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Track at (Old) Fairgrounds Park Closed for Repaving

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Walking/Jogging track at Old Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso

Beginning Tuesday, August 20, the track at Fairgrounds Park will be temporarily closed for repaving.  The track will be closed to the public during construction, which is estimated to take up to 10 days depending on weather.
The ¾ mile track, which is more than 20 years old, is in need of repair and repaving and is used by hundreds of walkers and joggers every day.  Not only is the track being repaved, it is being widened to 8’ wide, making it better for users to walk, run and exercise together.
(photo courtesy Valparaiso Parks and Recreation)
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“Miracle at Mt. Baldy Recognition Programs

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Mayor Ron Meer and the City of Michigan City, Indiana announce a dual recognition program honoring all of the agencies and individuals involved in the rescue of Nathan Woessner on Wednesday, August 28, 2013.
The first recognition program will be conducted by Indiana Governor Mike Pence at Michigan City City Hall (100 E. Michigan Boulevard) at 11:00 a.m. and will run approximately one hour.
At approximately 1:00 p.m., Mayor Meer and the City of Michigan City will present a recognition program in the Stardust Events Center at the Blue Chip Casino (777 Blue Chip Drive) in Michigan City.
Nathan Woessner and Family plan on being in attendance at both programs.
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Crown Point to Honor Cal Ripken Champs Tuesday

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Mayor David Uran, Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Crown Point Parks and Recreation Department are proud to announce parade plans for the U12 Cal Ripken World Series Champions.
The parade for the team will be Tuesday, August 2th at 8pm. Players will be escorted by the police and fire departments around the square and led to the Cal Ripken fields on North Street for a brief ceremony.
“What an amazing accomplishment. We are so proud of these boys. They played hard and represented Crown Point at the World Series” said Mayor David Uran.  “I would like to invite everyone to come out and join us to celebrate their success.”  Residents are invited to watch the parade downtown on the square or at the Cal Ripken fields located off North Street.
The Bulldogs played teams from New York, Kentucky, North Dakota, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Hammond, Indiana.
For more information please contact Jennie Burgess at 661-2271 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Expect Daytime Back-ups Westbound I-80/94

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Expect Daytime Back-ups Westbound I-80/94
Right lane closed WB I-80/94 near Cline Avenue backing up all WB lanes as well as traffic from SB Cline Avenue


Daytime patching work will cause heavy, stop and go traffic westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) for the next couple of days.  Matt Deitchley, Media Relations Director for INDOT's La Porte District says the patching work is part of a long term project, " but the majority of this work will be done at night time.  This is something that is happening today, tomorrow and Wednesday."  Deitchley says that the work requires that the right lane westbound I-80/94 be closed right now  for the next three days for short term ramp work that has to be completed now.  

The ramp work is causing a trickle down effect, backing up traffic southbound on Cline Avenue as well.  Drivers coming from BP or the mills may want to take Kennedy Avenue or Calumet Avenue to I-80/94 as alternates.   Chicago Avenue should be avoided as railroad crossing work through Friday evening has Chicago Avenue closed between Kennedy Avenue and Graselli St.   Traffic westbound on I-80/94 may want to consider the Indiana Toll Road past Cline Avenue as an alternate as well.

More information about the ramp work can be found at:  http://www.facebook.com/indotnorthwest

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Attendance Up at IN State Fair and Local Co Fairs

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(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Fair Commission)

Almost 44-hundred more people attended the Indiana State Fair this year than in 2012, a 15-percent increase.  Officials with the State Fair report 157th edition attracted over 978-thousand people through the gates.  Sunny skies and cooler temperatures were contributing factors to the high attendance, along the new exhibits and attractions, like the 65-hundred pound popcorn ball that was on display throughout the fair which measured eight-feet across and broke a world record by nearly 15-hundred pounds. 
Here in the Region....Lake County attendance topped last year's numbers by more than 12-thousand, for a total of nearly 222-thousand fairgoers for 2013.  In Porter County, this year's event beat last year's numbers on many levels, including carnival, midway vendors and grandstand, with an estimated 120-thousand going through the gates this year, on par with last year, and gate receipts up 15-percent over 2012.  In La Porte County, attendance numbers were said to be a few percentage points higher than last year. 

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Newton County Sheriff Loses Battle with Cancer

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Sheriff Hartman
A man known for his dedication to the community and public service passed away on Thursday evening at his home in Kentland after a nine-month battle with cancer.  Newton County Sheriff Donald Hartman Sr. passed away at the age of 66.  Sheriff Hartman began his distinguished career in law enforcement in 1979 when he joined the Indiana State Police Academy, and in 1996, received the Gold Star Award for Valor for rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle on I-65.  Hartman retired from the State Police in 2006, and began as sheriff of Newton County in 2007.  Hartman also served as Vice-President of the Newton County Fair Board, as well as President of the Newton County 4-H Council. Visitation and funeral services are scheduled for August 24th, at South Newton High School, with visitation to begin at 9am and the funeral to start at 1pm.  Burial will follow at Buswell Cemetery in Kentland.

