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FL Chemical Company Producing Ethanol from Yard Waste

A national chemical company out of Florida has announced it is producing commercial-scale ethanol using yard and plant waste at its Vero Beach, Florida plant. The company says by sometime in 2014, they plan to start using other garbage in the ethanol process. Powers Energy, which holds the Indiana license for that company's trash-to-ethanol technology, had proposed building a 300-million dollar trash-to-ethanol plant in Schneider, but that 2008 contract was canceled several months ago by the Lake County Solid Waste Management District after Powers failed to secure and prove funding. Published reports say the district stands by its decision, despite the announcement.
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All Lanes Now Closed WB 94 near SR 49

12 noon-- All lanes of westbound I-94 are closed near State Road 49 due to a mutli-vehicle crash. Motorists are asked to week alternate routes as you travel westbound on I-94 near mile 24.8.

Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-94

11:45am CDT -- Indiana State Police and area fire crews are among those responding to a multi-vehicle crash with injuries on westbound Interstate 94 in the Chesterton area.  The crash is near mile marker 25.  As of shortly before noon, the center and right lanes of westbound 94 were blocked.

Study Shows Region Air Quality Improving

State environmental officials say there's a ways to go in improving the Region's air quality, but things are getting better, and are not as bad as some previous studies had suggested.  "2005 National Air Toxics Assessment by the US EPA showed there was a lot of work to be done up in northwest Indiana,"said Indiana Department of Environmental Management Public Information Officer Dan Goldblatt, "so we took that information and we did a little more detailed study, from 2009 to 2011, and we put a lot more data points in and looked at some new modeling data that we had and found that things really are improving."

The IDEM study looked at data from Lake and Porter Counties. Goldblatt says most of the pollution in northwest Indiana is coming from mobile sources – cars and trucks – because of the interstates and the commerce that travels thru the Region.  Vehicle emissions are being reduced, he said, and plants and factories implementing emission controls in the Region are making the air cleaner in this corner of the state. Findings from the Lakeshore Air Toxics study were presented to the NIRPC Environmental Committee this week. 
To hear our interview with Dan Goldblatt visit News Audio on Demand here at our website.


Lawmakers Want School Grades Review

Recent controversy over Indiana's school grading led Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long to announce plans today to refer the A-to-F assessment process to an independent task force for review. They've named John Grew, Executive Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, and Bill Sheldrake, President and founder of Policy Analytics, to lead the audit, and asked them to complete their work by Labor Day (September 2)
The lawmakers say Grew and Sheldrake will be charged with:
·         Evaluating the previous A-F assessment tool;
·         Determining its validity;
·         Ascertaining the fairness of previous grades given to schools;
·         Determining whether manipulations of the system occurred; and
·         Making recommendations to the State Board of Education and/or the General Assembly as to what next steps may be appropriate.
“The most important thing we can do moving forward is to have an independent and fair assessment of the A-F school grading process. This will help ensure that everyone, from our schools and teachers to our parents and students, can have their confidence restored in this past year's outcomes,” Sen. Long said. “Bill Sheldrake and John Grew are highly respected policy leaders who should have the confidence of Hoosiers everywhere.”
House Enrolled Act 1427 from the 2013 session required the State Board of Education to revise the A-F metric and to base it on growth and achievement.  This revision is to be completed by November 15, 2013.

Indiana Getting New Area Code

indiana area code map
State regulators are adding an area code to southern Indiana. The 'overlay' will allow existing customers to keep their current numbers. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission says beginning in the second half of next year (2014), new phone numbers in the area may get either the current 812 code or the new 930 code. Prior to this week's announcement, 812 was the only area code in the state untouched since it was established in 1947.
The IURC says area codes for Indiana and the rest of the United States faced few changes from 1947, when they were established, until the 1990s, when cellular phones, fax machines, pagers and other technological advances created a rapid growth in the need for new telephone numbers. During the past 2 decades, “number depletion” has required Indiana and 35 other states to add new area codes. While 2 of Indiana’s original 3 area codes (219 and 317) have needed changes, short-term number conservation efforts have postponed the need for changes to the 812 area code.
Industry forecasts in the early 2000s predicted that the 812 area code would run out of numbers and need some form of long-term numbering relief by 2004. However, the state says they implemented number conservation efforts that delayed that need substantially. While number conservation has delayed the need for changes, industry forecasts now show the 812 area exhausting its supply of numbers in the second quarter of 2015.

