CDC: Teens are Finding New Ways to Use Tobacco

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The Centers for Disease Control warns of a new type of smoking danger for young people as new products appear in the market. Brian King, senior scientific adviser with the CDC's Office of on Smoking and Health, says regulations are needed that will take the new smoking products into consideration. King says one of the primary ways to help curb the use of these products is to regulate them the same as other tobacco products and that could hopefully address use among multiple populations, including youth, who are particularly vulnerable to use of these products. 
King says the increase in the electronic cigarettes, and the hookah, could be due to a lot of factors including increased marketing, availability, the visibility of these products. He says there's also a perception that these tobacco products may be safer alternatives....

Read more: CDC: Teens are Finding New Ways to Use Tobacco


State Inspector General Files Complaint Against Bennett

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An ethics complaint was filed Thursday against former Indiana State School Superintendent Tony Bennett. State Inspector General David Thomas is alleging Bennett used state-owned computers for fundraising and other political activities last year. Bennett was defeated in his 2012 re-election bid. A hearing on the complaint is scheduled January 9th.

Read more: State Inspector General Files Complaint Against Bennett


Obama Announces You Can Keep Your Health Plan

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President Obama, appeared today in the White House briefing room to announce a fix for people losing their health insurance because of changes under the Affordable Care Act. The President announced that insurance companies can keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled but urged those consumers to look for better plans in the new marketplace.

"If you received one of these letters I would encourage you to take a look at the marketplace. Even if the website is not working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet the plan comparison tool that lets you browse cost for new plans near you is working just fine."
For more information, visit the ABC local feed on our website....

Read more: Obama Announces You Can Keep Your Health Plan


Roundabout Opening Just About Around the Corner

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Opening day for Valparaiso's new Five-Points Roundabout is just about just around the corner. Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers says a special dedication and tree-lighting ceremony is planned for Sunday November 24th.  "Mayor Costas and the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission are going to have tree-lighting ceremony and the public's invited," Summers said, "on Sunday November 24th, at 4:30, just around dusk."  The tree, which had to be removed from a city park, was relocated and transplanted at the new roundabout.  Crews have started putting down the base for the new road, with the surface going down early next week weather-permitting, followed by lane markings, in hopes of opening the roundabout sometime Friday, November 22nd. [Image/City of Valparaiso]


Read more: Roundabout Opening Just About Around the Corner


Investigation Continues into Fatal Accident at ArcelorMittal

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Authorities continue to investigate an accident that claimed the life of a Valparaiso man at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West Wednesday morning. The Lake County Coroners office says 39-year-old Michael Samuelson died from blunt force trauma to the body. East Chicago Police say falling debris claimed Samuelson's life and injured two other contractors. Authorities have said injuries suffered by the other two contractors were not believed to be life-threatening. Their conditions were not available. The accident happened at the Number 3 steel production facility....

Read more: Investigation Continues into Fatal Accident at ArcelorMittal


BP Pipeline Repairs in Munster

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BP crews were working behind some townhomes near Apple Blossom Court and Windfield Drive north of Main Street in Munster Wednesday night to repair a pipeline. BP Spokesman Scott Dean says the 16-inch line, which had been out of service for a maintenance cycle, was being stress tested with high-pressure water when they found a failure point yesterday.  Dean says the water used in the testing is dyed green so it can be differentiated from other water, like rainfall, and the dye is similar to what's used when the Chicago River is dyed green for St. Patrick's Day. Officials say some of the water went into a nearby pond. Water from the pond was tested and Dean says no hydrocarbon was found; hydrocarbon is a component of crude oil.  Dean says the company will perform restorations to lawns and shrubs dug up during repairs.

