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Secretary of State: Be Smart Spenders!

Secretary of State
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson wants Hoosiers to be more responsible with their money this holiday season and has offered useful tips on ways to save. Lawson says her office has put together a smart shopping guide and will be releasing helpful tips on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest over the next five-weeks.
Secretary Lawson’s Top Five Tips
1)      Don’t assume the best deals will be found on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Some items – like toys, brand-name TVs, and Christmas decorations – drop in price much closer to the holiday.  Exercise equipment, winter clothes, and international airfare prices drop in January and February.
2)      Beware of restocking fees!  You may have to pay for a returned item to be repackaged and replaced.  Some retailers charge up to 25 percent or more, so it’s important to check the retailer’s return policy.
3)      Don’t be afraid to ask for price adjustments.  Hold onto your receipts and watch ads to see if the items you’ve purchased drop in price.  Most stores will credit you the difference if you show them your receipt.
4)      Pay with cash or use a debit card.  When you run out of money, you’re done shopping.  If staying on budget is important to you, then leave the credit cards at home.
5)      Beware of  free holiday lunches or dinner investment seminars!   Scammers exploit emotions of loneliness during this time of year by providing free meals.
Secretary Lawson's office teaches Hoosiers about investment fraud and financial literacy through Indiana Investment Watch.  The education program is funded primarily from fines imposed on violators of securities laws.  Indiana Investment Watch has educational materials covering various types of fraud, as well as general financial literacy tools.  Workshops and outreach events held throughout the state provide more in-depth information on detecting and avoiding scams.  Secretary Lawson believes the most effective form of investor protection is investor education....

 

Cook County Coroner: Trotter Died Due to a Stroke

We now know what killed celebrity chef Charlie Trotter. Here's ABC News reports Trotter was known worldwide for his culinary expertise. Now the Cook County Medical Examiner in Chicago says Trotter died from a stroke related high blood pressure. He was only 54 years old. Trotter's wife has said he had an aneurysm months before he died and that he was taking medication for his blood pressure and cholesterol. ...
 

Tips to Help Families Prevent Home Burglaries

LapPorte County Sheriff logo - this one
The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office is offering the public some tips to help prevent your family from becoming burglary victims this holiday season. The Sheriff's Office reports would-be thieves take advantage of you being out-of-town, so to assist law enforcement in helping to prevent burglaries they ask you secure all doors and windows in your home. Authorities also suggest using automatic timers to turn on house lights and to stop mail or newspaper delivery if out-of-town for an extended period.
Other tips include:

- Have a neighbor/relative remove snow to give appearance as if someone is home
- Report suspicious activity to law enforcement IMMEDIATLEY
- Record serial numbers to ALL valuables, and keep the list of numbers hidden
- Do not place “big box items” or valuable item boxes at curb for recycling/garbage as this just advertises to potential thieves. Rather, break down boxes and/or turn boxes inside-out.

Having serial numbers to all electronics, weapons, and other valuables; greatly increases the probability of solving your case, should you become a victim.
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department works hard to prevent burglaries, and solve those that do occur. Any civic organization that is interested in having a property crimes detective come and speak about this topic at greater length is asked to contact Sgt. Andy Hynek at 326-7700 Ext 2401....
 

Harvey Officer Shot Twice While on Robbery Call

A six-year veteran of the Harvey Police Department was in stable condition at last check and was scheduled to have surgery today after he was shot twice on Sunday night. Officials say Robert Rolfe was responding to a robbery call, at a store at West 159th and Wood Street, when he was shot. Investigators report a person of interest was being interviewed. ...
 

Possibilty of More Arrests in Wednesday's Shooting

alexander newton
(Photos Courtesy of Michigan City Police;
Above: Alexander Newton. Below: Isaac Newton)
Police in Michigan City report an investigation continues into two groups shooting at each other Wednesday afternoon, near the intersection of Vail Street and Michigan Boulevard, as numerous people were walking and a school bus with children were on the same block as the shots fired. Police report 21 year old Alexander Newton and 19 year old Isaac Newton have each been charged with criminal recklessness, carrying a handgun without a permit and resisting arrest. The 19 year old also faces a felony attempted battery charge. Police say there is a possibility of more arrests in the near future and thank the public for their support and help with this investigation.
isaac newton ...
 

