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Portage Township Offers Free Legal Clinic

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A new, free legal clinic program starts Friday at the Portage Township Trustees Office. Chief of Staff Nina Rivas says, at this time, the program has no end date and will take place the last Friday of every month. Rivas says they use to have a program called Legal Aid at the trustee's office, but it lost funding. The new program is through Attorney Katrina Spence, who is volunteering her time to help Portage Township residents in need of legal assistance.  Appointments are not required and legal service is provided on a first come-first serve basis to Portage Township residents only. ...

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South Haven Man Accused of Kicking Boy in the Groin

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A South Haven man was arrested and charged with felony battery for allegedly kicking his girlfriend's 12 year old son in the groin on Tuesday. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports they were contacted by the child's grandmother, just after 7pm, who informed police her grandchild told her 40 year old John Amann Jr. kicked him in the groin because he was angry over the job the child did cleaning dishes. The case has been forwarded to Child Protective Services....

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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week in Custody

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Brittney Rapoport
(Photo Courtesy of LaPorte Police)
A 21 year old woman listed earlier this week as the LaPorte Police Department's “Wanted Person of the Week” is now in custody. LaPorte Police report Brittney Rapoport was taken into custody in Indianapolis Tuesday night. Rapoport was wanted on a warrant from LaPorte Circuit Court for felony fraud and revocation of suspended sentence. Authorities say Rapoport is facing local charges in Indianapolis and once she is through the judical process for those charges she will be extradited back to LaPorte County. ...

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Indiana, Illinois Reach Agreement on Illiana Corridor

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An agreement has been reached on how to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the proposed Illiana Corridor Project. The Indiana Finance Authority, INDOT and I-DOT will each procure their individual sections of the 47 mile access controlled highway, that would extend from I-65 in Indiana to I-55 in Illinois, with both states using their respective Public-Private Partnership laws to enter into a long-term concession agreement to develop and build the expressway. Each state expects to issue a Request for Qualifications this fall for private firms who are interested. Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2015.
The two states will continue to work together to coordinate schedules, technical provisions and tolling operations. They will also continue to coordinate under the National Environmental Policy Act as required by the federal government....

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Three Lake County Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting

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(Photos Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office,
Top: Adams. Middle: Aguilera. Bottom: Ziemack.)
louis aguilera
Three Lake County men were arrested Tuesday during a prostitution sting in the 82-hundred block of Louisiana Street in Merrillville. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports 31 year old David Adams of Hobart, 51 year old Louis Aguilera Sr., and 38 year old Alexander Ziemak, both of Crown Point, were charged with patronizing a prostitute and sexual deviate conduct after propositioning an undercover female officer for her “services”. Sheriff John Buncich says the sting is part of an-going initiative to address prostitution and human trafficking.
alexander ziemak ...

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AG's Call on FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined with his counterparts in 39 other states today, calling on the FDA to place restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes. Zoeller says there are no federal age restrictions to prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes and if left unregulated, the state's youth may use them as a gateway to smoking. According to a survey from the CDC, one-point-eight million middle and high school students have tried e-cigarettes in 2012. E-cigarettes are battery operated products that heat nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled by the user....

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BP Required to Cut Mercury Emissions

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BP's Whiting Refinery will be required to cut its mercury releases into the waters of Lake Michigan by more than half, starting November 1st, when a new permit kicks in. The requirement is part of a final ruling on the permit application, through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which will requires BP to discharge no more than eight-point-seven-five parts per million of mercury. B-P must also continue to work on technologies to reduce mercury emissions into the lake with Purdue University Calumet's Water Institute....

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Proposal for Postal Service Rate Hike

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The cost of a letter would go up 3 cents, under a proposed postal rate hike. ABC's News reports the cost of a first-class stamp on a letter would go up 3 cents to 49 cents; post card stamps - up a penny more; prices for packages and other services - would also go up, starting next January, under this plan. The Postal Service says it expects the new rates will raise $2 billion in new revenues. The Postal Service lost almost $16 billion last year. ...

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Woman Fatally Struck by South Shore Train Identified

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Officials say a Michigan woman was struck and killed this morning by a South Shore train in far northeast Porter County. According to Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) Transit Police Chief Robert Byrd, at approximately 6:40 am today, 56-year-old Sharon Spitler of Westland, Michigan, apparently ran onto the tracks behind Al and Sally's Motel on US 12 in the Town of Pines, where she was staying, turned her back to a westbound South Shore train and crouched before the train struck and killed her. Authorities say engineers on the train witnessed what happened in what is being ruled a suicide.   Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.  Westbound trains 12 and 112 were delayed indefinitely. As of 8:15 am CDT, South Shore service had resumed between South Bend and Gary....

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Female Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Train

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Officials say a female pedestrian was struck and killed this morning by a South Shore train in far northeast Porter County, in the Town of Pines. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Spokesman John Parsons says Transit Police Chief Bob Byrd reports the death is being ruled a suicide. Parsons says the woman was struck at approximately 6:30 this morning just west of Central Avenue, in the Pines. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and no information was available on her identity at this time. Westbound trains 12 and 112 were delayed indefinitely.
As of 8:15 am, South Shore service had resumed between South Bend and Gary.
NICTD website: www.nictd.com ...

