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FEMA Denies Federal Aid to 9 IL Counties Hit by Tornadoes

FEMA is denying federal aid to nine Illinois counties hit hard by the November tornadoes. ABC News reports the six-point-one million dollars in aid was supposed to go to county governments, to help pay for expenses like costly police overtime. But the money requested is well below the 17.8 million dollar minimum for federal approval in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn, says he is disappointed by the decision, and will appeal. Millions of dollars in federal aid have already been given to residents and businesses....
 

Arrest of Stolen Vehicle Suspects Leads to Stolen Property

Cedar lake Metro PD
In Cedar Lake, police announced on Wednesday three suspects were taken into custody on January 1st in reference to a vehicle which had previously been reported stolen. Cedar Lake Police report an investigation determined a 20 year old Kouts man had taken a 1997 mercury Marque from a Cedar Lake woman without permission earlier that day and that a 22 year old Crown Point man and a 27 year old Cedar Lake woman accompanied the Kouts man in the stolen vehicle.
Police report an additional investigation revealed the two male suspects were also responsible for a burglary that took place in the 71-hundred block of West 137th Place in Cedar Lake that same day. A search warrant to recover the stolen property from that burglary was obtained and served in the 11-thousand block of West 126th Avenue in Cedar Lake and a 24 Cedar Lake man was arrested....
 

Bus Service to Lake Hills in Michigan City Suspended

Officials in Michigan City say, due to the current Lake Avenue street closure, normal city bus service to the Lake Hills area is being suspended, but that this will not affect service to Washington Park or the Senior Center. The change will be in effect until further notice and Lake Hills residents needing service are asked to contact the Michigan City Transit Department at (219) 873-1502....
 

Work Release Escapee Arrested for Theft

scott skinner
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A wanted escapee from LaPorte County Work Release was taken into custody on Wednesday. LaPorte Police report at approximately 11:12pm officers responded to the 700 block of Tipton Street to investigate a theft that had just occurred. The victim informed officers the suspect, 20 year old Scott Skinner, of LaPorte, just left his residence carrying a tin with approximately 50-dollars in change inside it and was possibly heading to an address on Ridge Street. Skinner was located a short time later at a home in the 100 block of Ridge Street and is charged with felony theft and escape...
 

ISP Lifts Travel Restriction for Oversize Loads

Indiana State Police logo
Indiana State Police reports this afternoon they have lifted the Travel Restriction for oversize loads. The restriction was enacted due to poor road conditions as the result of the recent winter storm. State Police say road conditions have significantly improved over the last 24 hours across the state.
At last check, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security's County Travel Status Map shows Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Pulaski counties under a travel watch, meaning only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended. Newton and Starke counties remain under a travel advisory, which means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation.  
See Current County Travel Advisory Status here:  http://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/...
 

Businesses/Residents Asked to Clear Snowy Sidewalks

Some Lake County communities are asking residents and businesses to clear snow from sidewalks and bus stops. In Munster, police report Munster businesses must clear snow from sidewalks or citations will be issued for non-compliance.

In Highland, police are asking residents to please clear snow from crosswalks at bus stops and sidewalks on school walk routes. Highland Police report doing so will help keep students from having to walk or wait for the bus in the streets.

The City of Hobart is also requesting residents remove snow from sidewalks and at bus stops and asks residents to remove vehicles from the streets so city crews can continue removing snow.

 

UPDATE: No Injuries in Liberty Twp House Fire

No one was injured after a home in north central Porter County was damaged by fire early today. Crews got the call around 7:30am for a residential fire in the 200 block of Papillon Drive, not too far south of US 6, in Liberty Township. Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department says several area departments assisted on scene, including South Haven, Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Washington Township, Union Township, Portage and Valparaiso. Officials say there are no hydrants in that subdivision, so a tanker plan was called. The nearest hydrants are on US 6, authorities say, and those were tapped as well. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. ...
 

AUDIO/VIDEO: Coats on Income Inequality

coats on senate floor
(Photo Courtesy of Senator Coats' Office)
President Obama recently emphasized addressing income inequality but Indiana US Senator Dan Coats says the President's signature accomplishment, “Obamacare”, is contributing to the problem.   Senator Coats says many Americans are experiencing higher premiums, and outrageous deductibles when they purchase coverage through the Obamacare exchanges.
To view Coats' speech from this morning on the Senator Floor, visit &feature=youtu.be">&feature=youtu.be, or listen at News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/. ...
 

