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Chicago Man Charged for Illegally Selling Firearms

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(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A 24 year old Chicago man was taken into custody Wednesday and charged Thursday with illegally selling four guns, at least one of which reportedly ended up in the hands of a convicted felon. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports Jevon Standback allegedly sold four guns he originally purchased in Florida to four people in March of 2012. Authorities say an investigation began after a MAC-11 semi-automatic pistol, which later found to be registered to Standback, was recovered in Harvey from the vehicle of a convicted felon who was injured in a crash after attempting to flee a traffic stop on July 24th.
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Governor Pence Names Three New Directors

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Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today named Sean Keefer as his Legislative Director, Sarah Taylor as the Executive Director of Hoosier Lottery, and Tristan Vance as Director of the Office of Energy Development.
Sean Keefer will serve as Legislative Director in the Office of the Governor. He will join the Governor’s legislative team that includes former State Representative Jeff Espich, who serves as Senior Legislative Advisor. With extensive public service experience, Keefer currently serves as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Labor. Under the Daniels administration, he served as Deputy Commissioner of Labor, as well as Legislative Director and Public Information Officer. Previously,  Keefer served as Chief of Staff in the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Deputy Secretary of State and Chief of Staff in the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. Prior to joining state government, Keefer worked as the Director of Global Health & Science Policy for the American College of Sports Medicine and in the public affairs division of Bose Public Affairs. Keefer, of Fishers, earned his undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College and his graduate degree from Indiana University. He will begin his new role on September 18, 2013.
Sarah Taylor will serve as Executive Director of the Hoosier Lottery beginning October 1, 2013. Taylor is the current Director of Constituent Services for the 48th Mayor of Indianapolis, Gregory A. Ballard. Twice elected as the Marion County Clerk, where she served for eight years, she acted as the chief financial officer for court receipts including child support monies and as chief election official for Indianapolis/Marion County.  An Indiana native, Taylor, of Indianapolis, earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana University.
Tristan Vance will continue to lead the state’s energy efforts as Director of the Office of Energy Development (OED). Vance was first appointed to lead OED in February of 2012.  He previously worked as special assistant to Lt. Governor Skillman starting in 2005 and later joined the Government Efficiency and Financial Planning group in the Office of Management and Budget in 2007. There, he monitored efficiency at several state agencies, including OED. Vance is from Paoli and is a graduate of Hanover College.

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Hammond PD's Recent Traffic Safety Campaign Results

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The Hammond Police Department recently participated in the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" traffic safety campaign.  During the course of this campaign, officers performed a sobriety checkpoint and roving DUI patrols.  Officers made a total of 12 operating while intoxicated arrests and issued a total of 784 other citations for such things as speeding, driving while suspended, equipment violations, and seat belt violations.  Thirteen criminal arrests were also made including arrests for possession of marijuana, and outstanding arrest warrants.  Funding for this campaign was provided by NHTSA through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
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LaPorte PD's Wanted Person of the Week Surrenders

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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A man named earlier this week as the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week, has reported surrendered himself to law enforcement. The LaPorte Police Department reports Edward Holman turned himself in on Thursday without incident. Holman was wanted on a warrant out of LaPorte Circuit Court for the charge of felony criminal sexual deviate conduct and was considered armed and dangerous. Police thank the public for their assistance with tips.
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Report: Grade Change Adjustments Plausible, Fair

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A report out today conducted at the request of top Republican state lawmakers on Indiana's A-to-F grading system concludes former State School Superintendent Tony Bennett adjusted the rules fairly when he changed the grade for a charter school run by a G-O-P donor... and that the “treatment afforded to the school was consistently applied to other schools with similar circumstances.” The office of current school superintendent Democrat Glenda Ritz has also ordered a review of the grading system.
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Skilled Nursing Facility to Close

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The operators of Towne Centre Health Care have notified the state that their 120-bed skilled nursing facility on Arthur Boulevard in Merrillville will close November 4th, resulting in the loss of about 121 full and part-time jobs. Capital Senior Living ILM-B said in their WARN, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, notice to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that they will continue to operate the assisted living and independent living facilities at Towne Centre.
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Anonymous Pledge of $1M Toward Shelter

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A surprise announcement at last night's Porter County Park Board meeting... County Commissioners John Evans and Laura Blaney told the panel an anonymous donor has pledged one-million dollars toward a new animal shelter... as the commissioners also put forth a proposal to build the facility on three to five acres of Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Blaney told our Steve Zana today the donation is not predicated on a new shelter being built at the park,"but the donor would like to see it built at a good spot," Blaney said, "like that one."
The park is at US 6 and Meridian Road; the proposed site is 16-hundred feet east of Meridian. The current shelter on State Road 2 south of US 30 has been described as old, outdated and overcrowded. Porter County Sheriff David Lain,whose department is responsible for animal control, told the Region News Team earlier this week a developing situation with Hobart's Humane Society saying the Hobart shelter will have to stop taking in animals from Portage is also affecting the Porter County Animal Shelter.
You can hear our interviews with Commissioner Blaney and Sheriff Lain at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
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Popcorn Fest Traffic Alert

