Motorcyclist Killed in Borman Crash

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borman crash
[Photo/Indiana State Police]
In Lake County, an early morning crash claimed the life of a motorcyclist and caused a car and semi fire that closed the eastbound side of the Borman Expressway for almost four hours. Indiana State Police say a preliminary investigation revealed that shortly after 3:30 am, a three-wheel motorcycle, 2002 Road Hawk trike, was just east of Chase Street in Gary when for unknown reasons the driver came off and landed in the middle lane, and the vehicle continued for about a half-mile before coming to rest in the left lane. Troopers say a semi was unable to avoid striking the motorcyclist, who was pronounced dead at the scene. As of the time of the news release, the motorcyclist's name had not been released, pending notification of family.  A car driven by a 28-year-old Arizona woman sideswiped the motorcycle, officials say, then crashed into the rear of another semi. Police say she and her 18-year-old passenger were able to get out before the 2003 Ford Taurus became engulfed in flames, and they were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police say both were wearing seat belts. The drivers of the semi's were uninjured.  

Read more: Motorcyclist Killed in Borman Crash


Life-Threatening Injuries in Lowell Crash

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Lake County Sheriffs Police say a 20-year-old Lowell man suffered life-threatening injuries in a single-vehicle crash shortly after 5 a-m Sunday near Lowell. Police say Cole Midgett was in the 28-hundred block of Belshaw Road when for unknown reasons the Chevrolet Equinox he was driving left the roadway and struck a tree. He was extricated by Lowell Fire and Tri-Creek EMS, and transported to St. Anthony Medical Center, later to be airlifted to a Chicago-area medical center. In a news release today, Lake County Sheriffs Police said they had no update on his condition, other than he remained hospitalized, and that alcohol was considered to a factor in this crash, but no blood-alcohol content was available.

Read more: Life-Threatening Injuries in Lowell Crash


State Safety Tips for Festival Season

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The Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana State Board of Animal Health and Indiana State Police are sending out basic safety information for Hoosiers visiting festivals and fairs this season... among them, monitor weather forecasts and know where to go in the event of an unexpected thunderstorm... wear sunscreen and closed-toe shoes, not flips-flops, to protect your feet... keep a watchful eye on children... and if you see something suspicious, say something. The department also says every ride should have a prominently displayed, current permit issued by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
More info from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security:
General Safety Tips
•Pay attention to weather forecasts and prepare appropriately.
•Be aware of your surroundings and know where you will go if you need to seek shelter from an unexpected thunderstorm.
•Be sure to use sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Remember, even on overcast days UV rays are still powerful enough to burn skin so use sunscreen.
•On hot days, make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
•Wear closed toe shoes like tennis shoes, not flip-flops or sandals, to protect your feet.
•Remember “If you see something, say something.” If you see people or activities that seem suspicious, report your observations to the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center at 877-226-1026. If you believe danger is imminent, contact local security or call 911.
Safety tips for kids and caregivers
Teach kids to stay calm and stay put if they become separated from parents or other caregivers. Knowing what to do in this scary situation will help prevent a lost child from panicking, and help safety officials locate them faster.
•Keep a watchful eye on children. It’s easy for children and caregivers to become separated in large crowds.
•Have an established family meeting location where you will reconnect if separated.
•Check with county fair organizers and ask for ‘missing parent’ contact tags your children can wear with your name and cell phone number in case your child becomes separated.
•If you do become separated from your child, notify local security immediately.
Animal Safety Tips
•Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching animals, and don’t consume any food inside of the barns.
•Watch out for animal feces on barn floors and aisle ways when walking or using strollers.
•Animals at the fair are in a noisy, crowded and unfamiliar environment, and may easily become dangerous if they are spooked or scared.
•Avoid running, yelling, talking loudly or making loud noises while in the animal barns.
•Never attempt to pet any animal at the fair without receiving explicit permission from the animal’s owner.
Fire Safety Tips
•Make sure all fires are extinguished and dispose of cigarettes properly.
•Ensure all wires being used for fair exhibits are away from flammable materials such as cloth or hay.
•If parking on grass lots while attending the fair, avoid parking on tall dry grass. Park on mowed grass whenever possible.
•Use caution refilling generators. Exhaust can be very hot. Make sure the exhaust vent is pointing up in the air and not down at the ground, where it could catch dry grass or other flammables on fire.
Amusement Ride Safety Tips
•Don’t board a ride if you see broken parts, signs of improper maintenance, or an inattentive operator. Report your observations to the ride operator or call IDHS amusement ride hotline at 1-888-203-5020.
•Every ride should have a prominently displayed, current permit issued by IDHS. If the ride has no such permit, call the amusement ride hotline at 1-888-203-5020.
•Read all posted rules and listen to instructions given by ride operators.
•Watch the ride with your child before boarding. Point out the operator and the entrance and exit locations prior to riding. Make sure they understand the instructions and warnings fully.
•Obey minimum height, age, and weight restrictions. Never sneak children onto rides if they are too small or too young. A smaller/younger child may not be physically or developmentally able to stay safely seated.
•If you can’t count on your child to stay seated with hands and feet inside, don’t let them ride.
•Keep all body parts (hands, arms, legs, long hair, etc.) inside the ride at all times. If you have long hair, keep it pulled up with a hat or hair tie.
•Always use the safety equipment provided (seat belt, shoulder harness, lap bar, etc.).
•Remain in the ride until it comes to a complete stop at the unloading point. If a ride stops temporarily due to mechanical failure or other reasons, stay seated and wait for an operator to give you further instructions.
•Know your physical conditions and limitations. If you suspect that your health could be at risk for any reason, or that you could aggravate a preexisting condition of any kind, do not ride.
•Additional ride safety tips are available at
IDHS coordinates the certification of all emergency medical services personnel in Indiana, and oversees the regular inspection of emergency medical transports and the required medical equipment. The Indiana State Building Commissioner’s Office, charged with permitting and inspecting amusement rides in Indiana, is also a division of IDHS.

