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East Chicago Teen Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

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On Monday the Lake County Sheriff’s Department filed Animal Cruelty charges with the Lake County Prosecutors Office, Juvenile Division against a 17-year-old juvenile living in East Chicago, IN.  The juvenile did confess to investigators that, during the week of August 4, 2013, he felt “bored” and decided to use a compound bow and arrows to “hunt” kittens living in the alley behind his residence.  The juvenile did subsequently kill three kittens in total – one of which was speared through the head and one of which was disemboweled.  This juvenile then subsequently posted photos of himself playing with the speared and disemboweled kittens on Facebook.  The Lake County Sheriff’s Department believes Facebook eventually removed the photographs due to their objectionable nature.
Charges filed against the juvenile include “Killing A Domestic Animal,” a D Felony and “Torturing Or Mutilating A Domestic Animal,” also a D Felony.
Any questions regarding this case can be directed to Lake County Sheriff’s Department Detective Michelle Dvorscak at 219-755-3346.
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Taltree puts out call for Green-minded Volunteers

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Taltree
Valparaiso, IN – Taltree Arboretum & Gardens is looking for environmentally and community minded individuals to join their volunteer task force.  Volunteer opportunities include tending gardens, giving tours, and helping with special events. This hands-on experience offers endless opportunities to learn and teach about the native landscape and wildlife of Northwest Indiana. Volunteers can work with outside community groups and join special on-site volunteer teams to assist with ongoing projects, such as the Bluebird Watch Team.
Volunteers who serve at least 40 hours receive the following benefits: free individual membership, on-site class and service discounts, special event entry, volunteer outings, and more. Taltree’s volunteer program also is good for active volunteers seeking to fulfill needed hours for conservation certification program such as Master Naturalist and Master Gardeners.
“We truly appreciate our volunteers. Without them Taltree would not be what it is today,” said Alexis R. Faust, President and CEO of Taltree Arboretum & Gardens. “Hard-working, kind-hearted volunteers are the foundation of every great not-for-profit and ours rank among the best.”
The next Taltree new volunteer orientation class is Wednesday, August 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. RSVP by Monday, August 26 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 219-462-0025. The class will be held at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens’ main office located at 71 N. 500 West, Valparaiso. The class also includes an orientation hike. Volunteers should wear comfortable shoes and dress for the outdoors.
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Recently voted the Best of the Region, Taltree Arboretum & Gardens is a beautiful 360-acre oasis of formal gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairies that offers a variety of events, classes, and exhibits.
As a 501(c)3 public charity, all proceeds received power Taltree’s education, restoration, and conservation initiatives. Support Taltree’s efforts by becoming a member! As a member you can enjoy Taltree’s beautiful grounds year round and receive discounts on educational programs and at The Taltree Store. You’ll enjoy other benefits too, like admission discounts into other American Horticultural Society garden locations, garden magazine discount subscriptions and shopping discounts at these area nurseries: Chesterton Feed & Garden Center, Jake’s Feed & Garden, and Four Seasons Landscaping Nursery, Inc.
Taltree main entrance is located at 450 West 100 North, near Valparaiso, Indiana in Northern Indiana, just south of U.S. 30, approximately 15 minutes east of Interstate 65. For more information, visit Taltree.org or follow Taltree on Twitter at @TaltreeArb and Facebook at facebook.com/Taltree.
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Lake Ridge School Student Reportedly Battered

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Lake Co. Sherrif
According to a press relase from Sgt. Patti Van Til of the Lake County Sheriff's Department, on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, at approximately 7:00 am, seven Lake Ridge Middle School students were waiting for the school bus in the area of 24th and Gerry Street in Gary, Indiana.  While waiting at the bus stop, a black 4 door Chevy Impala drove up to the students, 2 male black subjects and 2 female black subjects exited the vehicle and advised the students that something bad would happen to them if they didn’t give up their money and cell phones.  One of the students responded that they didn’t have anything and she was going to call police.  One of the female suspects, referred to as “LaKiesha” by her companions, proceeded to batter the student by punching the student to the face, she was joined by the second female suspect who then hit her about her person.  A resident of the neighborhood exited their home and yelled that she had called the police at which time the suspects fled the area in their vehicle.  The suspects are described as follows: 1st female:   mid 20’s, light skinned African American, dyed blonde hair in a ponytail, wearing a pink shirt and blue jean shorts. 2nd female:   mid 30’s, dark skinned African American, wearing a blue shirt with blue and purple pajama bottoms, and a white and black hat. 2 males:   late 30’s or early 40’s. The student victim sustained a bloody nose and lip.  The students did not recognize any of the suspects.
It was also reported to Lake County Police around the same time, in the 6800 block of West 25th Avenue in Gary, Indiana, a male adult resident was approached by subjects believed to be the same group of males and females asking for directions.  One of the suspects pushed the resident who then fled. Further a resident in the area of 25th and Henry Street in Gary, Indiana also reported that a sixth grade student also waiting for the bus was approached by this group of suspects asking if the student had seen their lost puppy.  At this point the parent yelled to the suspects who then fled. Anyone with information please contact Lake County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer Zabrina Harris at the Lake Ridge Middle School at 219.980.0730.
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Water Main Break, Columbia @ 150th in Hammond

