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Portage Man Indicted for Taking Bribes

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A Portage man who works as a guard at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago has had five-counts of bribery charged against him. The Times reports a federal grand jury today indicted 51 year old Tony Henderson of allegedly taking bribes, on five different dates in July and August of 2012, reportedly regarding inmate possession of contraband. Published reports say Henderson has been on administrative leave since September, and at last check an arraignment date had not been...

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Indiana Senate talks with Hoosier Astronaut in Space

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The Indiana Senate talked to fellow Hoosier from space. Mission control in Houston connected NASA Commander, Astronaut Kevin Ford, orbiting 200 miles above the earth to members of the Indiana Senate including District 25 Senator, Tim Lanane.  The lawmaker asked at the astronaut, "how important is it that the U.S. continue the manned space flight and exploration of space?"  The answer, along with the entire 20 minute conversation from space can be heard On Demand at http://www.regionnewsteam.com.
...Kevin Ford

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Donnelly Touts America Works Act

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Senator Joe Donnelly held a conference call today on the importance of closing the skills gap to Indiana's economy. Senator Donnelly says he just recently conducted a four-day, eighteen community tour of Indiana, and what he says he kept hearing was that employers are in need of workers with the right skill-set, which is why the Senator is once again touting the “America Works Act”, which he originally introduced in the House. Donnelly says this legislation will strengthen Indiana, and make a gr...

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Griffith Interim Police Chief Gets Praise from Gov Pence

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The Griffith Town Council recently presented their interim police chief with a framed letter from Governor Pence, praising the work Chief Matthew Moore has done since taking on the job just a couple months ago. In an article today, the Times says Moore has been working with Highland and Munster Police in a new task force to fight crime in the Ridge area. He has also worked with the Mansards apartment complex to start regular police patrols, and started a tip line for suspicious activity.
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Gary Mayor to Host Legislative Community Forum

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Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will host a Legislative Community Forum on Saturday, Feb. 16th at 10:00a.m. – 11:30a.m. at the Genesis Convention Center (5th & Broadway) in the Indiana Room. The purpose of the forum is to update citizens on various Senate Bills that directly concern and impact Gary and Northwest Indiana.
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Longtime East Chicago Police Officer Indicted

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The U-S Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois today announced a 19-year East Chicago police officer has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly taking part in a ghost-payroll scheme for nearly three years while working three different part-time security jobs in addition to his full-time law enforcement duties. Federal authorities say 42-year-old Robert Aponte has been charged with six counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned by a federal...

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Powerball $217M Jackpot Ticket in Virginia

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The Wednesday, February 6th Powerball jackpot grew to an estimated 217-point-two million-dollars, and Powerball officials say there was one grand prize winning ticket sold in the state of Virginia. The jackpot will reset to forty-million dollars for the next draw.
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Elkhart County Squad Sgt Named for Bremen Post

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An eleven-year veteran of the Indiana State Police who started his career at the Lowell Post, where he worked in Lake, Starke, and Pulaski Counties, is now the squad leader for troopers who work in Elkhart County, out of the Bremen Post. Officials say Sgt. Jason Ginder earned the promotion through written testing and a competitive interview process. Ginder, originally from Whitehall, Pennsylvania, moved to Indiana in 2001 when he was hired by the state police.
Indiana State Police say during his...

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Valentine Events that are Out of This World

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The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana is hosting Valentine's Day themed events this Saturday, February 9th.  The center will feature a planetarium show, laser light show and a Valentine's themed couple's mission.
The planetarium show, Winter Sky Show and Perseus and Andromeda, will show participants what to look for on clear winter nights before the tale of the star-crossed lovers, Perseus and Andromeda, and their quest to be together.  Planetarium shows begin at 2p.m. and 3:15p.m.
T...

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Indiana, Midwest Earthquake Drill Today

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[Graphic/ShakeOut.org]
Today is the third Great Central United States ShakeOut. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all Hoosiers to register and participate in the annual earthquake drill on February 7.  For info, visit www.ShakeOut.org/centralus l. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and how to create a dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness. All organizers ask is that participants register (so they can be counted and...

