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PUC Gets Grant to Retrain Unemployed Workers

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First District Congressman Pete Visclosky has announced that Purdue University Calumet in Hammond is getting a two-point-seven-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide training to Trade Adjustment Assistance eligible workers, veterans, and others who quality who are seeking jobs in Northwest Indiana’s manufacturing industry.  It is expected that the project will impact at least 300 individuals by allowing for the opportunity to attain one or more industry certifications. Individuals receiving this training will be eligible to join the workforce as mechatronics technicians and industrial machinery mechanics.   


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“Putting our citizens to work is my foremost priority. It is incumbent upon us to invest in a well-trained workforce to protect the jobs of today and create the jobs of tomorrow. I am pleased to know that this grant will address the needs of area industry and build upon the existing successes of our region’s advanced manufacturing sector,” Congressman Visclosky said. 
The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
Chancellor Tom Keon, Purdue University Calumet, explained that the College of Technology has been working on workforce development in Northwest Indiana for several years.  “It is important to note that our manufacturing partners need an educated workforce with proper training at many different levels.  The College of Technology at Purdue University Calumet is dedicated to providing qualified graduates and to training the NWI workforce in areas of sophistication that are needed in our ever evolving manufacturing technologies,”  Chancellor Keon said.
Photos: Congressman Visclosky visiting Purdue University Calumet’s mechatronics and advanced manufacturing laboratories. [Courtesy/Congressman Pete Visclosky's office]...

 

Strong Storms, Heavy Rain, Power Outages

More than four-thousand customers of NIPSCO, mainly across Gary and Hammond, lost power during strong storms Wednesday night. As of this morning, the number is down to about 600 across the service territory, with scattered outages in the Region, also including Lowell. Valparaiso got over an inch and a half of rain by about nine-thirty last night, according to National Weather Service estimates, while as of three-o'clock this morning National Weather Service Doppler Radar estimated that four to five inches of rain has fallen in eastern Jasper County, including cities like Remington and Rensselaer, where a flash flood warning remains in effect  until 7:30 am Central Daylight Time.
To view watches and warnings click here: http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
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New Lake County Precinct Map Update

Lake County could have its new precinct map next month. The Lake County Board of Elections and Voters Registration on Tuesday approved establishing the precincts which were given approval by the state election commission earlier this summer. As for any changes, some Lake County comunities added a new precinct, while some others were lost, but registered voters will be notified by mail if your precinct has changed, once the period to challenge the new map has ended and that cannot even begin until the Indiana Elections Division gives their approval, which is expected to be decided in about a month. ...
 

Pence Names Indiana Regional Works Council Chairs

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced Kristin Emaus, Training Manager at NIPSCO as Chair of the Indiana Region One Works Council. Emaus was one of 11 Region Chairs named by Governor Pence, who were chosen for their leadershipship and experience. Emaus has worked for 34 years at NIPSCO in human resources, labor relations and training capacities, and played a key role in implementing the Indiana Energy Consortium.
The Indiana Regional Works Council was signed into law in April and specifies that each Council will bring educators and employers together to evaluate and develop career and technical education that meets the demands of employers in each region. For a complete list of Indiana Regional Works Council members by region, visit www.in.gov/ceci/2345.htm....
 

GNIAR: August Marks 26th Month of Continued Growth

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The most recent statistics released by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors for August marks the 26th month of continued growth in year-over-year comparisons. 556 single-family homes were sold in Lake County in August, for an increase of 18-point-six percent from August of 2012, while in Porter County in August 240 single-family homes were sold, for an increase of 30-point-four percent from 2012 figures. When you combine Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties, August homes sales were up 20-pointseven percent from last year, with the median selling price up point-seven percent. ...
 

Man Could Face Murder Charge in Gary Homicide

Gary PD
Evidence is expected to be presented tomorrow to prosecutors for murder charges against a Gary man accused in the Tuesday morning shooting death of 39 year old Dewayne Young. Witnesses informed officers they saw 22 year old Jerode Cursey shoot Young, in the 15-hundred block of Delaware Street, just after 9:30am. Cursey, who resides in the 15-hundred block of Delaware Street, is currently in custody for disorderly conduct for arguing with police at the scene. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says officers discovered Young's body in the drivers seat of a black SUV with multiple gunshot wounds to his body. The homicide is the 40th in the city this year....
 

