Kelly Wins Illinois Second Congressional District Seat

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Former Illinois State Representative, Robin Kelly captured the second congressional district seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr. in Tuesday special election, easily defeating her closest competitor, Republican Paul McKinley. The 56 year old Matteson Democrat, who vowed to fight for gun control legislation during the campaign echoed the message again after her victory.
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Woman in Portage Ignores Alleged Police Impersonator

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portage pd
Police in Portage say a woman did the right thing by not stopping for a man in a dark-colored SUV with flashing read and blue lights, who was motioning for her to pull over. Portage Police say the incident occurred at approximately 3:20 Monday afternoon, in the area of Dombey Road and Central Avenue. The woman reported to police the lights were inside the vehicle, driven by a white male, and appeared to be coming from a mobile phone application, and after ignoring the man, she stated the vehicle turned around, and she notified police after reaching her destination. Police say Indiana law prohibits officers from writing a ticket or making an arrest if not in uniform or in a marked car, but doesn't prohibit the officer from pulling you over to give a verbal warning. If you believe you are being pulled over by a police impersonator, call 9-1-1, and if unable to call 9-1-1, wave out the window to acknowledge the officer, drive to a well lit location and stop, and then be ready to explain your concerns as to why you did not stop.
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Governor Pence Signs Child Labor Laws Bill

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Today, Governor Mike Pence signed the child labor laws bill, SB 153, which would exempt a child who is employed or works as a youth athletic program referee, umpire, or official from the state's child labor law.   Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senators on the bill.  Burkart wanted to work as a soccer referee a year ago, but couldn't because Indiana Soccer officials stopped using 12- and 13-year olds once they learned that hiring them would be illegal.
Gov signs Child Labor Laws Bill
Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senator Vaneta Becker (R) and State Representatives Suzanne Crouch (R), Ron Bacon (R), Gail Riecken (D) and Martin Carbaugh (R) on the bill.
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RailCats Caravan to Invade Northwest Indiana

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Now that spring and baseball have finally arrived, the anticipation for RailCats baseball season is building throughout Northwest Indiana. In order to further excite the fan base for Opening Day on May 16, the RailCats will be coming out into the community on the first-ever RailCats Caravan!
The Caravan will be driven in a limousine bus from Southlake Limousine Service and will make four stops at locations throughout the Region. On Friday, April 26, the Caravan will stop to play at Jak’s Warehouse in Schererville from 6-8 p.m. On Saturday, April 27, the RailCats will be at Fuel Fitness in Cedar Lake from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and then at Catch 22 in Merrillville from 6-7 p.m. On Sunday, April 28, the final stop on the Caravan will be at Fuel Fitness in Crown Point from 12-1 p.m.
Members of the RailCats Caravan include RailCats manager Greg Tagert and players Cristian Guerrero, Mike Massaro and Craig Maddox. Of course, mascots Rusty and Rascal will be there to join in the fun as well. The RailCats crew will be interacting with fans, signing autographs and spreading the word about the upcoming season.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to take the RailCats out into the community and connect with our passionate fans,” said RailCats President/General Manager Kevin Spudic. “This will be a lot of fun for the fans to see the players and our manager up-close and personal and have the chance to interact in a different setting.”
Opening Day is approaching and single game tickets are on sale now. Fans may purchase tickets online at or by calling the box office at 219-882-2255.  
RailCats Caravan
April 26—Jak’s Warehouse, Schererville, 6-8 p.m.
April 27—Fuel Fitness, Cedar Lake, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
                Catch 22, Merrillville, 6-7 p.m.
April 28—Fuel Fitness, Crown Point, 12-1 p.m.
Gary Railcats
(Article provided by Matt Friedman, Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Gary Southshore  Railcats)
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Gary Mayor Observes National Day of Service

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Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined more than 800 mayors across the country for the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, a nationwide bipartisan effort to highlight the impact of national service in tackling city problems.

“In the face of budget cuts, volunteerism and community service are ways that we fill major voids within our city,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson.  “AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps participants have a positive and lasting impact, making our cities better places to live.  As Mayor, it is my honor to salute them today for all they continue to do in our community.”

More than 60 volunteers hailing from a variety of non-profit organizations (United Way, RSVP, Catholic Charities, Sojourner Truth House, The NWI Arc, NWI Adult Guardianship Services, and One Accord Global) packed the council chambers at City Hall. Volunteer coordinators from each of the organizations shared brief remarks about the important work volunteers perform every day. Freeman-Wilson then read a proclamation and proclaimed it National Service Recognition Day in the City of Gary. 