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Detours in and around Valparaiso begin early this evening for the 35th annual Popcorn Fest Saturday (Sept 7). Valparaiso Police Sgt. Michael Grennes says many road closures start around 6-o'clock tonight (Friday Sept 6). Valparaiso Police also say there's a slight route change that takes this year's Popcorn Panic run/walk a litte further north, and it'll end a little closer to Central Park in downtown Valpo.  Police also remind festival goers that skateboards and bicycles are not allowed at the fest, and all dogs must be on a leash, though police strongly encourage visitors to not bring dogs to the fest. Here's more info from Valparaiso Police:
The Valparaiso Police Department is issuing a traffic alert for Saturday due to the annual Popcorn Festival downtown Valparaiso. Many roadways throughout the city will have heavier than normal traffic and many roadways especially in the morning will be closed for the Popcorn Panic Run and Popcorn Parade.
Downtown roadways will begin closing Friday evening. Starting at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Lincolnway from downtown west to Campbell St. then north on Campbell to Glendale will be completely closed to traffic for the Popcorn Panic race/walk. Roadways will re-open shortly after the race/walk concludes and then re-close just prior to the parade starting at 10 a.m.  The parade route includes Calumet from Evans south bound on Morgan Blvd. to Lincolnway then west bound to Campbell St and northbound to Park Ave.
Bicycles and skateboards are not permitted in the downtown area during the festival. Individuals with these items will be asked to leave the festival by police. All dogs must be on a leash and individuals are strongly encouraged not to bring dogs to the festival.
Residents should expect traffic delays during the morning hours and plan alternate routes of travel on Saturday.
[Photo courtesy Valpo Parks Department]
For more info about the Popcorn Fest: http://www.valparaisoevents.com/popcorn%20festival/
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Underwater Preserve Proposed

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Plans are in the works for the state's first underwater nature preserve off the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana. The Natural Resource Commission is scheduled to vote on the “J.D. Marshall Preserve” September 17, and if approved, an official dedication ceremony would happen at the end of the month. The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot wooden commercial vessel built for the lumber trade then converted to a sand barge, capsized in a storm, killing four crew members. The site of the June 1911 shipwreck is north of the Indiana Dunes State Park. The preserve would be marked by buoys to protect the remains of ship and keep boats from dropping anchor there. The Marshall's huge cast-iron propeller is at the park, and other artifacts are on display at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center.
Photo/http://www.in.gov/dnr/shipwreck/shipwrecks.html
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Pursuit in North Lake County

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A carjacking suspect who led police on a chase through north Lake County last night has reportedly been arrested in Illinois. Police say a man stopped along Cline Avenue in Gary fled on foot, ran into Hammond, where he reportedly first stole a bicycle, then allegedly held up a motorist in the 74-hundred block of New Hampshire in Hammond around 8:30, then was last seen on the expressway heading toward Chicago.
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IN Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Retired

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Constantine Dillon
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
After 35 years of service in the National Parks System, and six years as the Superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Superintendent Costa Dillon has officially retired. We recently spoke to Dillon during a recent Region News Makers interview who says the aspect of park service he anticipates missing the most is working with the visitors of the parks.
Indiana Dunes Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says while Dillon was Superintendent he made a lot of progress on a wide variety of projects and helped to improve facilities, and pointed out specifically Portage Lakefront, which he says opened up during his time as Superintendent and is the single most popular spot in terms of attendance in the entire National Lakeshore.
Dillon has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Stephen T. Mather Award from the National Parks Conservation Association. Now that he has retired, Dillon says, starting in January, he'll be joining the faculty of the University of New Hampshire teaching Recreation Management and Policy, and says he is still involved in the movie business, as a part owner of Killer Tomato Entertainment, the company that brought us four “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” films. To hear more of our interview with Costa Dillon, visit http://regionnewsteam.com/.
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NWI Food Bank Kicks Off Hunger Awareness Month

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The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana officially kicked off Hunger Action Month at Wicker Park Pavilion in Highland this afternoon opening a Mobile Market. It was set up like a farmers market and the Food Bank gave clients 25-dollars worth of “Food Bank Bucks” they could use to shop for items. The Food Bank reports 600 families attended last years event and planned for 700 this year. Executive Director Arleen Peterson presented Strack and Van Til the organization's “Hunger Champions Award” for 2013 at the Mobile Market, which was also attended by the Mayor of Gary and Munster State Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon.
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NWI Doctors Call on Congress to Intervene in Syria

