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Services for Region Soldier

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Funeral services are in Crown Point this morning for a 20 year old US Army Specialist and Region native who was killed last Friday in a motorcycle crash while stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Alan Jon “A.J” Roach, Jr., was from Crown Point. Family members say July 4th would have been his second anniversary serving in the military. His body was returned to northwest Indiana on Thursday escorted by Crown Point Police and the Indiana Patriot Guard.  Geisen Funeral Home says the funeral service is scheduled for 10am Friday June 14, at the funeral home in Crown Point, with Pastor Mark Wilkins officiating.  Interment will be at St. Mary's Cemetery in Crown Point.
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Meijer Opens Portage Store

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The ribbon was cut Thursday for a brand-new Meijer at 6 and Willowcreek in Portage. The former “Super K” along US 6 has been transformed into a new 190-thousand square-foot supercenter now open for Region shoppers. The Grand Opening Celebration is this Sunday.  Meijer also presented donations as part of the store's opening: five-thousand dollars for the Portage Police Department's K9 unit, two-thousand dollars to the Portage Township Food Pantry, and five-hundred dollars went to Hannah's Hope, a non-profit organization that tries to help children with special needs obtain various therapies and expensive medical equipment.
The Grand-Rapids based retailer, which opened its first store in 1934, opened two stores in northern Indiana Thursday – the other in Warsaw. Combined the company says the stores will create more than five-hundred new jobs. Meijer officials also say the new locations are built to “LEED”, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.
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State Road 2 Reopens

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State Road 2 between Lowell and Hebron has reopened...  it was thought the highway might have to closed into the weekend after power line damage during Wednesday night's storms.  It was just a couple years ago, almost to the day, that Route 2 was shut down between Hebron and Lowell after powerful storms came through and toppled huge transformer towers just east of I-65.
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Read more: State Road 2 Reopens

 

Summer Safety Fest 2013 Tomorrow at Hawthorne Park

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Summer Safety Fest is this Friday, June 14 from 5:30-8:30 pm.  This free family-focused event is designed for children of all ages, and features interactive activities and demonstrations led by Porter Police and Porter Fire Search & Rescue.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health will be presenting their 'Be the Exception' interactive sessions. These sessions are designed to be age appropriate and parents are strongly encouraged to attend.  The first session is designed for children 5-8 years of age and will run from 6:00-6:30 pm.  The second session is for children 9-12 years of age and will run from 6:45-7:15 pm. The last session is for t'weens 13-15 years of age and will run from 7:30-8:00 pm.  'Be the Exception' sessions will be held in the community building. 
Back by popular demand are Harley the Porter Fire, Search & Rescue dog and Kilo the Porter Police dog both will provide demonstrations throughout the event.
Other interactive activities include a smoke house, a search and rescue diver in a dive tank, 'Ready, Aim, Put Out the Fire' or enjoy free face painting.  The police will be providing Children's Finger Printing & ID Cards and an exhibit of illicit drug samples to help kids 'D.A.R.E. to say NO!'   Or you can try to dunk a police officer in the dunk tank! 
New partners and activities include 'Stranger Danger' presented by James O'Connor Martial Arts, tours of ambulances and tactical emergency response vehicles provided by Superior Ambulance and Prompt Ambulance.
The always popular 'Jaws of Life' car extrication will be our evening finale.
Dinner or snacks can be purchased on-site from Dori's Food Stuff featuring sandwiches, fries and Elephant Ears.  
Summer Safety Fest is co-chaired by Sophia Keating, age 11 and Eric Ailes, age 11 and is generously sponsored by TSLRefrigeration and the Town of Porter. 
For additional information please contact Brian Bugajski, Director of Parks at 921-1687 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Like us on Facebook for future invitations (www.facebook.com/porterparks).
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Hammond, S Shore CVA Partner to Collect Data at FOTL

