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Bitter Cold, Wind Chills Delay Schools

Numerous schools across the Region are delayed this morning due to the bitter cold and wind chills. Temperature at Crown Point and Valparaiso was seven-below, with wind chills around 20-below this morning. A wind chill advisory has been extended until 10 am for La Porte and Starke Counties.
We have the long list of delays at the Region Cancellations &  Closings link here at our website.
Here's a link to the Region forecast at the Chicago National Weather Service website:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/...
 

Hammond PD Reciprocity and Traffic Safety Blitz Results

Hammond PD
Hammond Police recently wrapped up a traffic safety enforcement blitz as part of the “Safe Family Travel” campaign. Lt. Patrick Vicari says a total of 918 citations for violations including seatbelt and child restraint violations, operating while intoxicated, speeding and equipment violations, which he says is slightly down from last year. Lt. Vicari says unfortunately there was one serious crash that was DUI related on both driver's accounts resulting in a fatality with several people being seriously injured.
Hammond Police also recently completed a blitz of out of state license plate violators where Lt. Varcari says 133 vehicles were impounded. According to Indiana law, a person has 60 days to change both the license plates to their vehicle and drivers license to show their current Indiana address....
 

Indiana Receives Settlement $ from RBC Capital Markets

Secretary of State
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson today announced Indiana has received almost 37-thousand dollars from RBC Capital Markets as the result of a settlement into a multi-state investigation that some RBC employees who were not registered to sell securities had been accepting orders. Indiana Securities Commissioner says RBC Capital Markets, part of the Royal Bank of Canada and the fifth largest bank in North America, has agreed to comply with Indiana securities law. RBC has agreed to require its staff to obtain the necessary licenses and comply with state registration requirements. It has also enhanced its computerized order entry system to automatically validate the person entering the order is properly registered to sell securities in the state where the client lives....
 

Alicia Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act Passes House

A bill that would give the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Department of the Army the authority to disinter veterans buried in national cemeteries who committed a federal or state capital crime passed the US House of Representatives today and now heads to the President's desk for his signature. Indiana US Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly, along with Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks, applauded the passage of the Alica Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act, which passed the Senate in November. Under the legislation, the VA would have the authority it needs to exhume the remains of Michael Anderson, a veteran buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan. Anderson shot and killed Indianapolis resident Alicia Dawn Koehl last year before committing suicide....

 

Pence, Sebelius Discussions Continue on HIP

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today says he is working to schedule a meeting in February with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding his request to meet in person to discuss Indiana's pending waiver to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP, as an alternative to the traditional medicaid model. Indiana submitted a waiver request in February seeking both an extension of the current plan and permission to purse expansion of health coverage using the Healthy Indiana Plan as a model. An extension of the current plan was granted in September. Earlier this week, the state announced they were extending the Healthy Indiana Plan for more than ten-thousand current members through the end of April 2014 to provide more time to obtain new healthcare coverage through the federal marketplace. ...
 

Hoosiers Encouraged to Enroll for Health Care by 12/23

Indianapolis, Ind.  – Uninsured Hoosiers have less than two weeks to meet an important deadline with the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The Indiana Hospital Association, the Indiana Primary Health Care Association and Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, Inc. are encouraging those in need of coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2014 to apply through the program operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) before Dec. 23.
Since launching in October, the Health Insurance Marketplace has allowed eligible Hoosiers to compare health insurance options and enroll in a plan that meets both their needs and their budget. The six-month open enrollment period for the first year of this program runs from Oct.1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. However, in order for an individual to be covered on Jan. 1, they must sign up and make the first payment to a qualified health plan by Dec. 23. Hoosiers will still be able to enroll through the end of March, but many health care organizations across the state are encouraging Hoosiers not to wait.
“If there is anyone who has put off looking at their options, now is the time to check out the Marketplace,” said David Roos, Executive Director of Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, Inc. “Much improvement has been made to the website and there are many community events scheduled by providers and community organizations across the state to help people through the process.” To find a list of some of the events scheduled, Hoosiers can access  http://www.ckfindiana.org/calendar.
“Community health centers have employed and trained more than 100 navigators, all of whom are available throughout the state to assist Hoosiers in selecting the right option for themselves and their families,” said Philip Morphew, CEO of the Indiana Primary Health Care Association.
“Having insurance coverage is essential to an individual’s or family’s financial security, but it is also essential for improving the overall health status of our communities,” said IHA President Doug Leonard. “Helping to cover more of our patients and provide them access to preventative services will bend the long-term health care cost curve for everyone.”
Approximately 880,000 Hoosiers under the age of 65 do not have health insurance. Marketplace eligibility is generally available to middle-income people under age 65 who are not covered for health care benefits through their employer, Medicaid or Medicare. All plans must cover doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care and prescriptions, and no one can be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. Low-cost plans and financial help is available to Hoosiers based on annual income through tax credits.
To enroll in the Indiana Health Insurance Marketplace, or for more information and assistance from a certified individual, Hoosiers can access healthcare.gov....
 

