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DNR campgrounds almost full for Holiday weekend

Indiana DNR
A limited amount of campsites at Indiana state parks and reservoirs remain available for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. 
Last-minute planners should make reservations soon before the campgrounds are booked to capacity.
Properties with sites left are: Charlestown, Clifty Falls (non-electric only), Lincoln (non-electric and primitive only), McCormick’s Creek, O’Bannon Woods and Versailles state parks; Lieber State Recreation Area, and Salamonie (primitive only) and Deam lakes.
A three-night minimum stay is required.
Reservations can be made at camp.IN.gov or 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746).
Not a camper? Consider a day trip for hiking, a family gathering or a swim. Check ahead with your destination for availability of swimming and hours of operation.
Remember to make reservations for fall camping. It’s one of the most popular times of year to camp.
“October has become like the busy month of July for our parks and reservoirs,” said Christie Wilmoth of the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “With so much to see and do at our Halloween and fall festival weekends, you won’t want to miss out on all of the activities we have planned.”
Information on state parks and reservoirs is at stateparks.IN.gov. Information on programs and special events is at InterpretiveServices.IN.gov.

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Region Homes Sales Continue to Grow

GNIAR logo
Homes in the region in July marked the 25th month of consecutive growth in year-over-year comparisons.  The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports homes sales for Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties combined increased by 23-point-two percent from a year ago.  To hear more of regarding July home sales, click News Audio On Demand at http://www.regionnewsteam.com/

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Pence Travels to NYC to Meet with Bond Ratings Agencies

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is in the Big Apple today to showcase the Hoosier state's continued fiscal strength.  Governor Pence will be meeting with Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch, in New York City, to share Indiana's plans for continued fiscal leadership and economic development.  The Governor says the state's credit rating is an important part of the fiscal foundation and the strategy to attract more jobs.

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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week: Jamie Hough

jamie hough
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)

A 33 year old man wanted through LaPorte Circuit Court for felony battery is the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week. Jamie Hough is described as  white male, 6'01”, weighing 170 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jamie Hough is asked to contact 911. 
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70mph Speed Limit in IL for Rural Interstates

70 mph
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved legislation on Monday to raise the speed limit on rural interstates to 70 miles per hour. According to the Governor's Office, the six-county Chicago-region and two counties near St. Louis, would be allowed to set lower limits under the law, which starts on January 1st. The Illinois Department of Transportation, state police, and roadway safety organizations opposed the measure, arguing the increase in the speed limit will lead to more fatalities on Illinois roadways, while Governor Quinn says the measure keeps the state from falling behind other states with faster speed limits and prevents an increase in excessive speeding. Illinois transportation officials report it could cost anywhere from 150 to 200-thousand dollars to update around 900 speed limit signs.

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Martin's Attorney Files Insanity Defense

eric martin
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)

A 45 year old man who shot at officers and barricaded himself inside his home for nine-hours Wednesday is claiming insanity, according to a motion filed by his attorney Monday.  Eric Martin, of Porter County's Jackson Township, was charged Friday with six counts of felony attempted murder, seven counts of felony criminal recklessness and one felony count of aggravated battery. The incident began after officers went to the residence to question Martin about a complaint of battery by Martin against his 78 year old father.  According to the defense, Martin suffered an incident at work or illness that reportedly caused him to lose touch with reality.  The Times reports Martin was a supervisor at Bethlehem Steel, who was living with his parents on Social Security disability. The motion filed asks that Martin be transferred to the state mental hospital in Logansport or that Porter-Starke Services of Valparaiso be brought in to help him while he is being held in a padded cell at the Porter County Jail.
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Man Exposes Himself at Soldier's Memorial Park

LaPorte PD
A 58 year old New Carlisle, Indiana man could be charged with public indecency after an incident Friday at Soldier's Memorial Park in LaPorte.  Police says the adult male victim told them he was approached by the suspect in the park and after speaking, they parted ways until the victim heard someone yell and when he turned to look, saw the suspect standing across the channel completely nude.  The victim called police and left the park, only to be followed by the suspect in his vehicle.  The victim then went back to the park to wait for police, and after they arrived, the suspect drove by and was stopped by officers.  At last check, charges were being reviewed by the prosecutor's office.

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Public Service for I-65 Crash Victims this Thursday

A candle light vigil was held Monday night for 27 year old Lindsey Williams and her two daughters who were killed along with her sister and three others last week in a fiery three-vehicle crash on I-65 in Jasper County.  The vigil was held at Villa del Sol in Merrillville, where Williams had worked, and all proceeds were reportedly donated to help with the family's funeral expenses.  The family's Jeep was struck from behind by a semi while they were stopped in traffic for an approaching work zone behind another semi.  The crash remains under investigation and once completed will be forwarded to the Jasper County Prosecutor's Office for review.  A public memorial service has been scheduled for 12pm Thursday, in Munster, at the Family Christian Center.
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Donation Drive for Calumet Area Humane Society

jaks warehouse
Public demand has led to the addition of gluten-free menu items at a popular Region eatery.  A press release announces that Jak's Warehouse in Schererville is helping Northwest Indiana pave the way with  a gluten-free pizza as well as gluten-free birthday cupcake cake.   The indoor family fun center also leads the way in charitable causes. Jak's is currently holding a donation drive for the Calumet area Humane Society to help recover after a recent fire.  According the business, a free 5-dollar game card will be given for blankets, cleaning supplies, dog or cat food donated.  The drive continues through this Friday.

