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More Info on Gas Station Holdup

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Indiana State Police are investigating an armed robbery early this morning at the BP Gas Station at 1 South Toll Plaza, which is on the eastbound Indiana Toll Road in Portage. A preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 3:30 a.m., a male subject described as black, 6’ 2”, wearing a gray hoodie, dark jeans, and black tennis shoes, came around the counter inside the gas station and brandished a knife at the attendant. Troopers say the employee received non-life threatening wounds to their forearm, and the suspect took about six-hundred dollars, fleeing on foot to a lot on Plaza Road in Portage, then possibly fleeing in a vehicle. Some evidence was recovered at the scene.  Anyone who may have any information about this robbery is asked to call Trooper Ronald Davidson at the Indiana State Police Toll Road at 574-206-2931.
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Kingsbury Bldg Among Most Endangered

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Kingsbury WinCE
The Kingsbury Ordnance Plant Employment Office in La Porte County is one of the new additions to the latest edition of Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered List. Much of the ammunition fired by the allies in World War Two was manufactured at that plant, and its employment office was created by John Lloyd Wright, inventor of Lincoln Logs and son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The building has been vacant for decades. [Photos provided by Indiana Landmarks]
The prospects of seven places on last year's list improved enough that Indiana Landmarks removed the critical label, including the House of Tomorrow in Beverly Shores, which the group says has a chance at restoration with an agreement in the works between Indiana Landmarks and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
http://www.flickr.com//photos/historic-landmarks-foundation-indiana/sets/72157633307277494/show/
From Indiana Landmarks:
Kingsbury 2 WinCE
Kingsbury Ordnance Plant Employment Office
“In World War II, the allies fired millions of rounds of ammunition, much of it manufactured in a sprawling compound eight miles south of LaPorte. Built beginning in 1940, the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant employed more than 20,000 people during the war years, nearly half of them women. Every shell filler on the assembly lines passed through the Kingsbury Employment Office created by John Lloyd Wright, inventor of Lincoln Logs and accomplished designer of International-style buildings. The son of Frank Lloyd Wright lived in Long Beach, Indiana, from 1923 to 1946. Vacant for decades, the Employment Office needs a buyer who’ll renovate and use the landmark, appreciating its design and role in our national story.”
Since the first 10 Most Endangered list in 1991, Indiana Landmarks counts 12 losses among 92 historic places in severe jeopardy that have appeared on the list. The 2013 10 Most Endangered list includes seven new entries and three landmarks making repeat appearances.
New on the list:
• Anderson Athletic Park Pool, Anderson
• Bowen House in Delphi, overlooking Deer Creek
• Brookview-Irvington Park Historic District and State Boulevard, Fort Wayne
• Eagle Cotton Mill, Madison
• Flanner House Homes Historic District and Phillips Temple, Indianapolis
• Kingsbury Ordnance Plant Employment Office, Kingsbury
• Walkerton Church, Walkerton
Repeating from 2012 list:
• Harmony Way Bridge, between New Harmony and White County, Illinois
• Old Clarksville Site, Clarksville
• The Pantheon Theatre, Vincennes
www.indianalandmarks.org
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Lake County Tax Vote Moved Up

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There's word today that Lake County residents could learn sooner rather than later whether or not they'll be paying a new income tax. The Times reports an emergency session of the Lake County Council has been scheduled for Friday afternoon [4:30] to take a final vote on the proposed one-and-a-half percent local income tax, which has already gotten preliminary approval. The vote's been moved up reportedly because of legislation downstate that would affect how the revenues are spent and divert a percentage of new tax dollars to transportation projects of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. By law, the current legislative session has to end by this Monday .. but there's been speculation lawmakers could wrap up tomorrow. Lake County is the only county without a local income tax.
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Robbery at Toll Plaza Gas Station

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Indiana State Police say the BP gas station on the eastbound Indiana Toll Road at the Portage toll plaza was robbed at knifepoint overnight. Police say the robbery, at the 21-point-7 mile marker occurred shortly after 3:30 this morning, and the suspect fled. No other information was available at this hour.
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Cold Case Playing Cards Feature Region Cases

