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Cal City Woman Buys Lucky Ticket in Hammond

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shanklin WinCE
[Photo courtesy Hoosier Lottery]
A trip just across the state line to the Strack and Van Til on Sibley in Hammond paid off big for a Calumet City woman. Constance Shanklin played the $100,000 Taxes Paid scratch-off game, in which the Hoosier Lottery pays taxes on the win, so Shanklin got a check for the full 100-grand. Hoosier Lottery officials say Shanklin plans to "buy a car and help a few people out”.
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Read more: Cal City Woman Buys Lucky Ticket in Hammond

 

Gov Expected to Sign Abortion Bill

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence is expected to sign a bill establishing new abortion regulations. Senate Bill 371 cleared the Indiana House by a vote of 35-14. The measure requires an ultrasound examination for women seeking to end pregnancies through the use of the abortion pill. The bill also establishes stricter rules for clinics that distribute abortion pills, requiring them to comply with the same state building and equipment standards that are in place for facilities that perform surgical abortions.
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Read more: Gov Expected to Sign Abortion Bill

 

Gary Schools Get Check for Unclaimed Property

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Have you ever gone online to search for something you didn't even know you had? Well today the Gary Community School Corporation got a check for about 21-hundred dollars in unclaimed property. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says that's part of some 43-million dollars in forgotten assets in northwest Indiana alone, 350-million statewide. Zoeller encouraged Region residents to look for their own unclaimed property, which could include accounts or wages, and pointed out that business owners and charitable organizations should also check each year for unclaimed property.
“Presenting this check to Gary Community School serves as a reminder for everyone to check for their own unclaimed property.  With more than $350 million total unclaimed proeperty, and $43 million in the Northwest region alone, it is part of my role to inform Hoosiers how to find and claim it.  Times are still tight for a lot of people and I want everyone to know how easy it is to search for money that you may never knew existed in the form of accounts or wages,” Zoeller said.
Making a claim with the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division is free and easy.  Zoeller encourages all Hoosiers to visit www.IndianaUnclaimed.gov  to search for their name, their relatives, neighbors and friends’ names.  The Indiana Unclaimed Property database is also now mobile.  Anyone can search for free through the mobile application — just use keyword Indiana Unclaimed to download.  The app makes it easy to look for unclaimed property.  Business owners and charitable organizations should also check annually for unclaimed property. 
Unclaimed property includes investment earnings, insurance proceeds and benefits, wages, and money from savings and checking accounts. Less than one percent of unclaimed assets are tangible, physical items, such as those found in safe-deposit boxes. It is important to note that unclaimed property does NOT include abandoned vehicles or real estate.
In 2012, more than 40,000 new properties valued at more than $6.6 million dollars were reported and originate from the five county Northwest Indiana region. This money belongs to residents or former residents of the area or their heirs. The state holds these assets for 25 years after they are reported.
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Read more: Gary Schools Get Check for Unclaimed Property

 

Drug Sweep at Portage HS

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Portage Police Chief Troy Williams says a drug sweep at the high school is meant to send a message – that drugs won't be tolerated, especially in the schools. Eight K9's and their partners from the Portage, Porter County and Valparaiso Police Departments entered the school just after 8:30 this morning, sniffing lockers and backpacks, and in less than an hour, completed their sweep of one of the larger schools in the Region, finding no illegal substances.
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Read more: Drug Sweep at Portage HS

 

NWI Lawmakers Endorse Same-Sex Marriage

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Two northwest Indiana lawmakers have within the past few days expressed heir support for same-sex marriage via statements on their Facebook page. First District Congressman Pete Visclosky today said he believed “every single American should be able to marry the person they love,” and called current federal laws that bar same-sex couples from having the same financial and legal benefits as married couples unfair. Last Friday, Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly said he has concluded the right thing to do is to “support marriage equality for all”, in light of recent U-S Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage that prompted him to think about his past positions and votes.
From Congressman Visclosky's Facebook page:
“I support marriage equality for all couples and believe that every single American should be able to marry the person they love. I believe that it is unfair that, under current law, same-sex couples are legally prohibited from taking advantage of the federal laws that provide financial and legal benefits to married couples. I believe that we can no longer allow the states to discriminate against same-sex marriages. Rather, I believe that the federal government should ensure that all consenting adults, no matter who they are or who they love, have the exact same marriage rights.” - PJV
From Senator Donnelly's Facebook page:
“In recent years, our country has been involved in an important discussion on the issue of marriage equality. While serving in the House of Representatives, I had the opportunity to act on a core belief of mine: we are a stronger country when we draw on the strengths of all Americans. I voted to repeal ‘don't ask, don't tell’ and was an original supporter of the bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation. It is also for that reason that I oppose amending either Indiana’s or our nation’s constitution to enshrine in those documents an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ instead of a ‘we.’ With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all.”
-Joe
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Read more: NWI Lawmakers Endorse Same-Sex Marriage