Five Arrested as Lake Station Police Bust Meth Lab

meth lab in Lake Station
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake Station Police Department)
Five individuals in Lake Station were taken into custody early this morning in conjunction to a narcotic investigation after a search warrant was executed in the 33-hundred block of Arizona Street. Lake Station Police report a multi-month investigation was recently conducted where undercover officers made several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from the residence. Police report during the search it was confirmed the residence was being used as a “meth lab” and allege the subjects are responsible for supplying meth to several other communities, some as far away as Newton and Jasper Counties. The case is anticipated to be presented to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office tomorrow. ...
 

I-65 NB Between SR 10 and SR 114 Backed Up

Traffic-Alert
Traffic tipsters reporting northbound I-65 traffic at a near standstill, between State Road 10 and State Road 114. The southbound lanes of I-65 in that vicinity are clear, but at this time avoid northbound I-65, from State Road 10 to State Road 114 until after 3:30pm. Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post report a semi rolled over and crews are in the process of up-righting the semi. No further information is available at this time....
 

Taxpayers Being Ripped-Off By Metal Scrappers

INDOT COPPER WIRE
(Photos Courtesy of Nick Russ)
INDOT WIRE THIEVES
GARY, Ind. – Indiana taxpayers are being ripped-off and highway safety is being compromised, all due to brazen metal scrapper thieves who are stealing the wiring from highway light poles.
Despite additional security measures, and the mortal danger presented by stealing live electrical wires, the thieves persist, especially along the I-80/94 and I-65 corridors in Northwest Indiana. The result is darkened highways, threatening the safety of drivers, and a growing cost to Indiana taxpayers as Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) crews replace missing wires to relight highways.
Over the last two years, state highway lighting wire theft has cost Indiana taxpayers more than $300,000 in repair and replacement costs. Several hundred lighting poles have been targeted by thieves who use any means necessary to rip out and steal wiring to sell to scrap yards for cash. INDOT and Indiana State Police (ISP) have been working together to catch the crooks and prevent future theft, but with over 4,000 highway lighting poles in INDOT’s Northwest District alone, it’s a big job. Now authorities are asking the public to pitch in.
INDOT THIEVES TARGETING COPPER WIRE
What Can the Public Do?
-          See Something, Say Something – Drivers should call 911 or Indiana State Police if they see anyone around highway lighting poles. Whether the person is dressed in official highway safety gear and uniform or not, the public is asked to call. ISP will investigate all individuals around lighting poles.
What Are Autorities Doing?
-          Investigate EVERYONE – ISP will arrive on the scene and investigate anyone working on or around highway lighting. Official highway lighting workers will be required to show proof of their license to be in the area. Without proper identification, the individual may be arrested.

-          Additional Patrols – ISP has stepped-up patrols around highway lighting, while INDOT crews are patrolling the hardest hit areas both day and night.
 
-          Security Cameras are Watching – Traffic Management Center technicians are focused on highway cameras 24 hours a day and will call police about any suspicious activity....
 

Time Magazine's Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Pope Francis
Time Magazine goes religious for its Person of the Year. ABC News reports Time Magazine's chose the charismatic new leader of Roman Catholic Church for the prestigious award for his "focus on compassion." Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi said the decision didn't come as a surprise given the great resonance and attention surrounding the new pope, adding that Francis is not someone seeking fame and success, but that if he appeals to and gives hope to many, he's happy about that. ...
 