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Authorities Incinerate 105lbs of Unwanted Medicines

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pills
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities in LaPorte County announced today that on Friday they incinerated 105 and a half pounds of unused medicines that had been collected in their pill drop boxes since late April.  Pill drop boxes provide a means for citizens to dispose of unused or unwanted medicines and prevent them from entering the environment in landfills and water systems, as well as prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and death.  A reminder though that only solid medications are accepted at the drop off boxes, which can be found in the lobbies of most sheriff's offices and police departments, while liquids are to be disposed of in cat litter or coffee grounds and then placed in a trash bin.  Needles are to be placed in a sealed container, such as a detergent bottle, and taken to the proper facility, which in LaPorte County, is LaPorte County Solid Waste, in LaPorte.
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15 year Old Valpo Boy Killed in Motorcycle Crash

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A 15 year old boy was pronounced dead at the scene of a fatal motorcycle crash Sunday.  Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says his office was dispatched to the area of County Road 130 South, 600 West, in Valparaiso, at 6:15am, where Vincent Canzoneri had been heading north when he lost control of the dirt bike and skidded into a wooded area on the west side of 600 West.  Harris says drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the crash.
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Man Injured After Falling 20ft in Tree Stand Accident

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Indiana Conservation Police
A reminder from Indiana Conservation Police to hunters, always wear a safety harness, this after an a 50 year old man was injured after falling 20 feet while attempting to install a tree stand Sunday afternoon.  Authorities say the Marion man was treated for impact injuries to his legs, as well as serious lacerations to his midsection.  Conservation officers say other witnesses were present when the incident occurred, but that the man was attaching the stand himself.  Officers say always have at least two people working together to raise a stand, always inspect your equipment prior to setting it up, and again, always where a safety harness when your feet are not firmly planted on the ground.

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US Marshals Service Fugitive of the Week: Eric Johnson

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Eric Johnson
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)

A 20 year old man wanted in Lake County Court for felony attempted murder with a firearm is this week's US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, “Fugitive of the Week”.  Authorities report Eric Johnson, who is also wanted for felony aggravated battery and felony battery, is described as a black male, 5'06”, weighing 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, who was last known to reside in the 21-hundred block of Delaware in Gary.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Eric Johnson 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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Reminder: Watch for Children and School Buses

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school bus dangerzone
Many schools in the region and across the state have already begun, which is why Indiana State Police are reminding motorists to watch out for children in school zones and waiting to board buses, especially in the early morning hours.  Motorists are also reminded that whenever a school bus arm is extended that you are required by law to stop. State Police want to remind parents to emphasize the danger zone immediately surrounding the school bus and to encourage your children to carry all articles in a back pack or book bag and never chase after dropped items.  Westville Schools are scheduled to begin today with even more slated to start next week. 
Parents should also remind children of these school bus safety tips:
•Wait for the bus in a safe place away from traffic. •No horseplay at the bus stop.
•Wait until the bus and other traffic comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus.
•ALWAYS CROSS IN FRONT OF THE BUS, THE DRIVER SHOULD ALWAYS BE ABLE TO SEE YOU.
•When on the bus remain seated and talk quietly so the driver will not be distracted.
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26 Year Old Gary Man Run Over by Coal Train Sunday

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A 26 year old Gary man was found dead on the railroad tracks on the property of NIPSCO's Michigan City Generating Station Sunday morning.  NICTD Transit Police report Randall Williams was run over by a coal train and an investigation continues as to how the man  gained entry to the rail yard.  No further information is available at this time.
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Lane Closures on US 41 in Newton County This Week

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Indot Logo color
NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces lane restrictions on U.S. 41, between State Road 10 and State Road 14, beginning Monday, August 19th through Thursday, August 22nd. At least one lane in each direction will be maintained on U.S. 41 throughout the project. Crews will perform a chip seal operation to preserve the road surface. Please note: this project is dependent on dry weather and may be delayed if conditions aren’t ideal.
The chip-seal process consists of distributing a liquid asphalt emulsion on the roadway and covering the liquid asphalt with crushed stone to provide a new wearing surface. Chip-sealing extends the life of a roadway by protecting it from moisture, ultra-violet degradation, and any other damaging exposures.
Drivers should exercise caution during these projects. Loose stone will be present on the roadway during the initial cure of the asphalt and can damage windshields and paint on vehicles that may be following each other too closely. It is recommended when travelling on a recently chip-sealed road to slow down and allow additional space between vehicles.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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SR 312 Closed This Week in EC for Rail Crossing Repairs

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Indot Logo color
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of State Road 312 at the railroad crossing in East Chicago between Huish Drive and Grasselli Street beginning Monday, August 19th through Friday, August 23rd. Crews will be repairing the railroad crossing.
A detour will take eastbound SR 312 traffic north on U.S. 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), east on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on SR 912 (Cline Ave), and back to SR 312. Westbound SR 312 traffic will be detoured north on SR 912 (Cline Ave), west on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on US 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), and back to SR 312.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, “like us” at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and “follow us” at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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Detainee Awaiting Sentencing Dies of Natural Causes

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Cook County Sheriff
A 64 year old Cook County detainee convicted of murder in December 2012 died of natural causes Friday at the jail.  Sheriff Thomas Dart reported on Saturday that Percy Banks, who was being held at the jail while awaiting sentencing for a 2007 murder, was found unresponsive in his cell Friday afternoon.