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Cardiology Group Joins Porter Health

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Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathan Nalli has announced that Northwest Indiana Cardiovascular Physicians (NICP) has joined Porter Physician Group. NICP, the largest cardiology practice in Porter County, brings a formal affiliation of eight cardiologists to the health care system.
Physicians belonging to NICP include: Keith Atassi, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A. & I.; Akram Kholoki, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Daniel P. Linert, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Hector J. Marchand, M.D.; M. Satya Rao, M.D.; Sandeep Sehgal, M.D., F.A.C.C.; Jay Shah, M.D.; Michael L. Wheat, M.D., F.A.C.C.
 “We are pleased to welcome this esteemed group of physicians and their 59-member staff into Porter Physician Group,” said Nalli. “All have well-established reputations as exceptionally skilled, dedicated and compassionate leaders in the medical community. These physicians and their well-trained staff have made a difference in the lives of so many patients for more than a decade. We are proud to have them aboard as an integral part of the hospital’s Center for Cardiovascular Medicine.”
Described by Porter Health Care as a “heart hospital within a hospital,” the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine is located on the first floor of the new Porter Regional Hospital and provides advanced cardiovascular medicine in one centralized location. The center has received national recognition and accolades from the American Heart Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Distinction, Society of Chest Pain Centers, and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Most recently, Porter was awarded advanced certification in heart failure from The Joint Commission (the first hospital in northern Indiana and the second in the state to receive this honor).
For more information regarding Porter Physician Group, visit

Read more: Cardiology Group Joins Porter Health


Whiting Takes Possession of Former Illiana Hotel

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The City of Whiting recently announced it has officially taken possession of the former Illiana Hotel at 119th Street and Atchison Avenue through the county property tax sale process. City officials say the action was necessary to facilitate redevelopment. The city says it plans to assess the building's overall condition and seek a partnership with a private developer for a full renovation. ...

Read more: Whiting Takes Possession of Former Illiana Hotel


Horizon to Acquire Summit Community Bank

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Michigan City-based Horizon Bancorp has announced plans to expand their current market presence in southwestern Michigan by acquiring Summit Community Bank through a stock and cash merger.  Summit Community Bank is headquartered in East Lansing and serves the greater Lansing area through two full-service banking locations. Horizon Bancorp’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Horizon Bank, operates under its original charter, dating back to 1873, with a footprint of twenty-nine offices extending throughout northern and central Indiana as well as southwestern Michigan.
“We are enthusiastic about this merger which is consistent with Horizon’s philosophy of partnering with banks that hold core values similar to ours and a commitment to serving their local communities,” said Horizon’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig M. Dwight.  “Summit Community Bank was founded with the goal of contributing to the success of their customers by offering creative financial solutions based upon sound financial advice, being ever mindful of the communities they serve. This stems from their most basic goal to preserve the values of community banking.”
Dwight explained that the Summit merger provides an excellent opportunity to expand Horizon’s current market presence in southwestern Michigan into the state’s vibrant capital region. This expansion will also complement Horizon’s entry into Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Horizon recently announced the hiring of a senior lender in charge of building a loan production team. Grand Rapids and Lansing represent Michigan’s second and third largest metropolitan areas, respectively. “We believe establishing a significant presence in these larger markets will provide Horizon with substantial growth opportunities, a key component to our future success,” Dwight commented.
“The team of experienced bankers at Summit Community Bank will continue to be led by John W. Abbott, Summit’s President and Chief Executive Officer, to solidify our shared philosophies of exceptional customer service and commitment to community banking,” continued Dwight.  Horizon has a track record of establishing local advisory boards to maintain the pulse of the local community.  Dwight indicated that such an advisory board will be established and appointed by Mr. Abbott for the greater Lansing area.

Mr. Abbott stated, “We are excited to become part of the Horizon Bank family and the increased opportunities this provides our customers and community.  Horizon’s demonstrated commitment to preserve true community banking, which means local decision-making, community involvement, and personal one-on-one service, will be keys to our joint success.”
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014, subject to approval by federal and state regulatory authorities and SCB shareholders as well as the satisfaction of other closing conditions provided in the merger agreement.  The merger agreement also provides that Summit Community Bank will be merged into Horizon Bank, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Horizon Bancorp.

Read more: Horizon to Acquire Summit Community Bank


Valpo Redev Commission Executive Dir Leaving

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The Executive Director of the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission has announced he will leave the position effective the end of this year. Stuart Summers has served with the Redevelopment Commission since 1995 and was appointed executive director in 2002.
“I have been involved in numerous projects during my time with the Commission,” Summers said, “and I have thoroughly enjoyed serving Valparaiso.  Summers commented that he believes that with the recent signing of the Pratt expansion project it would be a good time to move on. “I will still be around, and I will assist in helping the transition (to a new Executive Director) go smoothly."
Summers, 58, said he will focus on his other business interests and personal objectives. Summers owns Excel Driving Instruction in Valparaiso, does governmental consulting and is a resolution arbitrator for FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)....