Portage Woman Killed in Fatal Crash

portage pd
In Portage, police continue to investigate a fatal crash involving a semi -truck and passenger car on Route 20 at Old Porter Road shortly after 5-o'clock Tuesday evening. Police say the semi driver said he was westbound on US 20 approaching Old Porter Road when a car pulled out directly in front of him and he was unable to avoid a collision, and witnesses at the scene confirmed the semi-driver's statements. Police say the driver of the car was killed, and she was identified as 37-year-old Charity Doll of Portage. The crash remains under investigation by the Portage Police Department Crash Team. ...
   

Council Takes Symbolic Vote Against Illiana

The Lake County Council adopted a resolution this week opposing the Illiana Expressway. The symbolic gesture passed by four votes. One of the seven council members was absent. One of the council members against the project is Christine Cid of East Chicago, who, as the council's representative, is among the more than fifty officials across Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties scheduled to cast a key vote as part of the full NIRPC board Thursday morning, on whether to include the proposed 47-mile tollway in the planning commission's 2040 comprehensive plan. ...
   

Woman Robbed at Gunpoint in Hammond

Police in Hammond say a 31-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint after being forced inside her home in the 200 block of Marble Street around 9 am Tuesday. Authorities say the woman was in front of her home when she was approached by a man with a gun. The suspect was described as Hispanic, 5-foot-5, 150 pounds wearing a tan jacket with a tan scarf over his face. Anyone with information is asked to call Hammond Police. ...
   

Lake Co Council Opposes Air Show Move

The Lake County Council this week went on record as being against moving the South Shore Air Show fifty miles to the south. By a 4-2 vote, the council adopted a resolution opposing a plan to hold the show at Fair Oaks Farms, which sits along the Newton-Jasper County line, instead of Marquette Park at Miller Beach in Gary, where it was held for more than a decade. Those opposed said they weren't in favor of using Lake County hotel/motel innkeeper taxes for an event being moved out of Lake County. The Hammond City Council Monday night unanimously approved a similar resolution. ...
   

Lowell Police Make Arrest in Recent Burglaries

In Lowell, police say a 31-year-old Lowell man has been arrested in connection with a string of recent burglaries in town.  Lowell Police Sgt. Todd Angerman responded to the area of Driftwood Drive and Driftwood Circle around 8 am Monday regarding a suspicious individual.  Police say they followed the man's footprints in the fresh snow through several backyards, leading to an address on Blackwood Drive where the suspect was taken into custody.  Police say the man has confessed to committing six recent burglaries on Blackwood Drive, Joe Martin Road, Driftwood Drive and Northwood Drive, and numerous pieces of property allegedly stolen have been recovered.
Lowell Police Department News Release:
On December 9th, 2013, at approximately 8:09 a.m, the Lowell Police Department was dispatched to the area of Driftwood Drive and Driftwood Circle regarding a citizen observing a suspicious male carrying a backpack. The citizen continued to watch the male until he began to run away from the area. Sgt. Todd Angerman responded to the scene and began to track the male following his shoe prints in the fresh snow. The shoe prints were followed through several backyards and led to an address in the 600 block of Blackwood Drive where Phillip Paul Miley (31) of Lowell, was taken into custody. A search warrant was obtained for the residence in the 600 block of Blackwood Drive and for Miley's former residence in the 1500 block of Northwood Drive. Numerous pieces of property that were reported stolen in previous burglaries were seized and later returned to their owners. Miley later was interviewed by Detective David Lee where he confessed to committing (6) recent area burglaries that were reported in the 600 block of Blackwood Drive, the 300 block of Joe Martin Road, the 700 block of Joe Martin Road, the 1600 block of Driftwood Drive, and (2) in the 500 block of Northwood Drive.
 On December 10th, 2013, Detective Lee filed the following charges against Miley:
 6 counts Burglary (B) Felony
 1 count Possession of Marijuana (D) Felony
 Miley is currently incarcerated at the Lake County Jail where he is being held without bond.
This case is an example of an alert citizen and good police work leading to the apprehension of a menace to the town. Without the public's support, these types of property crimes are very difficult to solve....
   

Indiana Marks 197th Birthday


Indiana Marks 197th Birthday
Happy Birthday Indiana --  197 years ago, on December 11, 1816, President James Madison signed the act admitting Indiana as the 19th state to join the Union. About five-hundred Hoosier fourth-graders are gathering at the Statehouse for a special celebration in Indianapolis.
corydon
[Indiana Governor Mike Pence, third from left in photo, was in Corydon Tuesday, celebrating Indiana's birthday a day early in the state's very first capital city. (Photo/Indiana Governor's office)]...
   

