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Pence Continues Push for HIP Expansion

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Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence continues his push to allow the Healthy Indiana Plan to bring health coverage to more Hoosiers. Last week the Governor sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting a meeting to continue discussion about the state's pending waiver to use the Healthy Indiana Plan as an alternative to the traditional Medicaid model for expansion, citing the program's high satisfaction rates, positive outcomes and lower healthcare costs over time. Indiana was granted an expansion for the current Healthy Indiana Plan in September. ...

Read more: Pence Continues Push for HIP Expansion

 

5 Pts Roundabout in Valpo Set to Open Late Friday

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Sunday's storm caused damage throughout northwest Indiana, but it did not setback the timetable for the opening of the new Five-Points Roundabout in Valparaiso. Lori Good, with the City of Valparaiso, says the new roundabout at the five-points intersection of Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads is anticipated to be opened by the end of the work day on Friday. A dedication ceremony for the new roundabout and a tree-lighting event is scheduled for Sunday, November 24th, at 4:30pm, in the Kmart parking lot. The event is free and open to the public....

Read more: 5 Pts Roundabout in Valpo Set to Open Late Friday

 

Valpo Educators Town Hall Meeting on Public Education

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Indiana State Teachers Association
Local educators and leaders from the Indiana State Teachers Association, or ISTA, will be holding a town hall question and answer session this evening about public education in the Valparaiso area. Mark Shoup, Communication Subs-Person for the ISTA, says the purpose of this town hall meeting is to gathering information from educators, their concerns, and what the ISTA can do to help them do their jobs more effectively.
The educators town hall begins at 6pm, at the Faith memorial Lutheran Church, in the 700 block of North Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso....

Read more: Valpo Educators Town Hall Meeting on Public Education

 

ISP to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoint in Jasper County

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Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports they will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint this Friday evening in Jasper County. State Police say drivers who encounter a checkpoint will be required to produce a valid license and registration and those whose information is correct, and who are not impaired, can expect a short delay of two-to-three minutes. Troopers will also be conducting roving saturation patrols, aggressively seeking impaired drivers throughout the district.
State Police encourage all motorists to contact 911, or their closest State Police Post, when they observe another motorist that may be impaired and be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel. ...

Read more: ISP to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoint in Jasper County

 

Some Region Outages Could Extend into Thursday

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As of midday today Northern Indiana Public Service Company says 95-percent of customers who lost power in Sunday's severe weather have been restored, but some outages in the hardest hit areas – like Lowell, Cedar Lake, DeMotte, Gary, Chesterton, Valparaiso, and Monticello – would be extending into Thursday, and for some outages in Crown Point, into Wednesday. As of the latest update today about 37-hundred customers were without electricity.
All available NIPSCO crews, with assistance from support contractors from neighboring states, continue to respond.
www.nipsco.com
Kankakee Valley REMC reports progress continues to be made across their service territory, with 18 outages remaining as of this morning. Some outages were requiring additional time due to the severity of the damage.
http://www.kvremc.com/home.aspx...

Read more: Some Region Outages Could Extend into Thursday

 

UChicago Medicine, Franciscan Announce Partnership

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The University of Chicago Medicine and Franciscan Alliance have entered into a new partnership. Franciscan has four hospitals in Northwest Indiana -- Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond and Dyer and Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point and Michigan City.  The announcement from the two institutions says the affiliation creates a "novel partnership between a prominent academic medical center and a leading regional health system".
“By combining the world-class tertiary and quaternary care and research capabilities of the University of Chicago Medicine with Franciscan Alliance’s extensive network of community-based hospitals and ambulatory centers, we will enhance patient care locally and provide seamless access and continuity for patients needing care at any level,” said Kevin Leahy, Franciscan Alliance’s president and chief executive officer.
Franciscan Alliance is one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the Midwest. The University of Chicago Medicine, an academic medical institution that includes the Pritzker School of Medicine, ranked eighth among medical schools in the country, attracts patients regionally, nationally and internationally for its specialty care services.
“This partnership brings together two health care systems that share both a dedication to excellence in patient care and a desire to develop new models of care in a rapidly changing health care marketplace,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago and dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. “We are committed to continually improving access, efficiency and outcomes, and to extending clinical research into new arenas. Our goal is to provide a coordinated system of value-based care for patients across the region.”...