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Traffic-Alert
Repair crews are on the scene of a broken water main in Hammond at the intersection of Columbia Avenue and 150th St.  According to reports, a construction crew working in the area hit a water main causing high standing water on Columbia Avenue near 150th St....

Read more: Water Main Break, Columbia @ 150th in Hammond

 

PC Community Foundation gives Grant to Healthlinc

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HealthLinc
(L- R) Porter County Community Foundation Board Member Jane Maxwell presents grant check to Healthlilnc CEO Beth Wrobel at Healthlinc's new clinic in Valparaiso
The Porter County Community Foundation presented a grant check to HealthLinc, Inc. to assist with the purchase of optometry equipment for its new Valparaiso clinic on Sturdy Road.  “We are happy to be able to help our local nonprofits expand their services to meet the growing needs in Porter County,” said Barb Young, President of the Porter County Community Foundation.  “We are proud of HealthLinc’s success and what it provides for our community.”  The health clinic now offers comprehensive patient care at the new facility with the addition of optometry to its medical, dental, behavioral health services and pharmacy. 
The Foundation strengthens the work of nonprofits through grants and programs designed to help them do their work better.  In 2012, the Foundation was able to provide more than $1.8 million in grants, investing in critical services for individuals and families throughout Porter County.
The Foundation inspires giving and engages our community to improve lives in Porter County now and forever.  To learn more, visit online at www.portercountyfoundation.org or call (219) 465-0294.

(photo provided)
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Read more: PC Community Foundation gives Grant to Healthlinc

 

Crash Closes Entrance to Lakes of the 4 Seasons

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Traffic-Alert
Shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday, fire crews responded to a report of a vehicle versus a building in the 1000 block of N. Lakeshore Drive at Lakes of the Four Seasons.  Traffic tipsters reported that the guard shack at the subdivision's main entrance was reportedly struck by a vehilce contianing only the driver.  No injuries were reported but the accident caused a natural gas leak.  NPSCO repair crews were called to the scene and as a result of the leak the main entrance to Lakes of the Four Seasons remains closed at this time.
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Witnesses Report Animal Abuse Incident in LaPorte

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LaPorte PD
Police in LaPorte took possession of a three-legged dog that witnesses report was kicked continuously by a woman Tuesday night in the one-thousand block of Maple Avenue.   LaPorte Police report the woman told officers at the scene the dog belonged to her ex-boyfriend, and denied kicking the animal, which police reported as being very skittish and that it appeared to be malnourished and in a state of neglect.  The dog was taken to the LaPorte County Animal Shelter and a review of criminal charges has been forwarded to the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office.
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No Injuries after Crane Fire at US Steel Portage Plant

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No one was reported injured and operations were not impacted according to US Steel officials after a small fire in a crane Tuesday night at their Portage facility.  Firefighters from Portage were called in to assist and provided an aerial truck to battle the fire, which is under investigation.
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Read more: No Injuries after Crane Fire at US Steel Portage Plant

 

Charbonneau In Canada Studying Environmental Issues

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Ed Charbonneau
STATEHOUSE (Aug. 20, 2013) — State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) will serve as a delegate to the Midwest-Canada Legislative Conference this week to discuss environmental issues impacting Indiana and the entire Midwest.
Charbonneau will meet with Canadian government officials and participate in an aerial flyover of oil sands operations. He will also tour Suncor Energy Inc., an international leader in oil sand to refinery-ready feedstock and visit CanmetENERGY, Canada’s largest research center on clean, renewable and efficient energy.
“The Midwest is uniquely positioned to utilize its natural resources for economic development,” Charbonneau said. “From protecting water throughout the Great Lakes region to developing wind energy in Northwest Indiana and beyond, Hoosiers are poised to lead the region in connecting environmental issues with economic impact.”
In addition to participating in the legislative conference, Charbonneau serves as chairman for two related study committees: Water Resources and the Environmental Quality Services Council. Both committees meet regularly to discuss environmental issues and may make recommendations to Indiana government departments, agencies or the legislature.
The conference will be held Aug 20-22 in Edmonton, Canada.

