Chamber Staying Neutral on Marriage Amendmnt

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is expected to remain neutral on a proposal to amend the state's constitution to ban gay marriage. The president of the group tells the Times today they have members on both sides of the issue, which is expected to be up for debate in the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

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Officially Chilly Around the Region

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40s WinCE
Some temps were in the 40s Monday
It was the coolest July weekend in thirty years.. Forecasters say strong upper level northerly winds into the Midwest from Canada ushered in those September-like temperatures we felt in the Region and around the area, officially making it one of the top five coldest for the month in Chicago.

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Illinois Stomach Bug Cases Up to 4

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outbreak-map-annotated WinCE
Illinois is now up to four possible cases of a tropical stomach bug that's sickened more than three-hundred-twenty people across fifteen states. The highest number of cases is in Iowa, followed by Texas. There are also cases in Wisconsin and Ohio. The illness is caused by a parasite called cyclospora, and it's believed contaminated food is behind the outbreak, possibly imported fruits or vegetables, but investigators are still trying to determine the source.

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Pilot Killed in Starke Co Plane Crash

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One person is dead after a plane crash in Starke County. Authorities say the homebuilt aircraft, a single-engine RV-6 Vanns Airplane, was located in a cornfield Monday afternoon about twenty yards off State Road 8 at the south end of the Starke County Airport in Knox.  Starke County Sheriffs Police say the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene and was the only person on board. Preliminary cause of the crash is not known at this time. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.  Officers with the Starke County Sheriff's Department, Knox City Police, Hamlet Police Department, and Knox Center Township Fire Department responded.

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Gary Shooting Death Investigated

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In Gary, police continue to investigate a shooting that killed a 23-year-old Gary man late Saturday night. Authorities say Andre Pullen, who would have turned 24 this week, was a passenger in a car with three other people when he was fatally struck by a bullet fired from someone in another vehicle in the 15-hundred block of Chase Street. The death marks the 32nd homicide in the city this year.

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Fire in Portage

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In Portage, no injuries were reported in a roof fire at the former Walgreens in the six-thousand block of Central Avenue Monday afternoon. Portage, Ogden Dunes and Burns Harbor departments responded. Construction has been underway to remodel the building.

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Hoosiers Turn License Plates into Mentors

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mentor a child lic plate
INDIANPOLIS – Hoosiers are helping children across the state grow up healthier and happier simply by driving.
Indiana drivers who have purchased the Mentor a Child specialty license plate are allowing mentoring organizations throughout the state to better serve children. Proceeds from the plate benefit the Indiana Mentoring Partnership (IMP), a program of the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI), which splits the $25 in revenue with local mentoring organizations.
Since January 2011, the 473 Mentor a Child license plates sold have raised $11,825, and eight mentoring organizations recently received the first round of grants from the proceeds. That money is working to change lives. Funds will go toward a variety of initiatives, including recruiting mentors, training mentors and hosting events to thank mentors. 
Organizations receiving the grants and the amounts of those grants are:
·         Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ohio Valley, Evansville, $1,500
·         Project Leadership, Grant County, $1,500
·         Big Brothers Big Sisters of Decatur County, $1,500
·         Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, $1,500
·         Starfish Initiative, Indianapolis, $500
·         Lebanon Area Boys & Girls Club, $756
·         Youth Service Bureau of LaPorte County, $500 and
·         YWCA of Evansville, $500.
“These grants are providing mentoring organizations across Indiana with a unique opportunity to advance mentor recruitment efforts so as to serve more Hoosier children,” said IYI Vice President of Statewide Outreach December Warren.
Research shows that sustained one-on-one mentoring with a caring adult impacts children in several ways. Mentors can help mentees stay in school and graduate, pursue higher education, enhance self-esteem, avoid criminal activities, better relate to others and set career goals. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Indiana mentoring programs have a waiting list of children who need a mentor.
“The funding made available through the sale of the Mentor a Child license plate will help recruit more mentors for more at-risk youth,” said IYI President and CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz. “Mentoring positively impacts the lives of children and youth as well as their mentors and this funding will strengthen the organizations that support these life-changing efforts.”
Hoosier drivers can request a Mentor a Child specialty license plate at the BMV or online when renewing their annual registrations. Specialty plates have an annual fee of $40 in addition to regular registration fees, with $25 going to the Indiana Mentoring Partnership. IMP grants out half of the proceeds to mentoring organizations across Indiana.
More information about each organization’s plans for the grant it received may be found at .
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Gary on List of Job Seeker Workshops in August

