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Lake Co 911 Announcement Expected

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A report in the Times says Lake County police and fire chiefs are expected to announce their choice Thursday May 30 12] for the county's new E-911 director – a recommendation that'll still have to be approved by county officials. Whoever that is faces the task of consolidating the 911 services of seventeen city, town and county law enforcement agencies by the end of next year –as mandated by state law – or face losing millions in public safety dollars from the state. The former director resigned in February.
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RDA, EPA Announcement in Lake Co

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The mayors of Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, Congressman Pete Visclosky, Northwest Indiana RDA President/CEO Bill Hanna and EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman are scheduled to gather for an announcement this morning about a new partnership between the RDA and EPA they say will benefit the Region. A news conference is being held at Lost Marsh Golf Course in Hammond.  The Region News Team's  Karl Berner is covering the announcement, and we'll bring you details today.
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Gas Prices Down

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With Summer approaching gas prices have actually gone down in many parts of the country, including Northwest Indiana.   The Energy Department says nationwide regular unleaded is down 3 cents in the past week to 3-65 a gallon. The biggest drop was in the Midwest down 9 cents. The most expensive gas is in California and Minnesota where drivers are paying 4-02 per gallon.  According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, a gallon of regular unleaded in the Gary metropolitan area is averaging 3-dollars-87-cents, over ten-cents less than a week ago but still the highest in the state.
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Poles and Lines Down on US 421

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The Indiana Department of Transportation reports that in LaPorte County, east of Kouts, U.S. 421 between SR 8 and U.S. 30 is closed for poles and lines down. Avoid the area if you can. NIPSCO is on the scene.

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Region 'Spellebrities' Compete

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Indiana is represented by a dozen 'spellebrities' among the 281 regional spelling champs competing this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee ... including 13-year-old Sean Ives of Crown Point, a seventh-grader at Trinity Lutheran School and sponsored by Kankakee Valley REMC... and 14-year-old Ted Tobias of Wheatfield, an eighth-grader at Kankakee Valley Middle School, sponsored by the Journal and Courier out of Lafayette. Preliminaries got underway this morning. For the first time in the 86-year history of the event, vocabulary is being formally incorporated into the competition.  Ives was also on the national stage last week, representing Indiana among the more than fifty students who competed in the National Geographic Bee in Washington DC.
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5200 Lose Power in Storms

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Northern Indiana Public Service Company says storms in the Region resulted in damage to power lines and outages. Crews worked throughout the night to restore power to 52-hundred customers. The utility says the majority of damage was in Lake and LaPorte Counties, specifically East Chicago, Merrillville and LaPorte. Some scattered outages remain in northwest Indiana, including Hobart and Michigan City this morning. NIPSCO urges everyone to stay away from downed lines and report any outages from your mobile device or at 1-800-4NIPSCO.
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Knox Man Dies in Crash

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Officials say a 57-year-old Knox man died after a piece of metal flew through his windshield and he crashed near Plymouth Tuesday afternoon. Authorities say he was on State Road 17 when some metal came off a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck going the other direction. The Marshall County Coroners office says the victim, Manis Stacy, Jr., then went off the roadway and struck a tree. Stacy was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Region Events for Coastal Awareness

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June gives Hoosiers and their neighbors the chance to celebrate the Lake Michigan coast and increase awareness of its importance to Indiana.
Coastal Awareness Month will kick off June 1 with events in Michigan City and end June 29 with a Clean Water Celebration in Gary. The full lineup of Coastal Awareness Month activities is at cam.dnr.IN.gov  
Lake Michigan is a source of recreation, drinking water, industrial resources and many other uses. The 45 miles of shoreline in Indiana is the most diverse in the Great Lakes Region. This month provides a chance to learn and appreciate it more. The Lake Michigan Coastal Program and its partners orchestrate Coastal Awareness Month each year.
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Chamber Seeks Nominations

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is taking nominations for the 2013 Community of the Year Award. The winning community will be announced in August or September. Valparaiso won in 2009, La Porte in 2005. Indianapolis was named Community of the Year last year. The Chamber says the purpose is to give special recognition for significant contributions to local business climate and overall image during the past year. Entries must be received no later than June 17 to be eligible for consideration.  The last five Community of the Year recipients were Indianapolis, Kokomo, Terre Haute, Valparaiso and Noblesville.
The criteria and application form are available online. Submit entries to: Nick Ostergaard, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 850 South, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The honor will be presented at the Indiana Chamber's 24th Annual Awards Dinner on November 12 in downtown Indianapolis.
Link:  http://www.indianachamber.com/index.php/chamber-seeking-2013-community-of-the-year-nominations 
Past Community of the Year recipients:
2012: Indianapolis
2011: Kokomo
2010: Terre Haute
2009: Valparaiso
2008: Noblesville
2007: Anderson
2006: Evansville
2005: LaPorte
2004: Muncie
2003: Warsaw
2002: Marion
2001: Greater Lafayette
2000: Jeffersonville
1999: Fort Wayne
1998: Rochester
1997: Batesville
1996: Elkhart
1995: Indianapolis
1994: Kendallville
1993: St. Joseph County
1992: Columbus
1991: Muncie
1990: Bluffton
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Ribbon Cutting Today for Truck Stop in Gary Off I-80/94

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A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to unveil a state-of-the-art TravelCenters of America Ptero Stopping Center in Gary. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was joined by TravelCenters senior management, State Representative Vernon Smith and a host of others at the site, located at I-80/94, exit 9. Gary Economic Development Director J. Forest Hayes says the facility hired 164 Gary residents, through a series of job fairs held back in April. TravelCenters Preseident and C-E-O Tom O'Brien says groundbreaking for the facility began in November, and although the weather this winter and spring set construction back about two to three weeks, 23 acres of the 28-point-six acre site have been developed, including more than 46-thousand square-feet of building space, and it was still able to open on time.
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Michigan St Closed Tomorrow in Valpo to Remove Fire Debris