 

Possible Vote Soon on Valpo Drug Test Plan

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The Valparaiso School Board is considering random drug testing that could start this fall at the high school. Valparaiso School Superintendent Mike Berta says the school system recently held a second opportunity to get feedback from parents and students.  The recommendation was introduced at the board's regular meeting in March, and Berta says the board could take a vote on the issue at their meeting next week. Berta says the goal would be to implement the policy beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.  The next board meeting is scheduled for April 16, 6pm, at Parkview Elementary School. 
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Read more: Possible Vote Soon on Valpo Drug Test Plan

 

Breath Tests Approved for Chesterton Prom

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Prom goers in Chesterton this Spring will have to take a Breathalyzer first. Duneland School officials have approved mandatory breath tests for the last two dances of the school year – prom and senior banquet. Currently, it's being considered a pilot program, and parents and students will get notice of it in a variety of ways, like through email and automated calls.
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Read more: Breath Tests Approved for Chesterton Prom

 

Lake Co Bill Passes House 97-0

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A bill filled with Region issues today got out of the Indiana House on a unanimous 97-to-nothing vote. Senate Bill 585 in its current form releases Lake County from its property tax levy freeze... one the county has been under since 2007 because it has not approved a personal income tax for its residents, the only of 92 counties in the state not to do so. The measure also provides for a study on a possible second Lake Michigan port, possibly in Gary, and potential trauma hospital in Gary. It also urges a study on whether Indiana ports should pay for municipal services... like the situation with Portage, for instance, providing fire and police service to the Port of Indiana. The measure, though, now goes back to its Senate sponsor, northwest Indiana lawmaker Ed Charbonneau , and could end up in conference committee before it can land on the Governor's desk.
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Read more: Lake Co Bill Passes House 97-0

 

Moseley: Bill Protects Against 'Being Victim Twice'

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The Indiana House has passed legislation co-sponsored by Portage State Representative Chuck Moseley he says will help protect injury victims from unfair hospital costs.  Senate Bill 5—which passed through the House 65-28—limits the circumstances under which a hospital can place a lien on a patient.  “This bill protects patients who have been injured through no fault of their own, such as in a traffic accident or as a victim of a violent crime,” Moseley said. “By limiting the circumstances under which hospitals can apply liens by a small amount, we are helping those victims who are not at fault and who need to await their settlement before making payments.  “These folks have been victims once already, and it is unfair for them to be victimized again. This is a fair and balanced bill, and I’m pleased to see support from both parties on the issue,” he added.  Senate Bill 5 was authored by Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) and sponsored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville).
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Read more: Moseley: Bill Protects Against 'Being Victim Twice'

 

Crown Point Hearing on NIPSCO Project

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Environmental work at NIPSCO generating plants in the Region is expected to add about a-dollar to an average residential customer's monthly electric bill by 2017... according to NIPSCO testimony, as the company is asking the state to approve a 59-point-two-million dollar project to install pollution control equipment at the utility company's Bailly, Michigan City and Schahfer generating stations to reduce mercury and particulate matter emissions. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is holding a public field hearing on the case April 22nd, at the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point.
Here are the details from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor:
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case.
 
Consumers may:
 
1. Speak at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing on Monday, April 22, 2013, or
2. Send written comments to the OUCC anytime between now and the close of business on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.
 
The April 22 IURC public field hearing will be held in the Lake County Government Center Auditorium in Crown Point (2293 N. Main St.). The OUCC will conduct an informational session on the regulatory process and 5:30 p.m., local time, with the IURC accepting public comments beginning at 6:00 p.m., local time.
 
Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.
 
Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.
 
Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)
 
An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m., local time.
 
NIPSCO is asking the IURC to approve its proposed MATS Compliance Plan, which would include the construction, installation and operation of new pollution control equipment at NIPSCO’s Bailly, Michigan City and Schahfer generating stations. The equipment would be installed on seven generating units at the three facilities, and would reduce mercury and particulate matter emissions.
 
In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.
 
NIPSCO is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costs - not including financing - at approximately $59.2 million.
 
In its testimony, NIPSCO states that it expects the project to add approximately $1.07 to the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer using 688 kilowatt hours (kWh) by 2017.
 
NIPSCO provides electric utility service to approximately 457,000 customers throughout northern Indiana. The outcome of this case will only affect the utility’s electric rates, and will not affect NIPSCO’s natural gas rates and charges.
 