Indiana Proposed Gay Marriage Ban Filed

Indiana's controversial marriage amendment is scheduled to be heard in committee Monday. The measure was filed in the Indiana House of Representatives today and is now known officially as House Joint Resolution 3. An amendment has to be approved by two separately-elected General Assemblies, and then by Hoosier voters in a referendum, in order to become part of the state's Constitution. The proposed ban on gay marriage was approved by state lawmakers in 2011, and if approved this session, would go before Indiana voters this November....
 

Multiple Depts Respond to Porter County Fire

Fire damages a home in north central Porter County early today. Crews got the call around 7:30 this morning for a residential fire in the 200 block of Papillon Drive not too far south of US 6 in Liberty Township. Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department says several area departments assisted on scene, including South Haven, Burns Harbor, Chesterton, Washington Township, Union Township, Portage and Valparaiso. Officials say there are no hydrants in that subdivision, so a tanker plan was called. The nearest hydrants are on US 6, authorities say, and those were tapped as well. No information was available at this time on whether there were any injuries. Cause of the fire is not yet known. ...
 

Hearing Over New Maps Rescheduled Due to Storm

A hearing that was set for this past Tuesday January 7 on a lawsuit filed over Porter County's new redistricting plan was canceled due to the weather, and LaPorte County court officials tell the Region News Team it was rescheduled for this Monday [January 13] at 9 am. Earlier this month, the Porter County Board of Commissioners approved a new map that resulted in removing current 2nd District Councilman Jeremy Rivas from his district. The four redrawn districts are all on the ballot this year.  The newly-drawn lines, the board said, shrink population differences between districts, as per a state law requiring the populations to be as equal as possible.  Attorney Edward Hearn filed the suit on behalf of five plaintiffs, including Rivas.  The suit alleges that two districts are no longer contiguous as required by state law.  ...
   

Election Season Begins in the Region

Dozens of political hopefuls, including several incumbents, traveled to the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point to do the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot this May. Filing for this year's primary election in Indiana opened on Wednesday and continues through noon February 7th. In Porter County, first to file was Democrat Sylvia Graham. Graham, currently an at-large county council member, is running for the Center District seat on the Board of Commissioners. Second to file in Porter County was Republican County Coroner Chuck Harris, who is seeking re-election. 
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Three Children Killed in Hammond House Fire

hammondfirekb

The Lake County Coroners office has released the names of three young children killed in a house fire in the 600 block of Sibley Street in Hammond overnight. Coroners officials say seven-month-old Jayden Young, three-year-old Alexia Young, and four-year-old Dasani Young were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight this morning. Cause of death was listed as burns to the body and manner of death was pending investigation. The scene of the fire on Sibley is between Sohl and Calumet Avenues on the northwest side of Hammond.
Fire officials think space heaters being used in a house that had no heat may have been in factor in the fatal fire, but a cause has not yet been determined.

Officials say the children's father suffered third-degree burns and was in critical condition at a Chicago hospital after rescuing two of his other children, two boys ages five and seven, who were also said to be listed as critical. Fire crews were called out just before 10:30 last night, and when they arrived flames were reportedly coming out of the house.
[Photo/Karl Berner]...
   

3 Children Die in Fire, 2 Others and Father Injured

hammond fire ss
The Lake County Coroners office has released the names of three young children killed in a house fire in the 600 block of Sibley Street in Hammond overnight. Coroners officials say seven-month-old Jayden Young, three-year-old Alexia Young, and four-year-old Dasani Young were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight this morning. Cause of death was listed as burns to the body and manner of death was pending investigation. The scene of the fire on Sibley is between Sohl (sole) and Calumet Avenues on the northwest side of Hammond.
Fire officials think space heaters being used in a house that had no heat may have been in factor in the fatal fire, but a cause has not yet been determined.
Officials say the children's 28-year-old father suffered third-degree burns and was in crititical condition in the burn unit at a Chicago hospital after rescuing two of his other children, ages five and seven, who were also reportedly listed as critical. Fire crews were called out just before 10:30 last night, the house reportedly engulfed in flames. The three children who died were reportedly all found within six feet of the front door, which was barricaded, according to officials, and crews had to remove the hinges to get inside. ...
   

