In perhaps the shortest ever bridge dedication of its kind, hastened by a below freezing temperature and even colder wind chills, the new Indianapolis Avenue bridge that links Hammond with East Chicago, was dedicated Monday afternoon.
Jim Pinkerton, Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation Northwest District started the dedication promptly at 12:30 p.m. introducing the line-up of guests including Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, Representative Ed Soliday. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond City Council members and other local officials.
Lt. Governor Ellspermann (above photo) was the first to address the assembled crowd of construction and steel workers, local government officials and media, saying "the project demonstrates great cooperation between INDOT, local officials and economic development officials." Ellspermann said the new bridge meets two needs, "safety and efficiency" but also by improving the bridge's elevation over the switch yard, will facilitate future expansion in the area.
(photo: L to R; East Chicago mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, Indiana Lt. governor Sue Ellspermann and 4th District Represenative Ed Soliday)
Before introducing the two mayors to speak Pinkerton unveiled two memorial plaques (above photo) that will be placed on each side of the bridge.
Mayor McDermott (above photo) went on to thank INDOT, the contractors working on the project to finish the bridge ahead of schedule thereby less inconveniencing businesses that depend on the traffic flowing between the two cities. Acknowledging the project was "pushed" along by Governor Pence's office, the mayor of East Chicago and himself McDermott said, " we make great things happen in a short amount of time."
East Chicago Mayor (above photo with Mayor McDermott) spoke next said "...this bridge represents the...glue that combines the two cities together." Mayor Copeland said that he and Mayor McDermott are, "...stand here united as mayors saying that we know the economic costs that could have been suffered." Copeland symbolically said that crossing over the bridge will reunite the two communities that were severed while the work was being done, "...our communities will always stand as one and this bridge is a testament to that."
Just before the actual ribbon cutting, 4th District Representative Ed Soliday (above photo) praised the cooperation of the state saying, "...we've been able to get over $400 million more dollars this year to do projects just like this." Representative Soliday said that infrastructure is, "the key to our economy, key to great communities like East Chicago and Hammond."
(above photo: the ribbon cutting of the new nine span bridge in Hammond on Monday, December 9, 2013)
According to INDOT, the 1200 foot long new Nine Span Bridge was completed ahead of scheduled and opens to traffic today. The expedited reconnection of this link between the cities of Hammond and East Chicago is vital, as the Nine Span Bridge is one of the busiest north-south routes in the region. More than 20,000 vehicles a day use the bridge.
The original Nine Span Bridge, constructed in the mid-1930s, was one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Portions from the iconic structure were saved and stored for future use on a trail project or other low traffic thoroughfare, if a community is interested in the next ten years.
Dunnet Bay Construction of Glendale Heights, Illinois was awarded the $18 million contract for both the bridge's demolition and the building of the new span..
For Nine Span Bridge demolition and construction pictures, videos, and more visit INDOT’s social media channels at http://www.YouTube.com/IndianaDOT, www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest, and www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can listen to the entire bridge dedication ceremony by selecting the News Audio On Demand link at: http://www.regionnewsteam.com
(photos/provided by Jay Stevens)
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office; Above:
Shawn Sobolewski. Below: Brandon Montano)
A total of five suspects have now been charged for their alleged involvement in two separate robberies and burglaries that occurred in LaPorte County in mid-May and July. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office announced today 34 year old Shawn Sobolewski, 20 year old Brandon Montano, 18 year old Jonathan Surber and 16 year old Bryan Parish, all from Michigan City, are charged in the May 17th burglary and robbery in the 56-hundred West block of County Road 300 North. Authorities report Parish will be charged as an adult, and along with Montano, also faces a charge of criminal confinement
(Above: Jonathan Surber. Below: Bryan Parish)
Meanwhile Sobolewski, Montano, Surber and 18 year old Jeremy Montano, are charged in the July 4th robbery and burglary that occurred in the ten-thousand West block of County Road 200 South near Westville. Authorities in each burglary, the victim was confined and robbed.
(Above: Jeremy Montano)...
Terms to improve the economic landscape of the Gary/Chicago International Airport were presented today. Marketing & Communications Liaison with the Gary/Chicago International Airport, James Ward III says no decision has been made, but once the documents and terms have been reviewed a meeting will be set in the next couple of weeks.
The proposed terms were negotiated by the Ad Hoc committee with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., of Virginia, and include an investment of 25 million dollars in the first three years and a minimum 30 percent goal for local workforce participation as well as performance incentives for revenue growth, including profit sharing with the airport and the City of Gary. For more information, visit http://garychicagoairport.com/pdf/News%20Release%20GYY%20TERMS%20120913.pdf...