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Memorial Service and Fundraiser for I-65 Crash Victims

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lindsey williams
A public memorial service to honor the seven people who perished last week in a fiery three-vehicle crash on I-65 in Jasper County will be held in Munster tomorrow. At last check, the crash remains under investigation and when completed, results will be forwarded to the Jasper County Prosecutor's Office for review.   Meanwhile, fundraising efforts are underway for 27 year old Lindsey Williams and her two daughters, along with her sister and three others killed in the crash to help with the family's funeral expenses, and so far, over 12-thousand dollars has been raised, through over 400 contributors.  The memorial service will take place at noon tomorrow, in Munster, at the Family Christian Center.  For information on how to donate to the family's funeral fund, visit https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/aa3j1

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Cook Co Jail Population Increases 3.7% in 11 days

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Cook County Sheriff
The population keeps growing at the Cook County Jail and if trends continue, the Sheriff's Office reports hard-earned legal successes will be jeopardized.  As of Tuesday, the Cook County Jail population stood at ten-thousand-182, a three-point-seven percent increase in just the last 11 days, and its the jail's highest population since October 11th, 2007. The Sheriff's office reports the closing of mental health clinic continues to yield a staggering amount of mentally ill individuals into the jail, typically for petty offenses.

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Owner Finds His 8 Birds Shot and Killed in Portage

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portage pd
Police in Portage are investigating eight gaming birds shot and killed at a residence in the 17-hundred block of Samuelson Road.  Police report the owner informed officers that, between 3:30pm Monday and 2:30pm Tuesday, an unknown person or persons entered his property and shot his five maned geese, two mandarin ducks and one pheasant with what appears to be a low velocity round from a BB or pellet gun.  The victim stated he was raising and selling the birds and that he and other family members had been home during the time of the incident, but had not heard anything.

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ISP Conducting Sobriety Checkpoint in Jasper County

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Indiana State Police logo
Indiana State Police Lowell Post report they'll be conducting a sobriety checkpoint during the late evening hours tonight in Jasper County.  Drivers encountering a checkpoint will be required to produce a valid drivers license and registration, and can expect delays of two to three minutes if everything checks out. Troopers will also be conducting roving saturation patrols, aggressively seeking impaired drivers throughout their district.

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Valpo Dome Could Go Back to City if Not Purchased

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The empty dome building on Valparaiso's southeast side will be available for purchase during Porter County's tax sale on October 29th, but one-point-four million dollars in back taxes owed on the property may keep it from being bought.  If the property does not get purchased, a proposal for transfer of the building to Valparaiso could come before Porter County Commissioners, so it can be torn down and the land redeveloped.  The dome was erected in 2000, and has been empty since 2010. 
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IN July Unemployment Rate Remains at 8.4%

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Indiana's unemployment rate for July remained unchanged over June but is ahead of the national average by a full one percent.  Figures released Monday by the state's Department of Workforce Development  indicate the Hoosier state's jobless rate is stalled at 8.4 percent for July. That translates to 266-thousand people looking for jobs last month.    
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Read more: IN July Unemployment Rate Remains at 8.4%

   

MC Couple Arrested for Breaking into Storage Units

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Sheryl Eaton
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)

Ralph Labarr
A Michigan City couple each face felony burglary charges for allegedly breaking into storage units.  LaPorte Police report they received a call of a burglary in process at Cedar Chest Storage, in the seven-hundred block of J Street, just before 9:30 Monday morning.  46 year old Sheryl Eaton allegedly admitted to police she had cut the padlocks off several units the night before and returned with her boyfriend, 52 year old Ralph Labarr, to remove the items because she needed money.
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Efforts to Cleanup Gary Continue

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In the middle of a clean-up campaign in Gary's Roosevelt neighborhood, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson and a number of city employees took a time out Tuesday morning for a brief press conference.   It was during that conference at Roosevelt Park Pavilion that the Gary Police Foundation presented a check for 77-hundred dollars to go toward police programs and equipment.  Also representatives from Anew Youth Development Corporation discussed the one-million dollar they were awarded to fund it's Youth Build program.  According to the group, grant dollars help target at-risk students who have dropped out of school.
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Read more: Efforts to Cleanup Gary Continue

   

Cooperative Effort Steps-up Drug Related Arrests

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LaPorte PD
The LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit in conjunction with the LaPorte City Police Department and the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office has been working tirelessly in the fight against illegal drugs in the La Porte area community.  Over the last 2 weeks Officers from these units have made 7 arrests for Heroin related offenses and more arrests are expected shortly. 

