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Triple Homicide in Gary

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Police in Gary are investigating a triple homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 34-year-old Michael Andrews and 22-year-old Briean Jiles, both of Gary, and 27-year-old Antonio Dove, address unknown, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were all pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 2 am Sunday in the 58-hundred block of East 13th Place, in the city's Aetna neighborhood. Police say they received a call of shots fired around 1 am, and officers found all three men in the street.
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Service Resuming Michigan City to South Bend

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The operators of the South Shore say the commuter line is resuming all regularly scheduled train service between South Bend and Michigan City this morning, Monday June 24. The first westbound train will be Train 12 departing South Bend at 6:32 a.m. ET. The first eastbound train from Chicago will be Train 7, arriving South Bend at 12:08 p.m. ET
Northern Indaina Commuter Transportation District says busing began on Thursday morning when a garbage truck struck and damaged a bridge in Hudson Lake in La Porte County. NICTD says their crews and personnel from Tonn & Blank of Michigan City were able to acquire replacement steel and make all necessary repairs in order to restore train service ahead of schedule.
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Hobart Farmer Dies, May Have Fallen

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The death of a Lake Station man and well-known area farmer who volunteered and prepared food at area events remains under investigation, but Hobart Police say the circumstances were not suspicious. The Lake County Coroners office says 72-year-old Anthony Wirtz was pronounced dead shortly after 3-o'clock Friday afternoon in the five-thousand block of East 70th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say he suffered head trauma, and that it appears he might have fallen off a tractor while working the fields of his family's farm, but the manner of death has not yet been determined.
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Woman Injured by Tiger in Indiana

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A woman, reportedly an intern, was injured at a central Indiana refuge for large cats after a tiger went through a gate which she reportedly failed to close. Officials say the tiger held her head in his mouth until co-workers freed her by spraying the animal with a hose. The 21-year-old Chicago-area woman was reportedly listed in critical condition last night at an Indianapolis hospital, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
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Teens Reportedly Robbed at Gunpoint

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Police are investigating the report of two teenagers allegedly being robbed at gunpoint around 11:30 Thursday night. The 17-year-old boys were reportedly walking home from a festival at Thomas More church on Calumet Avenue in Munster when they were approached by two men and held up in the area of Broadmoor and Calumet.
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Jury Trial Monday in Fatal Alleged Hit-and-Run

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Jury trial is scheduled to begin in Crown Point this Monday for Jason Cozmanoff, who is accused in an alleged hit-and-run crash that killed Lake County Corrections Officer Brittney Meux and injured three others as they were jogging along West 93rd Avenue in Crown Point in March of last year. The 43-year-old Lakes of the Four Seasons man faces charges that include reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Last week a Lake County judge approved a request from the defense to remove a memorial for Meux at the Lake County Government Center and Court complex before and during the length of the trial.
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Streets Closed for Taste of Region

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Traffic-Advisory
This traffic reminder from Crown Point Fire Rescue... Roads in the downtown area remain closed due to the Taste of The Region, on the Downtown Square around the Old Lake County Courthouse.
The event opened up Friday and then strong storms rolled through the Region... Summer's arrival early Friday was followed about half-the-day later by heavy downpours and lightning strikes, including a report of lightning hitting the highest point of Timothy Ball Elementary School in Crown Point, firefighters finding smoke when they arrived. School was not in session.
Authorities say there were scattered outages accompanying the storms Friday afternoon, mainly in the Gary, Crown Point, Lowell and Valparaiso area, mainly due to limbs landing on power lines.
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Public Input Sessions on SR 49 Study

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A couple of public input sessions are coming up in a couple days at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce office to get feedback for the State Road 49 corridor study. Residents can come out Monday and/or Tuesday afternoon to view possible development ideas for the corridor, from State Road 2 , or LaPorte Avenue, north to US 6.  Monday's (June 24) ession is 2-5:30pm; Tuesday (June 25) is 1-4:30pm.
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Investigation into Death of Lake Station Man in Hobart

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A 72 year old Lake Station man is dead due to head trauma after an incident that occurred this afternoon in the five-thousand block of East 70th Avenue in Hobart. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Anthony Wirtz was pronounced dead at 3:09 this afternoon, and that the manner of death is being withheld pending an investigation. No further information is available at this time.
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Attorney for Van Til Requests Government's Evidence

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The attorney for Lake County Surveyor George Van Til on Friday filed a motion in US District Court requesting the feds turn over their evidence against his client so he can eventually consider whether accepting a plea deal would be in his best interest. Van Til pled not guilty last month to six-counts of wire fraud and two-counts of obstruction of justice, and is alleged to have devised a scheme to defraud Lake County of money and property by utilizing county employees to perform personal and political services so he would be reelected surveyor.
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Elementary School in Crown Point Struck by Lightning