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office)
Two horses that were abandoned last month at 241st Avenue in Schneider near the LaSalle State Fish and Wildlife Area have been adopted together. The Lake County Animal Adoption Center made the announcement today that the two horses, who were discovered on November 3rd very malnourished are now thriving. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich would like to thank the community for their overwhelming response to this issue and the willingness to adopt these two animals....
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 33 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for child molestation is this week's US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force “Fugitive of the Week.” Michael Saunders is described as a black male, six-feet tall, with black hair and brown eyes who has been known to reside throughout northwest Indiana with ties to Gary, Hobart and Lake Station.
Anyone with information on Michael Othell Saunders and his 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....
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced the state will take a number of cost-saving measures in light of the November revenue report, which shows state revenue is 141 million dollars lower than projected this fiscal year. The state will require agencies to hold back an additional one-point-five percent of their appropriations, sell the state plane, delay planned expenses for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and require a two-percent reserve on university operations and line items, which will reportedly save an additional 57 million dollars this fiscal year. The measures come on top of previous steps to preserve the state's structural surplus, which have already saved the state 116 million dollars.
The November revenue report and commentary from Budget Director Brian Bailey have been posted on the State Budget Agency webpage. The report can be found here.
The full list of cost-saving measures can be found here....
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A man previously listed as the LaPorte Police Department's “Wanted Person of the Week” in November was arrested over the weekend. LaPorte Police today announced 28 year old Marcus Koehn, was taken into custody without incident at 11:12 pm Friday night after a search warrant was obtained for an apartment at County Acres Apartments Complex in LaPorte. Koehn was wanted on a warrant through LaPorte Police for felony theft, and misdemeanor battery and invasion of privacy. He was also wanted by the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office on charges of battery and failure to appear. A 22 year old woman, whose apartment Koehn was found in, was also taken into custody and charged with felony assisting a criminal....
News Release from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller:
INDIANAPOLIS – Another 24 school corporations have joined the lawsuit the State of Indiana and 15 schools filed against the Internal Revenue Service, challenging the multi-million-dollar tax penalties the IRS potentially could impose against state and local governments in 2015 under the “employer mandate” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Plaintiffs today filed an amended complaint in federal court listing 24 additional schools that joined the lawsuit since the original group of 15 schools and the State filed it October 8.
Reiterating the initial complaint, the total 39 schools and the State allege the IRS exceeded its legal authority under the ACA, the federal healthcare restructuring law that Congress passed in 2010. The IRS this year issued a regulation that has the effect of charging large financial penalties in all states against large employers who do not offer health insurance to those working more than 30 hours per week as full-time employees. The lawsuit alleges the IRS regulation contradicts specific ACA wording Congress passed, which had authorized the IRS to impose employer-mandate penalties only in those states where state-established health-insurance exchanges exist. Indiana is one of 27 states that opted not to create a state exchange, meaning the federal government runs an exchange for Indiana residents.
Under the employer mandate, the potential penalty for large employers for non-compliance is $2,000 per employee for all full-time employees in the organization. The State of Indiana is employer to approximately 28,000 executive branch workers. In the lawsuit, the State is represented by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.
“Before being subjected to draconian IRS tax penalties, the State and 39 schools ask the federal court whether they are under federal taxing authority like private-sector employers. The objective of this case is to defend fundamental state authority to structure our government workforce to provide services; and individuals’ access to health insurance never has been the focus of the suit,” Zoeller said.
The amended lawsuit asks the federal court to issue an injunction blocking the IRS and other federal agencies from applying the unauthorized regulation and penalties against the school corporations and State as government employers. Plaintiffs also ask the federal court to issue a declaratory judgment finding the IRS regulation as applied to State government and schools is unconstitutional and void under the Tenth Amendment.
“Our State should be protected as is constitutionally guaranteed from federal government overreach under our American system of federalism, and the participation of so many school corporations in the challenge reflects mutual concern that this principle has been undermined by the IRS’s actions,” Zoeller said.
The 24 additional school corporations who joined the lawsuit in the amended complaint filed today are:
Area 30 Career Center Education Interlocal, Greencastle, Ind.
Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation, Knightstown, Ind.
Cloverdale Community School Corporation, Cloverdale, Ind.
Daleville Community Schools, Daleville, Ind.
Eastern Howard School Corporation, Greentown, Ind.
East Porter County School Corporation, Kouts, Ind.
Eminence Community School Corporation, Eminence, Ind.
Fayette County School Corporation, Connersville, Ind.
Greencastle Community School Corporation, Greencastle, Ind.