LS Waits on Raising Ambulance Fees

The Lake Station City Council has tabled a proposal to raise ambulance fees to help get the city's emergency medical services out of the red. They're expected to talk about the idea again in a workshop next month. The city's EMS director says an increase is needed to keep up with the rising costs of medications, gasoline and equipment.

MC Transit Advisory

Michigan City Transit says due to maintenance issues this morning Route #1 and Route # 2 will be operating every other hour instead of hourly. They are expecting to be back on regular schedule by 11:30 AM today.

Power Outages in Lake County

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company outage map is showing about three-thousand customers without electricity in Lake County this morning.  Merrillville shows about 18-hundred outages, 650 in Dyer, 474 in Hammond, and about 50 in Munster.  Just over 40 outages are being reported in La Porte.
Here is direct link to outage map:

Illiana Expwy Cost, Value Questioned

Cost and other questions are being raised on the other side of the state line about the proposed Illiana Expressway. An analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning posted on its website contends the two-state project would cost much more than officials have projected. The report also suggests the value of the highway, that would connect I-65 in southern Lake County in Indiana to I-55 in Illinois, has been overestimated.
Link to report:

Illinois Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect Jan 1

quinn bill WinCE
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act signed by the Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn Thursday makes the state the twentieth in the nation to allow the use of medical marijuana. The law, which takes effect January first, is a pilot program that allows the use of marijuana to provide relief toward any of 35 diseases, including cancer, MS and AIDS.  Those eligible will be able to purchase up to two and a half ounces of marijuana every two weeks. Sponsor of the legislation Illinois State Representative Lou Lang of Skokie says this law has the toughest standards in the nation, with just 22 growing centers to be licensed by the state.
[Photo/Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


5th Annual Superboat Race in Michigan City

superboat int
Michigan City, IN  – The next stop for Super Boat International is the 5th Annual Super Boat Great Lakes Grand Prix on Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana, August 1-4. The 2012 Grand Prix Event brought in an estimated 100,000 people and nearly 7 million dollars to the community. As reported by the NWI Times, this year should even be better, as last year’s racing action never happened due to high seas. The crowds enjoyed sunny skies and a beautiful day, however the lake had 8-10 foot waves which made it unsafe to race and unsafe for the medical rescue teams. Super Boat teams have been racing hard all season, which started in April, and they are prepared for another exciting race in Michigan City. Along with the teams, the president of Super Boat International, John Carbonell, believes it will be a great event. “Last year was very unfortunate and something no one could have predicted. That was the first race we have had to cancel due to weather in over 500 races. The previous 3 races [4 events] have been fantastic and have been gaining momentum every year. In the event there is a threat of severe weather for Sunday, the decision will be made well in advance to run on Saturday. The LaPorte County team with Jack Arnett and Jason Miller and their entire group of volunteers make this a great event. We are proud to be the show that everyone recognizes as the area’s biggest draw and most rewarding for economic stimulus in surrounding counties.
Teams in the Superboat, Super Stock and SuperVee have been real crowd pleasers this season and that’s not to dismiss the other classes who just rip up the racecourse. The previous race in Sarasota, Florida was flanked by 1000’s of spectator boats on a beautiful sunny day. Super Boat is hoping to see the spectator fleet line the course from the lighthouse all the way down the 2-mile course.
In the Super Vee Class, one boat looking to make their season debut is the Snowy Mountain Brewery #14 Outerlimit. Owner / throttleman, Doctor Mike Janssen, is looking forward to the race. “It’s been such a very busy year with my practice and I haven’t had the opportunity to race. However, I was able to make it to the first race of the season and support the team who purchased my Fountain ‘Watch Your Back’ Vee bottom. The people there are very nice and the town is really getting behind the event.”
There are a lot of great racers and teams this year and the race for the National Title is very close. As teams close in on the later half of the year, the boat setup and managing to make it to the end of the race is becoming some of the highest goals for teams. Making to the end of an 80-mile race might not seem like a lot, but the races this year have been in rough seas and it has been very tough on equipment. The 2013 season has seen very little of equipment failure from teams and it has proven to be a very exciting season of racing.
Teams will be arriving Friday, August 2, for the dry pits to set up their equipment. This is where fans can get an up-close look at all the boats and can get a chance to talk to their favorite teams. Teams and drivers always encourage the fans to come down and spend time in the pits, where they can get a chance to swap racing (boating) stories.
This year, our Sunday races will be streamed on so you won’t miss any of the action, if you can’t make it to the beaches. Or if you’re on the beach, you can watch and listen to it on your smartphone. On the Livestream page, listen to the race, see the interviews, chat live and watch all the action as it happens. Fans can stay connected with us at and Like Us on Facebook for all this year’s news. The Super Boat schedule is posted through 2013 & 2014 with races coming up in New York, NY; Clearwater and Key West, FL.
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Governor Pence Offers Gary a Technical Response Team