 According to a press release from La Porte Police Department,  the hard work of the combined agencies, along with tips from the community, is paramount in getting a handle on the drug issues being face. 
Without these agencies working as team and fighting these problems 24/7 residents would certainly be facing far more problems in the community. The department is 100% dedicated to the fight against illegal drugs and it vows to continue to aggressively fight this problem to help protect the citizens!  Every tip received is worked all the way to the end.  When a tip is made sometimes it takes several months of investigation before an arrest can be made. Investigators work these cases every day and they want to make sure that they get everyone who may be involved in these cases identified so that all the players involved are known. 
A single tip turn into the arrests of several dealers, which is why it is so important that we maintain a good relationship with our citizens. We always need the eyes of the public letting us know when they witness or suspect any type of illegal activity.  Please use any of the various ways of getting tips to us by calling 362-9446, using
our website www.lpcitypd.com, visiting our facebook page, all of which can be done anonymously.  
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NIRPC begins 30-day comment period Wed. in Gary

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The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) has begun a 30-day comment period for Amendment #1 to the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program. This amendment adds regional transit projects in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County. Amendment #1 is available on NIRPC’s website at www.nirpc.org.
Comments should be submitted to NIRPC Transportation Projects Monitor, Gary Evers in written form or electronic media at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by mail to: 6100 Southport Rd., Portage, IN 46368. Comments may also be submitted on the NIRPC Public Comment Line at (219)763-6060 ext. 160.
The public will also have the opportunity to provide comment on Amendment #1 at the following three public open houses:
·        Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:00-4:00 pm, Gary Public Library, Kennedy Branch, 3953 Broadway, Gary
·        Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm, East Chicago Public Library, Pastrick Branch, 1008 W. Chicago Avenue
·        September 11, 2013 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Valparaiso City Hall, 166 Lincolnway, Valparaiso
NIRPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization and regional council of local governments for the three counties of  Northwest Indiana.  NIRPC provides the forum for local elected officials, regional, leadership, and citizens to address regional issues relating to transportation, the environment and community and economic development.  NIRPC
seeks to develop consensus solutions with the broadest participation.
For more information, please contact NIRPC at 219-763-6060. TTY users may call 711.
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Read more: NIRPC begins 30-day comment period Wed. in Gary

   

State Grant funding to enhance School Safety

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Indiana OAG Official Seal
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller encourages school administrators to apply for new state grant funding that will help fund School Resource Officer positions to enhance school safety.
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a new state law Zoeller had proposed and recommended, Senate Enrolled Act 1, which makes available $20 million over two years in matching grant funding to schools to fund a variety of safety efforts.  With the grant application process now open, Zoeller specifically recommends school leaders apply for matching funds to expand existing School Resource Officer positions or create new ones.  He noted that School Resource Officers are trained law enforcement officers who receive an additional 40 hours of certification in working with students in schools.
“Public safety is the number one duty of government and we must attend to public safety first.  I feel strongly that School Resource Officers are the most effective means of making the most schools safe for the most students given the funding available,” Zoeller said.  The Attorney General spoke this morning at a seminar in Wheatfield, Ind., on the Secured School Safety Grant Program where school officials learned about the grant application process.
Last year, before the Newtown tragedy, Zoeller’s office conducted a needs assessment study which found that school administrators and law enforcement officers around the state would be interested in expanding School Resource Officer programs if additional funding were available. Senate Enrolled Act 1 as passed and signed into law provides a total $20 million in matching grant funds over two fiscal years.
The grant program is administered through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and application materials are found at http://www.in.gov/dhs/securedschoolsafety.htm .  The deadline for schools to submit proposals to DHS for the first round of grants is September 30, and Zoeller encourages school officials to coordinate with their local law enforcement agencies and apply. The first round of matching grants of up to $50,000 each is scheduled to be awarded in early November. 
“Schools that already have good working relationships with their local law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in implementing School Resource Officers to facilitate a safe environment for student learning, so I urge them to pursue this grant opportunity and apply soon,” Zoeller said.
NOTE: The executive summary of the needs assessment study the Attorney General’s Office conducted last fall is attached. A schedule of upcoming DHS seminars for school officials considering applying for grants is at this link: http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/2013_Secured_School_Safety_Seminar_Flyer.pdf
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