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Sheen Reportedly Reached Michigan City

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The US Coast Guard is among the agencies investigating the sheen seen on Lake Michigan at a Region beach on Monday, causing authorities to order swimmers out of the water. National Lakeshore officials say all Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches remain under an advisory until it's determined what it was. The Coast Guard says about 3 p.m. Monday, a communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City was notified that people were coming out the water with an oily substance on them at Porter Beach.
The station directed the reporting source to contact the National Response Center, and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago dispatched a response boat to the area, and officials say pollution investigators found no visible sheen. Authorities say a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was diverted from a training mission to conduct an overflight of the area from the Port of Indiana to Michigan City, and found no evidence of sheen. They report they did see a few pollen blooms, and that just after 4 p.m., Station Michigan City received a report that the sheen had reached Michigan City.  The U.S. Geological Survey has taken water samples, and the results are pending. The Coast Guard also says their investigators are also reviewing a surveillance video provided by the Port of Indiana and have not noticed any signs of pollution.
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Group Wants Statue to Stay

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A group calling themselves “Save Our Lady” is prepared to go to court... and appeal to Rome if necessary... to prevent the relocation of The Marian Wayside Shrine on US 41. The 15-foot hand-carved marble statue of the Virgin Mary, from Italy, has been in place along the highway in St. John for nearly sixty years, having been placed there, the group says, so the statue could be seen by all faiths during their travels....Route 41 used to be a main north-south highway connecting the upper midwest to the southern states, all the way to Florida. Yellow caution tape has been placed around the statue, also called the Great Lady, as St. John the Evangelist Parish is making preparations to move the statue about a half-mile away to parish grounds, and place another statue of the Virgin Mary, called Our Lady of the New Millennium, 33-feet tall and made of metal, at the US 41 location. On the Save Our Lady Facebook page, the group says they have civil lawyers working on an emergency injunction and a Catholic priest who specializes in Canon law who is prepared to work within the Catholic legal system all the way to Rome.
[Photo/Save Our Lady]
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2013 Tax Sale Payment Plan

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The May tax deadline has come and gone and preparation for conducting a Tax Sale begins. Tax payers who have not paid taxes due from May 10, 2012 or before may find themselves subject to tax sale on October 29, 2013 at 10:00am, said Treasurer Mike Bucko.
SRI of Indianapolis is conducting the tax sale for the county and will notify taxpayers via Certified Mail in August of 2013 followed by a 1st Class Tax Sale notice mailed in early October, of 2013 for those who have not responded to the certified mailing. A non-refundable fee of $100.00 that covers advertising costs and SRI’s fees will be applied to each certified taxpayer.
You may be eligible to be placed on a tax sale payment plan which provides an extended time period to pay but all delinquent taxes and all penalties are collected. This is not an alternative to the annual payment method but you may be eligible said Bucko
Taxpayers on a payment plan WILL remain on the tax sale list and be advertised three consecutive times beginning in September. Once certified the only way to prevent being advertised is to pay the amount owed in full prior to the dead line for advertising.
If you are in the payment plan and have made your down payment and all monthly payments on or before the 10th of each month due up to and including October 10, 2013 without fail you may be removed from the tax sale list October 28, 2013. Late payments are not allowed and will void the agreement
You may call the Treasurer’s Office at 219-465-3470 for an appointment Monday – Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm except holidays with the Treasurer or his Chief Deputy Treasurer at 155 Indiana Ave. Suite 209, Valparaiso, IN.
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GNIAR Reports 23rd Month of Consecutive Growth

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Home sales in the region continue on their upward trend, with the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reporting the 23rd consecutive month of growth. CEO Peter Novak, Jr. says they expect to see numbers continue this way for the foreseeable future as demand for local appointments between their members has increased, reflecting a higher demand for buyers, which is clearly up compared to the same time frame in years past.
Lake County home sales increased 34-point-eight percent from May 2012 to May 2013, while home sales in Porter County increase 19-point-two percent during that same time frame. Home sales for Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties combined increased 29-point-six percent from the same time a year ago.
Novak says pent-up demand, and local property tax caps here in Northwest Indiana are factors for the increases, but first and foremost, it is the low-interest rates that are driving up demand.
For more information click News Audio On Demand.
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Elderly Mishawaka Woman Drowns, Appears Accidental

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Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating drowning death of elderly Mishawaka woman. Authorities report they received a call of a body in a private pond in the one-thousand block of Park Place, around 7:30 Monday morning, and upon arrival located the body of 89 year old Christel Moryl in a retention pond outside of her assisted living community. Mishawaka Police report it appears the death was an accidental drowning. Moryl was known to suffer from dementia and was last seen by her caregiver sometime around midnight.
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Portage Officer Breaks Hand During Struggle to Arrest Subject

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A Portage Police officer suffered a broken left hand attempting to arrest a man Monday evening at his home in the 21-hundred block of Gina Street. Portage Police report they were dispatched on a call of a child being struck, and after arriving learned that 34 year old Kevin Budgin had allegedly gotten into an altercation with his finance and their 15 year old daughter as the result of Budgin drinking that day. Police report during questioning, Budgin became angry and allegedly lunged at Master Patrolman Bryan Slatton with closed fists and a struggle ensued to place him under arrest until he was Tasered, which resulted in Slatton getting his hand broken. Budgin was charged with seven criminal charges, including two-counts of felony battery and one-count of felony resisting law enforcement. Police report Budgin's blood-alcohol content after a breath sample was .211....