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Motorists in Valparaiso using Michigan Street could run into some issues starting tomorrow morning. The City reports Michigan Street, from Lincolnway south to the alley, will be closed starting at 7am through 5pm, for the removal of fire debris leftover from the two-story brick building fire in the downtown, at Lincolnway and Michigan,in early March.
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Volunteers Needed for Portage Twp Summerfest in June

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The Portage Township Parks and Recreation Department and the Portage Township Summerfest Committee are looking for volunteers to help at this year’s 2nd Annual Portage Township Summerfest. Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy says the event in June at Haven Hollow Park will be even bigger this year, running four days instead of two this Father's Day weekend.
The event started last year as a way to generate funds for the township parks. You can hear more of our Region Newsmakers interview with Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy online at regionnewsteam.com.
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Home Invasion in Merrillville Sunday Under Investigation

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Merrillville Police are asking for the public's help regarding a home invasion Sunday night. The Times reports five masked men entered the home in the 74-hundred block of Bigger Street about 9pm, entering through a locked screen door. According to the article, two suspects held three individuals in a bathroom while three of the suspects left and used the victim's credit and debt cards to withdraw 200 dollars. The suspects then returned, and reportedly took jewelry, and other personal items, including the victims phones, which required them to drive to the police station to file a report.
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61 Weapons Turned in Saturday at Gary's Gun Buyback

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(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary)
A total of 61 weapons, 42 handguns and 19 rifles, were turned in on Saturday in Gary, at their second gun buyback event this year. Chelsea Whittington, Director of Communications for the City of Gary, says this was the fourth such gun buyback since Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson's administration started in 2012, and the hope is to have one or two more by the end of this year. Whittington called the event a success, not only because guns were taken off the streets, but also because it gave the city an opportunity to partner with local churches to raise awareness about the efforts of the Gary Police Department. She says the event also lets potential criminals know the City of Gary is partnering with the eyes and ears of the community, to work together, to make the city safer.
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Allegiant to End Service at Gary/Chicago Airport on 8/10

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Allegiant airline say it will end service at the Gary/Chicago International Airport on August 10th. The Times reports Allegiant is severing their ties because they were not seeing a strong demand in the market and they have a responsibility to use their resources where they'll be most successful. According to the article, airport officials say the number of passengers on flights consistently exceeded the airline's minimum requirements.
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Lake Co Coroner's Office Investigating Death of Gary Man

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The Lake County Coroner's Office reports the manner of death is pending for a 54 year old Gary man. The Coroner's Office says just before 12:30am Sunday they were dispatched to Methodist Lake Hospital where the deceased, whose name has not yet been released, was identified. Authorities report no visible trauma on the man, but stated the death did occur at the deceased man's residence, in the 62-hundred block of Hemlock Street, in Gary. No further information is available at this time.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Eric Martel Johnson

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Johnson Eric
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 19 year old man wanted for felony attempted murder with a deadly weapon by the Lake County Sheriff's Department is this week's “Fugitive of the Week” by the U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force. Eric Martel Johnson was last known to reside in the 21-hundred block of Delaware Street in Gary, and is also wanted by authorities for battery, aggravated battery, and battery causing serious bodily injury, all of which are felony charges. Eric Johnson is described as a black male, 5'6'', weighing 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Eric Johnson's 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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Supreme Court Stays Out of IN Planned Parenthood Funding

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office in considering what “remaining legal avenues” are available after the US Supreme Court today announced it would not hear Indiana's appeal in a legal challenge to a state law that disqualifies abortion providers from being Medicaid providers. The Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings blocking enforcement of the law since shortly after its passage by the 2011 Legislature. The nation’s highest court announced today it declined to accept the case, so Zoeller says Planned Parenthood of Indiana can continue to collect Medicaid funding as it continues to offer abortion services.
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Indiana State Trooper Saves Two-Year-Old

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In Lake Station, Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Dan Avitia helped save a two-year old Valparaiso girl Memorial Day afternoon. Around 3:30 pm, Avitia, a fourteen-year veteran,was in the area of I-80 west bound just west of Central Avenue, when a dispatch came out about a child having a medical emergency. Avitia located the SUV parked on the inner shoulder. Police say the child had bluish tinged lips, and not breathing; Avitia revived the child who was taken to a local hospital for observation. The mother said her daughter had been on medication for an illness. The girl was given two teddy bears by the Indiana State Police. These bears are given to children to comfort them if they become involved in a stressful situation.
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Region Population Changes

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US citiies with largest numeric population increase [courtesy US Census Bureau]
New data from the US Census Bureau show cities and towns across the Region losing population over the past two years, with some exceptions, including Crown Point and St. John in Lake County … Valparaiso, Chesterton and Kouts in Porter County, and Westville in La Porte County. Eight of the 15 fastest-growing large U.S. cities and towns for the year ending July 1, 2012 were in Texas, according to new population estimates, and the Lone Star State also stood out in terms of the size of population growth, with five of the 10 cities and towns that added the most people over the year.

New York continued to be the nation's most populous city by a wide margin, with 8.3 million residents in 2012, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago, and the list of 15 most populous cities has remained unchanged since last year; however, the list's order has changed slightly, including Indianapolis shifting downward a spot from twelfvth to thirteenth, as Austin Texas moved up, also pushing Jacksonville, Florida, down on the list along with Indy. Indianapolis with about 835-thousand people.
State city/town lists:   http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2012/SUB-EST2012-3.html 
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