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Region Catholics Celebrate Papal Inauguration

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About 190-thousand Catholics in the region are celebrating the inauguration of Pope Francis the First this morning. Bishop Dale Melczek, of the Gary Diocese, says Pope Francis's style reflects that he is a “Pope of the People” and what type of impact that could have on Papal traditions.  Hundreds of thousands are expected for the unique international gathering. The faithful began arriving early around 6:30 this morning when the gates opened.
To hear our interview with Bishop Melczek visit Region Newsmakers On Demand here at our website.
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Porter Regional Hospital Now Affiliated with Loyola

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At an afternoon press conference Porter Regional Hospital made a partnership official. Porter Health Care System CEO Jonathon Nalli announced that the hospital has entered into a clinical affiliation agreement with Loyola University Health System. This affiliation will complement the quality care patients receive at Porter Regional Hospital by expanding access to academic research and clinical care in Northwest Indiana, according to the hospital.
Porter Health Care System CEO, Jonathon Nalli said, “We are increasing the depth of our clinical services through this affiliation. Both Porter Regional Hospital and Loyola University Health System are committed to furthering access to medical resources and patient-centered care.”
Loyola President and CEO Larry M. Goldberg said the affiliation will further Loyola's mission of broadening access to its medical services. “Now, patients from Northwest Indiana can retain the comforts and convenience of their home hospital, while benefiting from Loyola specialists and gaining access to our clinical trials.”
Loyola University Medical Center is a Chicago-based academic center. It has been named to a list of “100 Greta Hospitals” by Becker's Hospital Review and its cancer program has received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons. The American Stroke Association has awarded Loyola its Gold Performance Achievement Award for implementing a higher standard of stroke care.
Porter health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke, Newton and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties on the medical staff, Porter Health Care System is a leader in technology and overall patient care.
(provided by porterhealth.com)
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IN Senate Approves Tax Relief to LaPorte Homeowners

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Jim Arnold
INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Senate unanimously approved a measure on Monday sponsored by State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) to provide LaPorte residents with a process for minimizing property tax debt.
“LaPorte has faced extremely adverse circumstances with property tax collection for many years,” Sen. Arnold said. “This bill will protect our Hoosier taxpayers and offer them an opportunity to decrease their financial burdens.”
House Bill (HB) 1261 would allow eligible LaPorte County homeowners to receive deductions in delayed property taxes for all assessment dates rather than a current assessment date. Current homeowners would qualify for the tax deductions if they lived on the property during the year of the delayed assessment date or did not qualify for a similar property deduction in another county for the same date.
The measure would authorize the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance to delay payments for the March 1, 2011 or January 15, 2013 assessment dates. In addition, payments could either be made in equal installments for at least six months or in one payment at the end of six months. Certain policies would apply to delayed property taxes, such as allowing payments through credit or debit card, exemptions from sales tax for one year, and two percent discounts for payments made within 30 days.
HB 1261 also provides that these claims be specified in a tax statement.
After unanimously passing out of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the full Senate by a vote of 47-0, HB 1261 will now return to the House of Representatives where the author of the bill will have the opportunity to consider changes made in the Senate.
Sen. Arnold represents District 8 in the Indiana State Senate which encompasses the majority of LaPorte County including the City of LaPorte and the eastern part of Michigan City. It also includes western St. Joseph County and Davis, Oregon, Washington, Center and Jackson townships in Starke County.
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Storm Sewer Work to Close Avondale in Valpo Tomorrow

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Storm sewer installation work in Valparaiso begins tomorrow morning which will require Avondale Avenue to be closed to through traffic, between Yellowstone Road and Kenwood Avenue, west of Forest Park. City officials say work is scheduled to begin at 7am, running until 5pm, this Tuesday through Friday, but that the roadway will be open to one-lane traffic outside those restriction hours. Motorists are asked to use Avondale Avenue to Kenwood Avenue to Harrison Blvd to Yellowstone Road as a detour.
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Repts: FB Legend One of Two Killed in SB Crash

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Various reports this afternoon say Oklahoma University football legend  Steve Davis was one of two people killed when a small jet crashed into a South Bend neighborhood Sunday. The other victim was identified as 58-year-old Wesley Brian Caves, the owner of a company that makes window film and paint overlay for cars in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their names were released by the St. Joseph County Coroner today. The National Transportation Safety Board is holding a news conference this afternoon. The private jet hit some homes - causing a gas leak which led to evacuations.  The small fixed wing multi-engine plane crashed right into homes after the pilot of the plane reported loss of power and hydraulics. The crash happened near the South Bend regional airport. Two other people on the plane and one person on the ground were at last word still hospitalized.
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Hammond Teen Killed in Calumet City

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Officials say a 15-year-old Lake County girl was fatally shot in Calumet City. The teenager, reports say, identified as Ashaya Miller of Hammond, died Sunday night. No information was available from Calumet City Police at this hour.
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House GOP Texting Bill Updates

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Indiana House Republicans have announced they'll be sending out text message updates on certain hot topic bills as they make their way through the legislature – like the budget, online sales tax collection, drug testing, and various education matters. You can sign up at the Indiana House GOP website.
The caucus says it's an extension of transparency initiatives launched by Speaker Brian Bosma the past few years... which have included live streaming of House floor proceedings... making every house committee meeting available via the internet... and this past January, hosting the first ever “tweet seats” , believed to be a first for states, where seats were reserved for certain members of the public to tweet during the Governor's State of the State speech.
Here's the link : http://inhousegop.us
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Fatal Shooting, Robbery Investigated in Gary

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Police in Gary are investigating a fatal shooting and a robbery minutes apart, and within about a half-mile from each other Sunday afternoon. Authorities say it's too soon to say whether the incidents are related. Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says at about 10-minutes to 4, a 15-year-old boy reports he was walking along 15th Avenue by  Ellswoth Place when he was approached by four subjects, three male and one female, and robbed of his cellphone, and the suspects fled. Corporal King says about five minutes later officers responded to shots fired in the 13-hundred block of Ellswoth Place, where they found one person in the street wounded, and another person was found dead, reportedly in shrubs near a home. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gary Police Detective Lorenzo Davis.
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Breathalyzer for Chesterton Prom?

