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Gary Mayor Appointed Vice Chair of Natl Committee

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Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has been appointed vice chair of the National League of Cities (NLC) 2014 Public Safety & Crime Prevention Steering Committee. The committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving crime prevention, corrections, substance abuse, municipal fire policy, juvenile justice, disaster preparedness and relief, homeland security, domestic terrorism, court systems and gun control. The appointment was announced by NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor, St. Paul, Minn.  “I am honored to serve in this very important role,” said Freeman-Wilson. “I will be working alongside knowledgeable colleagues where we will share ideas and experiences that will ultimately elevate public safety and crime prevention in our respective communities.”
As vice chair of the committee, Freeman-Wilson will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocate on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with the Administration and at home.  The chair of this year’s Public Safety & Crime Prevention Steering Committee is Scott Somers, councilmember, Mesa, Ariz. Serving with Freeman-Wilson as vice chair is Scott Maddox, commissioner, Tallahassee, Fla. For more information on NLC’s other committees and councils, visit http://www.nlc.org/influence-federal-policy/policy-committees   [Photo provided/City of Gary]...

Read more: Gary Mayor Appointed Vice Chair of Natl Committee

 

NW Indiana Airman Killed in Helicopter Crash

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A northwest Indiana native was among four US service members killed in an US Air Force helicopter crash that occurred during a training mission Tuesday night on the coast of Norfolk in England, officials say. The Defense Department said Technical Sgt. Dale Mathews is from Rolling Prairie.  The three other aircrew members killed were identified as Capt. Christopher Stover, Capt. Sean Ruane, and Staff Sgt. Afton Ponce.  The US Air Force says an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter carries a four-person aircrew: a pilot, co-pilot, and two special mission aviators who are qualified as both gunners and flight engineers. On this particular mission, a statement from the 48th Fighter Wing said Stover and Ruane were the pilots, and Mathews and Ponce were the special mission aviators.  The helicopter was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force base Lakenheath in England.  The accident remains under investigation. "We continue to think of the loved ones who are experiencing such a tragic, sudden loss," said Col. Kyle Robinson, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "The Liberty Wing feels as though it has lost members of its family, and we stand by to support one another and these Airmen's families during this difficult time."  [Pictured, right: Tech. Sgt. Dale Mathews, special mission aviator, 56th Rescue Squadron/U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha]...

Read more: NW Indiana Airman Killed in Helicopter Crash

 

Public Invited to Christmas Tree Bonfire this Weekend

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One Lake County community's annual tradition is making its debut at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds this weekend. The 12th Night Christmas Tree Bonfire Celebration takes place on Sunday at 6pm and is being sponsored by the Cities of LaPorte and Michigan City, as well as Geisen-Carlisle Funeral and Cremation Services. Funeral Director Roy McNeal says Larry Geisen started the tradition 15 years ago in Crown Point at the Lake County Fair Grounds and they thought since he purchased a location in Michigan City they'd start the tradition in the Michigan City/LaPorte area.
Families with real, unwanted Christmas trees are being asked to drop them now until January 12th at the funeral home, located 613 Washington Street in Michigan City or at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds in front of the horse arena.  McNeal says everyone is welcome to the event where free popcorn and hot chocolate will be provided. ...

Read more: Public Invited to Christmas Tree Bonfire this Weekend

 

LaPorte PD Seek Help to Find Wanted Man

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John Kampf
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
Authorities are seeking your help in locating a man wanted on a warrant for two-counts of felony burglary. LaPorte Police report 44 year old John Kampf is described as a white male, 6'2”, weighing 160 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
If you know his immediate whereabouts, call 911. If you have any other information on Kampf, please contact the La Porte Police Department at 362-9446, or La Porte Metro Operations at 325-9022. You can remain anonymous....

Read more: LaPorte PD Seek Help to Find Wanted Man

 

General Assembly Issues Valpo Chamber Supports

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January 9, 2014, Valparaiso, IN - The Valpo Chamber announces key issues it will support and advocate for during the 2014 Indiana General Assembly Session.
“The key issues the Valpo Chamber supported in 2013 went unresolved. In all likelihood, these positions will go before the General Assembly in 2014,” states Rex Richards, Valpo Chamber President

Key issues to be supported: 
  • Support for the continued state funding for the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority
  • Support for the Illiana Expressway and its intersection with Interstate 65 in Lake County and continuing through Porter and LaPorte Counties
  • Repair and upgrade of Highway 30 from Fort Wayne to Valparaiso because of its importance as a transportation route moving goods across Northern Indiana
  • Elimination of the Business Personal Property Tax in Indiana as it is a negative factor discouraging capital investment therefore discouraging many forms of economic development in Indiana

“Each of these key issues will have an overall good effect on business and economic development in Valparaiso and Porter County,” adds Richards. “We strongly urge our legislators to work on the successful funding and enactments that will see these issues become laws.”...