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IL Man Killed Sunday in Gary at Food Mart

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A 28 year old man was killed Sunday at the Virginia Street Food Mart in Gary and the death has been ruled an apparent homicide.  The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Mihid Abutemeh, of Oak Lawn, Illinois, was pronounced dead just after 1pm, due to a gunshot wound to the chest.  Gary Police, Lake County Sheriff's Police, and the Lake County Coroner's Office are investigating.
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Gary Man Suspect in alleged Burglaries in Portage

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portage pd
Police may have disrupted a string of thefts from inside parked vehicles occurring in the Portage area with the arrest of a Gary man. 

A 33-year old and an 18 year-old woman reported various items, including cell phones a checkbook and laptop computer, taken early Thursday morning from inside vehicles parked at their residences.   Portage Police received an eye-witness report of two black males attempting to gain entry into a neighbor's parked vehicle.  An officer en route to an unrelated call observed a subject matching the description of one of the subjects walking south bound on Swanson near the intersection of McCasland.  The subject was detained and found to be wanted in Lake County for a felony burglary charge. 
Police reports say the man identified as 20 year-old, Jirrell C. Dotson of the 300 block of Hayes Street in Gary, was arrested and transported to Porter Count Jail where he faces D Felony theft charges as well as the B Felony Lake County Warrant.  The other suspect reportedly remains at large and is described as male, black, 5'-8" to 5'-10" tall with thin build and wearing a blue or black "hoodie" and baggie pants.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Portage Police Department at (219) 762-3122.
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Friday Night Crash Takes Life of Hammond Man

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The identity of a man killed in single-car crash in Hammond Friday night has been released.  A press release from the Lake County Coroner's office says the man identified as 59 year-old, Dan Pirkowski of the 7400 block of Baring Parkway, suffered blunt force trauma when his car reportedly struck a pole. According to an article in the Times, the coroner received a call at 8:50 p.m. about an accident at 3300 Michigan Ave. in Hammond.  No other information is available at this time.    


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Crown Point Bulldogs are World Champions!

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Cal Ripken World series logo


The Crown Point Bulldogs are the reigning 2013 Cal Ripken World Series Champions.  During the championship game, Crown Point beat the Knights from Kingsbridge, New York by a score of 5 to 4 Friday night at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.  According to the Times, the Knights were among eight teams from around the country that made the trip to the Region to play in the tournament.  The host team, the Hammond Optimist Squad, lost to Crown Point in the semifinals.


The tournament is named for Calvin Edwin "Cal" Ripken, Jr. who is consideed to be one of the best major league shortstops and third basemen in baseball history.  According to WIkipedia, Ripken, who spent his entire major league career with the Baltimore Orioles, is perhaps best known for breaking Lou Gehrig's 56 year-old record for consecutive games played, a feat many thought impossible.  Cal Ripken, Jr. was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.


Read more about the big win at:  http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/hammond/fans-cheer-on-the-winning-bulldogs/article_3ee9e73d-52e2-5502-97a9-de5080456e77.html

(photo from:  https://www.facebook.com/Hammond201312uWorldSeries )


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Read more: Crown Point Bulldogs are World Champions!

   

State Supreme Court Voids Region Twins Adoption

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Despite an Indiana Supreme Court Ruling backing "a fit parent's constitutional rights," a  5-0 decision on Friday could result in the removal of ten year old twins from the only home they've ever known. 
According to the Times, when they were 18-months of age,  the twins were removed from their natural mother's home for unknown reasons by the Department of Child Services and placed with a foster family.  According to court records, their natural father is unknown and in 2008, the Jasper County child services office won county court approval to terminate the parental rights of the natural mother--a decision the mother appealed.  During the course of the appeal, the foster parents went ahead and formally adopted the twins, who according to the article, have been living with them for three years.  Two months after the adoption went through, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision to terminate the natural mother's parental rights.  The court found that DCS did not satisfactorily show that continuing the parent-child relationship would threaten the twins' well-being.  The high court has ordered a new adoption hearing be held in Jasper County where the natural mother can make her case as to why the twins belong with her.   The court also urges agencies, lawyers, judges and others involved in the adoption process to change their procedures so no Hoosier children are ever again put in a similar position.
Read more about this story at:  http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/jasper/indiana-supreme-court-ruling-could-pull-twins-from-adoptive-home/article_d6cf992e-3d53-5faa-a726-33fb152acf0e.html
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