Read more: UChicago Medicine, Franciscan Announce Partnership

 

Central Elementary Wins 'Valpo Mayor's Cup' for 2013

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Central Elementary is the winner of the Valparaiso Mayor’s Cup for 2013 for having the highest participation in the recent Monster Dash 1K Family Fun Run. Mayor Jon Costas, members of the Fit City Council, and Valparaiso Parks presented a $500 check to Central Elementary School principal Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz and students, for wellness programming at Central. Pictured are (left to right) front row: Jack Smiley, Jori Smiley, Hanna Rigg, and Hailey Rigg, who ran the Monster Dash. Back row: Linda Mapes, Central Principal Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz, Phil Blasko, Mayor Jon Costas, Dan McGuire, Ryan Smiley, and Tristan Leonhard.  [Photo/Valparaiso Parks Department]
The inaugural Monster Dash was held at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso October 27. The event included both a 1K Family Fun Run, led by Mayor Costas; and a 5K run. Hundreds attended and ran in their Halloween costumes. The Monster Dash was a Fit City event. Mayor Costas created the Fit City initiative in 2005 to encourage residents to maximize their health and be more active. Since then, city parks officials say over 5,000 Valparaiso people have participated in Fit City programming. Next up will be the Fit City Challenge to Change competition in January 2014, offering prizes and incentives for losing weight and adding healthy habits. For more information, visit valparaisoparks.org. or call Valparaiso Parks at 219-462-5144....

Read more: Central Elementary Wins 'Valpo Mayor's Cup' for 2013

 

West Beach Burn Called Off, Smaller Burns Planned

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore officials announced this morning that weather conditions have changed and they are no longer going to burn the West Beach Unit today.  Instead, they will be conducting small burns around the Century of Progress Homes along Dune Ridge near Beverly Shores. The small burns are used to remove fuel near structures in preparation for a larger prescription burn at a future date.  They anticipate the burn to begin about 10:00 a.m. ...

Read more: West Beach Burn Called Off, Smaller Burns Planned

 

UPDATE: West Beach Burn Called Off

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Prescribed Burn Scheduled at West Beach

UPDATE: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore officials announced this morning that weather conditions have changed and they are no longer going to burn the West Beach Unit today.  Instead, they will be conducting small burns around the Century of Progress Homes along Dune Ridge near Beverly Shores. The small burns are used to remove fuel near structures in preparation for a larger prescription burn at a future date.  They anticipate the burn to begin about 10:00 a.m.

Fire crews from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore plan to burn approximately 73  acres, in the West Beach area of the park, near Portage, Indiana today (Tuesday November 19, 2013) as part of a prescribed burn plan.  As long as weather conditions remain good, crews say they will be burning the parcel of land along the north side of West Beach Access Road between the parking lots and the West Beach entrance station to reduce potential wild fire fuel, and improve animal and plant habitats.
longlake2
[Prescribed fire conducted Friday, November 15, 2013, looking south across Long Lake in the Portage/Ogden Dunes area. The burn was on the south side of the lake, west of Ogden Dune and north of US 12. Photo/Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore]

The prescribed fire program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced National Park Service fire personnel. Smoke dispersal is a primary concern and park staff will do everything possible to limit smoke in the area by monitoring wind and atmospheric conditions prior to ignitions. However, smoke drifting in and around park lands and roadways is possible.
Before burning, National Lakeshore officials say a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the duration of the burn to ensure the fire is completed safely.  More photos  https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDunesNL?fref=ts...