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Gary Mayor Starts Call-In for Legislative Updates

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Gary city officials have a new way of letting residents stay informed on legislative action that affects their city and the Region. City Hall has announced that starting today [Thursday February 7, 2013] from 5 to 6 p.m. Central Time and each Thursday from 5-to 6 p.m. until April 25th of this year Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson wants to you call in to hear legislative updates and ask questions. The Mayor's Office says Gary state lawmakers Representatives Charlie Brown and Vernon Smith and...

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IDEM Commissioner to Visit the Region

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Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Tom Easterly is scheduled to visit northwest Indiana this morning. He'll be making a presentation before Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Environmental Management and Policy Committee at 9 am. Kathy Luther, Director of Environmental Management at NIRPC, says Easterly’s visit is a great chance for the Region to share its concerns with IDEM and see how the area fits into the statewide environmental picture.
More info from...

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Conversation From Space with Indiana Senate

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Today [ Thursday, Feb. 7] – NASA Astronaut and current commander of the International Space Station, Kevin Ford will have a conversation live from space with members of the Indiana Senate this afternoon. The conversation will be streamed live over the Internet, and schools around the state are being invited to watch the exchange. Ford is from Montpelier, Indiana, and his older brother David Ford, was a state senator before passing away at the age of 59 from complications related to pancreatic c...

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Bill to Protect Law Enforcement Animals Goes to House

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee approved a bill authored by Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) that toughens penalties on those who kill law enforcement animals.
            House Bill 1093, coauthored by Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond), passed with a 12-0 vote and will now be presented to the full House for consideration.
            VanDenburgh’s legislation requires courts to order those convicted to pay restitution for police animals that are killed or pe...

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East Chicago Fire Department Gets $72,450 Grant

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It was announced today that the East Chicago Fire Department will be receiving a grant for just over 72-thousand dollars, which will be used to replace a number their radios. Chief Emiliano Perez says the grant money comes at a critical time for their department, as they are facing financial restraints that impact the manner in which they operate. Along with East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, Chief Perez thanked Congressman Pete Visclosky for looking out for their interests.
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Open House Tonight at Porter Co. Career and Technical Center

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In his first week as the new chief executive of the state, Indiana Governor Mike Pence visited two stops in the Region, with the first stop being the Porter County Career and Technical Center in Valparaiso.  Jon Groth, Principal and Director of the center says he "was honored that he (the governor) chose our school as the first school to visit in Indiana after his inauguration." 
Tonight, Groth is proud to be able to show parents and students alike the school's full potential during an Open...

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Minimum-Security Inmates Quarantined at Cook Co Jail

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The stomach flu is reportedly causing the Cook County Jail to quarantine the minimum security division, which houses just under 700 inmates. The Times reports about 30 inmates are “really sick”, according to Sheriff Tom Dart, and that may cause officials to use medium-security inmates to perform duties those quarantined minimum-security inmates would do, thus requiring more supervision, and possibly, drive up costs.
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Winter Bird ID Program Friday

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A free winter bird identification program designed for adults takes place this Friday at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve. Sandy Basala, Supervisor of Visitor Service for Lake County Parks, says there are many species of birds that spend winter in the region, and this is a great opportunity for beginning bird watchers to learn more about the winter birds that frequent their yards and how to attract them. Basala says, if the weather cooperates Friday, they may take a short hike as well. The event...

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Driver Injured in Crash at Indiana Dunes State Park

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The driver of a vehicle injured in a crash this morning, where the former entrance to Indiana Dunes State Park use to be, was taken to Porter Regional Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Lt. Jerry Shepard, with the Indiana D-N-R Conservation, says the incident occurred just before 7:30 this morning, when the driver dropped their cell phone, and when reaching for it, lost control of the vehicle due to slick road conditions, and hit the a stone building to the west of the former entrance.
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Man Accused of Child Molestation Pleads to Battery Charge

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A 74 year old man, who turned himself in on child molestation charges in December after twice being released by Texas authorities on a Lake County warrant because Lake County declined to extradite him, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser battery charge, according to the Times. Published reports say Enrique Marks Junior was charged with allegedly groping a then 10 year old girl in Highland, and accepted a plea deal, and will not have to register as a sex offender. The Times reports under the...

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