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Court Upholds Former County Clerk Conviction

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The US Court of Appeals has upheld the public corruption conviction of former Lake County Clerk and former Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot. The 56-year-old Philpot from Highland was found guilty of federal charges related to paying himself more than 24-thousand dollars in bonuses from federal child support incentive funds while he was county clerk. Philpot is serving an 18-month prison sentence in Michigan and is scheduled for release in July. ...

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Region Native Elected Chief Judge Ind Ct of Appeals

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A native of northwest Indiana has been elected chief judge of the 15-member Indiana Court of Appeals. Judge Nancy Vaidik, a former Porter Superior Court judge, was appointed in 2000 to the Court of Appeals by then Governor Frank O'Bannon, then retained by election in 2002 and 2012. Judge Vaidik, originally from Portage, will begin her three-year term as chief judge January first.  Vaidik is a sixth-generation Hoosier. She graduated with high distinction from Valparaiso University in 1977, with a double major in political science and psychology, and then studied at Valparaiso University Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor in 1980....

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Board Member Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit

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A northwest Indiana member of the State Board of Education says his attorney is asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the board by Indiana State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Tony Walker of Gary is one of ten members on the board. Ritz is alleging they held an illegal meeting by drafting and sending a letter circulated by email requesting a legislative agency calculate school grades instead of her department, claiming that violated the state's Open Door Law. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says Zoeller is hoping his office can serve a role in resolving the conflict outside of court.  A spokesperson for Governor Mike Pence says the “governor is confident all relevant Indiana laws were followed”....

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Teacher Accused of Taking Students to Strip Club Fired

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In Cedar Lake, Hanover Community school officials have fired a 31-year-old Hanover Central High School chemistry teacher who is charged with three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after being accused of  taking students to a strip club and allegedly providing alcoholic beverages at his home. Published reports says Travis Lechien of Crown Point has taught in the Hanover Community School district for a decade and had been suspended with pay since September 10th. An attorney for the teacher was quoted as saying their intention is to enter a plea of not guilty. An initial court hearing in Lake County is scheduled for November 19th....

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219: Coast To Coast Bully Walk

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"Bully" a term not only used to describe human behavior, but to categorize dogs. Breeds like Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and especially Pitbulls are often stigmatized as dangerous or agressive and put in the "Bully" category. The Annual Coast to Coast Bully Walk is an all-breed national walk held to fight for the rights of families and their dogs who are sterotyped as bullies. 

Listen to today's 219 or Audio On Demand here on our website for information on The Porter County Animal Shelter's local Bully Walk.  You can take part this weekend and help end the negative sterotypes associated with these loveable pets....

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INDOT Looking to Hire Seasonal Help at Thursday Job Fair

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The Indiana Department of Transportation is looking to hire Seasonal Winter Program Workers at a job fair to be held today in Rensselaer. According to INDOT, successful hires will work as seasonal INDOT maintenance crew staff, and as plow drivers during snow events this winter. 

Officials are looking to ad positions based out of Rensselaer, Winamac and Monticello.  Applicants must possess a vallid CDL, High School Diploma or equivalent and the ability to pass a drug test successfully.  The job fair is from 10am to 2p.m. CDT at INDOT's Rensselaer Subdistrict located at 1130 E. Maple in Rensselaer.  According to INDOT, priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance.
For more information like INDOT Northwest at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow INDOT on Twitter at: www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest
Or contact the La Porte dISTRICT TOLL FREE AT 1-855-GO-INDOT....

Read more: INDOT Looking to Hire Seasonal Help at Thursday Job Fair

 

Region Town Seeks Board and Commission Applicants

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Cedar Lake
The Town of Cedar Lake is actively seeking residents to apply for vacancies on several Boards and Commissions. In a press release, applicants are being sought to fill five vacancies on the Redevelopment Commission, one vacancy on the Plan Commission, two positions open on the Board of Zoning Appeals, one Republican and one Democrat vacancy on the Police Commission and one Democratic slot to fill on the Storm Water Board.
  Applications can be picked up at the Cedar Lake Town Hall, located at 7408 Constitution Avenue from  8a.m.-5p.m. Monday-Friday or they can apply online at:  https://www.cedarlakein.org.
Applications must be submitted in person at the Town Hall. Proof of residency is required and political affiliation, where applicable. Deadline to apply is December 1st, 2013.
...

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Morning Fire Causes Backup on Busy Valpo Roadway

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Traffic heading westbound in Valparaiso had to find an alternate route for about an hour an-a-half Wednesday morning, due to a structure fire that closed the westbound lanes of US-30 at Linwood Avenue.   Reportedly, westbound traffic was also being diverted at Sturdy Road and not allowed to continue on. Sgt. Michael Grennes of the Valparaiso Police Department says fire crews first responded to the call around 11a.m. just west of Axe Avenue.  According to Sgt. Grennes, people working at a  vacant house were burning materials near an outbuilding when burning debris caught the building on fire which is attached to the house.  A minor injury was treated at the scene.  But no firefighters were injured, according to Grennes....