The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is was conceived of by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as a way to recognize the positive impact of national service in cities, to thank those who serve; and to encourage citizens to give back to their communities.  The day is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the National League of Cities, and Cities of Service.

“Mayors are leaders who get things done, responding every day to needs in their cities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  “I commend Mayor [NAME] for joining in this important effort to recognize the impact of national service.  We are proud to work hand-in-hand with mayors and other local partners to improve lives and strengthen communities through national service.”

As the federal agency for service and volunteering, CNCS annually engages more than five million citizens in service at more than 70,000 locations in 8,500 cities across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs.  National service participants address the most pressing challenges facing our cities and nation, from educating students for the jobs of the 21st century and supporting veterans and military families to preserving the environment and helping communities recover from natural disasters.

Across the country, mayors are participating in a variety of activities, including visiting national service programs, hosting roundtables at City Hall, issuing proclamations, and communicating about national service through social media.  By shining the spotlight on the impact of service and thanking those who serve, mayors hope to inspire more residents to get involved in their communities.
Hear Region News Team reporter Karl Berner, talk with some of the recognitiion recipients available at News Audio On Demand at:    

For more information on the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, including background and a list of participating mayors, visit
Gary Mayor
(photo provided by the mayor's office)

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Food Recall Expanded, E coli Cases Reported in Indiana

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Food items that were distributed in Indiana are being voluntarily recalled by Rich Products Corporation, following a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0121(E. coli). Two cases have been reported in Indiana.

Most of the recalled items, including mini frozen pizzas, mozzarella bites and mini quesadillas, among others, are under the brand names Farm Rich® and Market Day®. The recall covers all products produced at the company's Waycross, GA, plant with "Best by" dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.

Hoosiers are encouraged to check their freezers for these items, which have a shelf life of about 18 months. Customers who have purchased these items or have questions should contact Rich Products Corporation consumer relations at (888) 220-5955 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday or visit the company website at

Symptoms of E. coli 0121 include mild to severe diarrhea, often bloody, and abdominal cramps. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within five to seven days, certain individuals can develop a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause the kidneys to fail. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. 
Contact your health care provider if you or a family member has symptoms of E. coli 0121.

For a full list of recalled items, visit
ISDH logo
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Crown Point Orthodontist Sentenced in Health Care Fraud

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Dr. Michael David Goodwin, 63, an orthodontist who practiced in Amarillo, Texas, and Crown Point, Indiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 50 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,810,960 in restitution, following his guilty plea in December 2012 to one count of health care fraud related to the Texas Medicaid program. In addition, Goodwin must forfeit $1,558,911, which are the gross proceeds traceable to his offense, as well as more than $244,000 the government seized in May and July 2011 from his JP Morgan Chase accounts. Judge Robinson ordered that he surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 29, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

According to documents filed in the case, from January 2008 through March 2011, Goodwin devised a scheme to defraud the Texas Medicaid program by billing the program at least $2,626,125 for services he claimed he provided, when in fact, as he well knew, some of the services were not medically necessary, or dental assistants provided those services when no dentist or orthodontist was present to supervise, and even when present, did not directly supervise or provide any services.

Goodwin practiced orthodontic dentistry approximately two weeks each month at Goodwin Orthodontics in Amarillo and approximately two weeks each month at his Indiana office. In order to maximize the number of Medicaid patients seen, on numerous occasions, Goodwin had his employees schedule more than 100 patients per day and intentionally schedule large numbers of Medicaid patients for days when Goodwin was scheduled to be out of town. To accommodate the large volume of patients, Goodwin directed dental assistants to perform impermissible acts, including comprehensive examinations, diagnoses and treatment planning for Medicaid patients when he knew that only licensed dentists were permitted to perform those acts.

Goodwin devised a generic treatment guideline for dental assistants to follow in treating Medicaid beneficiaries that included dental assistants making treatment decisions at most appointments, without Goodwin examining the patients; confirming or revising the diagnoses; or confirming or revising the treatment plans. Goodwin also caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulent state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services that had been impermissibly delegated to and performed by dental assistants.

In April 2009, Goodwin hired substitute general dentists to create the appearance of direct supervision of dental assistants when he was away from the office. These substitute dentists were not enrolled Medicaid orthodontic providers. These substitutes did not provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries, did not directly supervise the dental assistants who provided the services, and were not always present in the office for orthodontic procedures. Again, Goodwin caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulently state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services performed when he was out of town and dental assistants provided those services when a substitute dentist was present to supervise, but did not directly supervise or provide any services.

