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During the first week of the Challenge, the team from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore logged 13 trips, 78 miles, prevented about 76 pounds of carbon from being released into the atmosphere and burned an estimated 4,000 calories. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is accessible via the Calumet, Marquette, Oak Savannah, and Porter Brickyard bicycle trails
“Indiana’s Do Not Call law protects registered numbers from receiving certain telemarketing calls,” Zoeller said. “Unfortunately, illegitimate businesses and scammers skirt the law by trying to deceive consumers with phony sales pitches. That’s why if you are on the Do Not Call list and receive a sales call or text message you can count on it being a scam.”
The next quarterly deadline to block annoying sales calls and text messages is Tuesday, May 21. Consumers can register their residential landline, cell, VOIP or prepaid wireless numbers.
Zoeller said thetelemarketing calls in these categories aim to separate consumers from their money or collect consumers’ personal information.
1. Card Services
More than 920 consumers reported receiving an automated call from a woman, who says her name is Rachel (or Kelly, Courtney, Heather, etc.) from “Cardholder Services,” offering to lower their credit card interest rates. Rachel warns that this “is your final notice,” but Zoeller says Hoosiers should just hang-up on Rachel and her sisters. If you follow through with the prompts, you will be connected with a representative who will collect an upfront payment from you without any intention of providing services or a refund.
2. Home Security
Since January, more than 370 complaints have been filed about an automated call which mentions an FBI report on the number of home break-ins and offers a “free” home security system. These telemarketers have no relationship with federal law enforcement agencies. The caller will take your information and sell it to a home security company that may charge up to $45 per month for monitoring services.
3. Prize/Sweepstakes Scams
So far this year, more than 110 consumers have received calls from a live operator that says “You have won $2 million from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. All you need to do is transfer $250 for fees and taxes via Moneygram, Western Union or GreenDot money card…” This is a scam designed to separate you from your money. Once you wire money, it’s like using cash and it’s nearly impossible to get back.
In Indiana, most robocalls are illegal regardless of whether or not a consumer’s number is registered on the Do Not Call list. Exceptions include calls from school districts to students, parents or employees and businesses advising employees of work schedules. It is also legal if a live phone operator first obtains your permission before playing a pre-recorded message.
Zoeller said consumer complaints help the Attorney General’s office bring enforcement actions against violators and stop unwanted calls. Since 2009, the office has obtained 57 settlements or judgments against companies that violated Indiana’s telephone privacy laws. The total awarded to the state has been more than $4.9 million and the total collected is more than $791,800. Zoeller said this money collected is used to defray the cost of enforcing the state’s telephone privacy laws.
Individuals do not need to re-register for the Do Not Call list unless their address has changed. To sign up or to confirm a number is already on the list, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969.
Out-of-state area codes can also be added as long as the billing address is located in Indiana. Those consumers who are registered and receive an unwanted call can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com and clicking on “file a complaint.”
During Indiana's 2012 Click It or Ticket mobilization, from May 17th thru June 3rd, participating law enforcement agencies issued more than 18-thousand citations to drivers who were not wearing seat belts. During the same time period, there were 170 collisions and 12 fatalities that occurred on Indiana roadways involving unrestrained motorists, with 91 ejections occurring due to not using restraints.
Bicyclists will be touring the township today//Saturday for a new event to raise funds for Portage Township Parks... The Friends of Portage Township Foundation is hosting “Trek the Township”, a twenty-mile family bicycling event starting at Haven Hollow Park in South Haven Saturday morning, 8am. Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy says the ride features a scenic route on county roads and the Prairie Duneland Trail. For more info, visit www.townshipfriends.org .You can hear our Region Newsmakers interview with Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy here at our website.
The month of April featured the largest single-month decline in Indiana's unemployment rate in over a year... with a big decrease in the Region. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development also says April recorded the biggest drop in the total number of unemployed in over a year. The report issued Friday showed Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by point-two [0.2] percent to eight-and-a-half [8.5] percent in April,a decrease of point-two-percent. Private sector employment in the Hoosier state also increased by 68-hundred [6,800] jobs over the past month and exceeded the national rate of growth. Labor force estimates show the jobless rate in Northwest Indiana dropped from 10-point-three in March to 9.1 percent last month.
Capp says the indictment alleges that Van til, beginning in or about November 2007 and continuing through December 2012, devised a scheme to defraud Lake County of money and property by utilizing county employees to perform personal services and political services so that Van Til would be re-electd as Lake County Surveyor.
The indictment also alleges that Van Til directed an employee to remove a hard drive from a Lake County computer and to replace it with another hard drive, according to attorney Capp. The indictment further alleges that Van Til told that same employee "And by the way, if by some chance down the line there's ever a conversation, we never had these conversations." Van Til's alleged conduct with respect to this particular employee forms the basis for the two obstruction of justice counts.
