EC Town Hall Forums on City University Campus

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In East Chicago, the first of a series of public meetings is scheduled tonight (Mon April 8) on a proposed City University Campus – what would be the city's first community college. The facility would be at the site of the former Eugene Field Elementary School. Other town hall meetings are coming up this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get public input.
Meeting schedule:


MON., APRIL 8, 2013
@ 5:00 PM

WED., APRIL 10, 2013
@ 5:00 PM

THUR., APRIL 11, 2013
@ 5:00 PM

FRI., APRIL 12, 2013
@ 5:00 PM

Read more: EC Town Hall Forums on City University Campus


Gary Death Ruled Homicide

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The death of a Gary man whose body was found at 37th Avenue and Tyler Street in Gary Sunday night has been ruled a homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 40-year-old Pierre Dennis suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene just before 11 pm. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says a concerned citizen driving past the alley saw what appeared to be someone in the alley and dialed 911.  When police responded, they found Dennis unresponsive, authorities say. Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are investigating, and anyone with information is asked to contact Gary Police\ and ask for Corporal James Nielsen.

Read more: Gary Death Ruled Homicide


Input Sought on Portage US 20 Plan

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The city of Portage is beginning the process of creating a Highway 20 Corridor Plan between the Interstate 94 viaduct and Salt Creek Bridge... looking at streetscape, signage, economic development and other elements... and the community is encouraged to attend a vision workshop tonight [Apr 8]. Portage Mayor James Snyder told us during a recent Region Newsmakers interview that some work is already underway.  Tonight's interactive workshop starting at 7 at Woodland Park will allow attendees to map out their concerns, and talk about what they like now and what they'd like to change.
To hear more about the Corridor Plan from Mayor James Snyder, visit Region Newsmakers for our interview here at our website.

Read more: Input Sought on Portage US 20 Plan


Cline Ave Closure in Griffith for Sewer Work

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In Griffith, town officials say the 400 block of North Cline Avenue will be closed to traffic today [Monday April 8] through the end of June (Jun 30) for storm sewer installation.
Truck detour route will be Wiggs Avenue to the West.  Northbound truck traffic should utilize West Main St. to Wiggs, proceed North on Wiggs to 45th Ave., East on 45th to Cline.
Southbound truck traffic should utilize west 45th to Wiggs, proceed south on Wiggs to Main St., east on Main St. to Cline Ave. Questions can be directed to Griffith Public Works at (219) 924-3838.

Read more: Cline Ave Closure in Griffith for Sewer Work


Governor's Statement on Death of Margaret Thatcher

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence today issued a statement regarding the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  
"Today, we mourn the loss of Margaret Thatcher, a dynamic leader who devoted her career to advancing economic freedom and individual liberty. At a time when the world needed bold vision and principled leadership, she inspired a generation to confront economic malaise and threats to freedom everywhere. Her passion and vision helped reshape the course of history and helped end the Cold War.
Along with millions of Hoosiers, the First Lady and I extend our utmost gratitude for Margaret Thatcher's work, and, during this difficult time, we offer our prayers and deepest condolences to her family, friends and all those she held dear." 
A spokesperson for the Thatcher family said the 87-year-old baroness died peacefully this morning after suffering a stroke. Thatcher was Great Britain's first female prime minister.

Read more: Governor's Statement on Death of Margaret Thatcher


Abandoned House Fire in Hammond Sunday Morning

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Hammond FD
In Hammond, firefighters spent about two-hours at the scene of an abandoned home in the 800 block of Sibley Street on Sunday morning. Fire Chief Jeff Smith says they were called out before 3am, and at this time, the cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. Chief Smith says when crews arrived they noticed the back of the home was engulfed in flames, and that this incident follows another vacant house fire on April 1st, about two-blocks west of this incident.  Chief Smith says the house, which was boarded up at the time of the fire, was a total loss and that all utilities had been shut off.
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Read more: Abandoned House Fire in Hammond Sunday Morning