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Merrillville – As with all doctors of medicine, a cadre of eight Northwest Indiana physicians of Syrian and other Middle Eastern descents, came together earlier this week to put the oath they take before becoming doctors into a most unique practice. They are out to save lives and as such, these physicians who care very much about their fellow countrymen and the current crisis in Syria, want to do something about it. They want the United States to help free the Syrian people from a tyrannical regime of deadly intolerance and cruelty. 
In this meeting the 8 doctors drafted a ten-point discussion as to why Congress should support President Barack Obama in his request to have the United States military intervene in the crisis. The document includes:
1. The United States cannot avoid being pulled into the conflict; 2. Each day the United States waits to act, the number of extremists entering Syria increases; 3. Intervention in Syria is not comparable to Iraq or Afghanistan (rather it’s like Kosovo or Rwanda); 4. The conflict in Syria is not a civil war; sectarianism inside Syria has been introduced by the (Bashar al-) Assad regime and other regional forces; 5. Inaction by the United States risks breeding extremism among the more vulnerable Syrian youth; 6. What is stopping the Assad regime from repeating the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) against the Syrian people and American allies in the region? 7. Rouge governments; namely Iran and North Korea, are closely watching the U. S. response to Syria’s use of chemical ways; 8. The United States has tried diplomacy over the past 30 months, and it has not worked; 9, Lack of action by the United States will embolden the Assad regime and 10, Americans cannot expect the Syrians to make progress towards their ultimate goal of political, civic and economic freedoms without additional U. S. and international support
Led by Doctors Abdul Kawamleh and Wayel Kaakaji, the physicians are concerned for the safety of their fellow Syrians. "The Syrian people cannot tolerate any more of the Assad regime, which is killing hundreds of civilians every day," says Dr. Kawamleh who goes on to explain,. “It is now confirmed that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people on at least 24 occasion. For example, on August 21, 1429 people died in the regime’s latest attack using sarin chemicals, which included 426 children who died from suffocation when they sought to find shelter from the attack." The latter was the largest in scare and number of fatalities.

Secretary of State John Kerry agrees. In his September 3 testimony before the U S Senate Foreign Relations Committee Kerry said, “This attack against some 1400 Syrian people is a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons.”
But many more "innocent civilians" are being killed by missiles, air attacks, artillery fire, and sniper attacks, and over 2 million Syrians have become refugees as a result of the conflict..
Attending the meeting with Kawamlehand Kaakaji were Doctors H. Safadi, A. Safadi, Alnahass, Ghaith Atassi, Faleh Atassi, Bassel Shughoury, Firas Zeitoun, Yaser Alobeid and Elian Shepherd. Of those attending, a few have traveled to Syria and Jordan to see for themselves the atrocities inflicted by the Assad forces on the Syrian people. Those physicians who have traveled to the Middle East have also provided free medical care and supplies to as many as they could manage in a two to four week visit.
“The Syrian people have a long history of acceptance and tolerance among religions and sects," says Dr. Kawamleh, “The Assad regime has showed that they are willing to use WMD’s to stay in power.” He adds, “By not intervening, Syria grows more unsettled and unstabilized.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has drafted a resolution in support of given Mr.Obama the powers he is requesting, and the full Senate is expected to adopt the resolution. The same powers may face more difficulty in the U. S. House of Representatives when it takes up the resolution next week.
Kawamleh says, "Over one million Syrian are living in absolute squalor in refugee camps throughout the Middle East, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. If the United States does not act to stop the Assad regime, and help these children return home to their families, this society will risk lose a generation of Syrians to extremism. That then could be a social nightmare for all civilized nations of the world."
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MC PD Investigating Attempted Murder

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Police in Michigan City are investigating an attempted murder that took place Tuesday morning. Authorities report at approximately 4am, 25 year old Mark Higgins was shot with a handgun numerous times in the parking lot of Canterbury Apartments, in the five-hundred block of Herring Gull Lane. Michigan City Police report at last check, they have no suspect identified or suspect description. Higgins is reportedly recovering at an area hospital and anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Michigan City Police.
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National Initiatives Highlight Importance of Blood Donations