Goodwin also instructed his dental assistants to falsely and fraudulently indicate in the patient records that an “adjustment” was performed on every visit, except for the initial consult, when no such adjustment had been provided and when he knew this violated Medicaid Rules.

The case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Office of the Texas Attorney General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sally Helmer were in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Kozub handled the forfeiture.
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Semi Brakes to Avoid Collision and Spills Load on I-80/94

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A semi driver lost part of his load this afternoon when he braked to avoid another semi causing all travel lanes west bound on I-80 just west of Burr
Street to be closed.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Brian White revealed that at approximately 1:28p.m., a 2006 Volvo semi pulling a covered flat bed, driven by Philip Johnson, 50 of
Haviland, Ohio, was west bound on I-80 in the left center lane when another semi pulled out in front of him from the right center lane.  This caused Johnson to brake
sharply which caused his load of 46,641 pounds of aluminum sheeting to shift and slide forward.  Johnson’s load came loose and approximately ¼ of the aluminum was
strewn across all west bound travel lanes. 

Johnson was not injured and no other vehicles hit the aluminum.  Traffic was able to get by on both shoulders until approximately 2:30 p.m. when the three left lanes
were reopened.   All lanes were reopened at 3:00 p.m.  The semi was owned by J. Trans Incorporated out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Johnson was cited for an expired medical card.

Assisting:  Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Trooper Tim Grayson and Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers
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Early AM Crash on I-94 Sends Two to the Hospital

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An early morning crash, this morning, sent two people to local hospitals.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Lawrence McFarrin revealed that a 2009 Mitsubishi, driven by Alfonso Luna Junior, 26 of Michigan City, was east bound on I-94 near the 27 mile marker (this is one mile east of the Chesterton exit), when Luna began changing lanes from the middle to the left lane. Luna’s Mitsubishi struck the right rear of a 2005 Dodge Caravan, driven by Victor Lopez, 53 of Valparaiso. This caused Luna to lose control and hit the concrete median barrier. The Mitsubishi then ricocheted off the barrier while spinning out of control back into the eastbound travel lanes. Luna’s vehicle then hit a 2006 GMC Denali, driven by James Golden, 27 of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was in the middle lane.
The Mitsubishi came to a stop partially in the right lane. Due to the collisions, Luna’s lights were not working and the Mitsubishi was struck in the rear by a 2001 Chevrolet, driven by Tina Mulinaro, 49 of Valparaiso.
Luna was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City with complaint of back pain. Mulinaro was taken to Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso with complaint of body pain and possible broken ribs. Golden complained of pain to his left knee and refused medical treatment. Lopez was not injured.
Alcohol or drugs were not considered a factor.   Luna was cited for Following too Closely and Mulinaro was cited for False/Fictitious Registration.
AM Crash on I94 04-09-13
Luna's vehicle. 
(Photo and article provided by Indiana State Police, Lowell post)
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All Lanes Westbound I-80/94 have been Reopened

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An earlier accident that caused a semi to loose its load of sheet metal on westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) ner Cline Avenue has been cleared away.  The three center lanes that were previously closed, have been reopened.  Drivers can still expect heavier volume as they travel westbound on I-80/94.
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Big Backup on Westbound Borman (I-80/94)

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A crash has the 3 center lanes of westbound I-80/94 closed near Cline Ave (SR-912).  Traffic is backed up to just before Broadway.  Drivers should expect long delays as you travel westbound on I-80/94 near mile 5.9.   Traffic tipsters are also reporting heavy traffic eastbound n 80/94, due to the gaper's delays.
backup WB Borman  04-09-13
The backup on westbound Borman (I-80/94) as seen from the INDOT traffic cam at Broadway.
(photo from INDOT)
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Proposed Land Based Gaming Would Be Statewide

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If land based gaming comes to the Hoosier State, it will be done statewide, that according to comments made Monday by Indiana Gaming Commission Executive Director Ernest Yelton. Yelton made the comments during a meeting of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, and stated it is not fair to assume that one of Gary's two licenses would be in jeopardy as a result. According to the Times, Yelton also spoke on Senate Bill 528, saying it appears a new version ends a proposed threat in lost revenue, as the bill originally would have replaced gaming boats' admission tax with a gross receipt tax and given casinos a tax break for free play they offer as promotions.
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Tallian: Budget Last Place to Address Expanding Medicaid