Boat Lands on Borman in Four-Vehicle Crash

pontoonpic
In Lake County today, Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say a motorist traveling too fast for conditions lost control early this morning on I-80/94 causing a three semi pile-up that closed all traffic east bound at Cline Avenue during morning rush hours.  [Photo/Indiana State Police]
Here is the information released by police this morning:
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Brian Henderson revealed that at approximately 05:40 a.m., this Wednesday, December 11, 2013, morning a 1993 Buick, driven by Desiree Hampton, 22 of Hammond was east bound in the left lane when she lost control of her vehicle. The area was receiving snow and roadways were snow covered and slick. The Buick spun out, went off the road and hit the concrete median barrier wall when it bounced back onto I-80/94 traffic and came to rest in the roadway.
A 2001 International semi loaded with five pontoon boats, owned by Premier Marine out of Wyoming City, Minnesota, and driven by Michael Loren, 65 of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was east bound in the center lane when Loren saw the Buick up ahead. Loren hit his brakes, swerved to avoid the Buick and began to jack-knife. A 2013 Mack semi pulling a box trailer, owned by Standard Forwarding LLC out of Des Moines, Iowa , loaded with general freight, driven by Duria Love, 58 of South Bend, was east bound in the center lane when he too braked, swerved left, hit the concrete barrier wall and was hit by Loren’s semi. A 2014 Volvo semi pulling a box trailer, owned by GLM Transport out of Berne, Indiana, loaded with anti-freeze, driven by Larry Richwine, 52 of Portland, Indiana was also in the center lane when he too hit his brakes and was unable to avoid hitting both Loren’s and Love’s semis.
One of the pontoon boats that Loren’s trailer was loaded with came off the trailer and landed on the east bound lanes of I-80/94.
All drivers were not injured and no load was lost that Love or Richwine were carrying.
All lanes east bound were closed and traffic diverted off at Indianapolis Boulevard until 07:40 a.m. for removal of the semi’s and pontoon boat.
Hampton was cited for Speeding too Fast for Conditions.
Assisting: Indiana State Police Trooper Nicholas Daly, Indiana Department of Transportation and Hoosier Helpers
Roadways within the Lowell District are snow covered, slick and hazardous. The roadways are passable, but motorists must slow down, increase their following distance, avoid sudden lane changes and ensure everyone is buckled up.
Additional snow is expected throughout the morning and drivers should expect hazardous conditions.
For road and weather information please call 1-800-261-7623 or go to www.TrafficWise.IN.gov ....
   

Pontoon Boat Lands on Borman in Crash

In Lake County, Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say all lanes eastbound at Cline Avenue were closed for a time this morning after a property damage accident involving three semis and one passenger car. One of the semi’s was carrying a pontoon boat which ended up on the interstate.
Troopers say numerous other crashes on I-65 and I-80/94 due to the weather conditions. None of those crashes involve personal injury.
Roadways within the Lowell District are snow covered, slick and hazardous. The roadways are passable, but troopers say motorists must slow down, increase their following distance, avoid sudden lane changes and ensure everyone is buckled up.   Additional snow is expected throughout the morning and drivers should expect hazardous conditions.
For road and weather information please call 1-800-261-7623 or go to www.TrafficWise.IN.gov ....

   

Borman Blocked, Accident Involving Semis, Boat

Traffic-Alert
The eastbound Borman Expressway/Interstate 80-94 at Cline Avenue in Hammond is blocked with an accident including a jackknifed semi. A semi has reportedly lost a pontoon boat.  Cleanup may take some time.  All lanes remain blocked.  Authorities say seek alternate routes....

   

Winter Weather Slowing Morning Commute

Traffic-Advisory
Slick and snowy conditions are intensifying across Northwest Indiana this morning and the commute is slowing down dramatically.  Motorists are advised to leave early and allow plenty of extra time.  Travel times are rapidly growing and speeds on I-65, I-80/94, Indiana Toll Road, US 30, US 41 and other highways are reduced due to slick conditions and accident scenes.  Some area schools are announcing delays as well.  1-2 inches of snow is expected this morning and a Winter Weather advisory remains in effect until 10am....
   

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