Attorney Capp says the investigation into the allegations came about through a tip from a citizen.
Two other indictments were announced this afternoon in Hammond Federal Court, which Attorney Capp stresses are unrelated except for the fact they all involve some aspect of public corruption or public funds. One indictment charges a Pennsylvania owner and operator of an armament company located in Philadelphia with nine counts. Capp says the indictment alleges that the owner conspired with two former Lake County Sheriff deputies to make false statements concerning the acquisition of firearms. Capp says both former deputies were indicted for this conduct in September 2010 and both have since plead guilty, are awaiting sentencing and cooperating with the United States Attorney's Office.
The third indictment announced this afternoon charges Roman Perez, 41, of Crown Point, with one count of making false statements under oath on a tax return and one count of making a false statement in a bankruptcy proceeding. The indictment alleges that Perez understated his total taxable income for 2007 by approximately $110,108.00, of which approximately $80,000 constituted payments from both the Treasurer of Lake County and the Lake County Sheriff's Commissary Fund, to Roman Art Inc., a graphic design business owned and operated by Perez; and that Perez understated his gross income for the year 2009 by an amount in excess of $40,000 in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The United States Attorney's Office will today file a plea agreement wherein Perez has agreed to plead guilty to these charges and will cooperate with the United States Attorney's Office.
The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
U.S. Attorney David Capp at todays press conference at the federal Courthouse in Hammond.
One person was killed after two-vehicle crash in Newton County this morning. The Newton County Sheriff's Office reports officers responded to the scene, at approximately 11am, on U-S 41, near County Road 15-hundred South, located just north of Kentland. The Sheriff's Office says reports indicate the driver was heading north when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle drifted off the roadway and when the driver attempted to return to the roadway, lost control, crossed the median and into the path of a southbound tractor trailer driven by a 36 year old Illinois man. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, while the truck driver was not injured. At last check, the name of the deceased was being withheld pending notification of next of kin and the crash remains under investigation.
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The Illinois Senate today voted 35 to 21 in favor for allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The proposed legislation, touted as the strictest in the nation among the 18 states and the District of Columbia which allow medical marijuana, creates a four-year pilot program that allows physicians to prescribe the drug to existing patients with at least one of the over 30 medical conditions listed including cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. Patients and caregivers would be required to undergo background checks and sets a two-point-five ounce limit per patient per purchase. The measure heads to the Governor.
A Pew Research Center poll last month reported that 77-percent of Americans believe marijuana has a legitimate medical use.
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Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was the keynote speaker at the Porter County Sheriffs Department's annual Inspection and Memorial Service this morning for National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Week. Ridge called the four officers being remembered, Edward Blakely, Timothy Hecht (heck), Robert Hardesty, and Phillip Pratt, our rock stars, our celebrities, who relentlessly pursued service, and whose contributions truly mattered.
Ridge, who has since re-entered the private sector, served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 through 2001, and was the first Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, serving from 2003-to-2005 . To hear more from today's memorial service, click News Audio On Demand.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 23 year old Valparaiso woman pleaded guilty today to one count of felony child molestation and one count of child exploitation. The Times reports Tara Tryon could spend up to ten years in prison on the molestation charge and eight years for the exploitation charge, which would be served concurrently if the plea agreement is excepted by the judge. According to the article, Tyron, as part of the plea agreement, admitted to molesting a two year old she babysat for, beginning in April of 2010, and sending photos of the acts to her boyfriend, 27 year old Ryan Schroeder, who was in the Navy. In February, Schroeder received 54 years in prison after being found guilty on numerous felony charges, which included aiding child molesting and possession of child pornography.
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INDIANAPOLIS - Responding to surging nationwide sales, officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association increased the jackpot estimate for Saturday night's Powerball drawing for the second-straight day to a game-record $600 million.
The cash value of Saturday's jackpot is now $376.9 million.
Hoosiers can get in on the historic, record jackpot action at nearly 4,000 retailers across Indiana simply by asking the clerk for a Powerball quick pick. The sales cut-off time is 9:58 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. A Powerball ticket costs just $2.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly.
Lottery players in the United States have had a chance to win more money than this only one other time -- in March 2012 when the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $656 million before being hit in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.
Indiana leads the nation in Powerball jackpot wins with 38, dating back to the introduction of the game to Hoosiers in 1992.
Indiana retailers have also been on a roll since the start of the current jackpot run on March 31, having sold four $1 million prize-winning Powerball tickets since that time.