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Safe Schools Active Shooter Program Being Presented

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Training session in Knox [Photo/Indiana State Police]
Today (Wednesday Sept 25, 2013) in Lake Station, the state-sanctioned "Safe Schools/Active Shooter" program is coming to Edison High School.  Lt. Jerry Williams, District Commander Indiana State Police, Lowell Post, says the program shows school leaders how to be better prepared in the event of an "active shooter" situation.  "We will be doing some role-playing, giving the administrators an idea of how difficult, for example, it is to hear a gunshot go off inside of a school building," Lt. Williams said, and how difficult it is to "really pinpoint where that shot is actually coming from".
trainig2
Training session in Knox [Photo/Indiana State Police]
Indiana State Police at Lowell held its very first Safe Schools/Active Shooter Training session in August for school administrators. That training session was conducted at Knox Middle School and was attended by 40 school administrators from Starke and Pulaski Counties.
During the training session, troopers instructed school personnel on proper tactics for survival during an active shooter event. Troopers also conducted an active shooter scenario using blank ammunition. The scenario was designed to give the administrators a feel of what it might be like during an actual active shooter situation.
The training session was the result of several months of preparation by Indiana State Police in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Education to provide training for school administrators on the proper response to an active shooter.
The Indiana State Police has been tasked to serve as the lead agency in coordinating active shooter training with local school corporations throughout the entire state. Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter and Governor Mike Pence want to ensure that every effort is being made to provide the safest possible environment for all children in the State of Indiana.
This coordinated effort was launched early on with the Department of Education to create and implement a statewide training program that would involve all parties responsible for the care and safety of our children. This program, which was already in the developmental stages before tragedy in Newtown, CT, has come to be known as the “Safe Schools/Active Shooter” program. Dr. Rich Hogue of the Department of Education has been assigned as a liaison with the Indiana State Police to assist in this endeavor.
The purpose of this program is to educate school administrative personnel on proper response to an active shooter situation, how law enforcement responds to active shooter situations and what school personnel can do to mitigate injury and the loss of life in an active shooter situation.
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post says those interested in having a Safe Schools/Active Shooter presentation at your school or who want more information about the program are asked to contact Sergeant Ann Wojas at 1-800-552-8917....

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South Shore Officials Say Pedestrian Hit Near Pines

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Breaking News
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District officials this morning are reporting that a pedestrian was struck near the Pines.  Westbound South Shore trains 12 and 112 were delayed indefinitely.  More information as it becomes available.
www.nictd.com...

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Hammond Police Investigating Homicide

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In Hammond police are investigating an apparent homicide. The Lake County Coroners office reports 30-year-old Marchello Valliant of Hammond suffered gunshot wounds in the 75-hundred block of Chestnut Avenue in Hammond and was pronounced dead at Community Hospital in Munster shortly before 6-o'clock Tuesday evening. Hammond Police say shots were fired during an apparent altercation inside a parked vehicle, where the victim was found and two men described as young adults reportedly left the scene on foot. ...

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IUN Professor to Discuss New Book on Dunes Region

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Gary native, Indiana author and IU Northwest Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Schoon has a new book... and you can check it out during a special presentation at the Lake County Public Library on US 30 in Merrillville this Thursday, September 26, at 3 pm. It's called, “Dreams of Duneland, A Pictorial History of the Indiana Dunes Region”.
Dr. Schoon will be available after his presentation to answer questions. Those planning to attend are asked to register online at the library's website , www.lcplin.org/branches/cnl.htm  or by calling (219) 769-3541 ext 335. Walk-ins are also welcome.
“Dreams of Duneland,” published by Indiana University Press, is Schoon’s fifth book and his second on the subject of the Indiana Dunes.
Schoon’s research interests center around local studies and misconceptions in science. His book, “Calumet Beginnings,” released in 2003, is now in its fifth printing. He is also the author of “City Trees: An ID Guide to Urban and Suburban Species.”
 
Schoon holds a B.A. in geology and an M.S. in secondary education, both from IU Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University in Chicago. In 1999, he was invited to join the IU Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET).
Schoon serves on the board of the Munster Parks and Recreation and the Dunes Learning Center. He also has been a member of the steering committee of IU Northwest’s Science Olympiad tournament since its inception in 2001....

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Wheatfield Man Killed in Collision

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Newton County Sheriffs Police have released details from the initial investigation into a fatal accident  Sunday. Authorities say it appears a pickup truck driven by 20-year-old Ezra Myers of Morocco was on State Road 14 and was attempting to make a left turn onto County Road 250 West when a motorcycle behind Myers tried to pass on the left and the two vehicles collided. Officials say the motorcycle lost control, throwing both the driver and his passenger off. The driver, identified as 40-year-old Chad Scolley of Wheatfield man was pronounced dead at the scene, and his wife, 44-year-old Teresa Scolley was transported to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee. No information was available on her condition. Police say Myers refused treatment at the scene....