Monroe Central School Corporation, Parker City, Ind.
Nettle Creek School Corporation, Hagerstown, Ind.
Northeastern Wayne School Corporation, Fountain City, Ind.
North Putnam Community School Corporation, Bainbridge, Ind.
Northwestern School Corporation, Kokomo, Ind.
North West Hendricks School Corporation, Lizton, Ind.
Old National Trail Special Services Cooperative, Greencastle, Ind.
Salem Community Schools, Salem, Ind.
Shelby Eastern School Corporation, Fairland, Ind.
South Gibson School Corporation, Fort Branch, Ind.
South Putnam Community School Corporation, Greencastle, Ind.
Taylor Community School Corporation, Kokomo, Ind.
Union School Corporation, Modoc, Ind.
Western School Corporation, Russiaville, Ind.
Western Wayne Schools, Pershing, Ind.
The original 15 school corporations who were plaintiffs along with the State in the initial complaint October 8 are:
Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, Martinsville, Ind.
Perry Central Community Schools, Leopold, Ind.
Benton Community School Corporation, Fowler, Ind.
Community School Corporation of Eastern Hancock County, Charlottesville, Ind.
John Glenn School Corporation, Walkerton, Ind.
Monroe-Gregg School District, Monrovia, Ind.
Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, Mooresville, Ind.
North Lawrence Community Schools, Bedford, Ind.
Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County, Fairland, Ind.
Shelbyville Central Schools, Shelbyville, Ind.
Southwest Parke Community School Corporation, Montezuma, Ind.
Vincennes Community School Corporation, Vincennes, Ind.
Madison Consolidated Schools, Madison, Ind.
South Henry School Corporation, Straughn, Ind.
Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated School Corporation, Hanover, Ind.
The 39 school corporations are represented by Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, while the State is represented by the Attorney General’s Office.
No court dates have been scheduled yet in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. No response has been filed yet by the federal defendants, which include the IRS and its acting commissioner Daniel Werfel, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and the U.S. Department of Labor and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez....
“When people think of football they think of Mike Ditka,” Governor Quinn said. “He was the best tight end of all time, and 'Da Coach’ molded and guided arguably the best football team of all time – the 1985 Super Bowl-winning Bears. He is one of just two men to win a championship as both player and coach. I urge all Illinoisans to join me in congratulating him today.”
Mike Ditka was a football standout at the University of Pittsburgh in his native Pennsylvania before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1961, where he won Rookie of the Year. He played tight end for the Bears through 1966, was selected for the Pro Bowl each year, and was part of the championship 1963 team in the years before the advent of the Super Bowl. While with the Bears, Ditka amassed 4,503 yards receiving, first among Bears tight ends; and 316 receptions and 34 touchdowns, placing him fifth of all Bears players.
Ditka was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1967 and then to the Dallas Cowboys in 1969, where he played for four seasons and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl VI. Ditka was the first tight end enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 for his blocking, 427 career receptions for 5,812 yards, and 43 career touchdowns.
After his playing career ended, Ditka was part of the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff from 1973 to 1981. He was named head coach of the Chicago Bears in 1982, guiding them to a Super Bowl victory in 1985, and remained as “Da Coach” through 1992. Ditka was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1988.
Ditka has also been a sports commentator on national television and owns restaurants in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Phoenix....
Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City is critical of the Governor's recently announced legislative agenda for 2014. Pelath says he agrees with the governor on improving crumbling infrastructure, but says "the vast majority of tax breaks being proposed are being lavished on corporate board rooms and not families". One major point of contention already brewing between parties is Governor Pence's proposal to phase out the personal property tax businesses pay on equipment.
State Representative Pelath's statement:
"From an initial look at his agenda, the Governor is not offering a striking vision of where Indiana needs to go.
"I agree that we must improve our state's crumbling infrastructure, and I applaud his desire to help families with child care.
"But as I look at the scope of these proposals, I wonder how he plans to reconcile new spending with his own reputation as a rabid fiscal conservative. I also wonder how fellow Tea Party politicians will react to any deterioration of their precious state surplus, which they value more than the prosperity of our citizens.
"And I cannot help but think that this agenda continues the recent tradition of leaving our state's middle class by the side of the road.
"Consider that once again, the vast majority of tax breaks being proposed are being lavished on corporate board rooms and not families. Despite recent improvements in Indiana's unemployment rate, our state still lags behind the rest of the country, and it is becoming rapidly apparent that consistently cutting taxes for those with all the power and all the money is not doing anything for middle-class pocketbooks.