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FOTL Press Conference 6 13
(Photo Courtesy of the South Shore CVA)
A new partnership was announced Thursday morning between the City of Hammond and the South Shore CVA. The two organizations will work together to collect demographic data from attendees during the 10th annual, five day, Festival of the Lakes, July 17th through the 21st,‎ at Wolf Lake Memorial Park in Hammond. South Shore CVA President and CEO Speros Batistatos says the information will be gathered each night of the festival, and the goal is to allow the city to make better decisions regarding allocation of sponsorships, advertisement, and how funds are spent on musical entertainment.
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Read more: Hammond, S Shore CVA Partner to Collect Data at FOTL

 

Donnelly Supports Designating June as PTSD Awareness Month

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Washington, D.C. -- Senator Joe Donnelly co-sponsored a resolution designating June 2013 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month.  This designation would help increase awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated health risks.  The resolution, S. Res. 169, passed the Senate yesterday.
“The first step in addressing the mental health needs of our servicemembers and veterans is to talk about the challenges they face,” said Donnelly. “This resolution will bring greater attention to post-traumatic stress disorder and to the resources available to respond to their mental health needs.  Our troops have served with honor and distinction, and it is both our challenge and our priority to effectively respond to problems resulting from their military service.”
Senator Donnelly joined Sen. Heitkamp and Sen. Boozman to help introduce the bipartisan resolution.  It is the first time the Senate has designated a full month for national PTSD awareness.  In 2011 and 2012, the Senate passed S. Res. 202 and S. Res. 455, designating one day in June as PTSD Awareness Day.
One of Senator Donnelly’s priorities is to improve the mental health resources available to members of the military and veterans in order to better prevent suicide.  Donnelly is working to expand and improve upon existing military suicide prevention efforts, as we lost more servicemembers to suicide (349) than in combat in Afghanistan (295) last year.   Donnelly is dedicated to working with his colleagues to ensure the psychological needs of servicemembers and veterans are adequately addressed, that they are screened for risk of suicide, and that they have access to resources such as counseling and suicide prevention without fear of negative effects on their career.
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Read more: Donnelly Supports Designating June as PTSD Awareness Month

 

Judge Approves Taking Down Memorial for Fallen Officer before Trial

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Published reports say a memorial for a 25 year old corrections officer killed while jogging after being struck by a vehicle in March of 2012 will have to be taken down before the accused has his trial later this month. A Lake County judge approved the request and Jason Cozmanoff, who is charged with reckless homicide, failure stop after an accident resulting in death, four-counts of criminal recklessness, and three-counts of failure to stop for an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, in the death of Brittney Meux, who was running along West 93rd Avenue in Crown Point at the time of the incident. Three other corrections officers were also injured, and a jury trial is scheduled for June 24th.
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Read more: Judge Approves Taking Down Memorial for Fallen Officer before Trial

 

Afternoon House Fire in Highland

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
In Highland, firefighters were called out to battle a blaze in the 31-hundred block of Highway Avenue. According to the Times, witnesses at the scene reported the homeowners were taken to the hospital, and a dog and cat were able to be saved. No further information is available at this time.
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Storm Blows Trampoline Through Crown Point Home

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The National Weather Service is inspecting the damage in Northwest Indiana after severe storms brought heavy rains and 70 mile an hour wind gusts. ABC's Ryan Burrow reports
for Marie Bates of Crown Point,  the storm cost her a living room window, among other things... "The neighbor's trampoline flew across their yard, and basically just ran right into our window." The window shattered... "We couldn't keep the water out. It drenched our couch, our coffee table, our carpet. There was glass everywhere. It soaked our TV." But nobody was hurt. She says her neighborhood also had downed trees and some damaged roofs.
To view the many pictures region residents have submitted to us, visit http://www.regionnewsteam.com/.
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Warrant Sweep in Michigan City Nets 27 Individuals