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Prom goers in Chesterton might have to take a Breathalyzer first. Reports say Duneland School officials are considering a proposal to require a breath test for both prom and senior banquet this year, though the idea is still just under consideration.  Chaperones would be trained to administer the tests. School officials have reportedly been talking to police about the idea.
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One Dead, One Injured in Gary Shooting

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One man was killed and another injured in a shooting Sunday afternoon in the Tolleston area of Gary. Police responded shortly before 4 pm and reportedly found one person injured in the middle of the road, along West 13th Avenue, and a second man was found dead outside a nearby house in some shrubs.
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Two Killed in South Bend Jet Crash

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A small jet crashed into a neighborhood in South Bend, killing two people onboard the plane. The crash triggered a gas leak that forced the evacuation of the neighborhood. The small fixed wing multi-engine plane crashed into three homes homes after the pilot of the plane reported loss of power and hydraulics. The crash happened near the South Bend regional airport. Sources tell ABC News the plane was trying to land at the airport. Two other people on the plane and one person on the ground were taken to the hospital, reportedly with non-life-threatening injuries.  Officials continue to investigate the cause.
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VU Faces Michigan St Thursday

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In mens college basketball, Valparaiso and Michigan State will be the first game of the Second Round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Tip time from Auburn Hills is set for 12:15 p.m. Eastern/11:15 a.m. Central this Thursday.
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The Valparaiso men's basketball team drew the No. 14 seed in the Midwest Region of the 2013 NCAA Tournament and will face No. 3 seed Michigan State in Second Round action at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. on Thursday.
The Crusaders, who enter the tournament with a 26-7 record, earned the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Wright State 62-54 in the league tournament championship game. Michigan State received an at-large bid after going 25-8, including 13-5 in Big Ten play.
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Multiple Slideoffs, Spinouts, Crashes from Ice

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Traffic-Alert
615am CDT: Police in the Region are responding to multiple slideoffs and multi-car pileups on icy roads this morning. Some trouble spots include the Indiana Toll Road both directions at the I-65 interchange (Eastbound Toll Road is completely shut down at that location), US 12 in Burns Harbor, and Interstate 94 at Route 249.
We're hearing bridges are sheets of ice. Updates in our Region road reports.
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Fatal Crash in St. John

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One person was killed in a motor vehicle accident in St. John Sunday morning. He has been identified as 59-year-old Paul Gebauer. The Lake County Coroners office says the victim sustained severe burns and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at Route 231 and Parrish Avenue shortly before 8am. A second person was reportedly arrested. No word on possible charges.
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EC Mayor's Brother Victim of Homicide

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A homicide victim in East Chicago has been identified as 48-year-old Odie Gray, the brother of East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland. Lake County Coroners officials say Gray, of the 39-hundred block of Evergreen, suffered a fatal stab wound in the 39-hundred block of Evergreen Street, and was pronounced dead at approximately 10:30 Sunday morning. His death has been ruled a homicide.
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Indiana Toll Road at I65: Icy, Multiple Slideoffs

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Traffic-Alert
In Gary-- Multiple slideoffs reported and very icy conditions along both directions of Indiana Toll Road near I-65 exchange this morning. Area described as a sheet of ice.
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Groundbrkg for Dawn Foods in Merrillville

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In Merrillville, Dawn Food Products held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday on their new 116-thousand square foot distribution center going in at the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads complex near 101st and Broadway. Officials say the Dawn Food facilities in Munster and Crown Point are being consolidated into the Merrillville location, and the new site could be open in October.
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Mvl PD: 'Zero Tolerance' for Weapons at School

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Merrillville Police say there is “zero tolerance” for anyone bringing a gun or any other weapon to school. Reports today say three Pierce Middle School students have been charged in Lake County Juvenile Court with illegal possession of a handgun, after one of them allegedly brought a loaded handgun to school this month apparently to appear “cool”. Police tell the Times of Northwest Indiana today that they have not recovered the gun, and that its origin and whereabouts are unknown.
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Duneland Names New School Supt

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The Duneland School Board has named Dr. David Prius superintendent effective July first. Prius has been an assistant superintendent with Duneland for ten years, and before that was a school superintendent in downstate Hamilton County for over a decade. He'll be replacing the retiring Dr. Dirk Baer, who has been with the district for 26 years.
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Two Accused of Molesting Infant

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A man and woman are accused of molesting an eleven-month-old child. Published reports say police say a 19-year-old Portage woman came forward and accused her then boyfriend, a 21-year-old Michigan City man, of molesting the child, then later allegedly admitted to having performed the same act on the infant, according to court documents. 
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/man-woman-charged-with-molesting-infant/article_c68210c5-2d3d-58a1-97a1-f54145b1a53a.html
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