11th Annual HS Challenge Continues This Week

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HS Challenge at US Steel yard
The 11th Annual High School Challenge continues again this week.  As of 10am this morning, here is their most recent schedule of start times.
Monday, April 8th
5:30 p.m. - *Guerin Prep vs. Chicago Christian
Wednesday, April 10th
4:30 p.m. - *West Side vs. Gavit
7:30 p.m. - *Hales Franciscan vs. St. Patrick
Friday, April 12th
4:30 p.m. - *TF North vs. TF South
7:30 p.m. - *Westville vs. Hammond Academy
Saturday, April 13th
4:00 p.m. - *Kankakee Valley vs. Thea Bowman
7:00 p.m. - *Bishop Noll vs. Lowell

Monday, April 15th
4:30 p.m. - *Lake Station vs. River Forest
Wednesday, April 17th
6:30 p.m. - *North Newton vs. South Newton
Friday, April 19th
4:30 p.m. - *Lew Wallace vs. Roosevelt
7:30 p.m. - *East Chicago vs. MC Marquette
Saturday, April 20th
1:00 p.m. - *Michigan City vs. Boone Grove
4:00 p.m. - *Chesterton vs. Griffith
7:00 p.m. - *Victory Christian vs. Calumet Christian
*indicates home team

Read more: 11th Annual HS Challenge Continues This Week


11 Million Dollar Expansion for Hanson Logistics in Hobart

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Hanson Logistics
Construction is scheduled to begin this week after the Hobart City Council recently approved a tax abatement extension for Hanson Logistics's Northwind Parkway plant. The Times reports the 11-million dollar expansion for the Michigan-based refrigeration company will reportedly consist of a new 90-thousand square-feet building that would house an additional ten to twelve employees.
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Read more: 11 Million Dollar Expansion for Hanson Logistics in Hobart


Public Forum in Hobart Thursday at Community Center

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Residents of Hobart are invited to a community forum later this week. Police Chief Rick Zormier says the purpose is give residents an opportunity to meet him, Fire Chief Brian Taylor, Mayor Brian Snedecor, and other city officials, and discuss and answer any questions, concerns, or offer comments on services provided by the city.
Chief Zormier says originally the forum was to be held at Fire House Number 2, but that location has now been moved to the Community Center, at 111 East Old Ridge Road, at 6pm, this Thursday.
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Read more: Public Forum in Hobart Thursday at Community Center


Reminder: Tax Filing Deadline is Next Monday

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Indiana Department of Revenue
INDIANAPOLIS (April 8, 2013) –The tax filing deadline is FAST approaching! You only have until April 15 to file your taxes.
Filing online is the fastest and easiest way to make sure your return gets processed quickly. Indiana has a free method for filing both your state and federal taxes. It’s Indiana freefile. About 1 million Hoosiers qualify for this free service. Go to a rel="nofollow" href=" you’re not going to make the April 15 deadline, you will need to file an extension of time to file.
To file an extension, first determine whether you are going to owe state taxes, receive a refund or break even. If you are going to owe taxes:
  • Download">Form IT-9 from the state’s income tax form list.
  • Figure how much you owe and mail your payment with the IT-9.
  • Pay at least 90 percent of the tax you are going to owe.
  • You will have until June 17 to file your return along with the rest of your payment.
Note: Penalties for late filing are waived, but you will still be liable for interest accrued or any unpaid amount.
If you are not going to owe taxes and will receive a refund or break even, you will need to keep the following in mind:
If you are in the military, Indiana has special filing considerations. The Indiana Department of Revenue’s a rel="nofollow" href=""> for helpful information for military personnel.
The Department of Revenue offers a short video to help taxpayers understand how to file an extension. To watch the video, please visit a rel="nofollow" href=" And for more information about filing an extension of time to file, visit a rel="nofollow" href=" # #...