The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on May 7, 2013. Additional parties that have intervened in this case – including the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC) and the NIPSCO Industrial Group – are also scheduled to file testimony on May 7.
 
More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2740.htm.
 
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
 
Mail: Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Fax: (317) 232-5923
 
Written comments the OUCC receives by May 1 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44311.”
 
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff
toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
 
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(IURC Cause No. 44311)
 
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy,
consumer education, and creative problem solving.
 
Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC.
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Read more: Crown Point Hearing on NIPSCO Project

 

Remembering the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak

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double tornado WinCE
National Weather Service Chicago has this photo of the double-funnel tornadoes near Dunlap, Indiana, between Elkhart and Goshen, by Paul Huffman, Elkhart Truth, at their website
Nearly fifty years ago, Indiana was part of one of the worst tornado outbreaks to ever strike the Midwest. 48 years ago on this date, Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, 47 tornadoes, all during the late afternoon and early evening on a balmy April day, hit parts of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio, killing 271 people and injuring over 15-hundred. A huge double-funnel tornado occurred near Dunlap, Indiana, between Goshen and Elkhart. Koontz Lake and Wanatah were also among areas in northern Indiana to be hit by tornadoes. The National Weather Service says watches had been posted and warnings were excellent, but many did not receive the warnings because they were outside.
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Read more: Remembering the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak

   

Man Charged in South Haven Fatality

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Porter County Sheriffs Police say an 18-year-old man has been charged in connection with an incident Saturday night that left a South Haven man dead. Authorities say Ryan Cash of Union Township has been charged with C-Felony Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death. Prosecutors say 45-year-old Brian Hagerman went outside of his home after hearing a loud crash and glass shattering, and walked toward a suspicious vehicle that allegedly drove into him. Police say Hagerman reportedly went up onto the hood of the vehicle, then fell off, suffering critical injuries, and officers learned Wednesday that he had died at a South Bend hospital.
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Read more: Man Charged in South Haven Fatality

   

Public Hearing on 4/22 for NIPSCO Construction Project

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is encouraging Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers to comment on the utility’s pending environmental compliance construction case.
 
Consumers may:
 
1. Speak at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) public field hearing on Monday, April 22, 2013, or
2. Send written comments to the OUCC anytime between now and the close of business on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.
 
The April 22 IURC public field hearing will be held in the Lake County Government Center Auditorium in Crown Point (2293 N. Main St.). The OUCC will conduct an informational session on the regulatory process and 5:30 p.m., local time, with the IURC accepting public comments beginning at 6:00 p.m., local time.
 
  • Sworn oral and written comments regarding the case will be accepted during the field hearing.
 
  • Oral and written consumer comments carry equal weight and will become part of the case’s official evidentiary record.
 
  • Commissioners are not allowed to answer questions during the field hearing. (However, OUCC and IURC staff will be available before, during and after the hearing.)
 
An OUCC informational session on the regulatory process and public field hearing procedures will begin at 5:30 p.m., local time.
 
NIPSCO is asking the IURC to approve its proposed MATS Compliance Plan, which would include the construction, installation and operation of new pollution control equipment at NIPSCO’s Bailly, Michigan City and Schahfer generating stations. The equipment would be installed on seven generating units at the three facilities, and would reduce mercury and particulate matter emissions.
 
In its testimony, the utility states that the project is necessary for compliance with federal regulations, specifically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule.
 
NIPSCO is also seeking IURC approval to recover the project’s costs through rates, with rate adjustments to be made every six months. The utility currently estimates the project’s construction costs - not including financing - at approximately $59.2 million.
 
In its testimony, NIPSCO states that it expects the project to add approximately $1.07 to the monthly electric bill for an average residential customer using 688 kilowatt hours (kWh) by 2017.
 
NIPSCO provides electric utility service to approximately 457,000 customers throughout northern Indiana. The outcome of this case will only affect the utility’s electric rates, and will not affect NIPSCO’s natural gas rates and charges.
 
The OUCC – which represents consumer interests in cases before the IURC – is still evaluating this case and is scheduled to file testimony on May 7, 2013. Additional parties that have intervened in this case – including the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC) and the NIPSCO Industrial Group – are also scheduled to file testimony on May 7.
 
More information on this case is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2740.htm.
 
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
 
  • Mail: Consumer Services Staff
    Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
    115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
 
  • Fax: (317) 232-5923
 
Written comments the OUCC receives by May 1 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44311.”
 
