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Coats Introduces Bill to Delay Obamacare Until 2015

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to delay the individual and employer mandates included in Obamacare until 2015:
“Obamacare is driving up premiums, forcing businesses to cut workers’ jobs or hours and requiring some families to switch health insurance plans,” said Coats. “The best shot at repealing this devastating law is to delay it and allow the American people to decide Obamacare’s fate in the 2014 election.”
The Obama administration announced this summer that it will delay penalties for employers who do not provide health insurance coverage to workers, but penalties on individuals not purchasing insurance would still apply.
In July, the House of Representatives passed legislation offered by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) that officially delays these two mandates. Coats’ legislation mirrors the House-passed bill.
“Congressman Young and I agree that rather than delay a bad policy for some, all Hoosier families should be exempted from Obamacare’s taxes and mandates,” said Coats.
“Individual Hoosiers and their families should be proud of the work of Senator Coats to introduce this legislation,” said Young. “It is clear that Obamacare is not ready for prime time, and the White House admitted as much when they delayed the new taxes and mandates on big business. The Coats bill would codify that delay, and extend the same mandate delay and tax relief to individuals and families--just as the House did when they passed my Fairness for American Families Act in July."
The Coats legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
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Coast Guard Tows Boat Taking on Water to Shore

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The Coast Guard assisted two boaters this morning on a vessel taking on water after receiving a distress call. The Ninth Coast Guard District reports the incident took place northeast of the Indiana Harbor, on Lake Michigan, around 10am. Officials report the vessel was towed to Hammond Marina, where the two men has contacted a mechanic to bring their trailer to the marina.
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Gary PD Welcomes New Additions to the K-9 Unit

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(Photo Courtesy of the Gary Police Department, left to right: Officer Cuevas and Dutch,
Corp. Artibey and Loki, Officer Hedrick and Argo, and Lt. Trevino and Ranger)
The Gary Police Department announced today the recent addition of two new members of their K-9 unit. German Shepherds “Ranger” and “Argo” will reportedly assist with narcotics investigations, weapons searches, patrol, tracking and apprehension of suspects, and brings the total number of canines in the department to four, joining veteran K-9's “Dutch” and “Loki”. Deputy Chief Larry McKinley says the new additions allows them to now have one dog on each shift and closer to the ultimate goal of having two dogs per shift. Those who are interested in making a donation or learning more about the fund may contact Corporal John Artibey Jr. at (219) 808-9108. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 64409, Gary, IN 46401.
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Public Invited to Valparaiso 911 Ceremony

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Valpo PD
The City of Valparaiso will be remembering 911 in their annual ceremony on Wednesday September 11th. The public ceremony will be held at Foundation Meadows Park located at 3210 Campbell St and is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.
The ceremony will include speakers Mayor Jon Costas, Chief of Police Michael Brickner and Director of Parks and Recreation John Seibert. 
Chaplain Bill Wrede will be this year’s guest speaker. Chaplain Wrede stood four blocks from the site of the World Trade Center offering pastoral care to first responders after the collapse of the towers. He stood near ground zero blessing first responders as they entered the area shortly after the collapse of the towers.
Members of the Valparaiso Fire and Police Departments will also be attending the ceremony. The public is encouraged to attend.
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Deadline for WGU Indiana’s Largest Scholarship 10/9

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INDIANAPOLIS (September 9, 2013) –Applications for WGU Indiana’s largest scholarship offering in the university’s history - Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships - are due Oct. 9, 2013. WGU Indiana seeks to award the total amount of $100,000 through 50 scholarships valued at $2,000 each.
“With the release of President Obama’s new higher education plan and his focus on degree attainment, it’s important that prospective students struggling with the cost-benefit analysis of attending college are aware of this scholarship opportunity and WGU Indiana’s efforts to remove barriers to college completion,” said WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber. “The high cost of most college degrees, and the associated debt that burdens many graduates, present a serious challenge to our nation.  I believe WGU Indiana’s model, which offers adult learners a truly affordable yet high-quality option, is part of the solution.”
Each $2,000 scholarship will be awarded in the amount of $500 per term for four terms. The scholarship amount is significant relative to the university’s $3,000-per-term tuition. WGU Indiana recently announced that it would not raise tuition for the fourth year in a row.
To be eligible, applicants must have some college credit, apply as new students to WGU Indiana, and pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Business, IT, Education or Nursing.
To learn more about all of WGU Indiana’s degree programs, visit indiana.wgu.edu. For more on the Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships, visit indiana.wgu.edu/higherdegreescholarship.