Read more: Reminder: Tax Filing Deadline is Next Monday


Mother and Son In Fatal LaPorte Co Crash Identified

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A mother and her son were killed in a crash late Saturday morning after their vehicle struck a tree in LaPorte County's Springfield Township, about a half-mile from their Michigan City home. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports deputies were dispatched just after 11:30, in the 51-hundred block of North County Road 600 West, and upon the arrival, found the pair dead in the vehicle. Coroner John Sullivan says 39 year old Shay Heddens and 7 year old Matthew Heddens both died due to blunt force trauma. According to a witness statement, the vehicle was heading south and while attempting to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone, lost control while in the northbound lane, then crossed back into the southbound lane, left the west side of the road and struck a tree. Sullivan says it is still unknown why she lost control of the vehicle, and are waiting toxicology results. The Coroner says this was the third and fourth traffic fatality in the last two-weeks.
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Read more: Mother and Son In Fatal LaPorte Co Crash Identified


Man Calls 911to Report Himself as a Drunk Driver

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Indiana State Police logo
A Logansport man called 9-1-1 to report himself as a drunk driver early this morning. Indiana State Police Lowell Post report 24 year old Matthew Devore contacted the Jasper County Sheriff's Department, just before 12:30am, and was located on northbound I-65, four-miles south of the DeMotte/Roselawn exit. A preliminary investigation revealed Devore lost control of his vehicle and went into the median but was able to drive out, and then contacted authorities after he realized he had a flat tire. Devore reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of point-zero-nine, and was taken to the Jasper County Jail in Rensselaer.
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Read more: Man Calls 911to Report Himself as a Drunk Driver


Chesterton Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft

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A Chesterton man was sentenced to two years in prison, with one year of supervised released, and ordered to pay over 25-thousand dollars in restitution after pleading guilty last week in Hammond federal court to felony aggravated identity theft. The U-S Attorney's Office reports 38 year old Leon Thomas, from June of 2009 through July of 2010, received unemployment insurance benefits and extended unemployment benefits using his brother's date of birth and social security number, while he was employed and receiving a paycheck from a manufacturing company in Michigan City. Authorities say Thomas received over 11-thousand dollars in federal funds, and over 13-thousand in state funds.
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Read more: Chesterton Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft


Authorities Investigating Gary Man Found Dead in Alley

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The manner of death regarding the the body of a 40 year old Gary man, found in an alley at 37th Avenue and Tyler Street, in Gary, was pending at last check. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports they were dispatched to the alley just after 10:30 Sunday night, and pronounced Pierre Dennis dead at 10:59pm. Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are investigating, and no further information is available at this time. ...

Read more: Authorities Investigating Gary Man Found Dead in Alley


Early Voting Begins Today

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Early voting is scheduled to begin today at the Lake County Government Center for a vote on raising property taxes for Munster Schools. early voting at Munster Town Hall will begin later this month (April 22). The referendum will be on the ballot on May 7th, a date when special elections in Munster and other communities around the Region and state on school-related issues. [Boone Twp, Union Twp, Knox/Starke Co] Other than that, this is actually a non-election year in Indiana as far as public offices are concerned.

May 7, 2013 Special Elections
- Barr-Reeve Community Schools (Daviess County)
- Hamilton Southeastern Schools (Hamilton County)
- Noblesville Schools (Hamilton County)
- City of Vincennes Parks & Recreation Department (Knox County)
- Munster School Referendum (Lake County)
- Metropolitan School District of Boone Township (Porter County)
- Union Township School Corporation (Porter County)
- Knox Community School (Starke County)...

Read more: Early Voting Begins Today


Woman and Boy Killed in LaPorte Co Crash Saturday

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LaPorte Co Sheriff Dept
A woman and a young boy were killed in a crash late Saturday morning after their vehicle struck a tree. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports deputies were dispatched just after 11:30, in the 51-hundred block of North County Road 600 West, in Springfield Township, and upon the arrival of medical personnel, found the pair dead in the vehicle. According to observations and a witness statement, the vehicle was heading south on County Road 600 West, and while attempting to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone, lost control while in the northbound lane, then crossed back into the southbound lane, left the west side of the road and struck a tree. At last check the identities of both victims are being withheld pending notification of family.
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Read more: Woman and Boy Killed in LaPorte Co Crash Saturday


Northern Indiana Rail Conference Coming to Hammond

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The Northern Indiana Rail Conference, “Junction 2013” will highlight not only the new $65 million dollar Potash Corporation investment in Hammond, Indiana, but will also focus on economic development, and methods to capitalize our rail assets in Northern Indiana.