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The third edition of the Indiana Department of Correction's “Indiana Cold Case Homicides Playing Cards” was released this week and they're being distributed at state prisons and to police across the state. The cards profile 52 unsolved homicides and missing persons cases each featuring information and a photo of the victim. Officials hope the cards may jar an inmate's memory or provide a clue that, when combined with other information, might provide the break investigators need to solve a case. The latest edition includes seven homicide cases out of Northwest Indiana, two from Lake County, one from La Porte County, and four cases in Newton County that include three people yet to be identified. You can view the cards online at this link: http://www.in.gov/idoc/3280.htm
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'Pink Moon' Lunar Eclipse

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Region stargazers -- a 'shallow' lunar eclipse occurs today, but it won't be visible in the United States.  You can still catch the sight online in a webcast. The April full moon is sometimes called the "Pink" full moon, says Farmers Almanac, from wild ground phlox, one of the earliest spring flowers to bloom.  Only a small portion of the moon will be covered by Earth's shadow, hence 'shallow'.  In a total lunar eclipse, when the entire moon is obscured by Earth's shadow, the moon can take on a reddish-hue due to light refracted by the Earth's atmosphere.    It is the first of three lunar eclipses occurring this year.  You can watch the partial lunar eclipse live on SPACE.com.  The entire lunar eclipse will be visible to the unaided eye for observers in Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia and Western Australia.  Lunar eclipses occur when the moon, Earth and sun align, with the moon positioned on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.
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Merrillville Drainage Project to Begin

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The 54th Avenue/Meadowdale improvement project in Merrillville is expected to begin within a month, and be completed within 120 days. The 638-thousand dollar contract for storm sewer construction was awarded to Gough of Merrillville at a special meeting of the Merrillville Stormwater Management Board this week. Matt Lake, Executive Director of Stormwater Utility, says the infrastructure, which is mostly drainage pipes, is crumbling, and the work will extend along 54th Avenue from Fillmore to Johnson Street, where there've been some drainage problems in about a six-block area.
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Schererville Denies Home Gunsmithing

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The Schererville Town Council has denied a zoning change that would have allowed a resident to provide gunsmithing services – repairing and cleaning firearms -- at his home in a neighborhood near 73rd and Burr. The man said he requested the special clearance to work from home because he can't afford the cost of renting out space in a commercial area.
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GPS Signs to Help Runners and Responders

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Two more Region towns have approved locator signs that display GPS coordinates for their parks and trails. The idea comes from 78-year-old Bill Pauley of Valparaiso, an avid runner who's trying to aid emergency responders in getting to remote areas of Porter County, and parks that people may know by name, but likely don't know their address. This week town councils in Porter and Chesterton signed on. Similar signs have already gone up at Indiana Dunes State Park. The county is funding cost of the signs.
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Portage Bomb Threat Suspect Arrested

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Portage Police say they received a report of someone handing a note to a clerk at the Walmart on US 6 last night that he was going to blow up the store, then left the business. Officers responded, and a few hours later Portage Police Chief Troy Williams posted on the police department's Facebook page that they had someone in custody in connection with the incident.
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Fatal Crash Closes EB 94 Overnight

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A fatal accident had all eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 not far from the Indiana/Michigan state line shut down overnight. Indiana State Police say two lanes are closed as of 5:45 am (CDT).  The crash scene is at mile marker 43, which is about three miles east of the US 20/US35 exit, east of Trail Creek in La Porte County
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95 Volunteers Teamed Up 2 Clean Up Last Saturday

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Team Up 2 Clean Up
(Photo Courtesy of Portage Township Parks)
Ninety-five volunteers participated in the Portage Township Team Up 2 Clean Up event on Saturday, April 20th.  “We had returning groups, new groups, and community residents participate in this year’s event” stated Joy Lundstrom, Superintendent of Portage Township Parks, “its heart-warming to see the commitment and pride all these groups have for their neighborhood parks”.
 
Returning volunteer groups included Brownies Troop #30003, Boy Scout Pack #487, South Haven Boys & Girls Club, Portage High School JROTC, and employees from Bounce N Around.  New volunteer groups represented were managers and employees from area Starbucks stores, St. Peter Lutheran Church Youth Group and their parents, and local community residents like Melody Palmer and friends.
 