Read more: General Assembly Issues Valpo Chamber Supports

 

FEMA Denies Federal Aid to 9 IL Counties Hit by Tornadoes

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FEMA is denying federal aid to nine Illinois counties hit hard by the November tornadoes. ABC News reports the six-point-one million dollars in aid was supposed to go to county governments, to help pay for expenses like costly police overtime. But the money requested is well below the 17.8 million dollar minimum for federal approval in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn, says he is disappointed by the decision, and will appeal. Millions of dollars in federal aid have already been given to residents and businesses....

Read more: FEMA Denies Federal Aid to 9 IL Counties Hit by Tornadoes

 

Arrest of Stolen Vehicle Suspects Leads to Stolen Property

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In Cedar Lake, police announced on Wednesday three suspects were taken into custody on January 1st in reference to a vehicle which had previously been reported stolen. Cedar Lake Police report an investigation determined a 20 year old Kouts man had taken a 1997 mercury Marque from a Cedar Lake woman without permission earlier that day and that a 22 year old Crown Point man and a 27 year old Cedar Lake woman accompanied the Kouts man in the stolen vehicle.
Police report an additional investigation revealed the two male suspects were also responsible for a burglary that took place in the 71-hundred block of West 137th Place in Cedar Lake that same day. A search warrant to recover the stolen property from that burglary was obtained and served in the 11-thousand block of West 126th Avenue in Cedar Lake and a 24 Cedar Lake man was arrested....

Read more: Arrest of Stolen Vehicle Suspects Leads to Stolen Property

 

Bus Service to Lake Hills in Michigan City Suspended

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Officials in Michigan City say, due to the current Lake Avenue street closure, normal city bus service to the Lake Hills area is being suspended, but that this will not affect service to Washington Park or the Senior Center. The change will be in effect until further notice and Lake Hills residents needing service are asked to contact the Michigan City Transit Department at (219) 873-1502....

Read more: Bus Service to Lake Hills in Michigan City Suspended

 

Work Release Escapee Arrested for Theft

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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A wanted escapee from LaPorte County Work Release was taken into custody on Wednesday. LaPorte Police report at approximately 11:12pm officers responded to the 700 block of Tipton Street to investigate a theft that had just occurred. The victim informed officers the suspect, 20 year old Scott Skinner, of LaPorte, just left his residence carrying a tin with approximately 50-dollars in change inside it and was possibly heading to an address on Ridge Street. Skinner was located a short time later at a home in the 100 block of Ridge Street and is charged with felony theft and escape...

Read more: Work Release Escapee Arrested for Theft

 

ISP Lifts Travel Restriction for Oversize Loads

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Indiana State Police reports this afternoon they have lifted the Travel Restriction for oversize loads. The restriction was enacted due to poor road conditions as the result of the recent winter storm. State Police say road conditions have significantly improved over the last 24 hours across the state.
At last check, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's County Travel Status Map shows Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Pulaski counties under a travel watch, meaning only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended. Newton and Starke counties remain under a travel advisory, which means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation.  
See Current County Travel Advisory Status here:  http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/...

Read more: ISP Lifts Travel Restriction for Oversize Loads

 

Businesses/Residents Asked to Clear Snowy Sidewalks

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Some Lake County communities are asking residents and businesses to clear snow from sidewalks and bus stops. In Munster, police report Munster businesses must clear snow from sidewalks or citations will be issued for non-compliance.

In Highland, police are asking residents to please clear snow from crosswalks at bus stops and sidewalks on school walk routes. Highland Police report doing so will help keep students from having to walk or wait for the bus in the streets.

The City of Hobart is also requesting residents remove snow from sidewalks and at bus stops and asks residents to remove vehicles from the streets so city crews can continue removing snow.

Read more: Businesses/Residents Asked to Clear Snowy Sidewalks

   

UPDATE: No Injuries in Liberty Twp House Fire

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No one was injured after a home in north central Porter County was damaged by fire early today. Crews got the call around 7:30am for a residential fire in the 200 block of Papillon Drive, not too far south of US 6, in Liberty Township. Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department says several area departments assisted on scene, including South Haven, Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Washington Township, Union Township, Portage and Valparaiso. Officials say there are no hydrants in that subdivision, so a tanker plan was called. The nearest hydrants are on US 6, authorities say, and those were tapped as well. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. ...

Read more: UPDATE: No Injuries in Liberty Twp House Fire

   

AUDIO/VIDEO: Coats on Income Inequality

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(Photo Courtesy of Senator Coats' Office)
President Obama recently emphasized addressing income inequality but Indiana US Senator Dan Coats says the President's signature accomplishment, “Obamacare”, is contributing to the problem.   Senator Coats says many Americans are experiencing higher premiums, and outrageous deductibles when they purchase coverage through the Obamacare exchanges.
To view Coats' speech from this morning on the Senator Floor, visit &feature=youtu.be">&feature=youtu.be, or listen at News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/. ...