Mr. David Ostertag, Senior Director of Transportation and Distribution for Potash Corporation will deliver the keynote address, emphasizing the Potash Multi-Million dollar investment in Hammond, why they chose Hammond for their new distribution site, and how this new location will enable Potash to more efficiently reach their customers across the Eastern United States.

A Panel of experts will follow the Potash presentation with a wealth of information, highlighting the Indiana Harbor Belt Railway (IHB), the $71 million dollar Indiana Gateway Project, the Norfolk Southern Rail influence in Northern Indiana, and the nearly 300 new construction and permanent jobs created by the Potash project.

Hammond Mayor, Thomas M. McDermott, Jr will join the NW Indiana Forum’s CEO, Mark Maassel, and railroad officials from Norfolk Southern, IHB, and Potash Corp, in a lively Question and Answer session with the audience.

The Northern Indiana Rail Conference – Junction 2013, is sponsored by the Steering Committee of the Northern Indiana Rail Conference, and hosted by the Lakeshore Chamber and the Crossroads Regional Chamber.

Location: Dynasty Conference Center, 4125 Calumet Avenue, Hammond, IN.

Date: April 19, 2013

Time: 11:15 – 1:00 pm

Cost: $25.00

RSVP to the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, at 219 931 1000.
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Read more: Northern Indiana Rail Conference Coming to Hammond


New Porter County Organization Names It's Leader

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Porter County’s new initiative to address substance abuse now has a name and a leader.  Heather Harrigan has been named Executive Director of Empower Porter County, a unified organization committed to empowering the community to prevent and overcome substance abuse. 

Empower Porter County is a single organization, uniting the efforts of many sectors of the community toward a common goal.  “We’re pleased to bring together a coalition of 12 organizations – healthcare, government, education, law enforcement, business, faith-based organizations, youth organizations and more,” said Harrigan.  “We’ll be working together to maximize efforts in our county, helping each organization to be even more effective and finding new ways to meet the community’s needs.” 

Harrigan brings 25 years of management and public service experience to her new role at Empower Porter County.  She most recently served as Director of Marketing and Sales at Prudential Executive Group, one of the region’s most successful real estate organizations.  She has also successfully led a nonprofit organization, led alumni affairs at Valparaiso University and served on the boards of directors for several community organizations, including the Porter County Community Foundation, and Pathway Family Center.  “I feel a personal interest in the mission of Empower Porter County and look forward to partnering with others to reach our common goal of overcoming substance abuse,” she said.

Empower Porter County is a limited liability organization founded through the Porter County Community Foundation and funded through the generous support of governmental entities, nonprofits and local businesses committed to addressing this important issue.  The new organization will initially be housed at the Porter County Community Foundation, 57 Franklin St., in Valparaiso. To learn more, you may contact the Foundation at 219-465-0294.
Heather Harrigan, Executive Director of Empower Porter County
(photo courtesy of Porter County Community Foundation)
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Read more: New Porter County Organization Names It's Leader


Scam Protection for Hoosier Military Service Members

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller recently helped launch a legal toolkit to assist state attorneys general in cracking down on those who prey upon military service members. 
Zoeller worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Protection Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and attorneys general from Kentucky, Illinois and North Carolina to develop the toolkit. The kit outlines issues impacting the military community and how states’ consumer protection officials can effectively combat these types of financial predators and scammers. 