Counterfeit $ Turning Up at Schererville Fast Food Stops

Schererville PD
In Schererville, police are advising employees to be aware of change you maybe receiving and to make sure for possible counterfeit bills. Commander Brian Neyhart says there have been five incidents of counterfeit bills being reported since Thursday and all of them have occurred at fast food restaurants. Commander Neyhart has the last two incidents occurred over the weekend at Culver's and Panera Bread. Neyhart says a ten dollar counterfeit bill was used at Panera bread and that counterfeit twenty-dollar bills have been used in the other incidents. The counterfeit money will be turned over to the Secret Service....
 

Westville Food Service Worker Arrested for Trafficking

Shelton Ranetta
(Photo Courtesy of the Westville Correctional Facility)
A food service worker at the Westville Correctional Facility was arrested Saturday at the facility for felony trafficking with an offender. 30 year old Ranetta Shelton, of Gary, was arrested after she was unable to successfully clear a search of her personal property when entering the facility. Westville officials report Shelton was just hired in September and an investigation continues to determine what charges or internal disciplinary action maybe taken with any offender or offenders allegedly involved. ...
 

No Injuries in Whiting House Fire

Fire crews responded to a house fire in Whiting that had part of 117th Street blocked off by fire hose early this morning. Crews responded to the structure fire on Central Avenue shortly before 4:30 am and cleared the scene by 9 am. Whiting Fire Chief Gus Danielides told the Region News Team there were no injuries, and the homeowner wasn't home when the fire broke out. Whiting crews were assisted by an engine from Hammond. Chief Danielides says the two-story wood-frame home on sustained severe fire damage on both levels. Cause and point of origin of the fire are not yet known. Siding melted on a house to the south, and to the north Chief Danielides says another home may have had some smoke damage....
 

219: 18 On Franklin Grand Opening

The Porter County Career Center Sports and Entertainment Marketing Class is inviting the public to check out the grand opening of their new endeavor "18 On Franklin." The small business will be run by students of the class as part of their grading for the semester. To find out more, listen to today's 219 on Demand here on our website.
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Valpo Tree Lighting, 5-Points Roundabout Dedication

valpotreelight
Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stuart Summers and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas just after the tree-lighting at Sunday's dedication ceremony for the new Five-Points Roundabout  [Photo/Laura Waluszko, Radio One Communications]
The windchill may have been in single-digits, but about fifty people came out for the dedication of Valparaiso's Five-Points roundabout late Sunday afternoon. Mayor Jon Costas, joined by other city officials, led the event, thanking the many who made the city's newest and most high-profile roundabout happen, and invited kids there to help throw the wireless switch for the tree-lighting, but before that he had these words of advice for motorists. "One thing I want to say about driving the roundabout," Mayor Costas said, " It's a slow dance, there's a rhythm to it, and if everybody enters it slowly and they realize it's a dance, it works really great" 

Here's the tree lighting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMyeJIohpjA

That 25-foot tree in the center of the roundabout was re-transplanted from a city park, because the tree had to be moved from his current location. That tree is one of the trees in downtown Valpo back in the 1980s decorated during the holiday season and later planted in city parks.  Last month, the city moved the Norway Spruce from Forest Park because she was in the way of a path being built and the city moved her to her new permanent home at the island at the roundabout rather than lose the tree.

The roundabout just needs to be striped, which may happen today or tomorrow, and it's expected to be fully open by Thanksgiving. To help ease anxieties residents may have, there is a new 10-minute video on roundabout driving at the city's website. For adults who want additional instruction, Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers says his family operates Excel Driving Instruction, and some free training sessions on roundabout driving are being made available in December as a public service to the community. One of their instructors will take an individual through two roundabouts, including the new one, in a driver-ed car, then bring them back to the driving school.
To view the instructional video click here: http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1244...