Read more: State Safety Tips for Festival Season


Lowell Man Critically Injured

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A 20-year-old Lowell man reportedly suffered critical injuries in a single-vehicle crash shortly after 5 a-m Sunday in Lowell. Police say Cole Midgett was in the 28-hundred block of Belshaw Road when for unknown reasons the SUV he was driving left the roadway and struck a tree. He was taken to a local hospital then transferred to a Chicago-area medical center.

Read more: Lowell Man Critically Injured


Domestic Dispute Turns Deadly

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In Crown Point, police say an apparent domestic dispute over the weekend left one person dead and another person seriously hurt. The Lake County Coroners office says 26-year-old Brittany Peters suffered multiple wounds in an apartment in the 900 block of Heritage Court and was pronounced dead just after 7:30 Saturday night at an area hospital. A 32-year-old man, believed to be the woman's boyfriend, also suffered stab wounds in an apparent struggle between the two, authorities say, and his condition was not available.

Read more: Domestic Dispute Turns Deadly


Officers Investigate Two Drowning Deaths

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Indiana Conservation Officers say they are investigating the drowning of a Lake Station man in Deep River. Officers say 25-year-old Jeffery Sandefur was with friends along Deep River near the Waterfront Lounge in Lake Station at 11:47 pm Saturday night when he told friends he wanted to go swimming. Authorities say witnesses quickly dialed 911 after Sandefur did not resurface. Indiana Conservation Officers were assisted by many agencies on scene including Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Lake Hills, Cedar Lake, Crown Point, and Lakes of the Four Seasons, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Lake County Aquatics Team. Officials say Sandefur was recovered just at 3:37 am Sunday morning. The Lake County Coroners office says Sandefur sustained no visible trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 4:30 Sunday morning, and manner of death was listed as pending. 
In northeast Indiana, Indiana Conservation Officers say they are investigating the apparent drowning death of an 18-year-old Marion man Sunday afternoon at a state reservoir in Huntington County about thirty miles southwest of Fort Wayne. Officials say witnesses stated Jordan Laute swam out past the roped barrier into deep water, and that once it became evident he was in trouble, witnesses and bystanders attempted unsuccessfully to locate him. Indiana Conservation Officers utilized side scan sonar to locate Laute in 9’ of water at 6:15pm.


Read more: Officers Investigate Two Drowning Deaths


Serious Accident Closes EB Borman

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Accident blocking all lanes eastbound Borman near 6 mile marker, just before Burr Street in Gary.  Involved a car that was on fire.  Crews on scene. May be a fatality investigation. 