ISTEP Plus Scores Up Slightly Statewide

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education released statewide, corporation, and school level ISTEP+ scores today.  The data shows that scores went up statewide, with 79.5% of Hoosier students passing the English/Language Arts portion of the test and 82.7% passing math up from 79.4% for English/Language Arts and 81.2% for Math in 2012.  73.5% of students passed both sections.  The 2013 numbers released today are preliminary and will be finalized after students and parents have the opportunity to request re-scores of the Applied Skills portion of the test.
“First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, educators, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education for their efforts during the administration of this test,” said Superintendent Ritz.  “Despite considerable difficulties, our students improved their overall performance yet again, and deserve our congratulations.”
Statewide, 76.2% of 8th graders passed the English/Language Arts (ELA) portion and 81.2% passed Math compared to 74.2% for ELA and 80.1% for Math in 2012.  For 7th graders, 74.2% passed ELA and 80.2% passed Math, compared to 76.3% for ELA and 79.0% for Math in 2012.
77.7% of 6th grade students passed their ELA and 84.0% passed Math, compared to 78.7% for ELA and 83.0% for Math in 2012.  79.2% of 5th grade students passed their ELA and 87.0% passed Math, compared to 78.4% for ELA and 86.2% for Math in 2012.
84.3% of 4th grade students passed their ELA and 83.5% passed Math, compared to 82.4% for ELA and 79.1% for Math in 2012.  Finally, 85.2% of 3rd grade students passed their ELA and 80.1% passed Math, compared to 86.2% for ELA and 79.6% for Math in 2012.
Science content on the 2013 ISTEP + was based on new science standards adopted in 2010.   The Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education will consider Science cut scores in the coming weeks.  The release of Science scores is anticipated in late October.
School and corporation level data can be found here  http://www.doe.in.gov/improvement/accountability/find-school-and-corporation-data-reports.  Disaggregated data will be released in the coming days....
 

Frataccia Named District 1 Superintendent of the Year

The Superintendent of Portage Township Schools has been named the 2014 Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents “Superintendent of the Year” for District One. Dr. E. Ric Frataccia has served as Portage Township School Corporation superintendent since 2012, he formerly served as the district's assistant superintendent. Portage Township School Corporation is the largest and most diverse school system in Porter County, and with nearly 60-percent of its children qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, the district has earned a state rating of exemplary, or “A” for the past three years. Under Frataccia's leadership, the district has implemented significant changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment practices, which have helped to fuel growth in student achievement. His ability to work with teachers and teacher's unions has helped ensure sufficient classroom resources and the best possible learning environments for both teachers and students. ...
 

Indiana Household Incomes Less Than Other States

Indiana household incomes are less than the national median according to new Census Bureau figures. In 2012, the Indiana median household income was just over 46-thousand dollars, while the national median household income in 2012 was just over 51-thousand dollars. The Indy Star reports Indiana's median household incomes have been lagging behind the national average since 2000, a decline that is the fourth largest in the nation, according to the Indiana Community Action Association. ...
 

Park Employees From Poland Visit Northwest Indiana

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Two employees, Małgorzata Mickiewicz and Ewa Siatecka, from Poland’s Kampinos National Park will spend three weeks at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as part of a “Sister Park” program to learn how U.S. national parks are managed. Ms. Mickiewicz is the Deputy Director for Scientific Research, Monitoring, Education, Communication and Tourism and Ms. Siatecka is the park’s Specialist in Tourism and International Affairs. During their stay, which ends September 27th, they also want to learn how the National Park Service plans recreational areas for people with disabilities and how it manages different user groups. 
The formal “Sister Park” program between the two national parks began in 1998 with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation. The intent of the program is to promote international cooperation and to exchange technical and promotional knowledge that will help improve the management of both parks. Kampinos, like the national lakeshore, has upland dunes intermixed with marshes and other wetlands. Both are botanically rich with great diversity despite being located near large population centers.
Living expenses for the Polish visitors are being supported through a donation by the Dunes National Park Association. The association is a non-profit organization that supports the protection, preservation, and promotion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
[Photo/Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore]...
 