The mission of the Hoosier Lottery is to maximize net income for the state in a socially-responsible manner. In fiscal year 2012, the Hoosier Lottery generated $211 million in surplus revenue which was used to significantly reduce the motor vehicle excise tax for all Hoosier drivers and also supported the pension funds for retired Indiana teachers, police and firefighters. Player prizes for the fiscal year totaled $533 million and $60 million was earned by Indiana retailers on the sale of Hoosier Lottery products.
Since its inception in 1989, the Hoosier Lottery has produced more than $4.2 billion for the citizens of Indiana, $1 billion in commissions and bonuses for participating Indiana retailers, and has paid out more than $8.9 billion in player prizes.
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Westbound South Shore Train 116 is running 15-20 minutes late due to a medical emergency.
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Zoeller thanked State Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, State Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, and State Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, for supporting public safety and consumer protection during the Legislature’s 2013 session.
“Lawmakers of both parties and both houses worked collaboratively to tackle complex issues facing Hoosiers: providing for the safety of our children, protecting consumers and confronting the abuse of prescription drugs. Before session my office made recommendations about new laws needed to protect the public; and we are grateful that legislators worked so diligently to consider, refine and pass these bills that will serve the needs of constituents,” Zoeller said.
SEA 1: School Resource Officers
Zoeller thanked legislators for their passing Senate Enrolled Act 1, which allows schools to voluntarily apply for state matching grants of up to $50,000 to create or expand School Resource Officer positions. School Resource Officers or SROs are career police officers from local public safety agencies who have received special training in interaction with students, and who are assigned to schools to provide safety.
Originally proposed by Zoeller and Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, in January, SEA 1 was based on a needs assessment study the AG’s Office conducted last fall – before the Newtown tragedy. The study found that school administrators and law enforcement officials would be interested in expanding School Resource Officer programs if funding were available. Under SEA 1, signed into law May 7 by Gov. Pence, a state board will be set up to review grant applications from schools and distribute funds. Application criteria are expected to be announced this summer. Sen. Charbonneau was the Senate second author of SEA 1, Sen. Randoph was a co-author and Rep. Lawson was House co-sponsor of SEA 1. Sen. Charbonneau and Rep. Lawson also served on the conference committee that advanced the final version of the bill.
“The School Resource Officer grant program will further develop the existing working relationships schools already have with their local law enforcement agencies. The daily presence of highly-trained, career police officers and sheriff’s deputies in schools can serve to increase respect for the law by students and also deter the problems in schools of bullying and drug abuse that occur in schools every day. We are appreciative that legislators took the original Senate approach to the bill that gives schools the flexibility to decide whether to apply for SRO grants or not, in keeping with local control, and I am pleased that the Governor signed it,” Zoeller said.
SEA 589: Licensing Enforcement and Consumer Protection
The Attorney General's Office enforces licensing laws against healthcare professionals such as physicians and nurses and other non-health related licensed professionals such as contractors, plumbers and architects. If the licensing rules are violated, then the Attorney General's Office can file a disciplinary action against the individual before one of the licensing boards, which conducts a hearing as to the licensee's status and ability to practice. If someone is practicing a profession without a license, a licensing board can issue a cease and desist order. Senate Enrolled Act 589 enhances that authority by allowing licensing boards to order unlicensed individuals to pay restitution to consumers who are victims of their actions. SEA 589 makes changes to funeral licensing, and prohibits individuals who sell pre-paid funeral plans from falsely claiming that the funeral service and merchandise is covered by Medicaid if it is not. Rep. Brown was House co-sponsor of SEA 589 and the Governor signed it into law.
“Senate Enrolled Act 589, which I co-sponsored, makes changes on various occupational licensing issues,” Rep. Brown said. “The new law will protect professionals in those occupations as well as consumers who use their services. Consumer protection is essential to establishing consumer confidence, which in turn spurs greater economic growth.”
SEA 246: Prescription Drugs and ‘Pill Mills’
The Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which Zoeller chairs, examined the problem of pain-management clinics that dispense addictive controlled substances with little oversight.
“The epidemic of prescription drug abuse is fueled by the irresponsible overprescribing of addictive painkillers to patients which leads to drug dependency, easy access for abuse and accidental overdoses, all with terrible consequences. The Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force determined that the state’s efforts to curb these harmful practices by ‘pill mills’ would be enhanced with new state laws, and I am grateful to the legislators who have invested long hours into crafting effective new statutes to help address the epidemic in Indiana,” Zoeller said.
