Robbery at Little Caesar's Pizza in Portage

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In Portage, police are investigating a robbery at Little Caesar's Pizza in the 63-hundred block of Central Avenue late Wednesday night. The police report states a man entered the restaurant around 10-o'clock, inquired about having several specialty pizzas made, then asked to have other employees come up to the front counter. Police say he then demanded they take all the money from the cash registers and put it in a bag. No weapon was displayed or implied police say, and the male suspect was described as white, 6-foot tall, thin build, blue eyes, and wearing a hat with a mask covering his mouth and chin area....

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Governor Statement on Passing of Hoosier Soldier

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence today issued the below statement regarding the passing of Hoosier soldier Staff Sgt. Jesse Lee Williams, of Elkhart.
"It is with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Staff Sgt. Jesse Lee Williams, a heroic Hoosier who fell this week in the midst of his third deployment defending our freedom in Afghanistan. Jesse Lee Williams is an American hero whose service and sacrifice will never be forgotten by the people of this state and nation. On behalf of the First Lady and Hoosiers everywhere, I send our deepest condolences and prayers to his family, friends and all those mourning the loss of this exemplary Hoosier soldier.”
ABC News reported this week that a helicopter crash claimed the lives of six US service members in southern Afghanistan, citing officials saying there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time....

Read more: Governor Statement on Passing of Hoosier Soldier


Valparaiso Convenience Store Robbed

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Valparaiso Police say a convenience store was held-up Wednesday evening by an individual they believe is involved in three other armed robberies over the past few weeks. Officers responded to the Save Gas Station in the 900 block of Roosevelt Road around 6 pm, where the subject had entered the store, approached the clerk, displayed a semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash. The suspect is described as male, approximately 5’8”, 160 lbs with a dark complexion, and has worn the same clothing in each instance, a dark colored hooded sweatshirt with a diamond or star type of print on it, with dark colored pants and white shoes. He also wears a mask and gloves. Buz's Liquor Store on East Lincolnway was robbed just after midnight this past Sunday, and the Quick Trip Convenience Store/Chesters Fried Chicken was held-up twice within a week-and-a-half in late November.
Anyone with information is asked to call “We Tip at 1-800-78-Crime. There is a reward available. Individuals can also contact police anonymously by sending a tip to TIP411, (847-411) and enter the keyword “Valpo” prior to sending a message.


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Indiana State Police Car Hit, Trooper Unhurt

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In Lake County early today, police say an Indiana State Police squad car was totaled while the trooper was standing outside covering an earlier crash. Around 4:30 this morning Trooper Brandon Henderson responded to a single vehicle crash on northbound I-65 a mile north of the 61st Avenue exit. Police say a Dodge Ram pickup truck hit a “slick” spot and spun out, hit the guard rail head on and came to rest straddling the rail. Henderson’s fully marked 2012 Dodge Charger police car was parked behind the pick-up with all emergency lights on when police say a few minutes later a driver who saw the crash up ahead changed lanes and lost control after hitting a slick spot, striking the squad in the rear pushing it into the rear of the pick-up. One of the drivers was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The trooper and the other driver were unhurt. [Photo/Indiana State Police]...

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Cedar Lk Fire Dept Merges into Town Government

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In Cedar Lake, the volunteer fire department has officially become part of town government. Current Fire Chief Todd Wilkening will remain in his role and was sworn after the town council approved the merger Tuesday night. The department says they will continue to fundraise to buy much-needed equipment. Officials say the change, which was announced a few months ago, was necessary as the town continues to grow.


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Shoppers Warned of Major Data Breach at Target

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A major security breach at Target - affecting tens of millions of people. The retailer says about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been compromised. Security expert Brian Krebs says the breach involved data stored on the magnetic strip of cards used in stores, not online and that the breach may extend to nearly all of the more than 17-hundred target retail stores nationwide. "If the bad guys can steal that information on the back of the card," Krebs said, "they can actually create a second copy of it." Target says the company has moved swiftly to address the issue and is working with law enforcement to resolve it. Security experts tell ABC News that they expect it could be well into the New Year before the issue is fully resolved.  Security experts are advising shoppers to check ATM and credit card statements....