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US 35 Bridge North of Knox Closed Starting Thursday

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STARKE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of the U.S. 35 bridge over the CSX railway, just south of U.S. 30 beginning Thursday, June 20th through the end of November 2013. Crews are replacing the bridge.
Drivers wishing to travel north on U.S. 35 will be detoured west on SR 8, north on SR 39, east on U.S. 30, and back to U.S. 35. Drivers wishing to travel south on U.S. 35 will be detoured west on U.S. 30, south on SR 39, east on SR 8, and back to U.S. 35.
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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World Sickle Cell Day Tomorrow: Know Your Status!

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INDIANAPOLIS—Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects thousands of people every day and is the most common genetic blood disorder. Wednesday, June 19, is World Sickle Cell Day. First recognized by the United Nations in 2008 as a public health concern, World Sickle Cell Day is celebrated annually to create awareness about the disease. 
Sickle cell disease is a disorder in which the red blood cells in the body become hard, sticky and sickle-shaped, looking like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
SCD is a genetic condition that is present at birth. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent. People with SCD start to have signs of the disease during the first year of life, usually around two months of age. Symptoms and complications of SCD are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.
In Indiana, there are approximately 1,000 individuals living with SCD and approximately 1,000 babies are born every year with sickle cell trait (SCT). People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have SCT. People with SCT can pass the trait on to their children. Symptoms from SCT are usually not as severe as symptoms of SCD.
“Every adult and child should know their sickle cell status,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “In rare cases, people with sickle cell trait might experience complications, such as having severe pain, trouble with low oxygen levels in the air, high altitudes and/or dehydration. It’s important to know if you have the trait so you can be educated and aware of these possible complications.”
The Indiana State Department of Health Sickle Cell Program works with community partners around the state to bring awareness and educate the public on SCT and SCD.  It also provides education, resources and support for families that are affected by SCD. Currently, the only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
The Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative will be holding their Annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, June 22 at 8 a.m. For event details and to register, visit www.themartincenter.org.
For more information, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov or follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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Coast Guard Also Investigating Reported Sheen

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard is investigating a sheen Tuesday that was reported in southern Lake Michigan one day earlier.
About 3 p.m. Monday, a communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., was notified that people were coming out the water with an oily substance on them at Porter Beach, Ind.
The station directed the reporting source to contact the National Response Center.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago dispatched a response boat to the area, and pollution investigators found no visible sheen.
A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., was diverted from a training mission to conduct an overflight of the area from the Port of Indiana to Michigan City, Ind., and found no evidence of sheen. They did see a few pollen blooms.
The U.S. Geological Survey has taken water samples, and the results are pending.
Just after 4 p.m., Station Michigan City received a report that the sheen had reached Michigan City.
MSU Chicago is currently on scene investigating, and they have found no sign of sheen. Coast Guard investigators are also reviewing a surveillance video provided by the Port of Indiana and have not noticed any signs of pollution.
The cause of the sheen remains under investigation, and the Coast Guard is working diligently alongside partner agencies to determine any causative factors to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent similar occurrences.
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SR 2 SW of Westville to be Closed on Thusday

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PORTER/LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the one day closure of State Road 2 for two culvert replacements, about two miles southwest of U.S. 6, on Thursday, June 20th. Local traffic may use State Road 2 up to each point of closure, from the east and the west.
Drivers wishing to travel west on SR 2 will be detoured west on U.S. 6, south on SR 49, and back to SR 2. Drivers wishing to travel east on SR 2 will be detoured north on SR 49, east on U.S. 6, and back to SR 2.
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.
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Beach Sheen Not From 'Shore or Stacks'

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State officials say preliminary tests of a shiny substance on Lake Michigan that prompted the evacuation of Porter Beach Monday afternoon suggest it might be a few different things.  Indiana Department of Environmental Management Spokesman Dan Goldblatt says they're hoping to know a little more by the end of the week.  The state also continues to investigate a glittery substance reported on vehicles and outdoor furniture in the 15-hundred block of Brown Avenue in Robertsdale early this month, around June 4. Goldblatt says the substance in north Hammond was very localized, and its origin remains unknown. They are awaiting some other test results, but Goldblatt says they were not able to get a very large sample Until officials determine what was in the water, a swimming advisory is in effect til further notice for all Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches. National Lakeshore Supervisory Park Ranger and Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says whatever it was seems to have dissipated quite a bit.
You can hear our interviews with Goldblatt and Rowe at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
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NIRPC Certification Review Public Meetings