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Two Region Elementaries National Blue Ribbon Schools

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Two Region elementaries are among three-hundred across the U-S, and a dozen in the state, to be named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Salk Elementary in Merrillville and Morgan Township Elementary in the East Porter County School District. Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Tuesday announced 286 schools as the 2013 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement. Secretary Duncan made this year's announcement live via the Department's USTREAM channel http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/39189722, viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country.
The Department will honor 236 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America's schools.
"Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," said Secretary Duncan. "National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education."
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement.
The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is "Exemplary High Performing," in which schools are recognized among their state's highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is "Exemplary Improving," in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requested nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
To see the full list click here: http://www.nationalblueribbonschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/2013-NBRS-school-list.pdf...

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Retailer Opening New Store in the Region

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In local business news... a Nebraska-based apparel and home décor retailer makes its debut in the Region Thursday. Gordmans will open a new 50-thousand square foot store at Porter's Vale Shopping Center in Valparaiso.  The Valparaiso location marks Gordmans’ seventh store in Indiana.
“We are excited to extend the Gordmans experience to Valparaiso. Our mission is to delight guests with big savings, big selection and fun, friendly associates,” said Jeff Gordman, president and CEO. “We offer compelling value with our name brand merchandise for the entire family and invite Valparaiso citizens to visit the new store and enjoy our unique shopping environment that’s well-organized, infused with fun and entertainment, and features outstanding service.
Grand Opening activities begin Friday, October 4 with a 9 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony. CEO Jeff Gordman will present a check for $2,500 to Valparaiso Community Schools to launch the retailer’s Partners in Education fundraising events. Partners in Education is a program through which businesses make additional educational resources available to local public school systems. Gordmans’ guests may join in by purchasing “helping hands” for $1 each. Every dollar raised will directly benefit Valparaiso Community Schools. Since its involvement with Partners in Education, which began in 2000, Gordmans has contributed more than $1 million to public school systems in markets where Gordmans has stores. The new Gordmans store has selected Parkview Elementary School as its partner school.
“Through Partners in Education, we’re able to make a difference in the lives of many area schoolchildren,” said Gordman. “The collaboration is also a great volunteer opportunity for our associates, and it reinforces our commitment to giving back to the communities where our stores are located.”
Gordmans will open ten new stores in 2013. Seven of them opened earlier this year in Albuquerque, N.M.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee; Minot, N.D.; Peoria, Ill.; and Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah. In September, in addition to the Valparaiso location.
...

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Dedication Ceremony in Gary Thursday for Senior Facility

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A dedication ceremony will take place in Gary on Thursday for a 38 unit affordable housing facility, serving low-income seniors in the Gary area. City of Gary Director of Communication Chelsea Whittington says it was just under a year ago when groundbreaking began on the Gardens on Carolina, located in the five-hundred block of Carolina Street.
Whittington says the facility is another comfortable place for the city's seniors who have invested in the community, lived, worked and raised their children, which is new and filled the amenities they need to live on their own.  The public is invited to the dedication ceremony for the opening of the facility, which takes place Thursday, starting at 2pm.
The Gardens on Carolina is eligible to residents where at least one member of the household is age 62 or over and meet income eligibility requirements of at or below 50 percent of median income. The facility is located on the corner of East 5th Avenue and Carolina Street.  The facility  is comprised of a single three-story building including 38 one-bedroom/one-bath units for elderly residents, and one two-bedroom apartment for the site manager.  This facility is made possible by a capital advance of $5,464,200 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as project rental assistance contract funds.  ...

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Hoosier State Negotiations Between INDOT and Amtrak

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Contract negotiations have begun between Amtrak and INDOT over continuation of the Hoosier State passenger rail service. That route, which operates four-days a week between Indianapolis and Chicago, could be terminated as of October 1st, unless funding can be arranged. In 2008, Congress voted to end federal support for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. INDOT reports there is still a number of hurdles to clear, but there is a common interest among state and local officials to ensure the route is accountable for the tax dollars being invested. A estimate Amtrak provided in May to keep the Hoosier State passenger rail service in operation is almost three-million dollars annually. INDOT has also funded a cost-benefit analysis of the existing service and four options Amtrak provided for improved frequency and departure times, the result of which will be presented on Thursday before a joint study committee of the legislature. ...

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Hungry Inc. Drives to Curb Hunger in Porter County

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The food truck craze is sweeping the nation and a northwest Indiana resident has gotten in on the action. Phil West, owner/operator of Hungry Incorporated Food Truck, and a Valparaiso native, says to his knowledge, his operation is the first full-time food truck in the Region, with a self-contained commercial kitchen, 75 gallons of fresh water and a great water holding tank.
West says he offers quite a variety of food options, but at this time his stops are mostly based in Porter County, in Chesterton and Valparaiso, but he does bring the truck to other venues like weddings, private events and even to people's driveways with a menu catered to fit.
For more information regarding the Hungry Incorporated Food Truck, visit http://hti.cmsdesignstudio.com/ or like them on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hungry-INC/115896751776464....

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