Read more: Morning Fire Causes Backup on Busy Valpo Roadway

 

Walk and More at Refurbished Valpo Walking Track

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Looking to stay fit by walking and more?  The newly refurbished walking track at Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso might be on your list of new destinations.  If you have driven by, or walked by the south side of Fairgrounds Park on Evans Avenue you probably noticed something that seemingly sprang up overnight, adjacent to the walking track.  Welcome to the new Life Trail Advanced Wellness System. Seven stations with three panels each that are designed to kick start anyone's fitness routine. 
Thanks to an Indiana Community Block Grant awarded to the City's Elderstyle initiative led by Pines Village Retirement Communities and the Valparaiso Parks Department, the fitness equipment, which is free and open to all. So, enjoy.                                             
According to the Barbie Johnson of the Valparaiso Parks Department, an official ribbon cutting of the new  Life Trail site will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 24, 2013.
(above photo:  Life Trail Advanced Wellness System stations/Valparaiso Parks Department) ...

Read more: Walk and More at Refurbished Valpo Walking Track

 

Interview: Indiana US Senator Dan Coats

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Senator Dan Coats
The Region News Team talked to Indiana US Senator Dan Coats today.  Senator Coats discussed his efforts to delay the individual and employer mandates of Obamacare.  The Senator also talked about issues with the federal health care website and other topics.  To hear our interview, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website....

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Westbound US 30 Closed Due to House Fire

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Traffic-Alert
Valparaiso Police report westbound US 30 is shut down from Linwood to State Road 2 as crews respond to a house fire on the north side of the highway. The fire is west of Axe Avenue. No indication at this time how long the westbound lanes will be closed. Crews got the call around 11-o'clock this morning....

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Man Airlifted After Single-Vehicle Crash on US 12

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In Portage, police say a man has been airlifted to a Chicago-area hospital with serious injuries after a single-vehicle crash on Route 12 at the US Steel bridge. Officers began investigating the crash just after seven-o'clock this morning. Portage Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Keith Hughes says the passenger vehicle involved was traveling east on US 12 and crashed into the west side concrete wall that supports the bridge. Police say the vehicle was occupied by one male subject who has yet to be identified. Police say the bridge remains open, but traffic in the area had lane restrictions due to the ongoing investigation by the Portage Crash Team....

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Police Say Icy Conditions Contribute to Fatal Accident

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In Calumet Township just outside Griffith at approximately 6-o'clock this morning, Lake County Sheriffs Police say icy road conditions contributed to an accident that resulted in the death of a moped driver. Police say the moped driver was traveling westbound on Ridge Road from Colfax Street when he lost control and was thrown from the vehicle, landing in the roadway, where he was subsequently struck by a Chevy Cruze traveling behind.
Police say the victim became lodged underneath the vehicle, and upon officers' arrival, the moped driver was unresponsive. Due to the victim’s location underneath the vehicle, police say his shoe was removed to check for a pulse, none was found. Griffith Fire Department crews raised the vehicle to free the victim, and no signs of life were found by personnel from Prompt EMS. Police say the victim was wearing a helmet. His identity had not been released pending notification of next of kin. Ridge Road was shut down for a time this morning between Arbogast and Broad Street. ...

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Heart Screenings Underway for Student Athletes

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IU LaPorte Hospital
Special heart screenings have been taking place in La Porte. October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month and in light of the recent death of 17 year old Jake West, a La Porte High School football player who collapsed during practice and died from a genetic heart defect last month, Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital is offering those screenings for student athletes at no cost on a limited basis.  Registration is required.
Additional information from IU Health La Porte Hospital:
LA PORTE, Ind.–In recognition of National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month in October, Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital is offering free heart screenings to student athletes on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Screenings are offered to area high school students, ages 15 and older, on:
·       Thursday, Oct. 17 from 3 pm to 7 pm
·       Tuesday, Oct 22 from 4 pm to 8 pm
·       Thursday, Oct. 24 from 4 pm to 8 pm
·       Tuesday, Oct 29 from 4 pm to 8 pm
·       Saturday, Nov. 2 from 8 am to noon (all Central times)
A limited number of free screenings will be performed at the IU Health La Porte Heart & Vascular Center, 901 E. Lincolnway, Ste. 102, in La Porte. Pre-registration is required by calling 219.326.2309. In addition, students must have signed parental consent and not be under the care of a physician for any cardiac-related conditions.
Student athletes will be screened with an electrocardiogram and limited echocardiogram. The specialized tests, which take about 15 minutes, help identify any possible structural abnormalities within the cardiovascular system that may lead to premature cardiac arrest, screening organizers said.
“Recent events have brought the issue of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) to the forefront,” IU Health La Porte Hospital Director of Cardiovascular Services, Mary Drewes, MSN, BSN, RN, said. “The tragic loss of one of our community’s student athletes has prompted many questions, fears and a sense of helplessness. Our cardiologists, in collaboration with our team in Cardiovascular Services, look forward to providing these screenings. We are committed to meeting the needs of our community as a whole.”
In addition, IU Health La Porte Hospital cardiologists and specialists will present heart and vascular education on Monday, Oct. 21 at the La Porte High School Auditorium at 6 pm for freshman/sophomore parents and 7 pm for junior/senior parents.
For those unable to attend the free screenings, the “Heart Cart for High Schools” program offers similar screenings through the hospital’s Heart Cart Mobile Screening Unit in partnership with The Foundation, in support of IU Health La Porte Hospital. “Heart Cart for High Schools” screenings are offered at a discounted rate of $50. Students will be screened for cholesterol, blood sugar, electrocardiogram and limited echocardiogram. For more information or to schedule, call 219.326.2626 or toll-free 800.235.6204, ext. 2626....

