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An unseasonably warm and tropical like airmass has arrived across the Region. After more than 300 reports of severe weather in the US on Sunday, the National Weather Service says another round of dangerous severe weather is expected today//Monday with the greatest threat once again in the southern Plains targeting Oklahoma and parts of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. However, severe weather is also possible in northwest Indiana and Chicago.
[Photo courtesy NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)]
Two Powerball tickets purchased in the Region came oh.. so... close. The record Powerball run that ended with a nearly 600-million-dollar jackpot winner in Florida produced 148-thousand non-jackpot-winning tickets for a combined 918-thousand dollars in winnings in Indiana Saturday night. Hoosier Lottery officials say that total includes eight tickets that came within one number of winning it all, matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball... sold in Crown Point, Hobart, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Brownstown, Kokomo and Spencer and each worth ten-thousand dollars. Hoosier Lottery retailers also reaped rewards, scoring more than $1.5 million worth of Powerball sales commissions since the start of the run March 31.
Valparaiso’s Department of Public Works reminds residents that grass clippings do not belong in the trash and Public Works employees will not empty trash cans found to contain grass clippings. “Grass would add significantly to the city’s waste stream and add expense for all residents, so we must remind residents of other options for yard waste,” said Matt Evans, Public Works Director. “With a 90% water content, heavy grass clippings are too expensive to landfill—and too valuable to throw away!” he said.
The city offers the following guidelines:
- Never place grass clippings in your garbage or recycling containers.
- Use a mulching mower, or spread grass clippings underneath your shrubs. This replaces moisture and nutrients in your soil.
- For Valparaiso residents who still wish to bag, grass clippings may be brought to Valparaiso Public Works, 406 Don Hovey Drive, Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 4:00 pm and Saturday 7:00 am - 3:00 pm.
- For Porter County residents who do not have city garbage service, grass clippings may be taken to the County's Boone Grove compost site only. For hours and directions, call 465-3694 or visit www.itmeanstheworld.org and click on “Compost” under “Services.”
Porter Co Sheriff David Lain, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, and former Pennsylvania governor and former US Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge
Porter County was the latest Region stop.. and the sixth county... on Indiana Lt. Govenror Sue Ellspermann's “Listen and Learn” tour. On Friday, Ellspermann met with government officials from around the county at Valparaiso City Hall, and then with county business leaders at US Steel in Portage in the afternoon, talking about infrastructure issues, maximizing Porter County’s geographic and community engagement advantages, and improving relationships with the state’s Department of Local Government Finance. Following the listening sessions, Ellspermann went to the Porter County Sheriff Department's annual memorial service, which featured keynote address by former Pennsylvania Governor and former US Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, and visited the Hoosier Bat Company in Valparaiso, meeting owners David and Debbie Cook, who’ve been making major and minor league wooden bats for more than 22 years.
Hoosier Bat Company owner David Cook showing his patented 3-wood bat.
[Photos courtesy Lt. Governor Ellspermann's office]
During the first week of the Challenge, the team from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore logged 13 trips, 78 miles, prevented about 76 pounds of carbon from being released into the atmosphere and burned an estimated 4,000 calories. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is accessible via the Calumet, Marquette, Oak Savannah, and Porter Brickyard bicycle trails
“Indiana’s Do Not Call law protects registered numbers from receiving certain telemarketing calls,” Zoeller said. “Unfortunately, illegitimate businesses and scammers skirt the law by trying to deceive consumers with phony sales pitches. That’s why if you are on the Do Not Call list and receive a sales call or text message you can count on it being a scam.”
The next quarterly deadline to block annoying sales calls and text messages is Tuesday, May 21. Consumers can register their residential landline, cell, VOIP or prepaid wireless numbers.
Zoeller said thetelemarketing calls in these categories aim to separate consumers from their money or collect consumers’ personal information.
1. Card Services
More than 920 consumers reported receiving an automated call from a woman, who says her name is Rachel (or Kelly, Courtney, Heather, etc.) from “Cardholder Services,” offering to lower their credit card interest rates. Rachel warns that this “is your final notice,” but Zoeller says Hoosiers should just hang-up on Rachel and her sisters. If you follow through with the prompts, you will be connected with a representative who will collect an upfront payment from you without any intention of providing services or a refund.
2. Home Security
Since January, more than 370 complaints have been filed about an automated call which mentions an FBI report on the number of home break-ins and offers a “free” home security system. These telemarketers have no relationship with federal law enforcement agencies. The caller will take your information and sell it to a home security company that may charge up to $45 per month for monitoring services.
3. Prize/Sweepstakes Scams
So far this year, more than 110 consumers have received calls from a live operator that says “You have won $2 million from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. All you need to do is transfer $250 for fees and taxes via Moneygram, Western Union or GreenDot money card…” This is a scam designed to separate you from your money. Once you wire money, it’s like using cash and it’s nearly impossible to get back.
In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not a consumer’s number is registered on the Do Not Call list. Exceptions include calls from school districts to students, parents or employees and businesses advising employees of work schedules. It is also legal if a live phone operator first obtains your permission before playing a pre-recorded message.