Read more: Serious Accident Closes EB Borman


Paula Cooper to Be Released

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43-year-old Paula Cooper is scheduled to be released from prison today. She was arrested at the age of 15 and convicted of murdering 78-year-old Bible teacher Ruth Pelke in Pelke's Glen Park home in 1985; the elderly woman, officials say, was stabbed more than thirty times.. Three other teenage girls from Gary were also convicted and went to prison in connection with the crime and have since been released. The four, authorities say, took ten dollars, and the victim's car. When Cooper was sentenced to death at the age of 16, she was the youngest person in the state to ever face the death penalty, and the youngest death row inmate in 1986. Following international outcry over the sentence, and an appeal from Pope John Paul II, the Indiana Supreme Court commuted her death sentence a few years later, sentencing her to sixty-years in prison.

Read more: Paula Cooper to Be Released


Meijer Opens Portage Store

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The ribbon was cut Thursday for a brand-new Meijer at US highway 6 and Willowcreek Road in Portage. The former “Super K” along US 6 has been transformed into a new 190-thousand square-foot supercenter now open for Region shoppers. The Grand Opening Celebration is this Sunday. 
Meijer also presented donations as part of the store's opening: five-thousand dollars for the Portage Police Department's K9 unit, two-thousand dollars to the Portage Township Food Pantry, and five-hundred dollars went to Hannah's Hope, a non-profit organization that tries to help children with special needs obtain various therapies and expensive medical equipment.
The Grand-Rapids based retailer, which opened its first store in 1934, opened two stores in northern Indiana Thursday – the other in Warsaw. Combined the company says the stores will create more than five-hundred new jobs. Meijer officials also say the new locations are built to “LEED”, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

Read more: Meijer Opens Portage Store


License Branches Closed Today for Maintenance Work

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This reminder... All Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle license branches are closed today while the Indiana Office of Technology staff completes a major maintenance project on the State's computer system. The website will also not be available to until the repairs are completed.  License branches will resume normal hours of operation the week of June 17th.


Read more: License Branches Closed Today for Maintenance Work


Historic Lake Co. Courthouse Sustains Storm Damage

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The storm that battered Crown Point on Wednesday took a direct hit at the historic Lake Court House.
The force of the 100-mile-per-hour winds blew out windows in the Bell Tower, damaged sections of the clay tile roof, uprooted signs and downed tree limbs. Costs to repair the damage is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Marty Wheeler, president of the Lake Court House Foundation, is appealing to the community for help.

“The storm caused significant damage to the Court House and the surrounding grounds,” Wheeler said. “This is a historic building that receives no support except what we are able to get through donations from individuals and businesses throughout Lake County. We are asking anyone who has a few dollars they can spare to donate what they can to the Grand Old Lady. She has stood through many storms during her 135 years here but this one has certainly taken its toll.”

The Lake Court House Foundation Board has been hard at work drumming up support and donations for necessary repairs for the Court House and to create an endowment that would help when unexpected crises – such as storms – cause damage.

If you would like to help, please send donations to:Lake Court House Foundation, P.O. Box 556, Crown Point, IN 46308.

You may also donate online at  For more information, please contact Wheeler at (219) 663-0660.

Read more: Historic Lake Co. Courthouse Sustains Storm Damage


Afternoon Garage Fire in Gary

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Gary Garage fire
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Firefighters in Gary were called out to a garage fire this afternoon. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corp. Gabrielle King says the fire occurred near the corner of East 14th Avenue and Aetna Street in Gary. King says the homeowner was working in the garage prior to the fire. No further information is available at this time.
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Read more: Afternoon Garage Fire in Gary


Donnelly Supported Bill Passes Senate Armed Services Committee

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Washington, D.C. – Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement after the Senate Armed Services Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan support, 23-3, last night.  Donnelly sponsored seven amendments that were included in the final bill and highlighted several additional aspects of the legislation of interest to Indiana. 
“With this bill, we make significant strides toward passing the Jacob Sexton Act, designed to better identify servicemembers struggling with mental health issues before it is too late, into law,” said Donnelly.  “I am pleased the Committee unanimously passed my amendment that would require a report from the Department of Defense on the feasibility of integrating more robust mental health screenings in servicemembers’ Periodic Health Assessments and soliciting a first-line supervisor’s input while protecting privacy.   We must get those who are struggling with mental health issues the help they need before they resort to taking their own life.
“The Committee also unanimously adopted my amendment detailing the Indiana National Guard experience in the cancellation of reserve component deployments.  The decision to off-ramp four National Guard units had wide-ranging impacts on over 1,000 Hoosier families, and it is not the way the Army should treat its soldiers.  My amendment added context to the requirement in the bill that the Secretary of Defense personally approve any decision to cancel the deployment of a reserve component unit within 180 days of its scheduled deployment date and to notify Congress of the decision.
“The Committee also considered amendments to better prevent military sexual assault, as the current system is clearly broken.  In speaking with survivors and learning more about the scope of this problem,  I concluded that only a significant, serious change to the status quo will lead to a truly ‘zero tolerance’ policy.  While I supported Senator Gillibrand’s proposal, which was replaced, I am pleased that the Committee passed a number of additional measures, including Chairman Levin’s proposal to better hold commanders accountable.  This is a start as we seek to enforce a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault in the Armed Forces.”