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Funeral Services Set for Merrillville Family

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Funeral services have been scheduled for Monday in Harvey for a family of four found dead in their Merrillville home last week, the apparent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to authorities. The Lake County Coroners office says 41-year-old Micheal Nichols, 38-year-old Kennetha Purnell, 13-year-old Matthew Nichols and 11-year-old Morgan Nichols were pronounced dead shortly after 7-o'clock last Wednesday night inside a home in the 800 block of West 70th Avenue. Merrillville Police say they had just moved into the rental home the Saturday before. Through the investigation, officers say they determined the power had not been turned on, and a gas generator in the attached garage had power cords connected to various electronics in the home.  Police also say all exterior doors and windows were closed. ...

Read more: Funeral Services Set for Merrillville Family

   

Icy Roads and Snow Hinder Commute

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The first widespread freeze in the Region this season was followed by snowflakes in Chicagoland Tuesday, and this morning, we have icy roads and snow slowing our northwest Indiana commute.  There is heavy snow reported in the La Porte area with visibility issues and also snow accumulating on surfaces.  In the Schererville area, along US 41, icy conditions reported on overpasses. The National Weather Service in Chicago reports the earliest accumulating snowfall in decades was seen across parts of north central Illinois Tuesday....

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Crown Point Man Seriously Injured in Crash

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In Lake County, Indiana State Police say an 18-year-old Crown Point man was seriously injured Tuesday morning when his vehicle rolled numerous times on I-65, and he faces a charge of operating while intoxicated involving drugs. Troopers say their preliminary investigation revealed the PT Cruiser was south bound just north of the scales a mile north of the Lowell exit around 11 am when the car went off the road for unknown reasons and the driver overcorrected and went back across south bound lanes, and off the road, rolling over numerous times, coming to rest in a grassy ditch. He was taken to a local hospital, then airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. [Photo/Indiana State Police]...

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Crash Closes Ridge Road in Griffith

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In Grifith this morning, Ridge Road is closed between Arbogast and Broad Street due to an accident.  No details are available on the crash at this time....

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Tec Air Relocates Corporate Headquarters to Munster

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An official announcement made by the state today involving another Chicago-area company moving to Lake County, Indiana. Tec Air is relocating its Willow Springs headquarters to the Lake Business Center in the 92-hundred block of Calumet Avenue in Munster, creating up to nearly 260 new jobs by 2016. The 48-year-old company designs and manufacturers plastic air movement components and systems for a variety of industries, including automotive, appliance, and heating and air conditioning. Officials say the expansion will be complete next spring and will house corporate offices, engineering labs, manufacturing, quality labs, warehousing and distribution.  Munster has also just recently become home to MAC Medical Supply and Land O'Frost, moving operations from Illinois to just across the state line.
“Tec Air joins a growing list of companies that have discovered what Hoosiers already know: Indiana is a state that works for business,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Companies in the Midwest and around the world recognize that Indiana is in the middle of everywhere. From our robust infrastructure, low-tax environment, talented workforce and ideal location as the Crossroads of America, opportunity for growth lies in Indiana.”
the Indiana Economic Development Corportation says Tec Air will initially invest approximately $7 million dollars in new equipment and building improvements in connection with the move. In addition to the new investment, Tec Air will also transfer almost $8 million of assets from its Illinois facility to the new location, bringing the company’s investment in Indiana to approximately $15 million.

...

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Valparaiso Police Chief to Announce Run for Sheriff

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An official announcement is planned for tomorrow afternoon in downtown Valparaiso in the race for Porter County Sheriff. The Times today reports Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner is planning to run for the post. Brickner, a Republican, has been chief in Valparaiso for the past decade and has been with the department for nearly thirty years. Last month, former Sheriff David Reynolds, a Democrat, formally announced his plans to run again. Reynolds, a Democrat, served two consecutive terms as sheriff, from 1999 to 2006. In Indiana, sheriffs are limited from serving more than eight years in a twelve-year span. Reynolds was succeeded by current Sheriff David Lain, also a Democrat, who is currently in his second term. ...

Read more: Valparaiso Police Chief to Announce Run for Sheriff

   

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