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today responded to Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson request for State Police to assist the city in fighting the recent surge in violent crime, offering a technical assistance team. According to the Governor's letter, the team, which consists of an unspecified number of law enforcement professionals, will serve in a full-time capacity for a two-to-four week period, to assist the city in reviewing intelligence gathering, training, command structure, budget and staffing levels.
The Mayor had asked Governor Pence for State Police to assist the city in fighting the recent surge in violent crime, which has a total of 33 apparent homicide victims this year.
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Emergency Road Work Backs Up EB I-94

EB I-94 backup 08-02-13
Emergency road work has two left lanes closed eastbound I-94 near US-20 to State Road 49

INDOT is advising drivers to find an alternate to eastbound I-94 in Porter County as emergency road work has closed the two left lanes eastbound I-94 between Exit 22 (US-20) and Exit 26 (State Road 49) for the next couple of hours.
Traffic tipsters are reporting that the backup begins a little before the Lake Station Corridor with INDOT further asking drivers to take the Indiana Toll Road as an alternate.

Emergency Road Work Backs Up EB I-94
Looking toward the west on I-94 and seeing the back-up eastbound near State Road 249



Bill to Disinter Vets Who Committed Fed or State Crimes

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today introduced the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act, legislation that would give the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of the Army the authority to disinter veterans buried in national cemeteries that committed a federal or state capital crime. The legislation is cosponsored by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
The bill would give the VA the authority it needs to exhume the remains of Michael LeShawn Anderson, a veteran who shot and killed Indianapolis resident Alicia Dawn Koehl last year before committing suicide. The Koehl family later discovered that Anderson was buried at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan.
“This legislation will give the VA the authority it says it needs to resolve this unacceptable mistake and help provide the Koehl family with a sense of peace and closure,” said Coats. “The victims and family members of this tragic shooting have suffered enough and deserve to have their request met. No one who commits a state or capital crime should be given the honor of a military burial and be laid to rest next to our nation’s heroes. I urge Congress to pass the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act and help ensure that our fallen veterans can rest in peace next to loved ones and fellow soldiers, not criminals.”
“My office has worked with the Koehl family to address this injustice, and this week, we were informed by the VA that a legislative solution is needed,” said Donnelly. “Today, Senator Coats and I introduced a bill to help provide relief to the Koehl family and a solution to these tragic circumstances.  We must preserve the honor of being buried in a veterans’ cemetery.”
On May 30, 2012, Anderson went on a shooting spree at an Indianapolis apartment complex, injuring three people and taking the life of Alicia Dawn Koehl, a wife and mother of two. Anderson killed himself as police were arriving.
After learning that Anderson was buried in a national cemetery, the Koehl family requested that the VA disinter his remains. Federal law prohibits persons who “have committed a Federal or State capital crime but were unavailable for trial due to death” from being given the honor of a burial in a national cemetery.
For nearly a year, Senator Coats’ office has been working with the Koehl family to get a response from the VA regarding the improper burial and the request for disinterment. Coats has had multiple calls with VA officials regarding this case and received word earlier this week that the department will not disinter the remains of Anderson because it does not believe it has the legal authority to do so. While current law permits the VA from granting military honors and a burial in a national cemetery to someone who has committed a Federal or State capital crime, the department claims it does not have the authority to exhume the remains if an ineligible veteran was buried mistakenly in one of their cemeteries.
Click here for a copy of the legislation.
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Court of Appeals Denies Philpot Bond Request

Another bond request from former Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot has been denied. Philpot, who last year was found guilty of paying himself annual bonuses from a fund used to pay county employees who help collect child support, had asked the court for a bond request while his appeal is being considered. Philpot is currently serving an 18-month sentence at a federal prison in Michigan.
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Red Cross: Give One Hour This Summer to Donate Blood