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Indianapolis, Ind. - Senator Joe Donnelly announced today that his office will host Job Seeker Workshops, designed to help Hoosiers who are looking for work, in Gary, Sellersburg, and Indianapolis the week of August 12-16.
“The top issues I hear as I travel our great state is that many Hoosiers are still searching for employment and some Indiana business owners are still looking for skilled workers ready to go on day one,” said Donnelly. "This August, my office will behosting a series of job seeker workshops toconnect Hoosiers looking for workwith resources that can help in the job search and interview process.  I hope participants find valuable tools to help them succeed in finding employment, and I won’t stop until everyone in Indiana who wants a job has a job.”
The Job Seeker Workshops are designed to help attendees to improve their job search and interview skills and their resume writing. The events will include discussions lead by community leaders and industry professionals on growing job opportunities in industries such as manufacturing and technology.  Also, resources will be available to assist Hoosier veterans with their entry or re-entry into the workforce after serving our country.

Monday, August 12
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM CST
North Building; Ivy Tech Community College
1440 E 35th Ave
Gary, IN

Wednesday, August 14
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM EST
Ogle Hall; Horseshoe Foundation Assembly Center
Ivy Tech Southern Indiana campus
8204 Highway 311
Sellersburg, IN

Friday, August 16
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST
First Floor Conference Room; Corporate College and Culinary Center
Ivy Tech Community College
2820 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN
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Introductory Meeting of Indiana Career Council

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(Photo Courtesy of the Governor's Office)
A 19 member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence that is tasked with increasing coordination among those those work on the state's education, jobs skills development and career training system held their introductory meeting on Monday. The Indiana Career Council on its first day approved the first submission of the Training Inventory, began its review of in-depth skills gap analysis, and tasked all members with beginning an asset mapping project to aid in the Career Council's strategic planning process.
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Police Investigating Armed Robbery in Portage

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portage pd
An armed robbery in Portage Sunday evening remains under investigation. Portage Police report that just before 6pm, they responded to an activated Hold-Up alarm at Low Bob's Discount Tobacco Store, in the 34-hundred block of Willowcreek Road. Police say the suspects are described as black males, who reportedly stole cigarettes and cash from the registers, and at least one suspect was reportedly armed with a handgun. Police say no one was injured in the incident.
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Alcohol and Driving Too Fast Factors in Fatal Crash

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Authorities today report a Valparaiso man killed in a single-vehicle crash outside Michigan City early Saturday had a blood-alcohol level nearly three-times the legal limit. The Times reports the 32 year old was traveling too fast while heading south on County Road 525 West, near Warnke Road, where he reportedly failed to negotiate a curve and went into the northbound lane before leaving the roadway, striking a fence, and hitting a tree head-on, causing the Valparaiso man, and his 36 year old passenger from California, to be ejected. According to the article, the Valparaiso man was pronounced dead at the scene, while his passenger was eventually transported to a South Bend hospital....

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4 Lost Kayakers on Tippecanoe River Found Uninjured

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Indiana Conservation Police
Four kayakers lost on the Tippecanoe River Saturday night were found uninjured by conservation officers. Indiana Conservation Police report the stranded kayakers made a 911 call requesting assistance at 10pm, saying they were unable to continue down the river due to the darkness and informed 911 that they were on the river near an old car on the bank. A veteran conservation officer recognized the described landmark, and responded to the area to aid the kayakers, who were found approximately a-half mile upstream from the state park canoe camp.
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Pinning Ceremony for 1st IN African-American Brigadier Gen

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(Photo Courtesy of Governor Pence's Office)
A pinning ceremony was held today for the first African-American to be promoted to Brigadier general in Indiana. Governor Mike Pence led the ceremony for Brigadier General Wayne Black, who has almost 30 years of military experience, and becomes one of only eight individuals to hold this rank in the Indiana National Guard. Brigadier General Black joined the Guard in 1996 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as commander of an embedded training team that provided training, mentorship and oversight to the Afghan National Police and the Border Police.
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Grant Opportunity to Help Youth-Serving Organizations