List of Donnelly Amendments Approved by the Committee:
1.       Suicide prevention program report language: The bipartisan amendment, co-sponsored by Senators Wicker (R-MS) and Blumenthal (D-CT) requires a DOD assessment of new tools that could be implemented to better screen servicemembers for mental health needs and suicidal risk factors.  Senator Donnelly has introduced legislation, S. 810, the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013,  that would implement a pilot program to integrate annual mental health assessments into a servicemember’s health assessment and to solicit the input of a first-line supervisor while protecting servicemembers’ privacy.  The design of this pilot program would benefit from further evaluation from military health care professionals, and the report required by Senator Donnelly’s amendment directs that evaluation to be completed no later than February 14, 2014, in time for consideration of the FY 2015 NDAA. 

2.       Off-ramp report language: Donnelly’s amendment details the experience of more than one thousand Indiana families affected by the off-ramping, or cancelled deployment, of four Indiana National Guard units, two of which were just six weeks away from deploying.  The Army replaced these units with active duty units and the decision had wide-ranging impacts on over 1,000 families’ health care, financial decision, educational plans, and housing. This is an addition to the underlying language that would require the Secretary of Defense to personally approve any decision to cancel the deployment of a reserve component unit within 180 days of its scheduled deployment date and to notify Congress of the decision.

3.       Coal-to-liquid technologies: Donnelly’s amendment, passed with bipartisan support during the full committee debate, requires a detailed spending plan on funding in the FY13 DOD Appropriations Act for research to reduce or capture coal-to-liquid carbon emissions. It also encourages DOD to work with the Department of Energy on the feasibility of potential technologies that could enable coal-to-liquid fuels to meet the emissions requirements for bulk purchases and requires DOD to provide a proposal to the Senate Armed Services Committee for joint research.

4.       C-130H engine upgrades: This Donnelly-supported amendment would encourage the Air Force to consider upgrades to the C-130H aircraft to meet fuel economy goals in a manner reflective of the location of these aircraft among active, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve units.  Fuel economy upgrades, including the replacement of engines for the C-130 legacy aircraft, will reduce long-term costs and improve aircraft reliability.  The C-130 legacy aircraft are primarily a National Guard asset, so improving the reliability of this aircraft can enhance Guard missions around the country.

5.       Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) War Reserve report language: Donnelly’s amendment directs the Defense Logistics Agency to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that ensures an adequate MRE inventory, maintains the appropriate levels of MRE war reserves, and provides for a surge capability to support unforeseen contingencies. 

6.       Counter IED training: Donnelly’s amendment ensures that, despite the planned transition of the Joint Improvised Explosive Defeat Organization after 2014, counter-IED training would remain synchronized across the military departments and defense agencies.  This would ensure that the lessons we have learned in Afghanistan and Iraq are not lost.

7.       Incinerator technologies for burn pits: Donnelly’s amendment requires that the report requested by the Committee on the potential health effects on personnel in the vicinity of burn pits in Afghanistan also includes an assessment of incinerator technologies that are available to the DOD for use in Afghanistan, including any such incinerator technologies that could also contribute to energy production, and any other waste-to-energy strategies.  Several companies are working to develop waste disposal technology that could both dispose of trash in forward operating bases in a safe manner while also supplying energy to the base. 

Additional Provisions of Interest to Indiana

1.       BRAC: The bill would not authorize a new round of defense base closures and realignments in 2015.  It would require a report on the costs and savings associated with the 2005 round joint basing decisions.  The bill supports closing overseas bases before any bases in the Unites States would be closed.

2.       Biofuels: The bill supports continued DOD investment in biofuels to diversify energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

3.       East Coast Ballistic Missile Defense: The bill would authorize deployment of a radar to defend the East Coast from missile threats from the Middle East, enhancing the capability of the current system to defend the entire United States.