 

Police say Jail Escapee Turns Himself In

Authorities say a Gary man who escaped while being transported to the Lake County Jail Friday turned himself in at the Gary Public Safety Facility shortly before noon Saturday. About 24-hours earlier, police say 21-year-old Jamal Haskins attacked two police officers at the transport van outside Gary City Court and fled. Officials say Haskins had just been sentenced to one year in jail for failing to comply with a program that allows mentally ill defendants to avoid prosecution if they get treatment. Both the injured officers with Gary Police were taken to a local hospital, with injuries that were not considered life-threatening....
   

Hobart Makes Changes to New Median on Old Ridge

In Hobart, city officials are making changes to a new median on Old Ridge Road to make it safer, and the work may be finished by Thanksgiving. A city resident expressed safety concerns at the city council meeting earlier this month, saying he felt the squared curb on the east and west ends could be a hazard for motorists. Mayor Brian Snedecor says the median, which was installed near the entrance to Festival Park, is meant to soften the flow of traffic and make it safer for pedestrians to cross. ...
   

Fatal Crash in Hammond

In Hammond, Police Chief Brian Miller says alcohol is believed to have been a factor in a motor-vehicle crash that killed an Illinois woman and injured four other people. The Lake County Coroners office says 29-year-old Jill Rasco of Minooka sustained fatal injuries. The accident happened about 2:15 Sunday morning in the 35-hundred block of Sheffield Avenue.  ...
   

New US 6 Bridge Near Kingsford Heights Now Open

Indot Logo color
KINGSFORD HEIGHTS, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the new U.S. 6 bridge near Kingsford Heights opened to traffic today. Crews closed the U.S. 6 bridge back in April for a complete bridge replacement. Nearby Tracy Road will remain closed through early December, while crews complete the project.
For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest....
   

Volunteer and Give Back this Holiday Season

lauw
The Lake Area United Way is gearing up for the holidays. During a recent Region News Makers Interview with 2013-2014 Campaign Chairman John Kennedy and Resources Development Director TJ Holsen, Holsen told the Region News team we they think of the holidays, they think of giving back and how people can get involved and get engaged to help families in Lake County. Holsen says a number of their partner agencies are doing food distribution and clothing drives.
For more information on how to volunteer, visit http://www.nwivolunteer.org/ and to hear more of our Region News Maker interview, click Region News Makers at http://regionnewsteam.com/...
   

Traffic Backed Up SB I-65 Near Fair Oaks Farms

Traffic-Alert
Traffic tipsters are reporting a three-mile backup due to an incident on southbound I-65, just north of Fair Oaks Farms. Authorities are reportedly on the scene and no further information is available at this time. ...
   

Get Your Business Online Program Coming to Merrillville

Senator Dan Coats
Indiana U-S Senator Dan Coats on Friday announced that representatives from Google will be hosting a free workshop for Hoosier small businesses on Friday, December 6th, in Merrillville. The “Indiana Get Your Business Online” event, which will take place at the Radisson Star Plaza, from 9am to 12p., will help business owners create their own websites, and provide training on how to reach more customers online. In addition businesses in attendance can receive a customized domain name, free web hosting for one-year, and get a local business listing on Google maps as well as free tools, training and resources.
According to Google, 97 percent of Internet users look online for local products and services, yet only 53 percent of Indiana small businesses do not have a website or online presence. For more information, visit http://www.gybo.com/indiana/...
   

Crown Point Sends Donations to Kokomo

cp cares 1
(Photos Courtesy of the City of Crown Point)
cp cares 4
The City of Crown Point and Source One Real Estate expressing their deepest gratitude to everyone who donated for the Kokomo Tornado residents. City Special Events Administrator Diana Bosse says the support they received was amazing and donations kept coming in up until they were ready to leave for Kokomo at 11:30am on Friday. Two trucks and trailers full of food, cloths, blankets, supplies and more were donated to the Kokomo Urban Outreach Program.
cp cares 3
(One of the many homes with damage from the tornado)
cp cares 2
(A fire station in Kokomo that was lost due to the tornado)...
   

