the year. ...

Read more: Low Number of Weapons Turned In at Gun Buyback

   

NIRPC Releases Illiana Expressway Staff Analysis

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NIRPC today released a 55 page staff analysis on the Illiana Expressway to guide regional decision makers as they debate the proposal to include the project as an amendment in their 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. The report is mixed and does not take a stand on the project. Four NIRPC committees will take up the issue next month, the first of which is the Transportation Policy Committee on December 3rd, with the full NIRPC Commission voting on December 12th, and only the Transportation Policy Committee and Full Commission votes are binding on the inclusion of the Illiana Expressway into the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. INDOT has requested both the Illiana Expressway and the widening on I-65, between US 30 and US 231, be included in the amendment. For a link to read the entire report, visit http://nirpc.org/illiana-expressway-project/public-agency-documents.aspx...

Read more: NIRPC Releases Illiana Expressway Staff Analysis

   

Hoosier Drivers Not Prepared for Winter WX Emergency

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According to a recent survey conducted by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, about 75 percent of Indiana respondents indicated they did not have a preparedness kit in their vehicle. Officials are encouraging Hoosiers to check their tire pressure and tread depth, the age of car batteries, anti-freeze levels and age, car heater and defroster operation, as well as windshield wipers and blades.
In addition to winter vehicle preparation, IDHS suggests creating and putting a winter weather preparedness kit in each vehicle in case of a weather-related emergency like an accident, car trouble or slide-offs. An emergency car kit is essential any time of year and should include the following items, with special emphasis this time of year on water, food and warmth:
·         At least two blankets or a sleeping bag;
·         Flashlight and extra batteries;
·         Booster (jumper) cables;
·         Emergency flares;
·         Extra clothing, including boots, hats and gloves;
·         Shovel
·         Bottled water and non-perishable foods like granola bars, raisins, nuts, peanut butter or cheese crackers;
·         First-aid kit and necessary medications;
·         Sand or non-clumping kitty litter for tire traction;
·         Cell phone and charger for vehicle use; and
·         Ice scraper and snow brush.
Erickson says drivers who become stranded should try to stay calm, call for help if possible and keep in mind the following precautions:
·         Unless there is a safe structure nearby, do not leave the car, since it is the best protection;
·         Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. An idling car only uses about one gallon of gas per hour;
·         Tie a brightly colored cloth to the car for rescuers to see;
·         Light a flare or turn on a flashlight to let others know you are stranded;
·         Make sure the exhaust pipe is free of any blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning; and
·         Keep hydrated by drinking water from your preparedness kit. Don’t eat snow, as it will lower body temperature.

During severe winter weather or if inclement weather is approaching, IDHS recommends staying home, if possible. If the trip is absolutely necessary, Erickson says it’s a good idea to let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival.
...

Read more: Hoosier Drivers Not Prepared for Winter WX Emergency

   

Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed

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Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed
Crews have reopened the right lane southbound I-65 as daytime road work has wrapped up for the day in the southbound direction.  In the photo, the orange barrels can be seen moved to the right hand shoulder.
The right lane restriction northbound I-65 remains near 45th Avenue with northbound lanes I-65 backing up a little before 61st Avenue. 
The right lane closure southbound I-65 at one time backed up traffic eastbound on the Borman (I-80/94) from Cline Avenue with all southbound lanes running below posted speeds from almost the Indiana Toll Road.
Speaking of the Toll Road, ITR Consessions Company,  the firm that operates the Indiana Toll Road, has issued a WInter Weather Ban from 6p.m. CST (7:00p.m. EST) Tuesday, November, 26, 2013 through 6:00p.m. CST (7:00p.m. EST) Wednesday, November 27, 2013 from Valparaiso through South bend West on the Indiana Toll Road.  The ban is in effect for all triples, and long-doubles including steel haulers, according to ITR.
(photo:  INDOT  http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/index.html )

 ...

Read more: Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed

   

US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Kenneth King

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(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 31 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for child molesting is this week's US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force “Fugitive of the Week.” Authorities report Kenneth Markie King has been known to reside throughout northwest Indiana, with ties to East Chicago, Gary, Lake Station and Indianapolis. King is described as a black male, six-feet tall, weighing 205 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Kenneth Markie King and his whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous....

Read more: US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Kenneth King

   

Man Charged After Pulling a Gun and Pointing It at His Wife

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john wall
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 48 year old man from the Hebron-area was taken into custody on Monday, after being released from a hospital for an evaluation, on charges he allegedly pointed a gun at his wife and fired it while both in a barn on their property. The Times reports John Wall confronted his wife around 1:30am on Saturday, inquiring about who she had talked with on her phone, and then threw her to the ground and took her phone. According to the article, about 40 minutes later, the wife heard noises outside and went out to the barn to investigate when she was allegedly shoved inside and kept from leaving by her husband. The woman reportedly informed police Wall pulled a gun from his coat and pointed it at her, and then fired a shot in an unknown direction before pointing the gun at himself, grabbing his wife's hands and asking her to shoot him. ...

Read more: Man Charged After Pulling a Gun and Pointing It at His Wife

   

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