Read more: UPDATE: West Beach Burn Called Off

 

Man Charged with Felony Stalking

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In Portage, police say a 44-year-old Valparaiso-area man who reportedly admitted he has a foot fetish has been arrested and charged with felony stalking after allegedly following a mother and daughter from the Portage Library to a restaurant, Friday afternoon, and then to the police station. Police say at one point the subject stepped on the daughter's foot as she exited the library, causing her shoe to come off, and afterwards he apologized. Police say the man, a registered sex offender who has committed several acts of violence against women in Michigan, denied any intentions of harming the women. Portage Police say they believe the man has done this in the past and any women who may have had a similar experience at the library or any other business in Portage are asked to call Portage Police.  [Photo - Dustin A. Jolly]
Here is the news release from Portage Police:
On Friday, November 15th Portage Police arrested a 44-year-old Valparaiso man (Dustin Jolly) on Felony Stalking charges after he began following two Portage women around the cit y in his car as the women were headed home after they left the Portage library.
The incident began shortly after 2 pm on Friday afternoon when two women (mother and daughter) went to the library to rent a movie. While inside looking for a movie, the daughter noticed that a male subject kept walking around the area in the library near her. At one point the male came into the same aisle as the female and stood next to her. The daughter advised that when she was unable to find a movie to rent, she began exiting the library. While headed to the main entrance, she heard someone walking fast behind her and observed it to be the same male subject. The daughter stated that as she was exiting the buildings doors, the male stepped on her foot which caused her shoe to fall off. After the incident, the male apologized and both then went their own way and walked into the parking lot to their cars.
The female advised that after leaving the library, she and her mother then went to a restaurant to eat. While getting their food, she observed the males car drive by twice which she thought was odd. On the second drive by, the daughter wrote down the cars license plate number. While driving home after they left the restaurant, they observed the same car following them. Both females were aware of this and continued to drive around the city instead of going directly to their home. When the car continued to follow them after they tried to get away it, they drove to the Portage Police Department to report the incident.
While officers were taking the report from the women, they found out that car was registered to a Dustin A Jolly of Valparaiso. Officers learned that Mr. Jolly was a registered sex offender who had committed several acts of violence against women in the past in Michigan. As officers were leaving the police department to go to Mr. Jolly’s residence to speak with him about the incident, they observed Mr. Jolly’s car drive past the police department and stopped him.
When questioned about the incident at the library, Mr. Jolly admitted to it and stated that he was “sorry and needs help”. He told officers that he has a foot fetish and never meant to harm anyone. He stated that he was simply following the women and denied any intentions of harming them. After further questioning by detectives at the police department, Mr. Jolly was charged with class D Felony Stalking.
We believe that Mr. Jolly has done this in the past and if any women have had a similar experience at the library or any other business in Portage, they are asked to contact Detective Cpl. Janies Regnier at 219-764-5706....

Read more: Man Charged with Felony Stalking

 

Body Found Near Interstate

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Indiana State Police from the Indianapolis District are investigating a body found on the west side of Indianapolis near I-465. Monday afternoon, at approximately 4:30 p.m. EST, police were notified by a person walking on the exit ramp from northbound I-465 to Crawfordsville Road of a male body just off the interstate near the 17 mile marker.  The Marion County Coroner was called to the scene. No other information is available at this time....

Read more: Body Found Near Interstate

   

Starwood Completes Purchase of Southlake Mall

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A Connecticut-based private investment firm announced today that it has completed the acquisition of a majority interest in seven shopping malls in the US from the Westfield Group, including Southlake Mall in Hobart. Starwood Capital Group says existing onsite management teams will continue to operate the properties under the direction of Starwood Retail Partners. Westfield will maintain a 10% common equity interest in the properties.
The malls contain 7.9 million square feet of retail space across four states on the West Coast and the Midwest. The sites are all anchored by major national retailers and have an average occupancy of approximately 96%. The other six properties are Belden Village Mall in Canton, OH; Capital Mall in Olympia, WA; Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, OH; Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted, OH; Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, CA; and Plaza West Covina in West Covina, CA.
Southlake Mall opened in 1974.  The mall, which has a Merrillville mailing address but is within Hobart city limits since an annexation that took effect in 1994, was purchased by Australia-based mall operator Westfield in 2002....