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Fort Wayne, IN — The American Red Cross is urging blood donations during September to help support the initiatives of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
“Our blood donors help make a difference for many types of patients, including children with cancer and those who need ongoing treatment for sickle cell disease,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “Blood transfusions are crucial to both groups of individuals and play an important part in helping to extend and save their lives.”
According to the American Cancer Society’s webpage, about 11,630 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013. Cancer patients need frequent transfusions, often involving multiple blood products, particularly during chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
Blood transfusions also help those who have sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited blood disorder that occurs more commonly in African Americans, but can also affect other ethnic groups. The distorted red blood cells in SCD patients can cause physical pain, stroke, anemia and organ damage. Although there is no cure at this time, multiple red blood cell transfusions can help protect SCD patients from some of the complications of the disease.
“Steady and consistent blood donations are key to a strong blood supply,” said Whitman. “There is a wide variety of medical conditions requiring blood transfusion, and the only source are volunteer blood donors.”
Residents have the opportunity to donate at these local blood drives:
·         Monday, Sept. 16, from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Teresa of Avila in the Catholic Student Center, located at 1604 Lincolnway in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.
·         Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at The Gathering Place in the Meeting Room, located at 131 N. Main St. in Hebron.
·         Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Heritage Lutheran Church in the Fellowship Hall, located at 308 Washington St. in Valparaiso.
·         Monday, Sept. 23, from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at St. Peter Lutheran Church in the Kitchen & Social Hall, located at 6540 Central Ave. in Portage. 
·         Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, located at 753 N. Calumet in Valparaiso.
·         Thursday, Sept. 26, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in The Gathering Space, located at 505 Bullseye Lake Road in Valparaiso.
·         Friday, Sept. 27, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Portage in the Fellowship Hall, located at 2637 McCool Road in Portage. 
·         Sunday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Walmart, located at 2400 Morthland Drive in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.  This blood drive is sponsored by Woodforest National Bank.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossIO.
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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week: Edward Holman

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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A man wanted on a warrant out of LaPorte Circuit Court for the charge of felony criminal sexual deviate conduct is the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week. LaPorte Police report Edward Holman is described as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes and multiple tattoos on both arms. Holman is considered armed and dangerous, and believed to be in possession of multiple weapons, including a 410 sawed-off shotgun. Anyone with information on the immediate whereabouts of Edward Holman is asked to contact 9-1-1, LaPorte Police, or the LaPorte Metro Operations Unit, and you can remain anonymous.
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Moderate Drought in NW Indiana

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Dry conditions are intensifying in parts of northwest Indiana. The latest US Drought Monitor released this week shows the far southwest tip of Lake County, almost all of Newton County, and over half of Benton County experiencing moderate drought. About a third of the state is now considered abnormally dry, including the rest of Lake, almost all of Porter, about half of Jasper County, along with the South Bend/Elkhart and central Indiana areas.
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Drive-In Movie Night at Marquette Park

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In Miller, Gary's Marquette Park is being transformed into a drive-in movie theater Friday night (Sept 6). For ten-dollars per car, moviegoers can catch two family friendly films – “The Croods” and “The Tree of Life”. Gates at 6918 Oak Avenue open at 6 pm with the first film starting at dusk. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who came up with the idea, says the city doesn't currently have a movie theater, and this is a chance for families to see a couple films with Lake Michigan as a backdrop.
Vendors will be selling movie snacks, and attendees will tune in to the film using their car radios. The mayor's office says going forward, the goal is to feature drive-in movie night the first Friday of each month from May to October.
There are also advertising opportunities. Local businesses and organizations can promote their message on the silver screen for $500. The message will be looped in 30-second intervals for approximately 1 hour before the movie starts and during the event’s 20 minute intermission.
Going forward, the goal is to feature drive-in movie night the first Friday of each month from May to October. For more information contact LaShawn Brooks at 219-938-7363 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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IBLC Legislative Symposium at IUN Friday

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The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus will feature a wide range of subjects at the 2013 Annual Legislative Symposium, being held tomorrow [[Friday, Sept. 6]] on the campus of Indiana University Northwest in Gary. Former Merrillville Community School Corporation superintendent Dr. Tony Lux, and Group Director for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Health Program Martha King will be the featured keynote speakers.  The cost of the symposium is $50 per person. Scholarships for the symposium are available upon request.
This year’s theme is “The Critical Importance of Education, Healthcare, and Jobs for All.”  The registration form can be found on the IBLC’s Website, at Http://indianahousedemocrats.org/docs/iblc20130906symposium_registration_form.pdf. One can also register in person on the morning of the symposium.
“We will be exploring areas that dramatically affect the entire state, but, in particular, the African-American community,” explained State Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago), who chairs the IBLC. “Those specific areas are children’s issues, economic development, pre-school through 12th grade (P-12) education, higher education, and health. In addition, we will hold a special youth forum to talk about college preparedness, job skills, and internships as well as share explanations about the legislative process.”
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ABATE Hosts 'Scooter Summit'

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Indiana is the site of a 'scooter summit' today. ABATE, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, is hosting the moped meeting this morning to gather info from law enforcement and others on finding a solution. Indiana law considers mopeds "motorized bicycles," which don't have to be insured or registered in the state. A number of Hoosiers concerned about the safety of mopeds sharing the roads with much larger, more powerful motorized vehicles.
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