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Record Breaking Temps Expected for Tuesday

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If you thought it was hot and humid today, tomorrow we may experience record-breaking heat. Valparaiso University Professor of Meteorology Dr. Bart Wolf says Chicago could come close to record temperatures tomorrow and the record temperature of 95 in Valparaiso could also be broken as well. Dr. Wolf says the record for today in Valpo is 94, and according to the National Weather Service, we reached that mark around 4pm. Dr. Wolf says we'll endure quite a contrast in temperature by week's end, with a 30 to 40 percent chance of rain Wednesday and by Friday, temperatures are expected to be in the mid 60's. As for the threat of severe weather with Wednesday's possible storms, Dr. Wolf says its pretty unlikely.
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Porter Co Sheriff's Dept Targeting Abandoned Vehicles

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The Porter County Sheriff's Office announced today that they will be targeting abandoned vehicles in the South Haven and Salt Creek Commons neighborhoods and unincorporated Porter County. The Sheriff's Office reports, after receiving some complaints, they are urging residents to get these abandoned vehicles removed or they may be impounded. They define an abandoned vehicle as a one that is at least three model-years old, is mechanically inoperable, and is left on private property continuously in a location visible from public property for more than 20 days. Residents are also reminded that, per county ordinance, they need to have their address posted on their house or mailbox.
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Coats: Vast Majority of Hoosiers Opposed to Military Strike

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Senator Dan Coats
The US Senate today is debating military action in Syria. Indiana Senator Dan Coates says the vast majority of Hoosiers he has heard from are opposed to US military engagement in Syria and that taking America to war without support from the people is the surest path to disaster. President Obama is expected to address the nation tomorrow to make his case for action on Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack in August.
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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week Amanda Childers

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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Dept)
A 28 year old woman wanted on a warrant from LaPorte Circuit Court for felony theft is the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week. Amanda Childers is described as 5'7”, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who may know of her immediate whereabouts or has any other information on her, is asked to contact the LaPorte Police Department, at 362-9446, or LaPorte Metro Operations, at 325-9022, and you can remain anonymous.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week Javier Oropesa

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Javier Oropesa
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 41 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for murder is the US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force “Fugitive of the Week”. Javier Oropesa, who is from East Chicago, but who has ties to Mexico and the southern California area, is wanted for the 1998 murder of Alex Martinez. Oropesa is described as a white male, 5'06”, weighing 144 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Javier Oropesa 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.
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Armed Robbery at Apartment Complex in LaPorte

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Police in LaPorte are seeking the public's help regarding an armed robbery at an apartment complex. Police report the victim had arrived home from work just after 4pm Sunday, in the 12-hundred block of L Street, when he was confronted by two black males displaying handguns who ordered him into his apartment, and once inside, they reportedly stole a laptop computer, a cellphone, car keys and cash. Authorities say the suspects were seen leaving the area in a blck or silver Dodge station wagon, heading towards Lincolnway. Anyone with any information regarding this crime is asked to please contact LaPorte Police.
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NWI Native Drives Tractor to Raise Funds

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A native of northwest Indiana is driving a farm tractor from Florida to the Michigan state line – about a-thousand mile journey -- to raise money for Riley Children's Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. Darren Hayes, who grew up in LaCrosse and went to LaCrosse High School, started his trip August 26 in Chiefland, Florida, and his destination is New Buffalo, Michigan, just over the Indiana state line.
tractor
His 1952 John Deere 60 tractor is named after a little girl who died of brain cancer last year. He's also riding in honor of his friend who has been diagnosed with the same cancer.  You can hear Annie Fox's interview with Hayes here online at News Audio on Demand.
There's also more info at this website:  www.trackthetractor.com.  
Photos/ www.trackthetractor.com

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La Porte PD Welcomes New K9

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rambo
La Porte Police are sharing the first pictures of their new police K9, Rambo. They were taken during Rambo's  trip home from Shallow Creek Kennels in western Pennsylvania.
Rambo is a 13-month-old German Shepherd trained as dual-purpose police service dog who hails from the country of Belgium.   Both Rambo and his handler, Specialist Matt Drangmeister, will begin a six-week handler training course in early October.
rambo two
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Region Man Home Safe