Amer. Red Cross
Of the 2,250 hours of summer, countless are spent vacationing, gardening or just enjoying time in the sun. By setting aside just one of those hours to donate blood through the American Red Cross, you can help save the lives of up to three people and give them the gift of summertime, too.
“We’re asking you to set aside one hour of your summer to give blood and help those in need,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.  “Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion in the United State.  We need everyone who is eligible to donate to make an appointment to give.”
The need for blood often increases during the summer when vacation travel and activities increase the chance of serious accidents which may require lifesaving or sustaining care.  At the same time, the blood supply can dwindle as donors become busy with summertime fun and overlook giving blood.
While all blood types are needed, Type O is in highest demand because it’s the only type that be transfused to patients in other blood groups such as A, B and AB.  Hospitals also use Type O-negative blood in most emergency trauma cases when a patient’s blood type isn’t known.
The Red Cross is encouraging Type O donors to schedule and keep appointments, or to optimize their donation by making a double red cell donation.  Donors who meet certain criteria may be eligible to safely donate two units of red cells through the automated donation process.
“Depending on your schedule, a double red cell donation may be ideal for you since you can give twice as much in just one visit,” said Whitman.  “Whatever your blood type, however you give, someone needs you.”
The Next American Red Cross blood drive in the Region will be held on Monday, Aug. 5, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Northwest Indiana Church of Christ in the Main Room, located at 1123 Merrillville Road in Crown Point. 
·         Friday, Aug. 16, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Culver’s, located at 980 W. Lincoln Highway in Schererville.  Come to donate and receive a Culver's Frozen Custard coupon good for one pint of frozen custard.
·         Friday, Aug. 16, from noon until 4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Celebrity West, located at 800 E. 81st Ave. in Merrillville.
·         Sunday, Aug. 18, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Consolation in Vamos Hall, located at 8303 Taft St. in Merrillville.
·         Monday, Aug. 19, from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. at St. John Township Community Center in the Hall, located at 1515 Lincoln Highway in Schererville.
·         Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Prairie Point, located at 9123 Cleveland St. in Merrillville.  Come to donate and receive a Culver's Frozen Custard coupon good for one pint of frozen custard.
·         Thursday, Aug. 22, from noon until 6 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in the Meeting Hall, located at 106 East 1100 North in Chesterton. 
·         Thursday, Aug. 22, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in the Community Room, located at 509 W. Division Road in Valparaiso.
·         Friday, Aug. 23, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Midwest Services Center, LLC, located at 408 S. Shelby St. in Hobart.
·         Saturday, Aug. 24, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Eagles in the Hall, located at 13140 Lake Shore Drive in Cedar Lake.  This blood drive is dedicated In Memory Of Miranda Jackson and Dave Marine.
·         Sunday, Aug. 25, from 12:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Building T, located at 484 Willow Court in Hammond.  Come to donate and be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card from Best Buy. 
·         Monday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Valparaiso University, located at 1509 Campus Drive in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and be entered into a drawing for a $25 shopping spree.
·         Monday, Aug. 26, from 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Hobart Community Center, located at 111 E. Old Ridge Road in Hobart.
·         Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Franciscan Omni Health & Fitness in the Fitness Center, located at 810 Michael Drive in Chesterton.
·         Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the YMCA, located at 1201 Cumberland Crossing Drive in Valparaiso.
·         Thursday, Aug. 29, from 9:30 a.m. until noon at Purdue North Central, located at 600 Vale Park Road in Valparaiso.
·         Thursday, Aug. 29, from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Porter Starke Services, located at 701 Wall St. in Valparaiso.
·         Friday, Aug. 30, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Culver’s, located at 2101 LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and receive a Culver's Frozen Custard coupon good for one pint of frozen custard and a t-shirt while supplies last.
·         The Merrillville Donor Center, located at 791 E. 83rd Ave. in Merrillville, is open every Monday from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. until noon.
How to Donate Blood
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Indiana and Ohio), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

About the American Red Cross
The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in more than 60 hospitals.  In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.06/13AP282
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Gary Enters Into Partnership Agreement with HUD