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Discussion on Whiting's Stadium District Plan

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Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura presented an overview of the city's Stadium District plan Wednesday, noting there's no guarantee that properties on the acquisition list will ever be acquired. The proposed development area includes land north of 121st Street and east of Schrage Avenue. The plan says properties in the area include some of the oldest in the community, but that many are in disrepair and several high-volume police call properties exist within the district's boundaries.  The mayor spoke at Wednesday's Redevelopment Commission meeting.  To view the plan, visit


Read more: Discussion on Whiting's Stadium District Plan


Sentencing in Sexting Case Delayed for Former Teacher

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Sentencing for a former Portage Middle School teacher who pleaded guilty on two-counts of felony child solicitation, originally scheduled for today will now take place on November 27th after the judge stated she was not prepared to accept his plea agreement. The plea deal calls for 45 year old Bryan Tyman to spend six years on probation, the first of which on home detention and to register as a sex offender for ten-years. He would also lose his Indiana teaching license. Tyman admitted in September to sending sexually-themed text messages to three female students from December 2011 to December 2012....

Read more: Sentencing in Sexting Case Delayed for Former Teacher


Porter County Recorder Offers eRecording Service

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Porter County Recorder Jon Miller announced today the implementation of electronic recording as a new service their office provides to the public. The Recorder's Office will be able to electronically record deeds, mortgages and other documents in cooperation with the Porter County Assessor and County Auditor. Miller says the more efficient process will reduce the turnaround time on processing documents, which in turn expedites the return of important personal documents back to the public.
Miller says other benefits of electronic recording include:
• The manual process associated with paper processing is reduced from days to just minutes.
• eRecording wins “The Race to the Courthouse” - eDocuments beat ones submitted via the mail or a courier
• Direct cost savings in postage, overnight shipping and delayed processing
• Fewer rejections and faster corrections: eRecording eliminates rejections for incorrect fees. Rejected documents can be resubmitted in hours vs. days.
If you are interested in eRecording, please visit

Read more: Porter County Recorder Offers eRecording Service


Wreath Silent Auction to Benefit Needy Families

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wreath auction 1
(Photos Courtesy of Franciscan Alliance)
An event to benefit underprivileged families kicked off on Monday. Michelle Payne, Director of Customer Relations and Satisfaction Department for Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point, says the public is invited to participate in their 7th Annual Christmas Wreath Silent Auction, just stop by the hospital's main lobby, view the 28 wreaths on display, place your bid on the bid sheet and the highest bid wins.
Payne says the goal of the auction is to provide at least 20 needy families one-hundred dollar gift cards from the sale of the wreaths. The Christmas Wreath Silent Auction continues through 9am Monday, November 18th.
wreath auction2 ...

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Ritz and CECI Dispute Halts Education Board Meeting

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The Indiana State Board of Education today took the first step in overhauling the A-through-F grading system. The Board voted 9-to-1 to replace the 1st through 4th grade point average scale with a 100-point measure, but that is where the progress ended as the meeting was brought to a halt after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz adjourned the meeting. Ritz says a resolution written by Governor Mike Pence's Center for Education and Career Innovation, which operates separately from the Department of Education, brought the meeting to a halt because it improperly inserted State Board of Education staff to take over the academic standards review process, which she called a violation of the law. Ritz says she has requested an advisory opinion from the Attorney General on the improper motion. A Board member withdrew the motion after Ritz left the meeting, but it is unclear whether the meeting had actually ended or was still in progress. ...