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A northwest Indiana man reported missing Friday returned home safely Friday night. Porter County Sheriffs Police say 80-year-old Frank Bush, Jr., drove home by himself. Authorities say his disappearance prompted a Silver Alert after the man, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, left home that morning and didn't return.
[Photo provided/Porter County Sheriffs Police]
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Two Hurt in Rail Collapse

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Two football fans were injured when a rail collapsed at Lucas Oil Stadium after the Indianapolis-Oakland game Sunday. No word on the extent of their injuries. The two were said to be leaning against a railing above a tunnel when it gave way, and the fans fell onto a walkway that led to the Raiders locker rooms.
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ISTEP Results Expected

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The Indiana Department of Education is expected to release ISTEP-Plus results today. Results have been delayed after testing, which took place last Spring, was interrupted for students here in the Region and around the state due to computer problems. State officials continue to talk to vendor CTB McGraw Hill about a possible settlement.
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1933 'Century of Progress' Homes Featured

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1933 'Century of Progress' Homes Featured
A ranger-led tour at the Florida Tropical house. /Edwin Alcox
 
INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: Join a National Park Service ranger at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for a tour of five historic homes from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair on Saturday, October 19 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Each tour will last approximately two hours and includes a ranger-narrated shuttle ride from the parking area of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to the Century of Progress Homes Site. There is no on-site parking available at the homes. Once on site, your ranger will lead you on an inside look at the Cypress Log House, House of Tomorrow, Florida House, Armco- Ferro House, and the Rostone House. Reservations are required and there is a $20per person fee to cover the cost of the shuttle buses and other program expenses.
These tours are offered in partnership with the Dunes National Park Association (DNPA), who will take tour reservations through the DNPA website, www.dunesnationalpark.org starting at 8:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2013. The DNPA is a nonprofit organization that supports the protection, preservation, and promotion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
The original 1933 “Century of Progress” houses featured innovative building materials, modern home appliances, and new construction techniques. The houses were moved to northwest Indiana in 1935 to promote a new housing community and were included in the national lakeshore boundary in the early 1970’s. Today, the historic homes are undergoing rehabilitation with private funds through a partnership with Indiana Landmarks and private citizens.
If you have additional questions about the tours or reservations, please call the national lakeshore information desk at 219-395-1882 or contact the DNPA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.nps.gov/indu
Photo/ http://www.nps.gov/indu/historyculture/centuryofprogress.htm
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Gov Pence Announces Japan Center

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Fukuda Pence
Governor Mike Pence greets Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorates the 14-year sister-state relationship between Tochigi Prefecture and Indiana. [Photo/Governor's Office]
The Japan-America Society of Indiana will establish a Japan Center and Gardens in the state of Indiana. Governor Mike Pence made the announcement as his first trade mission to Japan got underway a couple days ago. The project is expected to serve as a cultural gateway to Japan, providing the Hoosier State with a culturally appropriate venue for events and meetings relating to Japan, gardens and nature. With an authentic Japanese architectural design, the new facility will house offices and also serve as a community center.
Governor Mike Pence began his first trade mission to Japan Saturday by traveling to Tochigi Prefecture, Indiana’s sister-state, where he met with Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorated the 14-year sister-state relationship.
“The Japan Center and Gardens will symbolize the friendship between Indiana and Japan that has been cultivated, thrived and bloomed,” said Pence. “Upon its completion, I look forward to welcoming Hoosiers and visitors alike to this beautiful venue and promoting the history, tradition and strength of Indiana’s bond with Japan.”
The center, which will be located in a natural, park-like setting, will showcase formal gardens, trails, water features and wooded areas with the goal of promoting an understanding of nature and the environment through the Japanese aesthetic. JASI is actively considering possible sites and welcomes proposals.
“While the project is still in its early stages, the center promises to showcase the substantial commitment of Hoosiers to attract, welcome and partner with Japanese visitors in Indiana, and to enhance the cultural and economic cooperation between the state and Japan,” said Theresa Kulczak, executive director of JASI. “As both a learning center and quiet retreat, this will be one more shining beacon of Indiana’s vibrant, long-standing relationship with Japan.”
Pence made the announcement during a luncheon meeting with Tochigi city officials hosted by Fukuda at the Tochigi Prefectural Hall.
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AG Freezes Assets of Former LaPorte Co Dep Auditor