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A warrant sweep in Michigan City Wednesday morning netted 27 individuals. Michigan City Police report a majority of charges were drug related, with a few for theft, and failing to appear in court. Also participating in the sweep were the Street Crimes Unit, Department Administration, Detective Bureau, Traffic Division, Patrol Division, United States Marshal’s Service, Indiana State Police, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, Trail Creek Police Department and the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office.
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Read more: Warrant Sweep in Michigan City Nets 27 Individuals

 

NIPSCO Cleaning Up On SR 2 in Lowell

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(Barricaded area just east of the I-65 interchange on SR 2; photos Courtesy of Karl Berner)
NIPSCO Cleaning Up On SR 2 in Lowell
(Downed building in Crown Point, just south of 93rd St, right off SB I-65)
NIPSCO crews are busy cleaning up after Wednesday night's storms that blew through the region, which downed power lines and toppled huge transformer towers just east of I-65. Our own Karl Berner spoke to a contracted worker through NIPSCO this morning in Lowell about the State Road 2 roadblock that goes down to Clay Street, and who stated that once the wires have been picked up off the roadway it will be reopened, which said could happen sometime this afternoon. The straight-line winds took down four electrical towers which destroyed high-voltage 345-thousand K-V lines.
It was just two years ago, almost to the day, that Route 2 was shut down between Lowell and Hebron after powerful storms came through and toppled huge transformer towers just east of I-65. To view the many pictures submitted to us from Region residents of the storm, visit anyone of our websites at http://www.regionnewsteam.com.
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Read more: NIPSCO Cleaning Up On SR 2 in Lowell

   

SR 2 Work in LaPorte and St. Joseph Co Extends into Friday

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ST. JOSEPH/LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces lane restrictions in both directions on State Road 2, between Quince Road near South Bend and U.S. 20 near Rolling Prairie, will continue throughout the day, Friday, June 14th. Crews performing a chip seal and fog seal operation were delayed by weather this week, forcing the extension of the restrictions. One lane in each direction will be open tomorrow and a reduced speed limit of 45 mph will be in effect. Work is expected to be complete tomorrow evening..
The chip-seal process consists of distributing a liquid asphalt emulsion on the roadway and covering the liquid asphalt with crushed stone to provide a new wearing surface. Chip-sealing extends the life of a roadway by protecting it from moisture, ultra-violet degradation, and any other damaging exposures.
Drivers should exercise caution during these projects. Loose stone will be present on the roadway during the initial cure of the asphalt and can damage windshields and paint on vehicles that may be following each other too closely. It is recommended when travelling on a recently chip-sealed road to slow down and allow additional space between vehicles.
The fog seal is being applied on top of the chip-seal work. The fog seal is a light application of asphalt material that can lock in loose stone and help with dust problems. It also makes the road black, which makes pavement markings more visible.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Read more: SR 2 Work in LaPorte and St. Joseph Co Extends into Friday

   

26 Firefighters Sworn In Wednesday in Gary

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Firefighter Swearing In 1
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary)
On Wednesday, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson swore in 26 firefighters in the Gary Council Chambers amongst a crowd of friends and family. Gary Fire Chief Teresa Everett, who was also in attendance, along with her senior staff, says over the next few weeks of training, the recruits will become full-fledged firefighters.
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New State Poll Shows Hoosiers Support Immigration Reform

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— As the Senate takes up debate this week on the bipartisan immigration reform bill, Harper Polling released the results of a new state poll showing overwhelming voter support for the legislation. During a press call today, state leaders and supporters of immigration reform discussed how the new poll indicates voters in Indiana are ready for a commonsense solution to the country’s broken immigration system that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The poll was sponsored by the Alliance for Citizenship, Partnership for a New American Economy and Republicans for Immigration Reform, three organizations who represent the broad support for immigration reform from across the political spectrum.
“The results of this statewide poll should be yet another indication to our elected officials in Washington that their constituents want, and are ready for, a real and lasting solution to mend our broken immigration system,” said Mayor Tom Henry of Fort Wayne. “Comprehensive immigration reform is one of the rare issues that is both good politics and good policy. There is bipartisan support for the Senate bill that includes a path to citizenship.”
According to the poll, voters in Indiana support the Gang of Eight bill by large margins. Moreover, the results show that there is a genuine imperative for Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly to support the bill as constituents said they are more likely to vote for an elected official who votes for reform.
“The immigration reform bill currently in the U.S. Senate is a much needed common sense approach toward strengthening and reforming federal laws in a way that benefits our businesses,” said John Livengood, president the of Indiana Restaurant Association. “Indiana is best served by an economy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. Immigrants play an important economic role as workers and taxpayers.”
Highlights of the findings include:
·         69% of those polled said they strongly or somewhat support bipartisan immigration reform legislation being debated in Washington;

