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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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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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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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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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.
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.
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.
[Photo from Hoosier Lottery]
When Ira Zimmer of Schererville presented Hoosier Lottery officials with a $200,000 winning Mix & Match ticket he knew exactly what he was going to do with his winnings.
"I'm going to take my mother to Hawaii," said Zimmer. "She's 96 and it's the only state she hasn't been to. I'm a history buff so I'd like to see Pearl Harbor."
Zimmer, an assistant principal at River Forest Junior-Senior High School in Hobart Township, matched five numbers on one line in the April 12 Mix & Match drawing to win the game's $200,000 top prize. He purchased his lucky ticket at Cline Avenue Food Mart at 800 E. Hwy 330 in Schererville. He claimed his prize at Hoosier Lottery Headquarters April 23. Before Zimmer packs his swim trunks and Hawaiian shirts and heads to our 50th state, he plans to pay off some debt and put away some for retirement.
In fiscal year 2012, the Hoosier Lottery generated $211 million in surplus revenue which was used to significantly reduce the motor vehicle excise tax for all Hoosier drivers and also supported the pension funds for retired Indiana teachers, police and firefighters. Player prizes for the fiscal year totaled $533 million and $60 million was earned by Indiana retailers on the sale of Hoosier Lottery products. The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly.
The American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report out today places the Region in the 16th most polluted area in the country for short-term particle pollution. In specific categories, Lake and Porter County got “C” grades for high ozone days – smog – while La Porte County received an F. Lake County got an F in particle pollution, while Porter County got a C and La Porte County received an A. The report says there are no monitors collecting this data in Newton, Jasper and Starke Counties.
Read the full report here: http://www.stateoftheair.org/2013/assets/ala-sota-2013.pdf
For quick-glance county-by-county data: http://www.stateoftheair.org/2013/states/
[One of the brand names included in the recall]
The Food and Drug Administration says Natura Pet Products is voluntarily expanding its March 29, 2013 recall of dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The expanded recall now includes all dry pet food products and treats with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014. The recall includes these brand names: California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Innova, Karma. Here's a link for details: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm348786.htm
The FDA says salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Salmonella in additional dry pet food and a cat pet treat. In an abundance of caution, Natura is also recalling product made in the surrounding timeframe. This action affects dry pet foods and treats only; no canned wet food or biscuits are affected by this announcement.
The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Costa Rica, as well as online.
Consumers who have purchased these pet foods should discard them. For additional information, consumers may visit www.naturapet.com. For a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).
Geraldo and Trooper Eric Rot
A runaway horse stopped traffic on the Borman in Lake Station Tuesday afternoon, and Indiana State Police troopers say if it hadn't been for the kindness of the many people who stopped to help, the outcome could have been much worse for “Geraldo”.
Geraldo, Trooper Eric Rot and Trooper Khari Walton
At approximately 4:35 p.m., the Indiana State Police received a report of a runaway horse running east bound I-80 from Colorado Street. Troopers Khari Walton, Dan Avitia, Eric Rot and Jerry George converged on the area and found the horse lying down on the inner shoulder just east of Central Avenue. Colleen Lee of Chesterton and David Beckham of Crown Point saw the horse running on I-80 when he fell. Lee and Beckham stopped their vehicles and Lee laid down next to the horse to keep him calm so he wouldn’t dart out in traffic. Beckham stood by with Lee to help control the horse.
Trooper Rot, after he arrived, had traffic stopped eastbound so that he could walk the horse across east bound lanes over into the grassy area, behind the barrier wall on the outer shoulder so he wouldn’t be frightened by all the traffic on I-80. Our Steve Zana talked to Lee about the rescue, and you can hear his interview here at our website at News Audio on Demand: http://www.indiana105.com/index.php/news/news-on-demand.html
Lake Station and Hobart Police Departments were instrumental in finding the owner of the horse. Marcelino Chavez, 62 of Hammond, stated that his horse,“Geraldo”, had jumped over the fence where Geraldo is kept at 25th and Colorado and fled up the interstate. Chavez stated that the horse is used in parades. Traffic was shut down again for Chavez to load Geraldo up into his horse trailer.