Breaking: 3 Children Killed in Hammond Fire

HammondFireTimes (NWI Times photo)
Tragedy in Hammond.  Three children are dead after a house fire late Wednesday night in the 600 block of Sibley. Officials say two children and their father survived, but it's not known if the three children who were killed are also related. The man reportedly sustained third-degree burns and was able to get two children, ages three and six, out of the home.  Hammond Firefighters were called to a home around 10:15 pm, and the house was in flames when they arrived, authorities say.  The Region News Team's Scotty Smith will be reporting from the scene this morning....
   

Seven Deaths in Indiana Related to Snow or Cold WX

Officials report at least seven deaths in Indiana related to snow or cold weather have been confirmed, with other deaths and their relation to the storm are being evaluated. A total of 29 Indiana counties have been declared a state of disaster after Governor Mike Pence signed the executive order on Monday, which includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties....
   

Residents Asked to Help Clear Snow at Highland Bus Stops

Highland PD
In Highland, police are asking residents to clear snow from crosswalks at bus stops and sidewalks on school walk routes as schools resume classes. Highland Police report doing so will help keep students from having to walk or wait for the bus in the streets....
   

ISP Lowell Post Reports a Total of 551 Calls to Service

Indiana State Police logo
Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post announced this evening that, from midnight Sunday through noon today, troopers have worked 124 property damage crashes, 25 personal injury crashes,165 slide-offs and assisted 166 motorists for a total of 551 calls to service. State Police report the most common cause of the crashes and slide-offs during the snow fall and icy weather was due to drivers traveling too fast for the existing road conditions and remind motorists that slick roads don not cause crashes, your driving behavior on those roads does, so please slow down, be patient and plan your travels according to the weather and traffic conditions.

For a link to the latest on up-to-date road conditions, visit http://www.in.gov/isp/3096.htm...
   

Road Conditions Improving, but Expect Slick/Slushy Spots

Indot Logo color
NORTHWEST INDIANA –Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) crews have been spreading salt, chemical de-icers, and abrasives to attack the hard-pack snow and ice that remains on the roads across Northwest Indiana, left behind by the severe winter weather. In addition, crews are using plows and heavy duty equipment to break the melting hard-pack apart. But INDOT wants to stress, road conditions may get worse before they get better.
As the de-icing agents melt through the thick hard-pack, it will become slushy, causing difficult driving conditions. In addition, falling temperatures and snow flurries across the Northwest Indiana District could create slick conditions once again overnight and tomorrow morning.
INDOT continues to urge drivers to slow down considerably on the roads as we work to clear pavement. Motorists should expect fair-to-difficult driving conditions on the roadways across Northwest Indiana for the next several days, and should adjust their driving habits accordingly.
Drivers are reminded, our area was hit by heavy snow, strong winds, and historically low temperatures over the course of four days. It will take more than one day to recover, and bring road conditions back to normal.
Drivers in Northwest Indiana can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts at any time via the District’s social media channels: www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or Twitter @INDOTNorthwest. Or visit  http://www.trafficwise.in.gov for INDOT’s TrafficWise Traveler Information Service.

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No Injuries After Semi Goes Over Barrier Wall

isp semi 1
(Photos Courtesy of ISP Lowell Post)
isp semi 2
The driver of a semi was not injured after he wrapped his semi around an informational sign structure this morning on I-80/94, just west of the Burns Harbor/Porter exit. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports the semi, which was loaded with 25-thousand pounds of food headed to Meijer's, was heading west in the center lane when the driver could not slow down due to a crash that had just occurred and lost control. As a result the semi jack-knifed to the left and struck the concrete barrier wall, causing the tractor to jump over the barrier wall with part of the trailer on top of the barrier wall wrapping around an informational sign structure. After hitting the sign structure, the hood of the tractor flew off into the eastbound lanes and hit the vehicle of a 23 year old Wisconsin woman who was in the right lane. State Police say the woman was not injured and no semi load was lost. Both east and westbound lanes were closed for a time for the removal of the semi and cleanup of diesel fuel that was lost due to the crash. ...
   

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