Projects took place at Haven Hollow and Field of Dreams Parks in South Haven, as well as, the South Haven Volunteer Fire Department.
South Haven Boys & Girls Club members expanded the tree nursery they created last year with seedlings from Indiana DNR’s Tree program.  The Starbucks crew assisted with the project which included staking new rows, planting, and mulching seedlings.  Brownies Troop #30003 spruced up their four flower boxes at Field of Dreams Park and placed recycle bins at the park.  The Portage High School JROTC picked up debris and fallen limbs at Field of Dreams Park, raked and leveled-out fiber mulch under playground equipment at Haven Hollow Park and gathered over 30lbs of recycle trash.  (Photo attached).
St. Peter’s Youth group tidied the grounds at the South Haven Fire Department, toured the facility and mopped the fire house bay where fire trucks are parked.  Boy Scout Pack # 487 donated four rain barrels to the Portage Township Parks Department that they received from donations from Indiana American Water Company and Recycle & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.
 
“This is an amazing example displaying how the good works of a few groups can have such a positive impact in our Township Parks and our community”, stated Brendan Clancy, Portage Township Trustee, "we are very grateful for everyone’s participation and support”.
 
To learn more about these projects, the Portage Township Department of Parks and Recreation or how you can be involved, contact Portage Township Parks Department at 219.762.1623 x31.
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Windom Gets 50 More years in Prison

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Aaron Windom
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 27 year old Michigan City man today had 50 years added to his prison sentence. The Times reports last month, Aaron Windom plead guilty to murder in the shooting death of a 17 year old Gary man that took place in February of 2011. Published reports say Windom is already serving a 20 year sentence for a shooting incident that reportedly took place two days prior to that incident, and a judge has ordered the sentences be served consecutively.
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General Assembly Approves Rural Health Bill

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Senator Vaneta Becker
STATEHOUSE (April 24, 2013) — A bill authored by State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) to improve health-care access for Indiana’s rural residents gained final legislative approval today. 
Senate Bill 554 would require the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning to reimburse health-care providers for telehealth and telemedicine services offered to Medicaid recipients. Telehealth and telemedicine services use telecommunications and information technology to provide remote access to health assessment, diagnosis and information. Becker lauded the legwork from both houses in the bill’s final legislative passage.
“I appreciate the hard work and support that has gone into this bill, from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Providing health care to rural residents through telehealth and telemedicine services enhances both the quality and availability of medical care,” Becker said. “This bill is a common-sense measure that enables medical providers to utilize new technology to increase overall health-care access for Indiana residents.”
SB 554 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.
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Aldi Granted Abatement for Proposed Expansion

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The Porter County Council on Tuesday granted Aldi a new ten-year tax abatement for a proposed 100-thousand square-foot expansion of its existing facility. The Times reports the addition would bring with it around 15 new jobs. Meanwhile, a proposed TIF at the northwest corner of Route 6 and State Road 49, which would reportedly include Porter Regional Hospital, had county council members differing on the best way to proceed, according to the article.
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Gary PD Investigating Monday Stabbing Incident

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Gary PD
Gary Police are investigating a stabbing incident Monday afternoon in the 54 hundred block of West 25th Avenue. Lt. Del Stout says a 21 year old employee of the Cricket store sustained deep cuts on his face, cheeks, both legs, and to his left arm, after a suspect, wearing blue hat with a dark hood pulled over it, pulled a knife, and demanded “everything.” Lt. Stout says the incident occurred around 2:30pm Monday, and the suspect, who had acted like he was going to buy a phone prior to the stabbing, fled the scene on foot. Police say they are checking to see if this incident is related to a similar incident on April 18th at an adult bookstore, also located in the 54 hundred block of West 25th Avenue. Anyone with information is ask to contact the Gary Police Department.
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Kankakee River Continues to Rise in the Region

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Flood warnings continue for the Kankakee River affecting parts of the region with minor to moderate flooding. The National Weather Service reports the Kankakee River at Dunns Bridge was over two-feet above flood stage as of this morning, with the river there expected to change little in the next 24 hours causing secondary roads near the river to flood. Near Kouts, the river was almost two-feet above flood stage as of 9am this morning, and will continue to rise to near 13 feet by tomorrow morning, which could cause some county roads in that area to begin to be affected by high water. The river at Shelby is expected to rise just over 12-feet by early tomorrow, three-feet above flood stage, bring the river closer to spilling over part of U.S. 41.
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Hoosiers Encouraged to Drop Off Unwanted RX Saturday

