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Schererville Denies Home Gunsmithing

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The Schererville Town Council has denied a zoning change that would have allowed a resident to provide gunsmithing services – repairing and cleaning firearms -- at his home in a neighborhood near 73rd and Burr. The man said he requested the special clearance to work from home because he can't afford the cost of renting out space in a commercial area.
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GPS Signs to Help Runners and Responders

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Two more Region towns have approved locator signs that display GPS coordinates for their parks and trails. The idea comes from 78-year-old Bill Pauley of Valparaiso, an avid runner who's trying to aid emergency responders in getting to remote areas of Porter County, and parks that people may know by name, but likely don't know their address. This week town councils in Porter and Chesterton signed on. Similar signs have already gone up at Indiana Dunes State Park. The county is funding cost of the signs.
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Portage Bomb Threat Suspect Arrested

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Portage Police say they received a report of someone handing a note to a clerk at the Walmart on US 6 last night that he was going to blow up the store, then left the business. Officers responded, and a few hours later Portage Police Chief Troy Williams posted on the police department's Facebook page that they had someone in custody in connection with the incident.
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Fatal Crash Closes EB 94 Overnight

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A fatal accident had all eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 not far from the Indiana/Michigan state line shut down overnight. Indiana State Police say two lanes are closed as of 5:45 am (CDT).  The crash scene is at mile marker 43, which is about three miles east of the US 20/US35 exit, east of Trail Creek in La Porte County
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95 Volunteers Teamed Up 2 Clean Up Last Saturday

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Team Up 2 Clean Up
(Photo Courtesy of Portage Township Parks)
Ninety-five volunteers participated in the Portage Township Team Up 2 Clean Up event on Saturday, April 20th.  “We had returning groups, new groups, and community residents participate in this year’s event” stated Joy Lundstrom, Superintendent of Portage Township Parks, “its heart-warming to see the commitment and pride all these groups have for their neighborhood parks”.
 
Returning volunteer groups included Brownies Troop #30003, Boy Scout Pack #487, South Haven Boys & Girls Club, Portage High School JROTC, and employees from Bounce N Around.  New volunteer groups represented were managers and employees from area Starbucks stores, St. Peter Lutheran Church Youth Group and their parents, and local community residents like Melody Palmer and friends.
 
Projects took place at Haven Hollow and Field of Dreams Parks in South Haven, as well as, the South Haven Volunteer Fire Department.
South Haven Boys & Girls Club members expanded the tree nursery they created last year with seedlings from Indiana DNR’s Tree program.  The Starbucks crew assisted with the project which included staking new rows, planting, and mulching seedlings.  Brownies Troop #30003 spruced up their four flower boxes at Field of Dreams Park and placed recycle bins at the park.  The Portage High School JROTC picked up debris and fallen limbs at Field of Dreams Park, raked and leveled-out fiber mulch under playground equipment at Haven Hollow Park and gathered over 30lbs of recycle trash.  (Photo attached).
St. Peter’s Youth group tidied the grounds at the South Haven Fire Department, toured the facility and mopped the fire house bay where fire trucks are parked.  Boy Scout Pack # 487 donated four rain barrels to the Portage Township Parks Department that they received from donations from Indiana American Water Company and Recycle & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.
 
“This is an amazing example displaying how the good works of a few groups can have such a positive impact in our Township Parks and our community”, stated Brendan Clancy, Portage Township Trustee, "we are very grateful for everyone’s participation and support”.
 
To learn more about these projects, the Portage Township Department of Parks and Recreation or how you can be involved, contact Portage Township Parks Department at 219.762.1623 x31.
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Windom Gets 50 More years in Prison

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Aaron Windom
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 27 year old Michigan City man today had 50 years added to his prison sentence. The Times reports last month, Aaron Windom plead guilty to murder in the shooting death of a 17 year old Gary man that took place in February of 2011. Published reports say Windom is already serving a 20 year sentence for a shooting incident that reportedly took place two days prior to that incident, and a judge has ordered the sentences be served consecutively.
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General Assembly Approves Rural Health Bill