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Senate Democrats on Monday offered 18 amendments to House Bill 1001, in areas of education, infrastructure, and health care, as part of the next budget. State Senator Karen Tallian, of Portage, says four recommendations included expanding Medicaid for Indiana, two of which were rejected, and another, that was suggested be part of Senate Bill 551, which at the time was in House, and then later on Monday it was announced that bill would not be heard in the House, making the budget the last place to address the issue.
Tallian says cost of expanding Medicaid for Indiana is fully paid for by the federal government, covers 400-thousand Hoosiers, and would result in 30-thousand jobs projected would be created. Governor Pence is currently seeking federal approval to implement the Healthy Indiana Plan, instead of the Affordable Care Act, but Tallian says several provisions are in direct conflict with it.
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Hammond Hutaree Member Sues Over 2010 Raids

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Published reports say a Hammond man, and a member of the Hutaree militia group based out of Michigan, along with another member, are suing three FBI agents and a state trooper, saying their constitutional rights were violated in a 2010 raid on their homes. Thomas Piatek, of Hammond, and a Manchester man reportedly filed the federal lawsuit last month, and are seeking at least 25-thousand dollars in damages for each for the lawsuit's 16 counts. The pair were part of group of Hutaree Militia members accused of plotting to kill law enforcement with guns and bombs, but the case was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.
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Authorities Seeking Info Regarding Hammond Fugitive

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Mitchell Orlando Maurice Photo
(Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service)
The U.S. Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, is seeking information regarding 34 year old Orlando Maurice Mitchell, who was last known to reside in the 57-hundred block of Erie Street, in Hammond. Mitchell is wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department on a felony charge of dealing marijuana, and is wanted by Jacksonville, Florida, authorities for trafficking in stolen property and probation violation. Orlando Maurice Mitchell, this week's “fugitive of the week”, is described as a black male, five-foot-nine-inches tall, with black hair, and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Mitchell's whereabouts 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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New Trial Date For Man Accused of Killing His Mother

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A new trial date has been scheduled for a man who was suppose to go to trial on Monday, accused of killing his 94 year old mother in October of 2010. The Times reports George Knezevic will now go to trial on August 6th, after reported problems with a key witness cause the prosecution to ask for a postponement. According to the article, the 61 year old is alleged to have choked his mother outside of the home they shared, in the 47-hundred block of Buchanan Street, spraying her with a garden house, and dragging her into the house by her hair.
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Another Abandoned House Fire in Hammond

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Hammond FD
In Hammond, firefighters were called another abandoned home fire this morning. Chief Jeff Smith says they received the call at three this morning and spent about an hour and a half at the scene, located in the 800 block of State Street, one block from Sunday's abandoned house fire on Sibley Street, which was two blocks from another vacant house fire on April 1st. Chief Smith says this time though there was power at the two-story home. The fire is believed to have originated in an enclosed wooden back porch area, and when crews arrived the back of the home was engulfed in flames. Chief Smith says this is the sixth fire in the last week, and their inspection department is investigating the fire, which at this time is being considered suspicious, and asks anyone in that area to report any unusual activity to report it.
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Read more: Another Abandoned House Fire in Hammond


Six New Troopers Patrolling ISP Lowell District

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new lowell post troopers
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post)
Indiana State Police Lowell Post is welcoming six news troopers to their district. Public Information Officer Ann Wojas says Zach Beaver, Brandon Bohling, Nick Daly, Rogelio Escutia, Eric Kocinski, and Jason Madison graduated from recruit school just before Christmas, and received their patrol cars on Monday. Troopers Daly and Escutia are assigned to work Porter and LaPorte Counties, while Troopers Beaver, Bohling, Kocinski, and Madison have been assigned to southern Lake, Jasper, and Newton Counties.
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2nd Person of Interest Being Saught in Austgen Death

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austgen suspect
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Authorities now say there may be a second person of interest regarding the death of 76 year old Mary Austgen of St. John. The Times reports investigators say a suspect caught on surveillance cameras with the victim inside the parking garage at the Majestic Star Casino, where the victim was later found dead in her vehicle, was also captured on camera getting into the passenger side of a black vehicle at the casino. According to the article, it remains unknown at this time if the victim knew the suspect, as still photos show her getting into the her vehicle with man, described as wearing a black jacket, a black Harley-Davidson hat with an orange flame, black sunglasses, and holding a black backpack. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gary or Griffith Police.
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Crash on I-94 in Porter County

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A crash this morning on eastbound I-94 in Porter County, west of the weigh station, reportedly has the center and outside lanes blocked due to a crash. Authorities reported the incident, possibly involving two-vehicles occurred around 5:30 this morning. No further information is available at this time.
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Read more: Crash on I-94 in Porter County


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Region News Team
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