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said consumers should dispose of any unwanted medications during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27.
Expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications and over-the-counter solid dosage medications such as tablets and capsules will be accepted. Drop-off locations across the state will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
"National Drug Take-Back Day gives consumers an opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets of old or unwanted prescription drugs and dispose of them safely,” Zoeller said. “This effort is especially important if you have children in your home that can access these drugs and potentially misuse or abuse them.”
Zoeller said residents need to be aware of the proper way to dispose of unwanted medicines and not flush them down the toilet or throw them away – which can pose possible safety and health risks.
“Prescription drug abuse continues to be a significant problem. Last year again, more people died from prescription drug abuse than from automobile accidents,” said Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Dennis Wichern, who’s responsible for DEA’s operations in Indiana. “The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day campaign is an important first step in keeping prescription drugs out of the hands of those who may misuse them, as well as helping to raise the public’s awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”
In the five previous take-back events, DEA in conjunction with state, local and tribal law enforcement partners collected more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription medications.
Consumers can find a location by visiting www.dea.gov or by calling 1.800.882.9539. Intravenous solutions, needles and illicit substances like marijuana or methamphetamines will not be accepted.
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Subject Questioned in Austgen Murder

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Breaking-News

The Griffith Police Department in conjunction with the Alsip Illinois Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in Alsip. and a subject was taken into custody for questioning in the kidnapping and murder of Griffith businesswoman Mary Austgen. Investigators say they are continuing to follow up on all other leads and other possible suspects. No further information is available at this time and no charges have been filed. Griffith and Gary Police are investigating, together with the FBI, ATF, and Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force. Earlier this week police announced a $10,000 reward was being offered as authorities were seeking tips in identifying a suspect or suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Austgen, who was found at a parking garage at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary with a fatal gunshot wound shortly after 2 am on March 29th.
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Job Fairs, Opportunities in Gary

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Tom Lori and Cynthia WinCE
Tom Liutkus of Travel Centers of America (left), chats with Parks Superintendent Lori Peterson Latham (3rd right) and Workforce Development Liaison Cynthia Pruitt immediately following the jobs press conference. Latham is inviting Travel Centers of America to participate in the upcoming Youth Job Fair on May 3rd .[Photo provided]
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson today announced job opportunities for adults and youth. The city's New Jobs New Day initiative and Work One Northwest Indiana, together with TravelCenters of America will hold a series of job fairs beginning April 29 for 160 full- and part-time positions, including cashiers, deli clerks, mechanics and more at the new Petro Stopping Center at the Grant Street exit of the Borman Expressway. The facility is scheduled to open in late May.
Also, Gary Park Superintendent Lori Peterson Latham announced a Youth Job Fair, for ages 14 to 23, May 3rd at the Genesis Convention Center featuring employers from throughout Northwest Indiana hiring for summer jobs.
“No matter where I travel inside or out of the city, I am consistently asked about our efforts to bring jobs to Gary,” said Freeman-Wilson. “We continue to work at building partnerships with employers, and today is one of those where I am pleased to announce some tangible job opportunities right here in our city.”
Five job fairs will be held from April 29 - May 7 to provide ample time for the selection and training process prior to the opening of the new Petro center. Positions to be filled include cashiers, deli workers, fuel island attendants and porters (janitorial services) for Petro’s Travel Store and fuel business; mechanics and advisors for the Petro:Lube truck service facility; servers, cooks, cashiers and dishwashers for the Iron Skillet® full-service restaurant; crew members and crew leads for the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut quick-service restaurants; and wireless sales associates for the on-site Verizon kiosk.
Job fairs will be held at the following locations and times. Applicants should bring a current resume with them to the job fair.
  • Work One Gary, 3522 Village Circle (former Village Shopping Center), Gary, IN 46408
    • Monday, April 29, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Tuesday, April 30, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Monday, May 6, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Monday, May 13, 5 - 8 p.m.
  • TA Travel Center, 2510 Burr St., Gary, IN  46406
    • Tuesday, May 7, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Applicants can also apply for positions online at www.indianacareerconnect.com or www.myPETROjob.com, or by phone at (888) 673-8765.  Both full- and part-time employees of Petro have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of healthcare benefits, as well as short-term disability, life insurance, and a 401(k) retirement savings plan.  TravelCenters is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
A Youth Job Fair will be held Friday, May 3 from 3:00p.m. – 7:00p.m., Genesis Convention Center in downtown Gary. A host of employers from throughout Northwest Indiana will be on-site ready to interview applicants.  Youth ages 14 to 23 who are Gary residents are invited to interview with potential employers for summer employment. Attendees are encouraged to bring at least 20 copies of their resume. For youth who do not have a resume, Job Ready Workshops have been scheduled April 27 – May 2 daily from 10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m. Call (219) 886-7099 to reserve an appointment.
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