Gary Sheraton Demolition Could Be Nearing

The old Sheraton Hotel in downtown Gary, which has stood vacant next door to City Hall since the mid-80s, is closer to coming down. Demolition contractors from around the country Tuesday toured the empty insides of the 14-story building. Gary's Redevelopment Commission is scheduled to take bids the middle of next month, and the city hopes actual teardown could begin in November.  The structure began as a Holiday Inn when it opened in 1971, then closed a few years later, then reopened a few years later as Sheraton before closing for good in 1985....
   

Woman Struck on US 30 in Hobart

In Hobart, police say a 46-year-old woman who had reportedly expressed thoughts of suicide earlier, lay down on the eastbound side of US 30 around 9:30 last night where she was struck by a vehicle, suffering a leg fracture. The Times reports witnesses told authorities they didn't think the driver realized a person was hit. ...
   

Indiana Underwater Nature Preserve Approved

A one-hundred acre shipwreck area, six-hundred feet offshore of Indiana Dunes State Park, in Lake Michigan, is now the state's first underwater nature preserve, getting approval Tuesday from the Indiana Natural Resource Commssion. Hear our interview with Ginger Murphy, Assistant Director for Stewardship for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs, here online at News Audio on Demand.
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The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot wooden commercial vessel built for the lumber trade then converted to a sand barge, capsized in a storm in June 1911, killing four crew members.
The preserve will be marked by buoys to protect the remains of the ship and keep boats from dropping anchor there. The Marshall's huge cast-iron propeller is at the park, and other artifacts are on display at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center.
A dedication ceremony has been scheduled to take place at 11am, on September 30th, at Indiana Dunes State Park.
Photo/ http://www.in.gov/dnr/shipwreck/shipwrecks.html...
   

Rule Change for Indiana Jobless Benefits

There's a change coming up in the state's policy for receiving jobless benefits in Indiana. Starting October first, a new rule takes effect that will require job seekers to schedule a face-to-face, in-person meeting at a local WorkOne office after their fourth week of receiving benefits, or risk losing those payments. The in-person review meant to include going over work-search records and information on job search assistance offered through WorkOne is part of a new law passed during most recent legislative session. ...
   

Statehouse Internship Opportunities Announced

The Indiana House of Representatives has announced full time internship opportunities for the upcoming legislative session.  College students interested in government can apply for internship programs in next year's Republican and Democratic caucuses.  House interns serve the entire duration of the legislative session, which next year will be from early
January to mid-March.  The application deadline is October 31st. 
It is a full-time internship, so the Statehouse website urges each student to work with their academic adviser if they are still in school to stay on a 4-year degree path. Most Indiana colleges and universities offer a full semester of academic credit to students who complete the legislative internship program.
When applying, interns choose one of four concentrations within the internship program: member services, communications, fiscal/policy and computer/technology.
Students interested need to apply before the October 31 deadline. For more detailed information and to apply online, visit www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/intern.html. The website provides many informative videos and additional information about each department to assist applicants....
   

Police Car Procession Through Valparaiso Planned

Nearly forty police K9 teams are in Valpo this week as the Valparaiso Police Department is hosting the North American Police Workdog Association fall workshop through this Friday {September 20]. Valparaiso Police Patrolman and K-9 officer Todd Kobitz says officers from around the Region, the state, and nearby states are in town and will be part of a huge procession through downtown Valparaiso this afternoon [Wednesday September 18].  The police cars from the various departments will be making their way to a free public demonstration scheduled to start at 5 pm on the football field on the west side of Benjamin Franklin Middle School on Campbell Street. Hear more of our interview with Officer Todd Kobitz here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
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Griffith Residents Concerned Over Truck Traffic

Griffith residents who say they didn't get notified in advance about round-the-clock tanker truck traffic on Cline Avenue related to Enbridge pipeline tests expressed their concerns over noise and safety at Tuesday night's town council meeting. Town officials say the trucks are traveling to a Gary facility to transport millions of gallons of water that per federal regulations need to be emptied out of the company's tank farm on Avenue H and put back into the Great Lakes, into Lake Michigan. The company hopes to have the water moved by the end of the month. The town council said Enbridge offered in advance to give the town money to pay for road resurfacing that may be necessary. ...
   