Read more: Starwood Completes Purchase of Southlake Mall

   

Tornadoes Confirmed in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski

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Locally, the National Weather Service in Chicago has determined tornado touchdowns in Newton and Jasper Counties during Sunday's severe weather, the first November tornadoes on record, since 1950, for both counties. The National Weather Service in Northern Indiana says an EF-1 tornado was confirmed in Pulaski County, touching down in Medaryville.
An EF-1 tornado began in Goodland, causing heavy damage to a large grain elevator. An EF-1 tornado starting northeast of Rensselaer destroyed multiple empty grain storage bins and outbuildings across four farmsteads. The reports are preliminary from damage survey teams. Details at the National Weather Service websites:
Chicago:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=lot&storyid=98247&source=0
Northern Indiana:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/?n=nov17_2013_severewxoutbreak

...

Read more: Tornadoes Confirmed in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski

   

Power Restored to Many as Repairs Continue

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As of late Monday night, NIPSCO says 94-percent of customers who lost power in Sunday's severe weather had been restored.  Repairs for the remaining outages were expected by Wednesday night.  Hard hit areas locally include Lowell, Cedar Lake, DeMotte, Crown Point, Gary, Chesterton and Valparaiso.  As of this morning about 36-hundred customers were without electricity.
All available NIPSCO crews, with assistance from support contractors from neighboring states, continue to respond to the effects of the severe weather, which carried wind gusts up to 86 miles per hour reported in some areas.
“This storm has posed a challenge for many of our communities, and our thoughts are with all those affected, especially those dealing with the effects of the Midwest tornadoes,” said Keith Wooldridge, NIPSCO’s senior vice president of field operations. “Because the damage is very widespread, we’ve brought in all available resources to address the repairs.”
www.nipsco.com
Kankakee Valley REMC reports progress continues to be made across their service territory, with 110 outages remaining as of late Monday afternoon. Some outages are requiring additional time due to the severity of the damage. As crews work through the night, there will still be work continuing into today. Downed power lines are still being reported at some locations.
http://www.kvremc.com/home.aspx...

Read more: Power Restored to Many as Repairs Continue

   

NIPSCO: Power Restored to Over 90 Percent

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MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Sunday’s damaging storms left its mark on northern Indiana, resulting in more than 75,000 NIPSCO electric customers losing service. As of 5 p.m. CT, more than 90 percent of affected customers have been restored and approximately 6,400 remain without power.
The majority of the remaining outages are expected to be restored by Wednesday night, Nov. 20, with some outages in the hardest hit areas extending into Thursday. As repairs continue, NIPSCO will be able to provide more refined restoration times.
All available NIPSCO crews, with assistance from support contractors from neighboring states, continue to respond to the effects of the severe weather, which carried wind gusts up to 86 miles per hour reported in some areas.
“This storm has posed a challenge for many of our communities, and our thoughts are with all those affected, especially those dealing with the effects of the Midwest tornadoes,” said Keith Wooldridge, NIPSCO’s senior vice president of field operations. “Because the damage is very widespread, we’ve brought in all available resources to address the repairs.”
940 separate incidents still require attention from repair crews, and current assessments indicate that the storm damage has resulted in widespread damage, including: three damaged transmission towers, more than 150 broken poles, numerous downed lines and broken cross arms and hundreds of downed trees and limbs.
Monticello, Crown Point, Lowell, Cedar Lake, Gary and Valparaiso are among the communities hit hardest with storm damage.
Storm Restoration Process
·        NIPSCO repairs high voltage transmission lines and substations (and re-route power where possible), which provide power to the largest number of customers. Without repairing this part of the system first, the smaller electric lines connected to homes and businesses can’t be energized.
·        Priorities shift to restore power to facilities most critical to public safety and health –including hospitals, police and fire stations, water lift stations and communication systems.
·        Crews are then disbursed to repair service lines that will bring power back to the largest amount of customers the quickest – including major lines that feed power to densely-populated neighborhoods and other rural/municipal electric companies.
·        Finally, NIPSCO is able to make repairs to electric service affecting smaller neighborhoods or outages that impact one or two individual customers.
Safety First – Stay Away from Downed Power Lines
Most important to your safety is to avoid downed power lines, damaged poles or other hazardous situations. Every downed wire should be treated as though it is a live wire.  Report them to NIPSCO immediately.
Residents are also encouraged to drive safely when approaching any NIPSCO field employee or contractor vehicles working to restore power in the area.
Reporting an Outage or Downed Power Line
If customers have not yet reported an outage, they can do so in a few different ways:
1.        From your smart phone or other mobile device – Search NIPSCO and your device will be automatically directed to our mobile site where you will find a button on the main page to report an outage.
2.        On your computer – Visit NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter and enter some basic information about your location.
3.        Via phone – Call 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) and follow the automated prompts. You can ask to receive a call back when power has been restored.
Staying Informed
Regular updates regarding the current number of customers affected, where outages are located and when power is expected to be restored can be found in a variety of ways, including:
·        NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter–Find current information on the status of power outages and estimated restoration times.
·        m.nipsco.com – View the same outage map and details on NIPSCO.com from your mobile device.
·        Facebook.com/NIPSCO or Twitter.com/NIPSCO– Follow NIPSCO’s progress through popular social media channels to view photos and power restoration updates....