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Indiana OAG Official Seal
LaPORTE, Ind. – Using the state’s new public accountability law, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office today took legal action to freeze the assets of a former LaPorte County deputy auditor who is accused of embezzling approximately $150,000 in county funds. 
In LaPorte County Circuit Court today, Zoeller’s office sought and obtained a temporary restraining order freezing the financial assets – including bank accounts, a home and four vehicles – of Mary C. Ray of LaPorte, Ind., until a full audit can be completed. Ray is retired from her position as deputy auditor in the LaPorte County Auditor’s Office. 
The Attorney General’s motions for a temporary restraining order and prejudgment attachment were filed under a state law the Legislature passed in 2009 at Zoeller’s urging: House Enrolled Act 1514-2009, the public accountability law. 
“It is always disheartening when a government employee is accused of violating the public trust by pocketing taxpayers’ money that does not belong to them.  The public accountability law allows the State to identify fraud on public funds earlier in the process and freeze defendants’ assets in the event we must recover them later to reimburse the public treasury,” Zoeller said. 
The investigation of missing funds began with a report to State Police that a bank deposit bag the Auditor’s Office used had been stolen. It was later recovered with checks inside but $3,200 in cash was missing. Also, within a two-day period, there was a $1,800 discrepancy between receipts and deposits. Examiners from the State Board of Accounts then launched a preliminary audit. 
That audit of the auditor’s office receipts and deposits found that approximately $150,000 had been shorted through check kiting between May 2012 and December 2012, the final months before Ray’s retirement. As deputy auditor, Ray’s duties included collecting payments from other county departments, receiving various payments to the Auditor’s Office such as permit fees made to the county, in both cash and checks, and depositing them into the county’s bank accounts. 
The preliminary audit found that certain checks paid to the county were not recorded or deposited but instead were held for weeks, and then substituted for unrelated cash payments to the county.  Swapping the unrecorded checks for cash allowed the deposits to still balance with the amount of funds receipted.  Prior to May 2012, county records show that cash and checks collected were equal to cash and checks deposited; but after May 2012, on nearly every business day there was less cash deposited than received and more checks deposited than were received, the audit found. 
The current amount of restitution the SBoA seeks from Ray is $150,000, but that amount is subject to change pending the release of the final audit report. 
The State Board of Accounts conducts regularly scheduled audits of government units and, when completed, routinely certifies them to the Attorney General’s Office for collection if audits discover misappropriation of public funds. The 2009 state law allows the SBoA and Attorney General to take action earlier in the process based on a preliminary audit, when public funds would be at risk if the State waited for the regularly scheduled final audit to be completed. 
In the motions filed today, the Attorney General’s Office asked the LaPorte County Circuit Court to freeze Ray’s assets, including real estate, vehicles and any bank or retirement accounts. The Attorney General’s Office asked the court to order that Ray’s assets not be transferred, concealed or distributed, so that funds would be available to reimburse the county if the court were to enter a judgment later. 
Based on the eventual final audit report, the Attorney General’s Office could file a complaint to recover public funds at a later date, to seek civil collection of the final amount from Ray in order to reimburse the county treasury. 
LaPorte County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Alevisos granted the temporary restraining order today against Ray and set the hearing on the motion for prejudgment attachment and garnishment for 11 a.m. September 16. 
The final audit will review whether there was any surety bond coverage on Ray that the State could obtain to reimburse the county treasury for the shortage.  Any amount not covered by bonds would be Ray’s personal responsibility to repay. 
The Attorney General’s jurisdiction is civil only, to collect misappropriated public funds that have been misappropriated. Criminal charges, if any, would fall under the jurisdiction of the county prosecutor or U.S. Attorney and police agencies.
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Man Working on School Roof Falls 30 Feet Through Hole

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A man was injured this morning after falling through the roof and onto the stage of the gymnasium at Elston Middle School. The Times reports the man, whose name has not been released, was doing installation work on the new roof when he fell about 30 feet through a ventilation hole. According to the article, the man was taken from the scene by ambulance for treatment and school officials report no children or staff were near the incident when it took place around 7:30am.
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