Ivy Tech Receives Boeing 737 for Use as Training Lab

Training Lab
(Photo Courtesy of Ivy Tech Community College)
GARY, IN — Ivy Tech Community College has received a Boeing 737-400 as a donation from the Popovich Family Trust.  The plane, valued at $1.375 million, will be utilized by the Community College for various training and teaching opportunities.
“This is a wonderful example of how a local community helps make its community college even stronger by providing the resources it needs to be successful,” said Dr. Thomas Coley, Chancellor of the Northwest and North Central regions of Ivy Tech. “There is no substitute for hands-on experience, and that’s exactly what this plane will offer our students. The plane will allow us to provide training that we would otherwise have no way of facilitating.  On behalf of Ivy Tech Community College and its students, we say thank you to the Popovich Family Trust.”
Ivy Tech will use the plane in its Emergency Response Training Lab, which opened on November 22 at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. The lab will give Ivy Tech students the chance to train with special instructors as part of their education. Students will be greatly benefited by the opportunity for response training prior to graduation, as many are studying professions in highly demanding fields. The use of the plane will allow them to be better prepared for the workforce once they have completed their degrees.
Two different types of training will be offered by the Emergency Response Training Lab. First, Ivy Tech students who are studying criminal justice, public safety, law enforcement, and fire and emergency response will have the ability to learn from seasoned professionals by observing them in training. This training provides a simulated environment with the use of an aircraft, which differs from the current training classes that are offered to these students. Ivy Tech is working with outside law, fire, and emergency responder professionals to help coordinate this training program.
Second, there will be a training program for seasoned officers, so that the officers can potentially obtain college credit for participating in the training in order to earn their continued education units (CEUs). The CEU training will be made available with the assistance of Ivy Tech Corporate College. Additionally, the Corporate College is working to establish classes so that officers can continue to work toward their degree while satisfying CEUs. The Corporate College would provide the certificates to the instructors.
In addition to the training lab, there are many other opportunities made possible by the donation of this airplane. The plane allows for an expanded partnership with the city of Gary, as it could be used for valuable training for Northern Indiana law, fire and emergency responder agencies. It will also provide job opportunities for security trainers, which is a valuable asset in a field where jobs are very limited. Finally, it allows the chance for Northwest Indiana to put itself at the forefront of this type of training. This is a unique and rare opportunity, and by using the plane for various types of training, Northwest Indiana can position itself as a leader nationwide.
The airplane is provided in its entirety by sage popovich, inc. (SPI), one of the companies owned by the Popovich Family Trust, which has been in business since 1979 and works to repossess commercial aircrafts. SPI is now the world’s largest specialist in recovery of aviation related equipment. In addition to repossessing aircrafts, they also offer services to provide asset management, monitor project-oriented contractual obligations, and offer expertise in all phases of airline and charter operations. Nick Popovich is currently working with Ivy Tech and aircraft professionals to create an endowment fund for the airplane. The goal for this endowment is between $1 and $2 million.
“My family and I established the Popovich Family Trust to fulfill our obligation to give back to the industry, to the community and to our veterans,” said Popovich.  “We accomplish this with direct scholarships, internships and assisting educational institutions, programs for children and families with special needs, and by our work with Veteran Airlift Command where we fly wounded veterans for medical treatments, unit and family reunions and memorial services.   We have high hopes for Ivy Tech and the Emergency Response Training Lab for both educational and practical training.”
Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association....
   

Gun BuyBack in Gary with GED Voucher Incentive

City of Gary
The Gary Police Department will be hosting another gun buyback event today, Saturday, November 23, from 8am-4pm at six local churches. City of Gary Director of Communications Chelsea Whittington says, in addition to receiving Wal-Mart gift cards, the first 50 people who turn in weapons that day will receive a GED testing voucher. Whittington says Pastor LaTonya Pettigrew, of St. Andrew AME Zion Church, put forth the idea back in August to have the GED incentive apart of this gun buyback event.
The participating churches are listed below:
Trinity Missionary Baptist Church
1831 Virginia St.
Pilgrim M.B. Church
1301 W. 21st Ave.
Embassies of Christ
4285 Cleveland St.
Grace Unity C.O.G.I.C.
3435 W. 21st Ave.
St. Andrew AME Zion Church
749 Chase Street
Beyond 4 Walls Christian Center
875 S. Lake St.


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Meet-The-Team

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LAURA WALUSZKO
Region News Team
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Region News Team
BRENT BROWN
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JAY STEVENS
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KARL BERNER
Region News Team
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