Read more: AUDIO/VIDEO: Coats on Income Inequality

   

Indiana Proposed Gay Marriage Ban Filed

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Indiana's controversial marriage amendment is scheduled to be heard in committee Monday. The measure was filed in the Indiana House of Representatives today and is now known officially as House Joint Resolution 3. An amendment has to be approved by two separately-elected General Assemblies, and then by Hoosier voters in a referendum, in order to become part of the state's Constitution. The proposed ban on gay marriage was approved by state lawmakers in 2011, and if approved this session, would go before Indiana voters this November....

Read more: Indiana Proposed Gay Marriage Ban Filed

   

Multiple Depts Respond to Porter County Fire

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Fire damages a home in north central Porter County early today. Crews got the call around 7:30 this morning for a residential fire in the 200 block of Papillon Drive not too far south of US 6 in Liberty Township. Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department says several area departments assisted on scene, including South Haven, Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Washington Township, Union Township, Portage and Valparaiso. Officials say there are no hydrants in that subdivision, so a tanker plan was called. The nearest hydrants are on US 6, authorities say, and those were tapped as well. No information was available at this time on whether there were any injuries. Cause of the fire is not yet known. ...

Read more: Multiple Depts Respond to Porter County Fire

   

Hearing Over New Maps Rescheduled Due to Storm

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A hearing that was set for this past Tuesday January 7 on a lawsuit filed over Porter County's new redistricting plan was canceled due to the weather, and LaPorte County court officials tell the Region News Team it was rescheduled for this Monday [January 13] at 9 am. Earlier this month, the Porter County Board of Commissioners approved a new map that resulted in removing current 2nd District Councilman Jeremy Rivas from his district. The four redrawn districts are all on the ballot this year.  The newly-drawn lines, the board said, shrink population differences between districts, as per a state law requiring the populations to be as equal as possible.  Attorney Edward Hearn filed the suit on behalf of five plaintiffs, including Rivas.  The suit alleges that two districts are no longer contiguous as required by state law.  ...

Read more: Hearing Over New Maps Rescheduled Due to Storm

   

Election Season Begins in the Region

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Dozens of political hopefuls, including several incumbents, traveled to the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point to do the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot this May. Filing for this year's primary election in Indiana opened on Wednesday and continues through noon February 7th. In Porter County, first to file was Democrat Sylvia Graham. Graham, currently an at-large county council member, is running for the Center District seat on the Board of Commissioners. Second to file in Porter County was Republican County Coroner Chuck Harris, who is seeking re-election. 
...

Read more: Election Season Begins in the Region

   

Three Children Killed in Hammond House Fire

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The Lake County Coroners office has released the names of three young children killed in a house fire in the 600 block of Sibley Street in Hammond overnight. Coroners officials say seven-month-old Jayden Young, three-year-old Alexia Young, and four-year-old Dasani Young were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight this morning. Cause of death was listed as burns to the body and manner of death was pending investigation. The scene of the fire on Sibley is between Sohl and Calumet Avenues on the northwest side of Hammond.
Fire officials think space heaters being used in a house that had no heat may have been in factor in the fatal fire, but a cause has not yet been determined.

Officials say the children's father suffered third-degree burns and was in critical condition at a Chicago hospital after rescuing two of his other children, two boys ages five and seven, who were also said to be listed as critical. Fire crews were called out just before 10:30 last night, and when they arrived flames were reportedly coming out of the house.
[Photo/Karl Berner]...

Read more: Three Children Killed in Hammond House Fire

   

3 Children Die in Fire, 2 Others and Father Injured

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The Lake County Coroners office has released the names of three young children killed in a house fire in the 600 block of Sibley Street in Hammond overnight. Coroners officials say seven-month-old Jayden Young, three-year-old Alexia Young, and four-year-old Dasani Young were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight this morning. Cause of death was listed as burns to the body and manner of death was pending investigation. The scene of the fire on Sibley is between Sohl (sole) and Calumet Avenues on the northwest side of Hammond.
Fire officials think space heaters being used in a house that had no heat may have been in factor in the fatal fire, but a cause has not yet been determined.
Officials say the children's 28-year-old father suffered third-degree burns and was in crititical condition in the burn unit at a Chicago hospital after rescuing two of his other children, ages five and seven, who were also reportedly listed as critical. Fire crews were called out just before 10:30 last night, the house reportedly engulfed in flames. The three children who died were reportedly all found within six feet of the front door, which was barricaded, according to officials, and crews had to remove the hinges to get inside. ...

Read more: 3 Children Die in Fire, 2 Others and Father Injured

   

Breaking: 3 Children Killed in Hammond Fire

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Tragedy in Hammond.  Three children are dead after a house fire late Wednesday night in the 600 block of Sibley. Officials say two children and their father survived, but it's not known if the three children who were killed are also related. The man reportedly sustained third-degree burns and was able to get two children, ages three and six, out of the home.  Hammond Firefighters were called to a home around 10:15 pm, and the house was in flames when they arrived, authorities say.  The Region News Team's Scotty Smith will be reporting from the scene this morning....

Read more: Breaking: 3 Children Killed in Hammond Fire

   

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