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say Geraldo suffered minor abrasions.
All lanes of traffic were re-opened at 6:14 p.m.
A Region high schooler – inspired by the potential of natural phenomena to affect human health and well-being after flooding that affected northwest Indiana a few years ago – was chosen to present his research at the 2013 White House Science Fair this past Monday. A White House overview says Nathan Kondamuri, a senior at Munster High School, sought to find ways of harnessing the power of nature to provide energy efficiently. For three years, he has conducted research on a new solar cell that creates electricity by mimicking photosynthesis, and he showcased the technology at the fair.
Nathan Kondamuri with actor Kal Penn, Actor, Producer, Host of upcoming Discovery Channel series The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius
“As the son of a first generation immigrant, this opportunity was especially exciting for my family and I. My father and grandfather both attended President Obama’s first inaugural, and I know that my grandfather, who passed two years ago, would have been proud,” Kondamuri said.
Kondamuri was the only Hoosier selected to participate in the 2013 White House Science Fair. “I am particularly happy to represent Indiana because we don’t always get this kind of recognition like they do in some states like New York or California. We also have great teachers and schools here, and a lot can be accomplished right here in Indiana if you’re willing to put in the work,” Kondamuri added.
“I commend Nathan on his outstanding work to improve solar cell technology,” Congressman Pete Visclosky said. “Our country’s future is made brighter by young people like Nathan, who never stop questioning, never stop innovating, and never stop inventing. Northwest Indiana is fortunate to be represented by this young man at the White House Science Fair.”
Kondamuri will attend Stanford University next fall, where he says he plans to study chemical engineering and potentially computer science.
[Photos provided by Congressman Visclosky's office]
COSEBOC is a national network of schools and highly-respected educators, researchers, policy-makers and advocates focused on sharing and promoting promising approaches and initiatives that improve education at schools with significant populations of young men of color.
“Identifying schools that have developed effective, creative and sustainable approaches and sharing those successes with other educators is the cornerstone of the work we do at COSEBOC,” said Ron Walker, Executive Director, COSEBOC. “The COSEBOC School Awards are proof and evidence of the fact that there are educational environments that work extremely well for boys and young men of color. We will now begin to work with Merrillville High and Salk Elementary to see how its practices can be replicated in other schools across the nation.”
Students and faculty from both schools will be on hand this week at COSEBOC’s 7th annual Gathering of Leaders to present their winning formula for success and achievement to educators who are attending the national meeting in Chicago.
“The Merrillville School Corporation has long maintained a strong belief and commitment to recognize diversity as a strength and positive quality,” said Merrillville Community Schools Superintendent Tony Lux. “Teachers, administrators and support staff provide unrelenting effort to provide all students, regardless of personal challenge, with the support to meet high expectations for academic success through a philosophy of Rigor-Relevance-Relationships. This belief system has become what we mean by ‘The Merrillville Advantage’.”
Superintendent Lux stressed that state test scores among boys of color at both Merrillville High and Salk surpassed the average school of all students across the state who took the state exams. That achievement is among many that met COSEBOC School Award criteria.
Merrillville High School
Over the last 15 years, MHS has experienced a dramatic demographic shift in its student population – from 14 percent student of color and 6 percent receiving free and reduced lunch to 84 percent and 53 percent respectively. As a result of this demographic shift and a racial incident, parents, school leaders, and community members came together for dialogue about diversity. The outcome of this dialogue was a community-wide recognition that Merrillville’s diversity was, in fact, its strength and declared it "The Merrillville Advantage".
Student academic success at MHS has resulted from programs such as a trimester schedule, which allows for more credit opportunities for male students of color over their high school matriculation, a ‘Failure is not an option’ motto, credit and homework recovery initiatives, and mentoring of freshmen by upperclassmen. Merrillville impresses upon students the importance of resiliency and accountability through powerful and pervasive positive messaging. Upon entering Merrillville High School one of the first things that you notice are the posters and signage on the walls, reflecting the climate and culture of the school.