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IYI logo
INDIANAPOLIS – At least twelve organizations across Indiana will have the opportunity to serve more children, youth or families or improve their effectiveness through a grant program offered by the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI).
The Capacity Building Coaching grant will give nonprofits serving children, youth or families an opportunity to overcome challenges they face in running their agencies. The grant matches consultants with agency staff and board members to develop strategies and implement best practices so the organizations can best deliver their services.
IYI will award 12 grants, but because collaborative applications between two agencies are encouraged, more than 12 agencies could benefit. Applications must be submitted via e-mail to IYI by Aug. 26.
Nonprofit community and faith-based organizations serving children, youth or families from any Indiana county are eligible. Geographic diversity of the 12 winning applications will be taken into account when the grants are awarded. The grants will be awarded this September and the grant cycle will run through next June. The winning organizations will receive:
·         Up to 150 hours of professional consulting from IYI to provide strategic planning, board development, evaluation planning, fund development, marketing, executive mentoring, technology or other technical assistance that would increase the effectiveness of the organization.
·         Registration for one to attend “Principles and Techniques of Fundraising,” a five-day overview course taught by The Fund Raising School at Indiana University in Indianapolis, all approved travel expenses paid.
·         Registration for two to attend IYI’s Because Kids Count Conference in Indianapolis, Dec. 3-4, 2013, all approved travel expenses paid.
Requests for proposal guidelines for the Capacity Building Coaching grant can be found on the IYI website at Organizations with additional questions may contact Carolyn Langan, IYI’s program manager for consulting, at 1-800-343-7060, ext. 2716 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of Indiana children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being.
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LaPorte Man Found Dead in Wooded Area

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The LaPorte County Coroner's Office reports the cause of death of a man pronounced dead at the scene, in a wooded area in LaPorte on Friday evening, has been initially ruled as a suicide. LaPorte Police report officers responded to a call of an abandoned silver Jeep parked in a secluded area behind a building, in the 13-hundred block of Pine Lake Avenue, just after 6pm Friday evening, and upon checking the vehicle, discovered firearm ammunition lying inside. Authorities say officers followed foot tracks leading across a grassy area and into a nearby wooded area, where they located the 37 year old man lying on the ground with a single gunshot wound and the firearm lying nearby.
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Stabbing Incident at LaPorte Bar Under Investigation

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LaPorte PD
A stabbing incident in LaPorte from over the weekend remains under investigation. LaPorte Police report they received a call of a stabbing at the Whistle Stop Bar, just before 12:30am Saturday. Authorities report that the two men involved alleged the other tried to stab him, with one man being transported to the hospital for head injuries allegedly sustained from being stuck with a pool cue. Police report the other man involved was located in the 200 block of Darlington Street, who had two lacerations and a puncture wound on his side, and stated he struck the other man with the pool cue while defending himself from being stabbed.
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No Negative Impact Found as Result of ISTEP + Interruptions

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Indiana Department of Education
INDIANAPOLIS – In response to widespread problems associated with CTB McGraw-Hill’s administration of the high-stakes ISTEP+ this spring, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz hired Dr. Richard Hill of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment to review the results.  A copy of Dr. Hill’s report, as well as an interactive map that details the frequency of interruptions statewide and by school corporation is below.
Among other things, the report shows the following:
  • Because of the efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents, as well as the swift and decisive actions taken by Superintendent Ritz, the average negative statewide impact on scores was not measurable.  However, this does not mitigate the effect the interruptions had on students, parents and teachers throughout Indiana.
  • At this time, the exact impact of interruptions at the individual, classroom and teacher level cannot be ascertained.
“First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, teachers, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education,” said Superintendent Ritz.  Because of their dedication and hard work, the impact of these interruptions was limited.  However, let me be clear, the problems with the ISTEP+ contractor were absolutely unacceptable.  Every student deserves the opportunity to take a fair and uninterrupted assessment.
“I have spent the last several months talking with Hoosiers about the impact these interruptions had in the classroom.  Although Dr. Hill’s report found that the statewide average score was not affected by the interruptions, there is no doubt that thousands of Hoosier students were affected.  As Dr. Hill stated in his report, ‘We cannot know definitively how students would have scored this spring if the interruptions had not happened.’ Because of this, I have given local schools the flexibility they need to minimize the effect these tests have on various matters, such as teacher evaluation and compensation.  I have also instructed CTB McGraw-Hill to conduct enhanced stress and load testing to ensure that their servers are fully prepared for next year’s test and ensure that this never happens again.”
The Department of Education is conducting an ongoing negotiation regarding settlement with CTB McGraw-Hill.  Next steps for the Department include processing student reports to be available online to parents and students, and calculating A-F accountability results.
An interactive map showing the ISTEP+ interruptions by school corporation can be found by clicking here:
The full report from Dr. Hill can be found here:
Hill Report.pdf
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Webinar Tuesday on Environmental Injustice in NW IN