·         62% of those polled said they strongly or somewhat support a bill that includes a tough but fair path to citizenship;
·         47% of those polled are more likely to vote for an elected official who supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. 

·         92% of those polled said it was very or somewhat important that the U.S. fix its immigration system this year.

·         Of those polled, 44% identified as Republicans, 33% as Democrats, and 23% as Independents.

Full results of the poll can be found here  https://www.dropbox.com/s/c5fma4mb1of7zfs/Indiana%20Immigration%20Poll%20Toplines.pdf.
The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone surveys of likely voters were conducted between June 2-10, 2013.  The poll has a minimum sample size of 500 respondents and a margin of error of less than 5%.
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Read more: New State Poll Shows Hoosiers Support Immigration Reform

   

Storm Cleanup Continues

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[Photo/Roxanne Collins]
Cleanup continues today around the Region after severe storms hit the area Wednesday night.
It was just two years ago, almost to the day, that Route 2 was shut down between Lowell and Hebron after powerful storms came through and toppled huge transformer towers just east of I-65.   Today, the Indiana Department of Transportation says State Road 2 between Hebron and Lowell could be closed up to three days because of downed power lines east of the interstate after last night's severe weather.   There is also a lot of debris in the Crown Point/Lakes of Four Seasons area. INDOT crews are patrolling state roads around the northwest Indiana district looking for high water and debris. Officials say it takes just inches to float a car and the results could be deadly – they're urging Region motorists to stay away from high water.
Today the National Weather Service was considering whether or not to visit the Lakes of the Four Seasons/Winfield area, to survey damage from last night's storm. A roof blew off a home in the 11-hundred block of Sunnyslope Drive. No injuries reported. A number of trees were down along 109th Street not far from the entrance to Lakes of the Four Seasons.
The National Weather Service in Northern Indiana is gathering reports on wind damage, in particular from an area from Medaryville in Pulaski County here in northwest Indiana all the way east to Ohio. Golf ball size hail was reported near Winamac around 7:30 Eastern Time last night, lasting for a couple minutes, with minor damage to vehicles, according to a spotter report.
NIPSCO crews have been working around the clock to restore electricity. Northern Indiana Public Service Company says as many as 44-thousand customers lost power system-wide. That number was down to about 98-hundred early today this morning, with one of the hardest hit areas being Lake County with outages due to broken poles, downed wire and other storm-related damage from strong winds, lightning, and some isolated hail. Hardest hit communities include Crown Point, Lowell, Gary and Merrillville, and the tri-town area of St. John/Schererville/dyer, also Hebron and Valparaiso in Porter County.
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Route 51 Blocked by Train

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In the Hobart/Merrillville area, Route 51 north of 73rd Avenue near Ainsworth was blocked by a train. Listeners have been using County Line and Randolph as alternates.  We got word the road may be blocked until about noon.
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Route 2 Could Be Closed for 3 Days

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The Indiana Department of Transportation says a section of State Road 2 could be closed for three days.  Lanes are blocked in both directions between I-65 in Lowell and US 231in Hebron with downed power lines after last night's storms. Tipsters have reported to us large towers being down along Route 2 just east of the I-65 interchange. 
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44,000 Lose Power in Storms