Read more: NIPSCO: Power Restored to Over 90 Percent

   

GNIAR Reports 28th Consecutive Month of Growth

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For the 28th consecutive month the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports growth in year-over-year comparisons of single family homes in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties. Those counties combined for 830 single family homes sold in October 2013, compared to 782 in October of 2012 numbers, for a one-year change of six-point-one percent and the median selling price rose six-point four percent....

Read more: GNIAR Reports 28th Consecutive Month of Growth

   

Two Region Men with the ISP Get New Roles

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(Photos Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post;
Above: Sgt. Bill Jones. Below: Detective Brian McCall)
Two region residents with Indiana State Police's Lowell Post now have new titles. 42 year old Corp. Bill Jones was promoted today to the rank of Sergeant and transferred to the Toll Road District to serve as a District Squad Leader. Jones is a 1989 graduate of Gary West Side High School and the recipient of the ISP Firearms “Possible Club” award.
39 year old Senior Trooper Brian McCall was transferred to Criminal Investigation today and reassigned as a detective. McCall is a 1992 graduate of Crown Point High School who was awarded a Life Saving Award in 2012 and was “Trooper of the Year” in 2008. Both men currently reside in Lake County.
detective Brian McCall ...

Read more: Two Region Men with the ISP Get New Roles

   

Child Molesting Charges Filed Against Hebron Man

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A 37 year old man has been charged with two-felony counts of child molesting. The Hebron man admitted to inappropriately touching the girl, who was 12 at the time of the incident, and letting her touch him, after taking a voice-stress test regarding the allegations. Authorities report the incidents occurred in 2011....

Read more: Child Molesting Charges Filed Against Hebron Man

   

Evacuation of EC Neighborhood Lifted After Gas Leak

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An area around 145th Street and Baring Avenue in East Chicago that was evacuated earlier this afternoon due to a gas leak has been lifted. City officials gave residents the “all-clear” just before 3:30pm. The leak was reportedly the result of a contractor striking a gas main in that area. As a precaution, Benjamin Harrison Elementary was put on lock down and no injuries were reported. The surrounding two blocks around 145th and Baring Avenue were closed to traffic as a result of the gas leak. ...

Read more: Evacuation of EC Neighborhood Lifted After Gas Leak

   

Debris From Washington, IL Found Over 100 Miles Away

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Damage reports are still coming in after yesterday's day of rough weather in the Midwest. ABC News reports besides the six people who were killed as the swarm of tornadoes swept through Illinois, officials in Michigan say two more died in that state. The most violent storm may have touched down in the town of Washington, Illinois, 140 miles west of Chicago. As many as 500 homes were destroyed by an EF-4 tornado packing winds of 170 to 190 miles per hour.   Meanwhile the tornado that ripped through Washington, Illinois, threw debris more than 100 miles away.  Ann Ortman lives in Shorewood, Illinois, and was picking up tree branches in her yard when she came across a piece of paper... "I unfolded this piece of paper, and it was actually a check dated December 18, 1994. And it was from someone that lives in Washington, Illinois." Ortman lives about 110 miles away. She says she hopes the owner of the check is okay. She would like to return the check. ...

Read more: Debris From Washington, IL Found Over 100 Miles Away

   

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