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Senator Vaneta Becker
STATEHOUSE (April 24, 2013) — A bill authored by State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) to improve health-care access for Indiana’s rural residents gained final legislative approval today. 
Senate Bill 554 would require the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning to reimburse health-care providers for telehealth and telemedicine services offered to Medicaid recipients. Telehealth and telemedicine services use telecommunications and information technology to provide remote access to health assessment, diagnosis and information. Becker lauded the legwork from both houses in the bill’s final legislative passage.
“I appreciate the hard work and support that has gone into this bill, from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Providing health care to rural residents through telehealth and telemedicine services enhances both the quality and availability of medical care,” Becker said. “This bill is a common-sense measure that enables medical providers to utilize new technology to increase overall health-care access for Indiana residents.”
SB 554 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.
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Aldi Granted Abatement for Proposed Expansion

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The Porter County Council on Tuesday granted Aldi a new ten-year tax abatement for a proposed 100-thousand square-foot expansion of its existing facility. The Times reports the addition would bring with it around 15 new jobs. Meanwhile, a proposed TIF at the northwest corner of Route 6 and State Road 49, which would reportedly include Porter Regional Hospital, had county council members differing on the best way to proceed, according to the article.
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Gary PD Investigating Monday Stabbing Incident

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Gary PD
Gary Police are investigating a stabbing incident Monday afternoon in the 54 hundred block of West 25th Avenue. Lt. Del Stout says a 21 year old employee of the Cricket store sustained deep cuts on his face, cheeks, both legs, and to his left arm, after a suspect, wearing blue hat with a dark hood pulled over it, pulled a knife, and demanded “everything.” Lt. Stout says the incident occurred around 2:30pm Monday, and the suspect, who had acted like he was going to buy a phone prior to the stabbing, fled the scene on foot. Police say they are checking to see if this incident is related to a similar incident on April 18th at an adult bookstore, also located in the 54 hundred block of West 25th Avenue. Anyone with information is ask to contact the Gary Police Department.
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Kankakee River Continues to Rise in the Region

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Flood warnings continue for the Kankakee River affecting parts of the region with minor to moderate flooding. The National Weather Service reports the Kankakee River at Dunns Bridge was over two-feet above flood stage as of this morning, with the river there expected to change little in the next 24 hours causing secondary roads near the river to flood. Near Kouts, the river was almost two-feet above flood stage as of 9am this morning, and will continue to rise to near 13 feet by tomorrow morning, which could cause some county roads in that area to begin to be affected by high water. The river at Shelby is expected to rise just over 12-feet by early tomorrow, three-feet above flood stage, bring the river closer to spilling over part of U.S. 41.
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Hoosiers Encouraged to Drop Off Unwanted RX Saturday

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said consumers should dispose of any unwanted medications during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27.
Expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications and over-the-counter solid dosage medications such as tablets and capsules will be accepted. Drop-off locations across the state will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
"National Drug Take-Back Day gives consumers an opportunity to clean out their medicine cabinets of old or unwanted prescription drugs and dispose of them safely,” Zoeller said. “This effort is especially important if you have children in your home that can access these drugs and potentially misuse or abuse them.”
Zoeller said residents need to be aware of the proper way to dispose of unwanted medicines and not flush them down the toilet or throw them away – which can pose possible safety and health risks.
“Prescription drug abuse continues to be a significant problem. Last year again, more people died from prescription drug abuse than from automobile accidents,” said Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Dennis Wichern, who’s responsible for DEA’s operations in Indiana. “The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day campaign is an important first step in keeping prescription drugs out of the hands of those who may misuse them, as well as helping to raise the public’s awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”
In the five previous take-back events, DEA in conjunction with state, local and tribal law enforcement partners collected more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription medications.
Consumers can find a location by visiting www.dea.gov or by calling 1.800.882.9539. Intravenous solutions, needles and illicit substances like marijuana or methamphetamines will not be accepted.
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Subject Questioned in Austgen Murder

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Breaking-News

The Griffith Police Department in conjunction with the Alsip Illinois Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in Alsip. and a subject was taken into custody for questioning in the kidnapping and murder of Griffith businesswoman Mary Austgen. Investigators say they are continuing to follow up on all other leads and other possible suspects. No further information is available at this time and no charges have been filed. Griffith and Gary Police are investigating, together with the FBI, ATF, and Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force. Earlier this week police announced a $10,000 reward was being offered as authorities were seeking tips in identifying a suspect or suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Austgen, who was found at a parking garage at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary with a fatal gunshot wound shortly after 2 am on March 29th.
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Job Fairs, Opportunities in Gary