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cp school hit by lightning
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
An elementary school in Crown Point was struck by lightning this afternoon. The Times reports the incident was reported around 2:45pm, as thunderstorms moved through the area. Firefighters reportedly found some smoke in Timothy Ball Elementary School, in the 700 block of West Summit Street, and that the lightning hit the highest point of the school, which was not in session.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Federico Ortiz II

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ORTIZFEDERICO
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals, Great Lakes Task Force)
A 22 year old wanted in Porter County Court for probation violations, and underlying felony charges of dealing controlled substances has been named this week's “Fugitive of the Week”, by the U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force. Federico Ortiz II is described as a white male, 5'09”, weighing 210 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. Authorities report Ortiz was last known to reside in the 37-hundred block of 34th Lane in Hobart and the 900 block of Camelot Manor in Portage. Ortiz is also known to frequent the areas of Portage, Lake Station, and Hobart. 
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Federico Ortiz II may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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Participants Sought for Waste/Recycling Focus Groups

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Porter County, Indiana – The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County invites Porter County residents to take part in focus groups that will be held around the county to help the agency collect information to create a strategic plan.
The District is working with consultants from Organizational Development Solutions, Inc. who will conduct the sessions. Questions will focus on county and individual needs, whether or not participants use any of the District services.
All participants will be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Reader. Sessions are limited. Volunteers are asked to choose the session they are interested in attending and confirm attendance by calling 219-926-3665 or sending an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
The following sessions have been scheduled: Monday, June 24, 8:30 to 10 a.m., Porter County United Way, 951 Eastporte Center Dr., Valparaiso; or 1 to 2:30 p.m., Hebron Library (upstairs room), 201 W. Sigler.
Tuesday, July 9, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Kouts Library Indiana Room, 101 E. Daumer Rd.; or 2 to 3:30 p.m., Portage Library, 2665 Irving St.
Wednesday, July 10, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Duneland Chamber of Commerce, 220 Broadway, Chesterton; Tuesday, July 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Hageman Library, 100 Francis St., Porter; Wednesday, July 17, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, 162 W. Lincolnway; Monday, July 22, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Construction Advancement Foundation, 6050 Southport Rd., Portage; and Thursday, July 25, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Burns Harbor Town Hall, 1240 W. North Boo Rd.
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Coats to Reid: Don't Block Open Debate on Immigration Reform

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Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Committee, issued the following statement regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s action to begin the process of shutting down debate on the Senate immigration reform bill:
“Time and time again, the Majority Leader has shut down debate without allowing full consideration of amendments, and it appears he is heading down that path again. I am concerned that the Majority Leader is taking a page out of the Obamacare playbook and preparing to jam through another 1,000-page bill without full examination by Congress and the input of the American people. Refusing to allow an open and fair amendment process only jeopardizes the chances for a credible and effective immigration reform bill.
“Those of us who are pushing for realistic and needed reforms to our broken system deserve the ability to work toward that goal and represent the people of our state.
Repairing our immigration system is far too important of an issue to be dealt with behind closed doors and without the opportunity for all senators to seek improvements.”
Click here to learn more about the amendments Coats offered to improve border security measures in the Senate immigration bill.
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Tips to Save You Money on Your Summer Electric Bill

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Now that summer’s here, electric bills will be going up. However, consumers can take a number of no-cost and low-cost steps that will help keep energy costs in check.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) offers a number of consumer tips for reducing summer electric bills.
 
Among the tips:
 
· Unplug chargers for cell phones and other devices when you’re not using them. Power strips can help.
· Set the thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature and raise it a few degrees if you’ll be leaving the house for more than 5 hours.
· Move lamps, TVs and appliances away from the thermostat. 
· Turn off all lights, TVs, computers and other appliances you’re not using. Use timers when you go on vacation.
· If you use exhaust fans, only use them for very short periods of time.
· Use ceiling fans only when you are in the room, and make sure they are set to turn counter-clockwise.
· Close blinds, shades and draperies, as well as storm doors and windows.
· Have your HVAC system serviced by a professional, for both efficiency and safety purposes. Be sure the filter is clean, and make sure the vents are not blocked by furniture or rugs.
· If you haven’t checked your attic’s insulation in a few years, it’s time to give it a look.
· Wait until evening to use the oven or dishwasher, to do laundry, or to use other large appliances. Use a microwave or toaster for cooking during the day.
· Clean the coils on your refrigerator. Also, close your refrigerator and freezer doors on a dollar bill. If you can easily pull the bill out, the gaskets are too loose and are letting cold air escape.
· If you have a second refrigerator in your garage or basement, consider getting rid of it. If it is in working condition, some utilities will haul it away at no charge and will even pay you for the old appliance.
· Make sure your clothes dryer vent isn’t clogged.
· Make sure your water heater isn’t set too high. 115 or 120 degrees is hot enough for most households.
· Compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use much less energy and emit much less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs.
· Enroll in your utility’s air conditioning load management program if available.
For a copy of the OUCC’s “Reduce Your Summer Electric Bill” fact sheet, visit www.IN.gov/OUCC or call the agency toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
 
For more specific recommendations for saving energy, many residential electric customers can receive home energy assessments from Energizing Indiana at no extra charge. To learn more and sign up if you qualify, visit www.energizingindiana.com or call 1-888-446-7750 toll-free. A number of utilities also offer online energy audits on their websites.
 