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Hoosier Environmental Council
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- The Hoosier Environmental Council is hosting a free online workshop  to consider issues of environmental injustice, particularly those confronted by communities in northwest Indiana. Scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, 2013 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (EST), HEC’s webinar will examine the very harmful effects of environmental injustice on northwest Indiana’s low-income and minority communities, its root causes, and present potential strategies for addressing this long-standing and critical issue.
“Low-income and minority populations often face disproportionate burdens of environmental pollution and related health risks in this country,” said Kim Ferarro, staff attorney and director of water policy for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Such is the case for the low-income, minority communities in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago where residents have, for decades, been exposed to a host of pollutants from an incredible concentration of industrial sources – all packed into a small 80 square-mile area.”   These three communities are home to 52 CERCLA/Superfund sites, 423 hazardous waste sites, more than 460 underground storage tanks (USTs), three wastewater treatment works, and 15 combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
As a result, these disadvantaged residents breathe air that is, in some areas, several times the national average in toxicity, and they drink, swim and fish in waters that annually bear 11 billion gallons of raw untreated sewage, and 2 million pounds of developmental, reproductive and cancer-causing toxins. Not surprisingly, these environmental factors play a role in higher-than-average levels of respiratory illnesses and cancers. “With more than 30% of the area's population under the age of 18, the consequences of these environmental risks extend beyond health impacts to affect factors such as school performance and, therefore, the formation of a long-term, productive labor force. As a matter of fundamental fairness, human decency and social equity, it is time for us to take action and help empower these communities to achieve environmental justice. And, addressing these long-term injustices is very much in keeping with the Governor’s own vision of making Indiana number one in quality of life.” Ferraro said.
The webinar, which is free for participants, will include speakers Kim Ferraro (mentioned above), with availability by HEC’s executive director Jesse Kharbanda and Tim Maloney, HEC’s senior policy director to comment on environmental injustice in other parts of the state . To register, click on the following link:
This webinar is sponsored through grants from the John S. and James L.Knight Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, promoting informed and engaged communities, and, the Lake County Community Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, inspiring you to give where you live.
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About Hoosier Environmental Council:
Founded in 1983, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana. HEC aims to foster solutions that simultaneously improve environmental quality and economic well-being. Visit for more information. You can also follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed, or like us on Facebook:

Read more: Webinar Tuesday on Environmental Injustice in NW IN


Commuters Would Like 'Quiet Car' Option

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Newly-released early results from a recent survey of South Shore passengers show nearly 80-percent would like “quiet cars” available during rush hour... cars where cellphone usage, for instance, would be kept to a minimum. More than 60-percent said they are in favor of allowing bicycles on the train. Just over 45-hundred completed surveys were returned from riders. Busiest boarding point of the work week during morning rush according to the survey – East Chicago.

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ND Adopts Backpack Ban for FB Games

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The University of Notre Dame has adopted a new ban on backpacks and other items at the football stadium on game days. Beginning with the season-opener Saturday August 31 fans will be prohibited from bringing large bags such as backpacks, duffel bags and totes into the stadium [see photo provided]. Smaller bags, such as purses, will be allowed but will be inspected by trained security personnel, along with blankets, coats, ponchos and other similar items.
“Our top priority is safety, and we believe that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and other incidents through the years, this new policy is the prudent course of action,” said Michael Seamon, associate vice president for campus safety and director of game day operations. “We know our fans will adapt quickly to the policy, and we appreciate their cooperation in helping to make Notre Dame Stadium as safe as possible.”
Seamon said his hope is that fans would not bring bags of any kind into the stadium, and he added that the addition of specially trained inspectors will ensure that any delays at the gates will be kept to a minimum.

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Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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