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Back to School Safety Advisory

back to school
The 2013-2014 school year will begin today for Lake Station and La Porte Community school children.
Motorists are encouraged to be alert when approaching school zones, and to obey the posted school zone speed limit when children are present.
Please observe for children crossing the street , waiting near bus stops and for those getting on and off school buses. Remember, Indiana law requires that drivers stop for a bus when its “Stop” arm is extended. 
Officers will be exercising zero tolerance for school speed zone violations and stopped school bus violations.
Parents can help their children by reviewing a few safety tips:
- Cross the street only at intersections and designated cross-walks.
- Do not walk in between parked vehicles.
- Obey instructions from the school crossing guard, if one is present.
- Walk to and from school in groups, if possible.
- Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching or getting out of your seat.
- The bus driver has limited visibility around the bus. Teach your child to always cross in front of the bus.
With everyone’s commitment, we can help keep our children safe this school year. Citizens who observe dangerous or suspicious behavior near schools are encouraged to report same by calling police.
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EC Teen Could Face Felony Charges for Killing Kittens

A 17 year old East Chicago teen is accused of hunting and killing three kittens with a bow and arrow and the prosecutor's office is considering felony charges.  Police report Lake County Animal Control received a call about a photo the teen posted on Facebook showing him with the dead kittens.  Authorities say the teen confessed to killing the kittens, saying he was bored the week before school started.  The photos have been removed.
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Man Recovering From Being Struck by Amtrak Train

A 22 year old northwest Indiana man under went surgery Monday to repair a cracked vertebae, the result of being struck head-on by an Amtrak train Friday.  Authorities report Darryle Jacob See was reportedly wearing headphones while walking along U-S 12, east of Michigan City, when he walked into the middle of the tracks and into the path of a Chicago-bound Amtrak train traveling 110 miles per hour.  The impact reportedly sent him flying 20 feet.  See also reportedly has one or two fractures to his pelvis as well.
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Attempted Vehicle Break-in at Buffalo Wild Wings

dominique wilson
Dominique Wilson

Attempted vehicle break-in at Buffalo Wild Wings According to the report, on Saturday, August 17th, at approximately 12:21 a.m., police observed a teen male, wearing a backpack, walking from the area underneath the Pine Lake Av. overpass towards the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings. As police continued to watch the suspect, they observed him walk to the passenger-side of a blue Honda sedan. The teen was observed doing something with the door window of the vehicle, while periodically stopping to look around. A few minutes later, police saw the interior dome light come on inside the car as the suspect leaned inside. At this time the vehicle's car alarm went off and the headlights began flashing. The suspect ran north from the vehicle and after a short foot pursuit, was apprehended by police. While being placed into custody, the suspect, Dominique Wilson, 19, of Michigan City (IN), allegedly told police he was breaking into the vehicle because he was hungry and only wanted some change so he could buy a bag of chips. During a search of Wilson's person, loose change was found inside his pants pocket that he denied knowledge of. The owner of the Honda was located and confirmed the vehicle had been entered, but that nothing appeared missing at the time. He advised the windows were left down slightly, but the doors were locked. Wilson is charged with Attempted Theft, D felony.
*All defendants are presumed innocent until/ unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and are entitled to have a trial before a judge or a jury.

(photo provided by La Porte Police Department)

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Track at (Old) Fairgrounds Park Closed for Repaving

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Walking/Jogging track at Old Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso

Beginning Tuesday, August 20, the track at Fairgrounds Park will be temporarily closed for repaving.  The track will be closed to the public during construction, which is estimated to take up to 10 days depending on weather.
The ¾ mile track, which is more than 20 years old, is in need of repair and repaving and is used by hundreds of walkers and joggers every day.  Not only is the track being repaved, it is being widened to 8’ wide, making it better for users to walk, run and exercise together.
(photo courtesy Valparaiso Parks and Recreation)
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“Miracle at Mt. Baldy Recognition Programs


