Gary Gospel Concert and Food Giveaway

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Mayor and Majestic Star employees
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary; Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson poses with Anika Johnson, Director of Constituent Services (2nd from left) and employees from Majestic Star Casino as they drop off donated food for Saturday’s distribution.)
(Gary, Ind.) – As Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson approaches her second Thanksgiving in office, she set a goal to increase the City’s charitable efforts over last year. Thanks to the contributions of scores of local churches, non-profit organizations and businesses, the city is well on its way to achieving this goal.
On Saturday, November 23 at 12 p.m., a Thanksgiving Gospel Concert will be held in downtown Gary at the Genesis Convention Center featuring a host of local groups and soloists. The tickets are $10, and all proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
Following the concert at 3:00p.m., a food basket distribution to more than 600 families will take place. The giveaway is for individuals who have already registered. (The list for recipients is now closed. We ask the media’s help in making this clear so that parties who have not registered will not attend expecting to receive a food basket.)
“We are most grateful to our community partners whose donations and contributions will make this holiday special for hundreds of Gary residents,” said Freeman-Wilson. “Every year we will try to do more, and adding the concert is our way of trying to lift everyone’s spirits during the holidays.”
Concert tickets can be purchased at Gary City Hall, the Food Bank of NWI, the Genesis Convention Center or at the door on the day of the event. (See flyer attached)
For more information, call (219) 881-1314....

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Donnelly Donates Shutdown Pay to IN Food Banks

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Food Bank of NW Indiana
Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly today donated his take-home pay during the 16-day federal government shutdown and donated it to ten food banks across Indiana, including the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Executive Director Arlene Peterson says Senator Donnelly will be stopping by the Food Bank, in Gary, right before the Thanksgiving holiday, to give an update on behalf of hunger efforts in Washington.
donnelly food bank donations
Senator Donnelly's take-home pay during the shutdown amounted to five-thousand dollars, and checks for 500 dollars each were written out to the ten food banks. According to Feeding America, last year over one-million Hoosiers were “food insecure” meaning they did not always know where they would find there next meal. ...

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No Order from IDOI to Reinstate Canceled Policies

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Indiana's Department of Insurance today announced the state will not order insurance companies operating in Indiana to reinstate canceled policies, as recently suggested by President Obama. State Insurance Commissioner Stephen Robertson says doing so would seriously destabilize Indiana's insurance market and create logistical chaos, and that he does not believe the Department of Insurance has the authority under state law to fulfill the Presidents request....

Read more: No Order from IDOI to Reinstate Canceled Policies


Illinois Becomes 16th State Legalizing Gay Marriage

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Illinois today became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage. Surrounded by dozens of lawmakers, state officials, and hundreds of supporters, Governor Pat Quinn signed the same sex marriage bill into law on the same desk Abraham Lincoln penned his 1861 inaugural address.... "It's a triumph of democracy. A triumph of government of the people, that we believe in liberty and equality, and we're making sure that's a part of our law." Gay couples will be able to get married in Illinois in the summer of 2014. ...

Read more: Illinois Becomes 16th State Legalizing Gay Marriage


Great American Smokeout: Commit to being Tobacco Free

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indiana state department of health
Tomorrow is the 38th Great American Smokeout and health officials are raising awareness of the benefits of not smoking. According to the Indiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an estimated 24-percent of Hoosier adults were smokers in 2012. Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable and premature cancer deaths in Indiana, killing 38-hundred Hoosiers each year. The Great American Smokeout, as part of lung cancer awareness month, is asking everyone to be smoke-free tomorrow (Thursday), or to make plans to quit smoking, or to encourage a friend or loved one to quit.
Smoking accounts for 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, and at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. If all tobacco smoking were stopped, the occurrence of lung cancer would decrease by an estimated 90 percent; however, according to the Indiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an estimated 24 percent of Indiana adults were current smokers in 2012, placing them at great risk for developing lung and other types of cancer. People who quit smoking significantly reduce their risk of developing cancer and other chronic diseases.
“The positive health effects of quitting smoking begin immediately,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Within 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse return to normal levels. Within 72 hours, the chance of a heart attack drops and sense of smell and taste begin to return. In three months, lung capacity increases and in one year, risk of heart attack is cut in half. Within five years, the heart disease rate drops to that of a non-smoker.”
For more information about local tobacco control coalitions, visit
“Hoosiers can also use this day to make a plan to quit smoking or tobacco use, or to encourage a friend or loved one to quit,” said Miranda Spitznagle, Director of Tobacco Prevention and Cessation at the State Health Department. “Indiana residents can receive free help in quitting tobacco by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting”
In July of 2012, Indiana enacted its first statewide smoke free air law. The law covers nearly all public places in the state, including restaurants and other workplaces. In addition, there are 19 communities that have passed comprehensive smoke free air laws that cover workplaces, restaurants and bars. Visit for more information on Indiana’s state and local smoke free air policies.
To learn more about lung cancer, and what you can do to lower your risk, refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report on the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) website at

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La Carreta in Merrillville and Schererville Raided

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Indiana State Police troopers and Indiana Excise Police served search warrants on Monday at La Carreta restaurants in Merrillville and Schererville. The warrants served are part of an investigation targeting Mexican restaurants across Indiana, which have been coordinated by the Marion and Tippacanoe County Prosecutors' Offices. No details have been given as to what is being investigated....