Read more: Ritz and CECI Dispute Halts Education Board Meeting


Donnelly Urges Senate to Close Skills Gap

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Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly this morning spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to focus their attention on growing and creating jobs in the manufacturing industry.  Donnelly is a part of a group of senators behind the Manufacturing Jobs for America effort aimed at passing bipartisan legislation to help businesses create jobs and help communities pursue economic development in manufacturing. 
Donnelly said, “Good jobs allow us to provide for our loved ones, educate our children, and ultimately retire with dignity.  Good jobs are also critical for strong communities and a vibrant economy. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the group of senators working on ‘Manufacturing Jobs for America,’ an effort to refocus the Senate on helping businesses create jobs and helping communities pursue economic development in the area of manufacturing.”
Many jobs are being left unfilled because employers say they struggle to find workers with the skills needed. It is estimated that up to 600,000 manufacturing jobs are left unfilled due to an undertrained workforce.
Two of Donnelly’s bills address closing this ‘skills gap’ and are included in the Manufacturing Jobs for America effort, the Skills Gap Strategy Act and the AMERICA Works Act.  The Skills Gap Strategy Act would direct the Department of Labor to develop a goal-oriented strategy using existing resources to better address the skills gap.  The AMERICA Works Act would modify existing federal training programs so that they place a priority on programs and certifications that are recognized and demanded by industry.
To view a video of Donnelly's remarks, visit &">&

Read more: Donnelly Urges Senate to Close Skills Gap


Senator Landske Diagnosed with Lung Cancer

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sue landske
(Photo Courtesy of Senator Landske's Office)
Indiana State Senator Sue Landske, of Cedar Lake, announced today that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Landske says she has worked hard throughout her tenure in the Senate to be upfront with her constituents, which is why is informing the public of this very personal issue. Landske says she has no plans to step away from her official duties in the Senate, where she also currently serves as the Assistant President Pro-Tem and is chair of the Senate Elections Committee, and will begin treatment immediately in Chicago. She says her doctors are confident she will make a full recovery.  Landske was elected to the state Senate in 1984....

Read more: Senator Landske Diagnosed with Lung Cancer


Death of Contractor at ArcelorMittal Ruled Accidental

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A 39 year old contractor from Valparaiso was pronounced dead at 7:16 this morning at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Michael Samuelson, of Valparaiso, suffered blunt force trauma to his body and his death has been ruled accidental. Officials report two other contractors were also injured in the incident which was caused by falling debris....

Read more: Death of Contractor at ArcelorMittal Ruled Accidental


Fatal Accident at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago

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Officials say a contractor died in an accident at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago early this morning, and two others were hurt. The Lake County Coroners was dispatched this morning, but had not released any information at this time. Injuries to the other two contractors were reportedly thought to be non-life-threatening. No other details have been released at this hour.


Read more: Fatal Accident at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago


CTA Releases Images in Alligator Case

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Woman with Alligator CTABlueLine
The Chicago Transit Authority has released images of a woman with an alligator on one of their trains during the early morning hours of November first. That same day, someone spotted a two-foot alligator under an escalator at O'Hare International Airport. Transit officials are seeking help from the public in identifying the person in the photos.
Woman with Alligator CTABlueLine 2
Officials say it's illegal to own an alligator in Illinois.  The alligator, believed to have been lacking a proper diet and in need of medical treatment, was transferred into the care of the Chicago Herpetological Society.  [Images courtesy Chicago Transit Authority]
News Release: CTA Security personnel have secured images of the person last seen with the abandoned alligator found and recovered at O’Hare International Airport earlier this month. 
Working with information from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and an image posted to a social media website that showed the reptile on a CTA Blue Line train, CTA Security personnel began their investigation and determined how the alligator got to the airport.
Using the agency’s extensive rail system camera network, which consists of more than 3,600 cameras, CTA Security personnel captured images of a woman who boarded a northbound Blue Line train at the Pulaski station at approximately 1:17AM on Friday, November 1 with an alligator in hand. Interior rail car cameras showed the woman holding the alligator in her hands and showing it to other passengers during her trip.
At approximately 2:17AM, the same woman is seen exiting the train with the alligator at the O’Hare Blue Line terminal. By 2:44AM, she is seen once again near the turnstiles of the O’Hare rail station, this time without the reptile in view.
Anyone with information to help identify the woman should contact CTA’s Customer Service 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Those responsible for this act can face a misdemeanor charge of cruel treatment of an animal or face a fine $300 to $1,000 for cruelty to animals for abandoning the animal in a public place.
CTA’s surveillance camera network not only assists police in the investigation of crimes committed on CTA properties, but also crimes committed near CTA properties against other people, properties and even animals.
In 2012, CTA cameras assisted police in the arrest of at least 154 individuals for crimes committed either on or off CTA property; so far in 2013, cameras have aided in the arrest of at least 140 individuals....

Read more: CTA Releases Images in Alligator Case


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Region News Team
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