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff
toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
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Read more: Public Hearing on 4/22 for NIPSCO Construction Project

   

Gary Teen in Serious Condition After Hit and Run

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Gary PD
An 18 year old Gary man is in serious condition at a Chicago hospital after he was struck by an unknown older model SUV Tuesday evening while jogging. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says Emille Robinson was struck just before 8pm, in the 300 block of West 30th Avenue, while jogging as part of his training for the Police Athletic League. Corporal King says vehicle fled the scene and the case is being treated as a “hit and run”, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Gary Police Department, and ask for Corporal Agnes Roberts.
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Read more: Gary Teen in Serious Condition After Hit and Run

   

Alcohol Maybe Factor in Union Twp Rollover Crash

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Authorities say alcohol is believed to be a factor in a rollover crash that took place Wednesday evening in Porter County's Union Township. Chief Deputy Steve Lawrence, of the Porter County Sheriff's Office, says just before 5:30pm, a 44 year old Valparaiso man was heading south on County Road 325 West when, according to the 44 year old, a deer ran out in front of his vehicle, which he said he avoided, but caused him to hit a tree and his vehicle rolled over as a result. Lawrence says the man was taken to the hospital for non life threatening injuries, and no further information is available at this time.
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Read more: Alcohol Maybe Factor in Union Twp Rollover Crash

   

Lilly Denied Home Detention Request

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A 27-year-old Morton High School math teacher accused in federal court of asking underage female students to text sexually explicit pictures of themselves to him by cellphone, and allegedly having sex with a student, was reportedly denied a home detention request on Wednesday. Published reports say a judge denied Jon Erik Lilly, who reportedly wanted to stay at his mother's home, due to its close proximity to Lake Central High School. Lily was arrested on March 27th and according to court documents denied having sexual contact with the girl.
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Read more: Lilly Denied Home Detention Request

   

Ball State Smoking Study: IN 7th Highest Rate in Nation

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A new report entitled, “the Burden of Adult Smoking in Indiana 2012” was recently released by Ball State University's Global Health Institute. According to the data, Indiana has the 7th highest smoking rate in the nation. 25-point-six percent of Hoosiers are smokers, with the highest percentage per age group being 25 to 44 year olds, at 40-percent, and more men than women are smokers. Education and income also play a big factor on who smokes, as the report says the percentage of smokers decreases as either their education or income levels increase. 97-hundred Hoosiers died and four-point-seven billion dollars was spent on annual health and other economic costs in 2010 as a result of tobacco use. For more information, visit http://cms.bsu.edu/-/media/WWW/DepartmentalContent/GlobalHealth/PDF/040413v2BurdenofSmokingIN2012.pdf
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Read more: Ball State Smoking Study: IN 7th Highest Rate in Nation

   

Senate Passes Bill to Reform Indiana's Criminal Code

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State lawmakers are attempting to reform Indiana's criminal code for the first time since the 1970's. House Bill 10-06 passed the Senate Wednesday, and would change the four classes of felonies into six and change the credit timed-served system, requiring offenders to serve at least 75-percent of their sentence instead of the current 50-percent, with serious offenders required to serve at least 85-percent of their sentence. Those convicted of non-violent property crimes would serve less time under the proposed legislation, and face lower levels of felony or misdemeanor charges. The bill now heads back to the House for final legislative action, and if enacted would begin July 1st, 2014. For a link to view the bill's sentencing reform proportionality chart, visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_republicans/images/photogallery/Steele/Different%20format%20HB%201006%20Proportionality%20Chart.pdf
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Read more: Senate Passes Bill to Reform Indiana's Criminal Code

   

House Approves Higher Education Transparency Bill

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A Senate bill to increase transparency in higher education passed the Indiana House on Wednesday. Senate Bill 180 would require each state education institution to prepare and publish a report on its grading and employment practices, including employee salaries, faculty responsibilities, and student grade point averages, as well as an analysis of each campus's administrative expenditures. State Senator Jim Banks says not enough is being done to hold these institutions accountable, which is why we see student tuition skyrocketing, excessive red tape, and questionable administrative practices. The bill now returns to the Senate for a final review.
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Read more: House Approves Higher Education Transparency Bill

   

Japanese Auto Parts Maker Expands Again in N. Indiana

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A Japanese auto parts manufacturer announced today its third expansion in Indiana in less than year, which is expected to create up to 34 new jobs in Bremen by 2015. NISCO will invest 12.7 million dollars to equip its 150-thousand square-feet facility, and will install new equipment to accommodate the company's door hole sealing finishing capabilities. The company has already begun hiring additional finishing associates, operators and engineers for the expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in July.
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Read more: Japanese Auto Parts Maker Expands Again in N. Indiana

   

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