Read more: Shoppers Warned of Major Data Breach at Target


Hoosier Lottery Says Gift Responsibly

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The Hoosier Lottery is partnering with several organizations to remind everyone this holiday season that lottery tickets should only be given to adults 18 and older.
The Lottery joins the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University (Canada), along with dozens of other lotteries from around the world, to raise awareness of this issue.
"The Hoosier Lottery wants its players to gift responsibly this holiday season by not giving lottery products to those under the age of 18," said Carrie Stroud, director of Internal Controls and Contract Compliance. "We are proud to partner with experts such as the NCPG, McGill University and the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling in order to effectively get this message out to the public. We are using messaging at points of sale, on our website and through social media to communicate this very important message."
"We welcome the collaborative efforts of the Hoosier Lottery to help make everyone aware of this issue, as together we can make a difference in preventing underage gambling and gambling problems," said Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, co-director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.
"Selecting age appropriate gifts happens almost instinctively for most items," said Jerry Long, executive director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling. "We do not give alcohol and tobacco products to those who are younger than the established legal age for each. Lottery tickets are an inappropriate gift for those under the legal age of 18."
"Both delaying games of chance and by increasing the focus on problem gambling awareness, we are having a positive effect in Indiana as we see a significant decline in youth gambling," said Mary Lay, project manager and research associate with the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program. "We are seeing a reduction in gambling behaviors across all grades. It is important to remember that since gambling is illegal for almost all students surveyed, any level of gambling is a problem for our youth."...

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Police Investigate Incidents on West Side of Hobart

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Police in Hobart are investigating two incidents on the west side of the city Tuesday. In the 500 block of West Hansen Boulevard, reports say someone kicked in a front door and stole two 42-inch televisions. Less than a mile away, in the 37-hundred block of Liverpool Road police say someone opened a rear window and placed a chair under it to try to gain entry into the house....

Read more: Police Investigate Incidents on West Side of Hobart


'Superjock' Larry Lujack 1940-2013

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Radio Hall of Famer Larry Lujack has died. Lujack, known as “Uncle Lar” and “Superjock”, was famous for his much-loved Animal Stories segments, and was a top Chicagoland radio personality from the 1960's through the 1980's. Published reports say Lujack had been battling esophageal cancer for the past year and passed away Wednesday in hospice in New Mexico. Lujack was 73. ...

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Semi Carrying Mail Rolls Over Near Lowell

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In Lake County, a semi loaded with U-S mail heading to Lafayette and Indianapolis rolled over around 11 am Wednesday on south bound I-65 three miles north of the Lowell exit. No mail was lost. Indiana State Police say the driver, a 60-year-old St. John man, was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Preliminary investigation by Master Trooper Martin Benner revealed that the driver was south bound on I-65 when he changed lanes from the right lane to the left. There had been a previous crash in that location earlier which was off the roadway on the right and no lanes were closed because of it, police say.   The driver told police he saw the crash activity up ahead and changed lanes to go into the left lane and began to slow down. He stated he looked to the right at the crash and when he looked forward another semi ahead of him was going slower than his semi. He steered to the left, went off the road, lost control and hit the barrier median cables, troopers say, and the semi then came back partially into the left lane before it went off the road again, losing control and hitting the barrier median cables for a second time causing the semi to roll over onto its passenger side in the median where it became entangled in the barrier cables.  [Photo/Indiana State Police]...

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Westbound Toll Road Blocked

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Westbound Indiana Toll Road stalled semi blocking both lanes at 28mm.  Delays begin at State Road 49. Black ice this morning.  Northbound Interstate 65 accident near 61st now clear. ...

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Trooper Squad Hit, Crash Slows Traffic on I-65

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Authorities say a collision involving three vehicles including a state trooper's car has the two right lanes of Interstate 65 near the Gary/Hobart/Lake Station area blocked at the 256 mile marker, just a couple miles south of Ridge Road. Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post report drifting snow and slick conditions.  Officials say a passenger vehicle slid off the road due to drifting snow and after a trooper responded, parked his vehicle and got out, and the squad car was struck from behind by another passenger vehicle.  We're told all three vehicles, the squad, a pickup truck and a passenger car, are being towed from the scene. Authorities tell us the trooper was not hurt and the other two drivers were being checked at the scene. There are long delays on northbound I-65 between Ridge Road and 61st Avenue....