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Tom Lori and Cynthia WinCE
Tom Liutkus of Travel Centers of America (left), chats with Parks Superintendent Lori Peterson Latham (3rd right) and Workforce Development Liaison Cynthia Pruitt immediately following the jobs press conference. Latham is inviting Travel Centers of America to participate in the upcoming Youth Job Fair on May 3rd .[Photo provided]
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson today announced job opportunities for adults and youth. The city's New Jobs New Day initiative and Work One Northwest Indiana, together with TravelCenters of America will hold a series of job fairs beginning April 29 for 160 full- and part-time positions, including cashiers, deli clerks, mechanics and more at the new Petro Stopping Center at the Grant Street exit of the Borman Expressway. The facility is scheduled to open in late May.
Also, Gary Park Superintendent Lori Peterson Latham announced a Youth Job Fair, for ages 14 to 23, May 3rd at the Genesis Convention Center featuring employers from throughout Northwest Indiana hiring for summer jobs.
“No matter where I travel inside or out of the city, I am consistently asked about our efforts to bring jobs to Gary,” said Freeman-Wilson. “We continue to work at building partnerships with employers, and today is one of those where I am pleased to announce some tangible job opportunities right here in our city.”
Five job fairs will be held from April 29 - May 7 to provide ample time for the selection and training process prior to the opening of the new Petro center. Positions to be filled include cashiers, deli workers, fuel island attendants and porters (janitorial services) for Petro’s Travel Store and fuel business; mechanics and advisors for the Petro:Lube truck service facility; servers, cooks, cashiers and dishwashers for the Iron Skillet® full-service restaurant; crew members and crew leads for the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut quick-service restaurants; and wireless sales associates for the on-site Verizon kiosk.
Job fairs will be held at the following locations and times. Applicants should bring a current resume with them to the job fair.
  • Work One Gary, 3522 Village Circle (former Village Shopping Center), Gary, IN 46408
    • Monday, April 29, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Tuesday, April 30, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Monday, May 6, 5 - 8 p.m.
    • Monday, May 13, 5 - 8 p.m.
  • TA Travel Center, 2510 Burr St., Gary, IN  46406
    • Tuesday, May 7, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Applicants can also apply for positions online at www.indianacareerconnect.com or www.myPETROjob.com, or by phone at (888) 673-8765.  Both full- and part-time employees of Petro have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of healthcare benefits, as well as short-term disability, life insurance, and a 401(k) retirement savings plan.  TravelCenters is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
A Youth Job Fair will be held Friday, May 3 from 3:00p.m. – 7:00p.m., Genesis Convention Center in downtown Gary. A host of employers from throughout Northwest Indiana will be on-site ready to interview applicants.  Youth ages 14 to 23 who are Gary residents are invited to interview with potential employers for summer employment. Attendees are encouraged to bring at least 20 copies of their resume. For youth who do not have a resume, Job Ready Workshops have been scheduled April 27 – May 2 daily from 10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m. Call (219) 886-7099 to reserve an appointment.
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Valpo Police Investigate Scam

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Region residents are urged to never provide any information to an unknown caller and never tell someone you're home alone. Valparaiso Police say a resident on Chicago Street Tuesday morning reported getting a telephone call saying she' won two-and-a-half-million dollars, and asking if she was home alone, telling her he would be there within twenty-five minutes with her 'winnings'. The male caller then proceeded to ask if she could come up with $250 for "insurance" When the female advised she could not, the caller asked if she could come up with $100 instead. Police responded, and the male subject never arrived.
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Lucky Ticket for Lake County Man

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zimmer
[Photo from Hoosier Lottery]
 When Ira Zimmer of Schererville presented Hoosier Lottery officials with a $200,000 winning Mix & Match ticket he knew exactly what he was going to do with his winnings.
"I'm going to take my mother to Hawaii," said Zimmer.  "She's 96 and it's the only state she hasn't been to. I'm a history buff so I'd like to see Pearl Harbor."
Zimmer, an assistant principal at River Forest Junior-Senior High School in Hobart Township, matched five numbers on one line in the April 12 Mix & Match drawing to win the game's $200,000 top prize.  He purchased his lucky ticket at Cline Avenue Food Mart at 800 E. Hwy 330 in Schererville. He claimed his prize at Hoosier Lottery Headquarters April 23. Before Zimmer packs his swim trunks and Hawaiian shirts and heads to our 50th state, he plans to pay off some debt and put away some for retirement.
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. The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly.
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Silver Alert Canceled