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The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration invite your comments on how NIRPC, INDOT, and public transit operators implement the federal transportation planning process. Two meetings will be held: one on Tuesday, June 18 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at NIRPC, 6100 Southport Road, Portage and another on Wednesday, June 19 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the auditorium of the Savannah Center at IUN in Gary. Requests for accessibility accommodations must be received 72 hours before the meeting by calling NIRPC, (219)763-6060. More information can be found at nirpc.org.
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La Porte Considers Park Smoke Ban

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In La Porte, the city council is considering a recommendation from the park board to ban all smoking in city parks. La Porte Mayor Blair Milo has posted on Facebook that there's an ordinance already in place for certain areas of the parks, but there's been difficulty enforcing it. Milo also says the issues of healthy lifestyles, second hand smoke and non-biodegradable cigarette litter are among the reasons for considering the ordinance.
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Fog and Sun in the Region

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INDOT cameras this morning -- photo on the left showing Lowell/SR 2 at I65, photo on the right is Hobart/Merrillville/I65 at 61st Ave, about 8 am CDT
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Storm Cleanup Continues in Crown Pt

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Storm cleanup is continuing in Crown Point. The city and surrounding area were among the hardest hit when severe weather struck the Region about a week ago. The city's public works crews are going street-by-street, picking up tree debris, starting between Joliet and North Streets, with that area especially impacted by the storms.
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Heavy Fog in North Lake County

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[INDOT cam/Ridge Rd and I65 about 7:30 this morning]
Dense fog is rolling in over portions of north Lake County this morning.  One listener reported heavy fog in East Chicago, area of ArcelorMittal, about 715am.
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More Info on Proposed Illiana

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A couple hundred people were at Lowell Middle School last night for an open house on the Illiana Expressway... as the Indiana Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation provide more information on refinements to the corridor for the proposed east-west toll-road that would link I-65 in south Lake County to I-55 in Illinois. There's a similar open house tonight at Peotone High School, also from 5-to-8, with a question-and-answer period at 6.
Illiana Corridor website:  http://www.illianacorridor.org/tier_2/prelim_alternative.aspx
This Monday and Tuesday, in Rosemont, INDOT and IDOT are hosting a two-day international industry forum for potential contractors, construction managers, partners and investors.
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Valpo Police Arrest Subject and seek others in Theft

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The Valparaiso Police Department, in a press release, reports that last Friday morning around 2:45 a.m. Officer Ron Chapman observed suspicious activity at 358 West St while on patrol. Officer Chapman began to investigate and found property missing and individuals fleeing through a wooded area from a storage business.
Police continued to investigate and were able to identify a possible suspect later on Friday. Valparaiso Detectives assisted by Porter County Sheriff's Officers served a search warrant on a residence at 214 S. State Road 2. The renter of this property was identified as Scott Millender 26 yrs old. Millender was identified as one of the subjects that had fled from police earlier in the morning. Millender was not home at the time of the search warrant.
Police searched the property and located numerous items of stolen property. Stolen property recovered included; two wave runners, and two trailers. Included in the property recovered was a trailer stolen earlier in the morning from the storage site at 358 West St.  
Police have arrested Nicolas Sorba, 26 yrs old from Hobart on Aiding in a Burglary (Class C-Felony) and an arrest warrant for Burglary has been issued for Scott Millender 26 yrs old. Sorba admitted after an interview with Detective Brian  Thurman, that he was involved in the theft. A third subject identified as David Sharp 32 yrs old is a person of interest for police. Anybody with information regarding the location of Millender or Sharp are asked to call Valparaiso Police at 462-2135.
Millender
Scott Millender
Sharp
David Sharp
(photos provided by VPD)
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Crash Takes Out Traffic Light Downtown Valparaiso

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(photo courtesy of Buddy Pearson)
Lack of sleep may have contributed to a crash that took down a traffic light at a busy, downtown Valparaiso intersection shortly before 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. According to an eyewitness, a woman traveling eastbound on Lincolnway allegedly crashed her car into the light pole on the northwest corner of Lincolnway and Franklin Street across from the Porter County Courthouse. Preliminary witness reports say the woman said she had not slept in three days. Traffic through downtown Valparaiso was affected for much of the afternoon and traffic tipsters reported seeing up to five squad cars on the scene. 
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Gary Man Receives Sentence for Firing a Gun

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A Gary man charged with firing a gun in the parking lot of a Gary gas station last August, gets 18 years. In a press release, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A.Carter announced earlier today that Roosevelt Lee Franklin of Gary was sentenced to serve 18-months in the Indiana Department of Correction for Criminal Recklessness. Franklin reportedly shot the gun in the direction of two people who were in the parking lot.
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