“Scammers and illegitimate businesses often target service members and their families because of their steady paychecks and deployments,” Zoeller said. “Issues impacting our military include topics ranging from predatory mortgage lending to auto financing and from GI Bill related scams to identity theft. It’s important that state and federal officials use the resources available to crack down on those who prey on individuals serving our country.”

The toolkit is intended to serve as a guide for relevant statutes and regulations, as well as a platform to discuss best practices and developing trends. Zoeller said his colleagues in offices of state attorneys general nationwide will be better equipped to navigate the diverse issues and complex laws concerning the military community. 

"I want to thank Attorney General Zoeller for his efforts to protect our service members from financial predators who attempt to take advantage of those serving our country," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard. "I also want to encourage every soldier and airman to look closely at the resources available to protect themselves and their families, so they understand situational awareness in the world of finance can be just as important as it is on the battlefield."
Zoeller said there are some important resources available to those in the military to help prevent financial harm including:
Active-Duty Alerts: These alerts can be placed on a service member’s credit report to inform a business it is obtaining information from an individual away on active duty. The alert requires the business to first obtain permission from an authorized third party like a family member or friend before proceeding.
Caps on interest bearing debt: Those on active duty may cap the interest rate on most outstanding loans at 6 percent under the provisions of the Service members Civil Relief Act. To have your interest rate reduced to 6 percent, you must write a letter to each creditor letting them know about your orders and your intent to invoke the 6 percent cap. 
Vehicle and property lease terminations: Deployed military members are able to legally terminate some vehicle and property leases. If you are currently leasing a vehicle or home/apartment and wish to terminate your lease, contact the leaseholder and inform them of your deployment.
Foreclosure and eviction relief: Under the Service member Civil Relief Act and the National Mortgage Settlement, service members are granted special relief when facing foreclosure. For example, a person may be able to obtain a “stay” or temporarily delay in a foreclosure or other civil court proceeding if he or she is called up to active duty. In addition, service members have special eligibility for loss mitigation relief such as a modification of their loan or a short sale. Similarly, service members and their families who rent their home may obtain a temporary stay of eviction proceedings while the service member is on active duty.
Atty Gen. Greg Zoeller
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (file photo)
(photo provided by Jay Stevens)
Military service members can visit to learn more about resources available to them.
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Read more: Scam Protection for Hoosier Military Service Members


Tier Two Illiana Corridor Study Public Meeting #1

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Based on technical analysis done as part of Tier One Illiana Corridor studies (completed in January 2013) and public comments, Corridor B3 and the No-Action Alternative have been identified and carried forward into the second tier of the project.

IDOT and INDOT and are now hosting open house public meetings regarding Tier Two where the focus will shift from the original broad 952 square-mile study area to the communities, landowners and access needs along the preferred corridor.

The purpose of these meetings is to explain the Tier Two process which includes the refinement of the preferred corridor, interchange locations and layout, and determining overpass and underpass opportunities, environmental analysis and continued stakeholder outreach. IDOT and INDOT will consider your input as the detailed planning process moves forward. The meetings will be an open house format, and interested persons may attend anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. There will be a continuous PowerPoint presentation, and attendees will have the opportunity to view study exhibits and speak with IDOT, INDOT and study team representatives on a one-on-one basis. A question and answer forum will be held at 6:00 p.m. each day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Peotone High School
605 West North Street
Peotone, IL 60468

Thursday, April 18, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lowell Middle School
19250 Cline Avenue
Lowell, IN 46356

* The meeting will be accessible to handicapped individuals. Anyone needing specific assistance should contact Sarah Copeland of Images, Inc. at (630) 510-3944. Persons planning to attend who will need a sign language interpreter or other similar accommodations should notify the TTY/TTD number (800) 526-0844/ or 711; TTY users (Spanish) (800) 501-0864/or 711; and for Telebraille dial (877) 526-6670 at least five days prior to the meeting.
Illiana Expressway Header

Read more: Tier Two Illiana Corridor Study Public Meeting #1


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Laura-WXRD Scott-WXRD Brent-WXRD
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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