Zoeller said consumer complaints help the Attorney General’s office bring enforcement actions against violators and stop unwanted calls. Since 2009, the office has obtained 57 settlements or judgments against companies that violated Indiana’s telephone privacy laws. The total awarded to the state has been more than $4.9 million and the total collected is more than $791,800. Zoeller said this money collected is used to defray the cost of enforcing the state’s telephone privacy laws.
Individuals do not need to re-register for the Do Not Call list unless their address has changed. To sign up or to confirm a number is already on the list, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969.
Out-of-state area codes can also be added as long as the billing address is located in Indiana. Those consumers who are registered and receive an unwanted call can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com and clicking on “file a complaint.”
During Indiana's 2012 Click It or Ticket mobilization, from May 17th thru June 3rd, participating law enforcement agencies issued more than 18-thousand citations to drivers who were not wearing seat belts. During the same time period, there were 170 collisions and 12 fatalities that occurred on Indiana roadways involving unrestrained motorists, with 91 ejections occurring due to not using restraints.
Bicyclists will be touring the township today//Saturday for a new event to raise funds for Portage Township Parks... The Friends of Portage Township Foundation is hosting “Trek the Township”, a twenty-mile family bicycling event starting at Haven Hollow Park in South Haven Saturday morning, 8am. Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy says the ride features a scenic route on county roads and the Prairie Duneland Trail. For more info, visit www.townshipfriends.org .You can hear our Region Newsmakers interview with Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy here at our website.
The month of April featured the largest single-month decline in Indiana's unemployment rate in over a year... with a big decrease in the Region. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development also says April recorded the biggest drop in the total number of unemployed in over a year. The report issued Friday showed Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by point-two [0.2] percent to eight-and-a-half [8.5] percent in April,a decrease of point-two-percent. Private sector employment in the Hoosier state also increased by 68-hundred [6,800] jobs over the past month and exceeded the national rate of growth. Labor force estimates show the jobless rate in Northwest Indiana dropped from 10-point-three in March to 9.1 percent last month.
Capp says the indictment alleges that Van til, beginning in or about November 2007 and continuing through December 2012, devised a scheme to defraud Lake County of money and property by utilizing county employees to perform personal services and political services so that Van Til would be re-electd as Lake County Surveyor.
The indictment also alleges that Van Til directed an employee to remove a hard drive from a Lake County computer and to replace it with another hard drive, according to attorney Capp. The indictment further alleges that Van Til told that same employee "And by the way, if by some chance down the line there's ever a conversation, we never had these conversations." Van Til's alleged conduct with respect to this particular employee forms the basis for the two obstruction of justice counts.
Attorney Capp says the investigation into the allegations came about through a tip from a citizen.
Two other indictments were announced this afternoon in Hammond Federal Court, which Attorney Capp stresses are unrelated except for the fact they all involve some aspect of public corruption or public funds. One indictment charges a Pennsylvania owner and operator of an armament company located in Philadelphia with nine counts. Capp says the indictment alleges that the owner conspired with two former Lake County Sheriff deputies to make false statements concerning the acquisition of firearms. Capp says both former deputies were indicted for this conduct in September 2010 and both have since plead guilty, are awaiting sentencing and cooperating with the United States Attorney's Office.
The third indictment announced this afternoon charges Roman Perez, 41, of Crown Point, with one count of making false statements under oath on a tax return and one count of making a false statement in a bankruptcy proceeding. The indictment alleges that Perez understated his total taxable income for 2007 by approximately $110,108.00, of which approximately $80,000 constituted payments from both the Treasurer of Lake County and the Lake County Sheriff's Commissary Fund, to Roman Art Inc., a graphic design business owned and operated by Perez; and that Perez understated his gross income for the year 2009 by an amount in excess of $40,000 in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The United States Attorney's Office will today file a plea agreement wherein Perez has agreed to plead guilty to these charges and will cooperate with the United States Attorney's Office.
The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
U.S. Attorney David Capp at todays press conference at the federal Courthouse in Hammond.
One person was killed after two-vehicle crash in Newton County this morning. The Newton County Sheriff's Office reports officers responded to the scene, at approximately 11am, on U-S 41, near County Road 15-hundred South, located just north of Kentland. The Sheriff's Office says reports indicate the driver was heading north when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle drifted off the roadway and when the driver attempted to return to the roadway, lost control, crossed the median and into the path of a southbound tractor trailer driven by a 36 year old Illinois man. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, while the truck driver was not injured. At last check, the name of the deceased was being withheld pending notification of next of kin and the crash remains under investigation.
# # #...
- State Auditors: Gary Schools Treasurer Owes Us Money
- IL Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Gov
- Tom Ridge Speaks at Porter Co Sheriff's Memorial Service
- Valpo Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation, Molestation
- Powerball Jackpot Now at Record High $600 Million
- WB S Shore Train 116 Running 15-20 Minutes Late
- Addressing School Safety, Pill Mills, Consumer Protection
- Valpo Bike to Work Day
- Sup Ct Prevents Lake Judge Transfer
- Hammond Fire Investigated
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