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Discrimination Charges Against Highland Restaurant

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The Indiana Civil Rights Commission, or ICRC, today announced probable cause has been found into complaints of sexual harassment against the owner of a Highland restaurant, as well as other male employees. The Commission's Deputy Director reports two female waitress, at Les Brothers Restaurant and Pancake House, reported multiple incidents of sexual harassment, which included verbal and physical behavior. The ICRC reports despite both women telling the restaurant owner's son about the behavior, which ranged from sexual comments and derogatory name calling to inappropriate touching and grabbing, nothing was done. The restaurant's owner denies the allegations....

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Lugar Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

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donnelly with lugar
(Photo Courtesy of Senator Donnelly's Office)
It is the highest honor the US government can bestow on a civilian, the Medal Of Freedom.  ABC News reports ceremonies were held today at the White House and a standing room only crowd cheered more than a dozen accomplished Americans, from Oprah Winfrey to Gloria Steinem and Loretta Lynn. Baseball's Ernie Banks and former President Bill Clinton.
Also awarded the Medal of Freedom was former Indiana US Senator Richard Lugar. Current Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly says Lugar devoted his life to serving Hoosiers and our country, and his life's work is a model for how we can and should solve problems.
The Medal of Freedom was established by President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago, but he did not live to see the first medal bestowed. ...

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AAA: Thanksgiving Holiday Travel/Low Gas Prices

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In their annual Holiday Travel Report, AAA predicts Thanksgiving will once again be the busiest travel day of the year. Marshall Doney, Chief Operating officer at AAA says they predict that gas prices will remain at less than three dollars a gallon in many states, and prices are now at there lowest since the holiday season of 2010.
AAA reports the state average in Indiana is three-dollars-18-cents a gallon for regular unleaded.
Gasbuddy-dot-com reports the current average in the Gary metropolitan area for a gallon of regular unleaded is three-dollars-12-cents, down two-cents from last week and down 19-cents from a month ago. ...

Read more: AAA: Thanksgiving Holiday Travel/Low Gas Prices


One Year Study on Grand Calumet River

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In Gary, the city's Sanitary District Board of Commissioners has agreed to enter into a one-year study with the US Environmental Protection Agency, to see if sediment from cleanup of the heavily-polluted Grand Calumet River can be deposited in the Ralston Street Lagoon. The 17-acre lagoon south of Gary/Chicago International Airport, is steps away from the Grand Cal, and is filled with toxic PCB's from decades of dumping of municipal sludge that began years before PCBs were banned in the US. An underground wall was built to contain the pollutants....

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Century Old NWI Family Business Has Closed

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Just months before Christmas, a century-old family business in northwest Indiana that once produced up to one-million poinsettias a year, has closed. The Times today reports Angelo Bernacchi Greenhouses on Fox Street in La Porte shut its doors about a month ago, due to increasing difficulties competing with lower prices offered on plants by big box stores and in part to younger generations not interested in taking on continuing the company. The business was founded by Angelo Bernacchi, who immigrated to the United States from Italy when he was a teenager....

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Gary PD Investigating Shooting Incident on 53rd Ave

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Gary PD
In Gary, police say a 19-year-old man was shot while along 53rd Avenue on the far south side of the city Monday night. Authorities say the man said he saw a silver vehicle driving slowly in his direction around 9 pm, then heard shots fired and was hit by a bullet as he started to run. He was reportedly taken to a hospital by a family member....

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Chesterton PD Investigating Home Robbery Report

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chesterton pd
In Chesterton, police are investigating the report of a woman being robbed at her home in the 11-hundred block of Pam Drive. Police say the man reportedly approached the victim from behind and pushed her inside, implying he had a weapon, though none was displayed. The suspect was described as black, about 6-feet tall and 190 pounds with short curly hair....

Read more: Chesterton PD Investigating Home Robbery Report


Crown Point Collecting Donations for Kokomo Residents

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The city of Crown Point has announced a collection drive for donations to help those affected by the tornado that struck Kokomo Sunday. Crown Point Special Events Administrator Diana Bosse says Region residents can drop off donations will be accepted through Friday morning at the Crown Point Fire Station (located at 126 N East Street) and Source One Real Estate (located at 855 E. North St.).
Bosse says the city has an account called the Crown Point Cares that's used throughout the year to help others, so Source One and the City of Crown Point will be taking the donations to Kokomo Friday afternoon.
Items needed are plastic containers, ziploc bags, diapers (all sizes), wipes, baby formula, shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, tooth brushes cleaning supplies, flashlights and batteries.