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NIPSCO crews have been working around the clock to restore electricity to Region residents who lost power in last night's strong storms. Northern Indiana Public Service Company says as many as 44-thousand customers lost power system-wide. One of the hardest hit areas was Lake County, including areas of Crown Point, Lowell, Gary, and Merrillville with outages due to broken poles, downed wire and other storm-related damage from strong winds, lightning, and some isolated hail.  There are also outages in Hebron in Porter County; tipsters have reported to us that large towers were down on State Road 2 just east of the Interstate 65 interchange.
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Severe Thunderstorms and High Winds Move Through Region

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Severe thunderstorms moved through the Region earlier this evening with high winds toppling several large trees and power lines throughout the Region. According to the National Weather Service , a trained spotter clocked 80 mph winds in Griffith around 6:45 p.m. Social media sites were reporting several large tree branches down in Crown point due to thunderstorm wind damage.

The Times is reporting heavy winds also reportedly blew the roof off of a home in the 1100 block of Sunnyslope Drive in Lakes of the Four Seasons in Crown Point. There were no reports of injuries. Additionally, Fire Chief Graham Federico of the Lakes of the Four Seasons Volunteer Fire Department told the Times that about a quarter mile of 109th Avenue west of the subdivision's entrance was blocked off due to trees that were blown down. That stretch of 109th Avenue will reportedly remain closed until Thursday morning according to the article.

Emergency Management officials also report heavy tree damage near 108th and 109th Avenues near Cline Avenue in Crown Point. In addition, high tension power lines closed State Road 2 east of I-65 as several high tension towers blew down in the storm.

NIPSCO reported several power outages affecting over 34,000 customers mainly in Crown Point, Schererville, Merrillville and Lowell areas with a little over 14,000 customers without power in Crown Point.

The severe storms are also blamed for a semi trailer that jackknifed while traveling westbound on the Borman (I-80/90) just east of Kennedy Avenue around 6:50 p.m. INDOT reported that the accident block three lanes between Cline Avenue and Kennedy Avenue.

The National Weather Service reports that 2 to 3 inches of rain has fallen in the Region already with more heavy rainfall expected in some areas. As a result a Flash Flood Warning remains in affect for persons in southern Lake, Newton and Jasper counties are under a flash flood warning until 2:30 a.m.
Time line and storm damage reported to the National Weather Service office:
0645 PM 1" HAIL GRIFFITH 41.52N 87.42W
REPORTED BY TRAINED SPOTTER
0645 PM HAIL 3 SSW MUNSTER 41.51N 87.52W

0653 PM TSTM WND DMG CROWN POINT 41.42N 87.36W
LARGE TREE BRANCHES DOWN. RELAYED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
0655 PM TSTM WND DMG 6 SE MERRILLVILLE 41.42N 87.24W
SEVERAL TREES UPROOTED AND LARGE BRANCHES DOWN. RELAYED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA.
0720 PM TSTM WND GST 60mph VALPARAISO 41.48N 87.05W
LASTED ABOUT 5 MINUTES REPORTED BY STORM SPOTTER
0732 PM TSTM WND DMG CROWN POINT 41.42N 87.36W
HOUSE ROOF BLOWN OFF REPORTED BY AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR
0805 PM HEAVY RAIN .94 inch CROWN POINT 41.44N 87.35W
0.34 inches in past 30 minutes
0822 PM TSTM WND GST 63 mph 2 SSW LOWELL 41.27N 87.43W
REPORTED BY THE NATONAL WEATHER SERVICE
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Highland PD: Residents Clear Grates From Storm Sewer

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The Highland Police Department says due to the heavy rains, high winds and lightning that are expected in the area soon, that if you have a grate over a storm sewer in front of your house, please make sure it is open and free of debris or leaves in order to prevent flooding. Your help is appreciated.
Meantime, keep apprised of weather updates, and be prepared to seek shelter if conditions worsen. Winds of up to 60 mph are possible, so make sure items in your yard are secured and pets are sheltered.
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