"In fact, this trend toward more corporate giveaways is going to end up hurting families who will not find much protection from the property tax caps, and local units of government that again will be forced to choose to cut services or increase fees to pay for them.
"Once again, the improvements in our state's educational system are weighted toward vouchers and charter schools available only to a select few. Our traditional public
classrooms are forgotten.
"Since there may be some criticism of this agenda from members of the governor's own party, I simply will add that House Democrats will study this program in-depth in
the weeks leading up to the start of the 2014 legislative session, and we will be prepared to offer improvements where necessary and alternatives that make sense.
"It's not all bad. But our state has many problems that this agenda ignores."...
Police say the driver of a 2003 Ford was south bound and came over the hill crest and saw the Jeep spinning in the roadway, swerved to the left to avoid the Jeep but was hit on the front right side of the Ford. The Ford came to rest on the inside shoulder. Police say the driver of the Ford was wearing a seat belt and was not hurt.
A semi driver heading southbound came over the hill crest, authorities say, saw the Jeep in the right lane, and could not avoid hitting it. The semi went off the interstate, down into a ditch and into the fence line approximately 50 feet off the road. The Kenworth was loaded with approximately 45,000 pounds of Resin. No load was lost. The semi driver was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
Police say Rogers was found lying on the inside shoulder next to the concrete barrier wall, and it's not known at this time if she was ejected or hit while she was outside of her Jeep. Rogers was taken to Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer and was being transported to a Lafayette Hospital when complications arose and was rushed back to Jasper County where she died at the hospital. Assisting: Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Trooper Dale Turner, Keener Township Fire and EMS....
"End of a Perfect Day," winning photo by Valerie Parson of St. John
The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority has announced the winners of the Summer Fun Along the South Shore photo contest. The winner, Valerie Parson of St. John, received a $500 Visa gift card.
"Frolic Merriment," by Taytum Bultema of Crown Point, taken at Mowry’s Fruit Farm.
"All-American Boy," photo by Dana Garvin of Indianapolis. Garvin was at a Fourth of July gathering in Highland when she snapped her winning photograph.
Two runners-up, Taytum Bultema of Crown Point and Dana Garvin of Indianapolis, were also selected and each received $100 toward custom framing at Lake Street Gallery, located in the Miller Beach section of Gary.
Photographs submitted to the contest have the opportunity of being featured on the South Shore CVA’s website or in other promotional materials. Last year’s winning photograph, submitted by Scott Keithley of Valdosta, Georgia, is featured on the cover of the 2013-2014 visitors’ map. The contest, which ran through the summer, asked for candid photographs of people enjoying summer activities such as the beach, festivals, parks or the water park. Photographs were judged by Sandra Mendez, a photography instructor in the Chicago region. [Photos courtesy South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority]...
In Lake County overnight, a motorist was seriously injured when their car went out of control on the slick and snow-covered Borman Expressway near Gary. Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say a preliminary investigation indicates the driver was westbound in a Mercury Mountaineer going too fast for road conditions and spun out just east of Cline Avenue, hit the inner barrier wall, then bounced into the middle lane of the interstate where the vehicle was struck by a semi that could not avoid it. The Freightliner then hit the inner barrier wall. Police say the driver of the Mountaineer was not wearing a seat belt, and was ejected onto the roadway. That individual was taken to a local hospital with what police described as critical life-threatening head injuries, and the semi driver was transported with non-life-threatening injuries. All lanes west bound were closed with traffic getting by on the outer shoulder until approximately 04:30 a.m. when all lanes were reopened. The lanes were closed for reconstruction of the crash, removal of the injured and vehicles and clean-up of the roadway....
Police continue to investigate a homicide that claimed the life of a Highland man in the Hessville section of Hammond over the weekend. The Lake County Coroners office says 38-year-old Thomas Ferrell died at a local hospital around 9:30 Saturday morning from a gunshot wound. Police say the victim was apparently heating up his girlfriend's vehicle outside a bar in the 29-hundred block of 165th Street in around 2 am Saturday when the shooting occurred. Authorities say the woman found the man shot inside the vehicle when she went to the parking lot....
- Indiana Gets Grant to Get Local Foods in Schools
- Online Shoppers Warned About Lookalike Sites
- Audio: Indiana Pearl Harbor Survivors
- Two Recent Burglaries at Foreclosed Homes in CP
- LOFS, Hebron Fire Depts 'Stop, Drop Donate'
- Wishard Memorial Hospital Closes
- Veteran Deputy Lake County Prosecutor Passes Away
- Soup Recalled Due to Undeclared Allergen
- Senators Join Forces to Promote Illiana Expressway
- Audio: IU Northwest Professor On Mandela
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