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Dog Lost After Tornado Reunited with Indiana Family

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Separated after a tornado....Rosco the dog is back with this family in Fountain County, Indiana, but he almost wasn't.  ABC News reports after a fierce tornado damaged Kyla Robinson's home in west-central Indiana....the family's dog Rosco turned up missing.  The boxer mix was found days later wandering, 45 miles away. But the family didn't know it. The dog was taken to a shelter and adopted...but the new owner at first refused to give him up. Then, she relented. Today, Rosoe and his people were reunited. And Kyla...says she'll get him microchipped at a friend's grooming salon.  As for Roscoe, he's just happy to be home....

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New Budget Deal, Many Hope Farm Bill Will be Next

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Now that Congress has approved a new budget deal, many around the country and in northwest Indiana are hoping a new Farm Bill will be next. During a recent Region News Makers interview, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Executive Director Arleen Peterson talked about the issue of poverty and those facing hunger, especially in light of the SNAP cuts to food stamps last month. Peterson says they have been receiving numerous calls on food pantry locations from those whose benefits have been cut.
Published reports recently announced any potential vote on the Farm Bill will not take place until January and Executive Director Peterson urges you to contact your U-S Congress or Senate representative to advocate for its immediate passage. To hear more of our Region News Makers interview with Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Executive Director Arleen Peterson, visit

Read more: New Budget Deal, Many Hope Farm Bill Will be Next


Merrillville Stormwater Resource Center Officially Open

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stormwater ribbon
(Photos Courtesy of Karl Berner)
A ribbon cutting was held at the new Merrillville Stormwater Resource Center, a one-of-a-kind facility in the state of Indiana which houses stormwater equipment and allows for better administration, provides conference rooms for workshops, and is more accessible to the public. Matt Lake, Executive Director of Stormwater Utility for the Town of Merrillville, applauded the efforts of Merrillville's Stormwater Management Board in getting to this point.
stormwater truck

Lake says the Town of Merrillville Stormwater Utility is looking toward the future with their Stormwater Master Plan, which—among other initiatives—aims to locate areas suitable for upland water storage.
stormwater people
To view viseo of today's ribbon cutting click

Read more: Merrillville Stormwater Resource Center Officially Open


One of Two Mega Millions Winners Comes Forward

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Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia has been named as one of two Mega Millions winners. ABC News reports she'll collect half of the $636 million jackpot which comes out to about $120 million in cash after taxes. Georgia Lottery President Debbie Alford says Curry heard the numbers over the car radio, and became curious after hearing the mega ball was her lucky number seven. Alfrod says Curry picked all the numbers on the winning ticket using a combination of family birthdays and her family's lucky number...number seven.
At last check the other winning ticket holder has not yet identified themselves. ...

Read more: One of Two Mega Millions Winners Comes Forward


I-65 SB Backing up from Earlier Rollover Crash

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As crews continue to off-load a semi involved in an earlier rollover accident, the left lane remians blocked southbound I-65 south of the US-231 Crown Point exit near mile marker 244.  Traffic tipsters are reporting that the southbound lanes of I-65 are backing up from 109th Avenue.  Drivers may want to seek an alternate to avoid delays.

Read more: I-65 SB Backing up from Earlier Rollover Crash


Audio: BP Marks Final Major Milestone in Whiting Project

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bp 1
(Photos Courtesy of BP Whiting)
BP announced today that all of the major new units associated with the multi-year, multi-billion dollar modernization project at the Whiting refinery are up and running. The Region News Team spoke with BP Spokesman Scott Dean and you can hear our interview by clicking News Audio On Demand at
bp 2 ...

Read more: Audio: BP Marks Final Major Milestone in Whiting Project


Intoxicated LaPorte Man Assaults Police Officer

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shawn espinosa
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A LaPorte man is charged with two felony counts of battery to a police officer after an incident early Saturday morning in an alleyway in the 700 block of Clay Street. LaPorte Police report they were at a home on Perry Street to investigate a report of a battery which had just occurred when, at approximately 2:11am, they observed a man in an alley on his hands and knees. The subject identified himself as Shawn Espinosa, who police report smelled of an alcoholic beverage and appeared intoxicated. Police report while attempting to verify his identity, Espinosa allegedly became verbally and physically aggressive and struck an officer in the face while police attempted to place him into custody. Officers and Espinosa continued to fight on the ground until he was eventually secured. ...

Read more: Intoxicated LaPorte Man Assaults Police Officer


US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra

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Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 40 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department since 2007 for child molesting is the US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, “Fugitive of the Week.” Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra is described as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes who has been known to reside throughout the northern Indiana area with ties to Merrillville.  Anyone with information on Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra 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: Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra


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