Mayor Ron Meer and the City of Michigan City, Indiana announce a dual recognition program honoring all of the agencies and individuals involved in the rescue of Nathan Woessner on Wednesday, August 28, 2013.
The first recognition program will be conducted by Indiana Governor Mike Pence at Michigan City City Hall (100 E. Michigan Boulevard) at 11:00 a.m. and will run approximately one hour.
At approximately 1:00 p.m., Mayor Meer and the City of Michigan City will present a recognition program in the Stardust Events Center at the Blue Chip Casino (777 Blue Chip Drive) in Michigan City.
Nathan Woessner and Family plan on being in attendance at both programs.
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Crown Point to Honor Cal Ripken Champs Tuesday

Mayor David Uran, Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Crown Point Parks and Recreation Department are proud to announce parade plans for the U12 Cal Ripken World Series Champions.
The parade for the team will be Tuesday, August 2th at 8pm. Players will be escorted by the police and fire departments around the square and led to the Cal Ripken fields on North Street for a brief ceremony.
“What an amazing accomplishment. We are so proud of these boys. They played hard and represented Crown Point at the World Series” said Mayor David Uran.  “I would like to invite everyone to come out and join us to celebrate their success.”  Residents are invited to watch the parade downtown on the square or at the Cal Ripken fields located off North Street.
The Bulldogs played teams from New York, Kentucky, North Dakota, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Hammond, Indiana.
For more information please contact Jennie Burgess at 661-2271 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Expect Daytime Back-ups Westbound I-80/94

Expect Daytime Back-ups Westbound I-80/94
Right lane closed WB I-80/94 near Cline Avenue backing up all WB lanes as well as traffic from SB Cline Avenue


Daytime patching work will cause heavy, stop and go traffic westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) for the next couple of days.  Matt Deitchley, Media Relations Director for INDOT's La Porte District says the patching work is part of a long term project, " but the majority of this work will be done at night time.  This is something that is happening today, tomorrow and Wednesday."  Deitchley says that the work requires that the right lane westbound I-80/94 be closed right now  for the next three days for short term ramp work that has to be completed now.  

The ramp work is causing a trickle down effect, backing up traffic southbound on Cline Avenue as well.  Drivers coming from BP or the mills may want to take Kennedy Avenue or Calumet Avenue to I-80/94 as alternates.   Chicago Avenue should be avoided as railroad crossing work through Friday evening has Chicago Avenue closed between Kennedy Avenue and Graselli St.   Traffic westbound on I-80/94 may want to consider the Indiana Toll Road past Cline Avenue as an alternate as well.

More information about the ramp work can be found at:  http://www.facebook.com/indotnorthwest

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Attendance Up at IN State Fair and Local Co Fairs

popcorn ball
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Fair Commission)

Almost 44-hundred more people attended the Indiana State Fair this year than in 2012, a 15-percent increase.  Officials with the State Fair report 157th edition attracted over 978-thousand people through the gates.  Sunny skies and cooler temperatures were contributing factors to the high attendance, along the new exhibits and attractions, like the 65-hundred pound popcorn ball that was on display throughout the fair which measured eight-feet across and broke a world record by nearly 15-hundred pounds. 
Here in the Region....Lake County attendance topped last year's numbers by more than 12-thousand, for a total of nearly 222-thousand fairgoers for 2013.  In Porter County, this year's event beat last year's numbers on many levels, including carnival, midway vendors and grandstand, with an estimated 120-thousand going through the gates this year, on par with last year, and gate receipts up 15-percent over 2012.  In La Porte County, attendance numbers were said to be a few percentage points higher than last year. 

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Newton County Sheriff Loses Battle with Cancer

Sheriff Hartman
A man known for his dedication to the community and public service passed away on Thursday evening at his home in Kentland after a nine-month battle with cancer.  Newton County Sheriff Donald Hartman Sr. passed away at the age of 66.  Sheriff Hartman began his distinguished career in law enforcement in 1979 when he joined the Indiana State Police Academy, and in 1996, received the Gold Star Award for Valor for rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle on I-65.  Hartman retired from the State Police in 2006, and began as sheriff of Newton County in 2007.  Hartman also served as Vice-President of the Newton County Fair Board, as well as President of the Newton County 4-H Council. Visitation and funeral services are scheduled for August 24th, at South Newton High School, with visitation to begin at 9am and the funeral to start at 1pm.  Burial will follow at Buswell Cemetery in Kentland.

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Authorities Incinerate 105lbs of Unwanted Medicines

pills
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)

Authorities in LaPorte County announced today that on Friday they incinerated 105 and a half pounds of unused medicines that had been collected in their pill drop boxes since late April.  Pill drop boxes provide a means for citizens to dispose of unused or unwanted medicines and prevent them from entering the environment in landfills and water systems, as well as prevent experimentation, addiction, overdose and death.  A reminder though that only solid medications are accepted at the drop off boxes, which can be found in the lobbies of most sheriff's offices and police departments, while liquids are to be disposed of in cat litter or coffee grounds and then placed in a trash bin.  Needles are to be placed in a sealed container, such as a detergent bottle, and taken to the proper facility, which in LaPorte County, is LaPorte County Solid Waste, in LaPorte.
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