Senate Enrolled Act 246 makes important changes regarding clinics that prescribe, dispense or administer controlled substances. If a clinic owner does not otherwise hold an Indiana Controlled Substance Registration (CSR), then the owner must obtain a CSR for each facility they own in Indiana. As part of registration, clinic owners have a responsibility for overseeing the operations in the clinic and ensuring that practitioners prescribe in a way that complies with law. Under SEA 246, through new rulemaking procedures of the Medical Licensing Board, the AG’s Office can move more quickly in taking enforcement action against practitioners who overprescribe and in obtaining records for an investigation. Sen. Charbonneau was Senate second author of SEA 246 and Sen. Randolph was a co-author.
SEA 277: Methamphetamine Vehicles Sales Disclosure
Criminals who produce the dangerous illegal stimulant methamphetamine often attempt to do so in hidden confined spaces, such as in vehicles, sometimes called "rolling meth labs.” Indiana’s Lemon Law protects automobile purchasers by requiring the dealer or seller who knows or reasonably should know that a vehicle is defective to disclose this fact to the purchaser. Because materials contaminated with meth residue can carry health risks to people exposed to them, Senate Enrolled Act 277 updates the private enforcement rights of the Lemon Law to require the vehicle seller to disclose that a vehicle previously had been used in manufacturing methamphetamine. If a vehicle seller fails to disclose a vehicle’s history in meth manufacture, then SEA 277 creates civil penalties, including paying the cost of decontaminating the vehicle or a $10,000 penalty. Rep. Lawson was a House co-sponsor of SEA 277.
HEA 1084: Homeowner Protection Enhancements
The Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) within the Consumer Protection Division has filed numerous lawsuits against illegal foreclosure rescue consultants and other predators who defraud homeowners facing foreclosure. House Enrolled Act 1084 amends the foreclosure consultant law to prohibit consultants from misrepresenting themselves as being endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with any government agency or program. HEA 1084 also amends the law governing homeowner associations to create greater transparency and make a homeowner association’s financial records available to its members and to the AG’s Office.
Sen. Randolph was a Senate co-sponsor of HEA 1084.
“I’m pleased that we could pass this law to protect Hoosier homeowners from fraudulent loan practices,” Sen. Randolph said. “And I’m especially grateful for the Attorney General’s involvement in this important measure to ensure residents are given enough time to seek legal restitution.”
SEA 222: Unclaimed Property
By law the Indiana Attorney General’s Office administers the state’s Unclaimed Property program to ensure that abandoned bank accounts, stock dividends, insurance proceeds and other dormant assets are reunited with their rightful owners. In 2012 the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division returned nearly $44.9 million worth of unclaimed property to Hoosiers, and in 2011 paid more than 85,000 in claims Hoosiers submitted. Senate Enrolled Act 222 will allow the AG’s Office to return money to consumers more efficiently and effectively. First, it requires that if property in safe deposit boxes has been abandoned for three years, then a bank must turn over the property to the state so that the AG’s Office can attempt to return it to the owners – reducing the time frame from five years to three. Second, SEA 222 requires institutions holding unclaimed property, such as banks, to electronically notify the state of the property they hold, rather than by filing time-consuming paper notification, so that the AG’s Office can expedite its efforts to return property. Rep. Lawson was a co-sponsor of SEA 222.
“Consumers who search for their unclaimed property online on our web site, www.IndianaUnclaimed.gov, often are pleasantly surprised at the money they find. It’s their money and we want to return it to them and SEA 222 that legislators passed will aid in that process,” Zoeller said.
Zoeller expressed his appreciation to legislators of both parties in the Indiana House and state Senate who passed by wide margins the bills on his 2013 legislative agenda.
NOTE: More information on the Attorney General’s 2013 legislative agenda is available at this link: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2472.htm
More information about the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division is at this link: www.indianaunclaimed.gov...
Valparaiso Parks Director John Seibert and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas
Bike enthusiasts joined Mayor Jon Costas at the Valparaiso Family YMCA this morning for a 'Bike to Work Day” event organized by the Valparaiso Pathways Committee. Mayhor Costas says the event reminds us that “cars aren't the only way of getting from point A to point B”. The bicyclists made their way down to Central Park in downtown Valparaiso from the Y this morning.
The Valparaiso Pathways Committee held a Bike to Work Day event that started at the Valparaiso Family YMCA Pavilion this morning.
[Photos by Karl Berner, Radio One Communications]
- Powerball Jackpot at $550M
- Two Dead in House Fire
- Bike to Work; Trek the Township
- Public Corruption News Conference
- Bus Rollover on I-65
- Man Dies After Construction Accident
- $450 Tip for Indiana Waitress
- Loaded Gun Found During Harvey Traffic Stop
- Portage PD Seek Help to ID Purse Theft Suspects
- IN Farm Bureau Optimistic for Long-term Farm Bill in 2013
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