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Coroner Seeks Public's Help in Identifying Victim

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Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey is seeking the public's help in identifying a male homicide victim, believed to be white or Hispanic, whose body was found in the 27-hundred block of Maryland Street in Gary earlier this month. Gary Police Corporal Gabrielle King says an officer on patrol November 4th discovered a burned out vehicle, and upon further inspection, found legs sticking out of it. Frey says the individual weighed 147 pounds, was 5’-6” with brown hair, and was wearing a red hooded sweat shirt, blue jeans and a pair of Diesel tennis shoes. Officials say the only personal property found was a bronze whistle and an Acura key fob with an attached Ace Hardware house key. The coroners office says the victim suffered multiple stab wounds. Anyone with information about the man's identity is asked to call the Lake County Coroners Office at 219-755-3265....

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La Porte Rep Dermody to Chair Public Policy Cmte

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tom dermody
Republican Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma today appointed La Porte State Representative Tom Dermody to chair the Public Policy Committee for the 2014 legislative session.  The Public Policy Committee works to address a variety of issues, including gaming, alcohol, abortion, and firearms. Dermody was elected to the legislature in 2006.
“Tom is a man of integrity and I am confident that he is right person for this job,” said Speaker Bosma. “Tom has exhibited strength in leadership, both in his role as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader and as the Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee of  the Ways and Means Committee.  As the Chairman of Public Policy, he will deal with tough issues. I have total confidence that Tom will carry out the duties of his new responsibility with honor and fairness.”
“I am honored by this appointment by the Speaker, and I look forward to leading the Public Policy Committee.,” said Rep. Dermody. “Like my colleague, Rep. Bill Davis, before me, I will work to find common ground on important public policy issues affecting our state.  I am eager to serve in this new capacity in order to affect policies that will impact and significantly benefit the lives of all Hoosiers.”
Rep. Dermody  serves as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader where he assists Rep. Friend (R-Macy), Majority Floor Leader, as an advisor and counselor for the caucus by working with all of the members on any issues that may arise. In addition to his leadership role, Rep. Dermody formerly served on the Ways and Means Committee, and continues to serve on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee.
A full list of committee changes will be made available prior to the start of session.
“I look forward to starting the work before me. I am humbled by the opportunity,” said Rep. Dermody....

Read more: La Porte Rep Dermody to Chair Public Policy Cmte


Same-Sex Marriage Bill Signing in Illinois

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Illinois is about to become the 16th state in the country to allow same sex marriage. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is signing the state's new same-sex marriage bill into law this afternoon. The law, titled the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, is set to take effect June first, 2014. It was approved by Illinois state legislators about two weeks ago. Opponents argued that same sex couples can already enter into a civil union in Illinois. Today's signing ceremony takes place at the UIC Forum in Chicago....

Read more: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Signing in Illinois


Crash Closes Southbound I-65 in Tippecanoe Co

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Indiana State Police say a crash involving two semi tractor-trailers closed southbound lanes of Interstate 65 in Tippecanoe County just south of Lafayette shortly before 8:30 this morning Eastern time.  No injuries were reported.  The crash occurred at the 163 mile marker.  Southbound traffic was being diverted onto State Road 38.  Traffic caught between the wreckage and State Road 38 was being allowed around the crash scene on the emergency berm.  Troopers say the interstate was closed due to a large amount of wreckage covering both southbound lanes....

Read more: Crash Closes Southbound I-65 in Tippecanoe Co


Portage Police Investigating Robbery

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In Portage, police continue to investigate a robbery Monday night. Officers were called out to At Nature's Door on US 6, where shortly after 6 pm police say a subject grabbed an employee by the arm, forcing her to open the register and give him money. Authorities say surveillance shows the suspect coming from the rear of the property, northeast corner, and afterwards, going to the same location and disappearing into a wooded area. Police say the direction of boot prints appear the suspect would have run toward the area of Fiesta Avenue and the Willowcreek Estates Apartment Complex. Police say the suspect was wearing a black ski-type mask with the eye openings, a black hoodie with the hood over his head, blue jeans, black boots, and black gloves, with the palms and bottom of his fingers being white.  Police say the suspect appears to be 5'10" or taller with a stocky build.  Detectives who checked the area say they located a black semi-automatic looking BB gun in the woods near Fiesta. Anyone with information is asked to call Portage Police Detective Vaughan at 219-764-5705....

Read more: Portage Police Investigating Robbery


Urschels Donate $3M for Valpo Pavilion/Ice Rink

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The city of Valparaiso says the Urschel family is pledging three-million dollars toward the expansion of Central Park Plaza – specifically, to build a pavilion that'll also serve as as ice skating rink in downtown Valpo during the winter.
Construction of the William E. Urschel pavilion is expected to begin in October of next year, with a planned opening for summer of 2015. William E. Urschel founded Urschel Laboratories in Valparaiso in 1910. The company designs, manufactures and sells food-cutting equipment like commercial potato chip slicers and lettuce shredders. [Images/Design Organization]...

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