"A home energy assessment can play a major role in helping consumers find ways to save energy that they otherwise might not have known about,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. “The beginning of summer is an annual reminder for all of us to use electricity more wisely and to take advantage of the many ways to save.”
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ISTEP + Vendors Will Have to Pay for Test Interruptions

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education announced preliminary damages that it will seek from CTB McGraw-Hill related to ISTEP+ interruptions experienced by schools throughout the state this spring. These amounts are not final, and may well grow as results are reviewed by a third party and additional information is gained. The preliminary damages amount sought will not be less than $613,600 and could reasonably go into the millions. That amount includes $400,000 in liquidated damages provided for in the contract between the Department of Education and CTB. It also includes $53,600 that the Department will spend to have a third party conduct an analysis of the scores of students that had their testing sessions interrupted and at least $160,00 for other related costs associated with enhanced reporting data.
In addition to the preliminary damages, additional damages may be sought after further investigation. Those potential damages include, but are not limited to:
-Reimbursement to Indiana schools for additional costs incurred to administer ISTEP+ during the extended testing window.
-Reimbursement to the Indiana Department of Education for additional costs incurred because of ISTEP+ testing interruptions.
“I have worked closely with CTB throughout the entire ISTEP+ testing process,” said Superintendent Ritz. “The consequences of CTB’s server failures were real and significant for Indiana schools. As Superintendent, I will work to ensure that schools are made whole while continuing to negotiate with CTB in good faith.”
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Gas Prices Down 34 Cents Since Last Week

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Prices at the pump have fallen quite a bit in the latest week according to Triple-A's fuel price finder. The company reports in the Gary Metropolitan Area prices at last check are averaging three-dollars-71-cents for a gallon of regular unleaded, down 34-cents from just last week. The Indiana average is also three-dollars-71-cents, and falling, while the national average is three-dollars-59 cents, that according to gasbuddy.com.
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Heavy Rain Moving through Region Causing Traffic Delays

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Traffic is reportedly running under posted speeds due to heavy precipitation moving through the Region.  Traffic tipster reported water on the roadway of Interstate 65 from the Borman (I-80/94) to US-231 the Crown point exit.   In addition both directions of 80/94 from the state line to the Lake Station corridor are averaging 30 miles an hour.  As a result, traffic northbound on I-65 is backing up onto the westbound entrance ramp of I-80/94, from just before 45th Avenue.  Drivers should allow extra time, increase the distance between them and other drivers and be sure to have their headlights on.
rain moving through causing backup 06-22-13
(photo from INDOT )
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Pence to Talk Transportation in NW IN with IL Gov Monday

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Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be discussing transportation in Northwest Indiana with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Monday. Both governors will be attending the Illiana Corridor Industry Forum that takes place at noon, in Rosemont, Illinois. INDOT and IDOT are hosting the two-day international industry forum for potential contractors, construction managers, partners and investors. Later that same afternoon, Governor Pence is scheduled to tour the homeless charity, “A Safe Haven Foundation” in Chicago.
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IN Seasonally Adjusted Unemloyment Rate Stays at 8.3%

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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that compared to the same time a year ago, unemployment in the region went up in every county but Starke County, whose May 2013 rates remained the same as in May of 2012 at 10-point-one percent, and who along with LaPorte County in May also registered the highest county unemployment in the region. Porter County registered the region's lowest unemployment rate in May, at seven-point-nine percent, up two-tenths from the previous month, and up four-tenths from a year ago. Unemployment in Lake County in May remained the same as last month, at nine-point-seven percent, but up seven-tenths from a year ago. The Gary and Michigan City metropolitan areas respectively registered nine-point-two and ten-point-one percent unemployment in May. Gary had the highest city unemployment rate in May at 14-point-two percent, same as last month, and up one-point-one percent from a year ago, while Schererville had the lowest unemployment in May with a population over 25-thousand, at six-point-eight percent, down two-tenths from April, but up two-tenths from a year ago. Indiana's May seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was eight-point-three percent, same as a year ago, and down two-tenths from last month.  For more unemployment rate information visit http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=107310&information_id=183311&type=&syndicate=syndicate
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Read more: IN Seasonally Adjusted Unemloyment Rate Stays at 8.3%

   

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