Lottery Game to Raise Awareness of Animal Adoptions

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INDIANAPOLIS - The Hoosier Lottery's new Lucky Dog Scratch-off encourages Hoosiers to "scratch a lucky dog."   In doing so, the Hoosier Lottery hopes to bring awareness to animal adoption opportunities and the importance of spay and neuter programs in communities across Indiana.
The new Lucky Dog scratch-off game features photos of ten adoptable dogs from Indiana animal shelters; three from the Humane Society of Indianapolis, three from the Humane Association of Clark County and four from the Allen County SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.)
The Lucky Dog Scratch-off featuring the adoptable Indiana pups is available at approximately 4,000 Hoosier Lottery retailers around the state. 
The Hoosier Lottery is partnering with more than 65 Indiana county Humane Societies and animal shelters to sponsor adoption events around the state beginning in September.  The adoption events will culminate in late October with Indiana's biggest adoption event ever.
The Hoosier Lottery will be providing Lucky Dog tickets to partner shelters to give to those who adopt animals throughout the fall, while supplies last.  In northwest Indiana, the Hoosier Lottery is partnering with the Humane Society Calumet Area, Jasper County Animal Shelter, Michiana Humane Society and SPCA, Newton County Animal Shelter and the Porter County Animal Shelter.
Each individual $2 ticket offers the chance to win cash prizes up to $10,000 and contains information directing players to log on to HoosierLottery.com/LuckyDog to learn more about animal adoption in northwest Indiana including how to donate winning and unscratched tickets to benefit local animal shelters. 
As a partner, the Humane Society Calumet Area was given a limited amount of scratch-off tickets to hand out to adopters during this time of the game. The adopters will be given a chance to win $10,000 from the Lucky Dog Scratch-off game. The Humane Society Calumet Area is located at 421 45th Street in Munster.
Each ticket will also include mention of the Lucky Dog of the Week picture contest on Hoosier Lottery's Facebook page which is open to all Hoosiers 18 and older.
Additional information about all the Lucky Dog initiatives, including a list of all partner shelters and specific events, will be available at hoosierlottery.com/lucky dog.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.  
ABOUT THE HOOSIER LOTTERY: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to Police and Firefighters' Pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. The remainder of Lottery earnings are applied to reduce excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.
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Coats Blames Obama for Closing of Indiana Coal Plant

Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) issued a statement regarding today’s announcement today by American Electric Power (AEP) that it will close the entire Tanners Creek coal power plant in Lawrenceburg, Indiana as a result of a series of costly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. AEP reported that 115 jobs will be affected by the closure.
“It’s ironic that the president gave a speech this week touting his economic policies when companies across the country are cutting jobs due to his administration’s unreasonable rules and regulations. The closure of the Tanners Creek power plant is another unfortunate casualty of the administration’s inflexible regulatory machine. This power plant has provided Hoosiers with good jobs and some of the most affordable, reliable electricity in the nation.  
“I have led bipartisan efforts to pass legislation that would have allowed many power plants additional time to install the equipment needed to comply with new regulations. I will continue to fight in the Senate to bring reason and common sense to this regulatory spree.
“This administration needs to practice what it preaches when it comes to job growth. The president cannot allow the out-of-control EPA to eliminate jobs and hit Hoosier families with higher electric bills while telling Americans that he is serious about growing the economy.”
Nearly 90 percent of Indiana’s energy is generated from coal, including power plants like Tanners Creek. All four generating units at Tanners Creek will be retired by mid-2015. AEP is one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of the country’s generating capacity....
   

Update: Gary Homicide Victim Identified

Gary Police are investigating a homicide that took place this morning, reported to be the 40th in the city this year. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says officers were dispatched to the 15-hundred block of Delaware Street, just after 9:30am, and upon arrival, found a 39 year old man in the drivers seat of a black SUV with multiple gunshot wounds to his body. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports the deceased has been identified as Dewayne Young, of Gary, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Gary Police and ask for Sgt. Dan Callahan. ...
   

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