Salk Elementary School
Over the past 15 years, Salk Elementary has experienced a dramatic demographic change and a significant increase in enrollment - resulting in more diverse student needs. Diversity training and dialogue became an increasingly important part of understanding of their new population. This training included the creation of corporation Study Circles.
Salk’s academic success is in part due to its use of innovative Balanced Literacy and Inquiry Math frameworks. Its focus on professional development and a “no excuses” motto ensure also student success. Salk Elementary is designed to teach positive choice making through positive behavior support and interventions. Salk instills its students with an awareness of the importance of community service by being “Bucket Fillers” and through its extensive opportunities for participation in community service projects.
Through extensive research, COSEBOC has determined that the most effective schools combine a culture of high-quality instruction, whole school community engagement and high expectations, with a focus on social and emotional development, helping students develop their personal identities through a connection to their cultural and historical legacies, and instilling in students the responsibility to serve their communities.
Along with the recognition, each COSEBOC School Award recipient will receive a $10,000 grant. The COSEBOC School Awards are supported by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Open Society Foundations.
The schools were selected based on a rigorous, three-stage selection process, the COSEBOC School Award’s blue ribbon panel determined that these five schools were successful in engaging and educating male students of color based on traditional measures of success, including test scores, graduation rates and college attendance.
In addition to Merrillville High and Salk Elementary, Best Academy in Minneapolis; Devonshire Elementary School in Charlotte, NC; and Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington DC also received COSEBOC School Awards.
“These five schools are unrepentant in their belief that students can succeed and soar to great achievement levels. Each is led by a principal who is determined to build great schools. Most importantly, they know that great schools are not an accident," said Walker.
The mission of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) is to connect, inspire, support and strengthen school leaders dedicated to the social, emotional and academic development of boys and young men of color.
COSEBOC is a networked learning community of educators, researchers, policymakers and caring adults that support school leaders with high quality professional development so they can realize this vision of making success an attainable goal for every male student of color. For more information about COSEBOC including: standards and promising practices, membership, and professional development opportunities, visit www.coseboc.org.
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All eastbound lanes of 80/94 were closed as animal handlers rounded up the runaway horse, which they succeeded in doing about 40-minutes later.
All lanes eastbound I-80/94 were reopenned at around 5:35 pm with very heavy volume backing up to between Cline Avenue and Burr Street.
Eastbound I-80/94 backed up at Central Avenue due to earlier runaway horse which has been successfully rounded up and removed.
Eastbound I-80/94 backed up nearly to Cline Avenue to due to an earlier incident involving a runaway horse near Ripley Street in the Lake Station corridor.
(Photos provided by INDOT traffic cams )
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The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports tips from concerned citizens led to a warrant sweep today where two subjects were arrested and detained, one of which for dealing controlled substance. Authorities report they executed a search warrant in the 100 block of South Indiana Street and arrested a 29 year old Crown Point man for dealing a controlled substance, and an 18 year old Crown Point man for visiting a common nuisance. The Sheriff's office says marijuana and cash were confiscated from the residence.
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Authorities in Cook County announced today they have located an eight-month old boy whose mother fled with him from a Chicago treatment center on April 8th. The Cook County Sheriff's Office says the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, or IDCFS, issued a child protection warrant for the infant on April 18th, after his 41 year old mother, who is on parole for retail theft, failed to show up for an appointment. The child was found Monday, the same day the Sheriff's Office received the warrant, in west suburban Oak Park, and was returned to IDCFS custody. Since October of 2012, 133 children have been recovered by the Sheriff's Child Protection Unit.
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Police say a person or persons broke into a LaPorte home through an unsecured door on Monday and took over an estimated 13-thousand dollars worth of items. LaPorte Police say the burglary occurred in the 100 block of Crescent Drive, between 11:30 and 3pm that afternoon. Among the items taken was a large assortment of jewelery, three flat screen televisions, two laptop computers, an X-Box game system, and a Blue-ray player. Anyone with information is asked to contact the LaPorte Police Department. For information on how to submit a tip anonymously, visit http://lpcitypd.com.
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