4.       MILCON: The bill would fund an Air National Guard MILCON project at $7.3 million at Hulman Regional Airport.
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Read more: Donnelly Supported Bill Passes Senate Armed Services Committee


US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Warren Hunter

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Warren Hunter
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals, Great Lakes Task Force)
A 31 year old man charged in U-S District Court last month with violations of supervision, stemming from a weapons offense, has been declared the “fugitive of the week” by the U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force. Warren Hunter, aka “Lil Perp” is a black male, 5' 4”, weighing 125 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and was last known to reside in the 68-hundred block of Magoun Street, in Hammond. Authorities say Hunter was also charged last month by the Orland Park, Illinois, Police Department with burglary. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Warren Hunter is asked to contact investigators, by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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Read more: US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Warren Hunter


Convicted Felon Charged with Possession of Illegal Weapon

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khristopher buchanan
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook Co Sheriff's Office)
A 30 year old Harvey man was arrested Thursday after the Cook County Sheriff's Police Gun Suppression Team found a sawed-off shotgun in his home while executing a search warrant. The Sheriff's Office reports they had received reports that Kristopher Buchanan maybe illegally in possession of firearms, which he is prohibited from possessing due to his multiple felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance.
The Sheriff's Gun Suppression Team formed in February, and has since recovered 156 guns and 137 revoked Firearm Owner's Identification cards, as well as resolving 90 Firearm Owner's Identification card cases.
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Read more: Convicted Felon Charged with Possession of Illegal Weapon


Manfield Arrested in South Bend

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Chris Mansfield
(Photo Courtesy of MC PD)
 Authorities say a 19 year old man wanted in connection with the death of a retired Michigan City school teacher last week has been arrested. Michigan City Police report Chris Mansfield was apprehended Thursday at a home in South Bend. The body of Henry Whitten was discovered by officers on the morning of June 6th during a welfare check at his home in the 500 block of East 8th Street.
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Read more: Manfield Arrested in South Bend


Region Soldier Prepares for Redeployment

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Staff Sgt. Rachel Copeland from Hammond, Indiana is gearing up for her third deployment but she is still as motivated as she was for her first deployment. Let's take a look at a prep day leading up to her departure.  Courtesy of DVIDS – Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

Read more: Region Soldier Prepares for Redeployment


Flag Day Ceremony in Munster

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Flag Day activities Friday, June 14 begin at about 4 p.m. when Munster Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2697 and Munster American Legion Post 16 will retire used American flags. The flag retirement will be conducted on the south side of the Veterans Memorial grounds, near the Viet Nam venue.
Cannoneers of VFW Post 2697 will fire a “Salute to the Union” at 6 p.m. Fifty rounds will be fired along the north shore of the lake, near the World War I venue.
At 7 p.m., the Hammond Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge 485 will conduct a special Flag Day ceremony in the north circle, near the flags. Scout Troop #206 will assist the Lodge with the commemoration.
The 6.5 acre Memorial has become a major tourist attraction, and commemorates the sacrifices and achievements of veterans of major military conflicts that shaped the 20th Century. The idea for the memorial was developed in the late 1990s when a group of local veterans came together to talk about creating a place that honors the nation’s war heroes. The final design encompasses three main goals: to remember, to educate and to challenge.
The park is located at 9710 Calumet Avenue in Munster (just 2.5 miles south of I80/94) on the west side of Calumet Avenue, just north of Sheffield Ave. It is open dawn to dusk and the Memorial Day activities will be held rain or shine. Admission is free. To learn more, visit

Read more: Flag Day Ceremony in Munster


Power Restored to Most After Storms

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winfield storm

Storm cleanup continues in the Region.  Northern Indiana Public Service Company says by Thursday evening, NIPSCO field personnel had restored more than 95 percent of the more than 45,000 total electric customers system-wide who experienced power outages as a result of Wednesday evening’s severe weather. As of this morning that number was down to 500, with about half of those in Crown Point, one of the harder hit areas.   NIPSCO and contracted crews will continue working around the clock to restore as many customers as possible today.   NIPSCO says restoration for most of the remaining customers is expected by late Friday evening, but a few individual customer outages may extend into early Saturday due to the extensive system repairs needed
Photo: Winfield just east of Lakes of the Four Seasons [Sent in by Aaron Coates]

Read more: Power Restored to Most After Storms


License Branches Closed Sat Jun 15

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This reminder... All Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle license branches will be closed on Saturday, June 15 while the Indiana Office of Technology staff completes a major maintenance project on the State's computer system. The website will also not be available to customers from 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday June 15 until the repairs are completed. License branches will resume normal hours of operation the week of June 17.

Read more: License Branches Closed Sat Jun 15


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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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