City of Gary
 WASHINGTON – In an effort to restore public confidence and accountability to the Gary, Indiana Housing Authority (GHA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a mutual agreement with the City to work together to reverse years of financial mismanagement, improve physical conditions and increase occupancy rates.  
“HUD will stand with the City in addressing the shortcomings at the agency,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez, who announced the receivership today.  “We respect the mayor’s commitment to the city and its public housing residents to take this bold and courageous step.”
Citing a decade of neglect, Henriquez and Freeman-Wilson signed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to address administrative, financial and management concerns at the agency. HUD will lead the effort to help get GHA back on track. Freeman-Wilson noted that this move was a resident-centered decision and is expected to improve the quality of life for the residents of GHA.
“Upon a lengthy assessment of operations at GHA, we have determined that the existing problems are beyond the scope of our resources and federal assistance is required,” said Freeman-Wilson.  “This decision was made with the residents in mind, and I am appreciative of HUD’s partnership and look forward to this change resulting in the high quality of housing that Gary citizens deserve.”  
In a separate letter, Freeman-Wilson acknowledged the hard work of the GHA Board of Directors and thanked them for their extraordinary efforts during her tenure.
Henriquez named two HUD employees who will assist the agency effective immediately. Willie Garrett was named executive director and Steven Meiss will serve as the one-person board of directors.  Garrett is the Public Housing Director in HUD’s Detroit Field Office with 15 years of housing experience in both the private and public sector.  He will work directly with the housing authority staff to manage day-to-day operations to ensure residents will continue receiving services.  Meiss is the Public Housing Director in HUD’s Chicago Field Office and a HUD-veteran with more than 36 years of housing experience.  He has also served in a board capacity for other housing agencies that are under HUD control, most recently the Detroit Housing Commission and earlier the East St.  Louis (Ill.) Housing Authority.
Under the partnership agreement, HUD will first develop a detailed action plan to stabilize the housing authority’s operations.  The second step will be to address specific problems HUD identified in a comprehensive review of the agency’s operations. The receivership period will be for at least two years.  Interim GHA Executive Director Mary Cossey will remain at the agency to assist with the turnaround efforts.
This partnership with HUD will allow GHA to implement a new property management structure, modernize each of the housing developments and establish a well-defined business and operation plan, and adequate financial management systems.
“The challenges that plague the Gary Housing Authority did not occur overnight,” said Henriquez. “Despite HUD and the city’s efforts over the years, the agency is not where it should be.  This agreement is the beginning to the agency’s path to recovery.”
The mayor also stated that town hall meetings for GHA residents will be held next week and will be open to the media and members of the public. 
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EB I-94 Down to One Lane Near Porter this Afternoon

IMPORTANT ALERT - I-94, Porter County: Eastbound traffic on I-94 will be severely restricted this afternoon (down to one lane) between the SR 49 exit and the U.S. 20 exit, near the town of Porter.
Pavement striping must be replaced ASAP in our construction zone there for the safety of drivers. As a result we have to reduce traffic to one lane until the work is complete. We'll work as quickly as we can, but this could cause long delays through the rush hours. Avoid this route if you can.
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IN Secured School Grant Fund Open for Applications

IDHS logo
The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant opened for applications today August 1, 2013. The deadline to submit proposals for grant funds is September 30, 2013.
The Indiana Secured School Fund was created to provide matching grants to school corporations and charter schools or coalitions of school corporations and/or charter schools to make schools safer by hiring school resource officers, conducting threat assessments, or purchasing equipment to restrict access to school property or expedite notification of first responders.
School corporations, charter schools or coalitions with an average daily membership (ADM) of at least 1,000 can apply for grants up to $50,000 per year. Eligible applicants with an ADM of less than 1,000 can apply for grants of up to $35,000 per year.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) administers the grant program.
Schools must:
§  Be located in a county that has a County School Safety Commission.
§  The Commission must have specific members and perform certain duties described in IC 5-2-10.1-10. There is still time for County School Safety Commissions to be organized prior to the application deadline.

Important Dates
§  August 1, 2013 – Grant application period begins & Grant Program Guidance Released
§  September 15, 2013 – Deadline to submit notice of intent
§  September 30, 2013 – Deadline to submit proposal for grants funds
§  October 1, 2013 to October 31, 2013 – Proposal review
§  November 1, 2013 – Projected award start date
§  October 31, 2014 – Projected award end date

For more information on the Secured School Safety Grant Program visit
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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


Flash is not supported on this device. If you wish to listen to this audio, you must download and play an mp3 using an mp3 player on your device. CLICK HERE