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A Regional Silver Alert issued Monday night for a Lafayette woman last seen at a train station Sunday was canceled as of early this morning. Indiana State Police say Marsha Smith has been located. No other information has been released at this hour.
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Man Sentenced for Lk Station Shooting

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A 21-year-old Gary man has been sentenced to ten-years in prison after admitting to shooting a man in the neck in Lake Station in January of 2011. Prosecutors say David King pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery, saying he shot the victim in the 36-hundred block of Oregon Street after exchanging words with him, seriously wounding him. He didn't know the man, according to the plea agreement. Reports say King had been facing an attempted murder charge.
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The State of Pollution in the Region

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airmonitor WinCE
The American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report out today places the Region in the 16th most polluted area in the country for short-term particle pollution. In specific categories, Lake and Porter County got “C” grades for high ozone days – smog – while La Porte County received an F. Lake County got an F in particle pollution, while Porter County got a C and La Porte County received an A. The report says there are no monitors collecting this data in Newton, Jasper and Starke Counties.
Read the full report here: http://www.stateoftheair.org/2013/assets/ala-sota-2013.pdf
For quick-glance county-by-county data: http://www.stateoftheair.org/2013/states/
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Pet Food Recall Expanded

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Pet Food Recall Expanded
[One of the brand names included in the recall]
The Food and Drug Administration says Natura Pet Products is voluntarily expanding its March 29, 2013 recall of dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The expanded recall now includes all dry pet food products and treats with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014. The recall includes these brand names: California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Innova, Karma.  Here's a link for details:  http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm348786.htm
The FDA says salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Salmonella in additional dry pet food and a cat pet treat. In an abundance of caution, Natura is also recalling product made in the surrounding timeframe. This action affects dry pet foods and treats only; no canned wet food or biscuits are affected by this announcement.
The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Costa Rica, as well as online.
Consumers who have purchased these pet foods should discard them. For additional information, consumers may visit www.naturapet.com. For a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).
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Runaway Horse Stops Borman

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horse one WinCE
Geraldo and Trooper Eric Rot
A runaway horse stopped traffic on the Borman in Lake Station Tuesday afternoon, and Indiana State Police troopers say if it hadn't been for the kindness of the many people who stopped to help, the outcome could have been much worse for “Geraldo”.
horse two WinCE
Geraldo, Trooper Eric Rot and Trooper Khari Walton
At approximately 4:35 p.m., the Indiana State Police received a report of a runaway horse running east bound I-80 from Colorado Street.   Troopers Khari Walton, Dan Avitia, Eric Rot and Jerry George converged on the area and found the horse lying down on the inner shoulder just east of Central Avenue. Colleen Lee of Chesterton and David Beckham of Crown Point saw the horse running on I-80 when he fell. Lee and Beckham stopped their vehicles and Lee laid down next to the horse to keep him calm so he wouldn’t dart out in traffic. Beckham stood by with Lee to help control the horse.
Trooper Rot, after he arrived, had traffic stopped eastbound so that he could walk the horse across east bound lanes over into the grassy area, behind the barrier wall on the outer shoulder so he wouldn’t be frightened by all the traffic on I-80. Our Steve Zana talked to Lee about the rescue, and you can hear his interview here at our website at News Audio on Demand: http://www.indiana105.com/index.php/news/news-on-demand.html
Lake Station and Hobart Police Departments were instrumental in finding the owner of the horse.   Marcelino Chavez, 62 of Hammond, stated that his horse,“Geraldo”, had jumped over the fence where Geraldo is kept at 25th and Colorado and fled up the interstate. Chavez stated that the horse is used in parades.  Traffic was shut down again for Chavez to load Geraldo up into his horse trailer.
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say Geraldo suffered minor abrasions.
All lanes of traffic were re-opened at 6:14 p.m.
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