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Another Illinois-based company moves HQ to Indiana

After just appearing for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Elkhart on Tuesday, and in South Bend the day before, Indiana Mike Pence returned to the Region for the groundbreaking of the new headquarters of Land O' Frost in Munster, Wednesday afternoon. 
Groundbreaking 1    10-02-13
(L-R:  Joseph Simonetto, Munster Town Council President; Donna Van Eekeren, Chairwoman of Land O' Frost; Governor Mike Pence; David Van Eekeren, CEO Land O'Frost) 
Land O' Frost is the nation's second-largest seller of pre-sliced, pre-packaged lunchmeats is relocating it's corporate headquarters from just over the state line in Lansing to a three acre campus in Munster.  Officials say the move to the new 27,000 square foot facility, which is scheduled to be operational in 2014, will create up to 50 new jobs.
Governor Pence joined company executivest at the Wednesday afternoon groundbreaking celebration where he pointed out that Land O' Frost was the 24th Illinois company to relocate  to Indiana since 2010.  The governor adding that he hopes those companies and this one will soon have "lot's of company in the years ahead."
Groundbreaking 2   10-02-13
(Van Eekeren family members and officials posing with Governor Mike Pence before one of the company's semi trailers)
(photos:  courtesy of Karl Berner)...

Funnel clouds sighted in southern LaPorte County

landspout tornado

At about 6:05 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Sheriff's police in LaPorte County received a number of reports of a funnel clouds with one tornado reportedly on the ground near County Road 1000 South and 750 East moving in a northeasterly direction.  While there were no active watches or warnings in effect at the time, the National Weather Service did issue a special weather statement at 6:17p.m. CDT stating showers were producing funnel clouds across southern LaPorte County and that at 6:09p.m. a shower was producing a funnel cloud near Kingsford Heights, or 10 miles north of Knox, moving north at 5 mph.  

Some of the towns and communities immediately in the path of the storm included Wanatah, Kingsford Heights, Salem Heights and South Center.   

The Weather Service Northern Indiana Facebook page also reported receiving a number of reports of a funnel cloud in LaPorte County.  In response the weather service says the funnels were what they call a "landspout tornado."  "These types of tornadoes are generally weak, short lived, and undetectable by radar, but can do minor damage.  Because the weak tornado did not show up on radar, the National Weather Service was relying on reports phone din by LaPorte County Emergency Management.

The Region News Team has not received any reports of damages or injuries at this time.

(photo of "landspout tornado" courtesy of Sherry Frey)



Gov. shutdown affects National Do Not Call Registry

National Do Not Call  logo
The National Do Not Call Registry maintained by the Federal Trade Commission is among the numerous federal government services affected by the current shutdown. Many states, like Indiana, operate their own telemarketer-do-not-call lists that are not affected and remain in operation. Indiana's Do Not Call List is through the Indiana Attorney General's Office, and is for residential, wireless or VOIP telephone numbers or prepaid wireless numbers primarily in Indiana.  For more info:

More charges expected in murder of two-year old

tommy shannon
Reports say charges against other individuals are expected as authorities continue to investigate the death of a two-year-old child. The LaPorte County Prosecutors office says 22-year-old Tommy Shannon, Jr., of Michigan City is in jail on no bond accused of murdering the boy, who coroners officials say died of blunt force trauma. Officials say the suspect was the boyfriend of the child's mother. Police say Shannon was brought up to LaPorte County from Evansville, where he was being held in the Vanderburgh County jail on unrelated charges.
(photo provided: Tommy Shannon Jr.)...

Hammond to cancel wastewater contracts

Griffith, Whiting and now Highland are joining forces in Lake County court over the Hammond Sanitary District decision to cancel longtime contracts for treating wastewater. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., says the three communities don't pay enough for service in light of the cost of new infrastructure required by the US EPA meant to keep stormwater overflows from going into the Grand Calumet River during heavy rains. McDermott tells the Times that Hammond and Munster residents are unfairly bearing the cost of these mandated improvements. ...

Southbound Cline Avenue reopened to traffic

Authorities say southbound Cline Avenue has been reopened to traffic, closed earlier due to fuel spill that resulted from an earlier accident involving a semi.  Traffic had been backed up all the way to BP and the mills around the noon hour.  Traffic tipsters first reported the incident that caused a tractor trailer truck to jackknife across two lanes of southbound Cline Avenue at the entrance ramp from 169th Street around 11:20 Wednesday morning.  Northbound traffic was unaffected, however police did divert traffic onto 169th Street while fire crews were mopping up the spilled fuel.  There were no injuries reported....

Garbage Cans and Mailboxes Vandalized Overnight

porter co sheriff dept
In Porter County, sheriffs police are investigating nearly twenty instances of damage to mailboxes and garbage cans on the eastern side of the county overnight. Porter County Sheriffs Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says a lot of the vandalism took place between Sager Road east to County Road 450 East, and between County Roads 500 North and 100 South. "We had 18 reports of vandalism in Washington and Morgan Townships, mainly in Washington Township, where we had garbage cans and also mailboxes that were damaged," Sgt. LaFlower said, and anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriffs Department Detective Bureau at 219-477-3140.  Sgt. LaFlower says based on the damage reports, it appears whoever was responsible may have driven their vehicle into the the plastic trash and recycling containers that had been put out by the roadside for pickup, pushing them into mailboxes, but they're still investigating. ...

Accident Has Traffic Backed Up on Cline

12 noon -- From the Region Traffic Center: We have word of an accident and possible fuel spill on southbound Cline Avenue in Hammond. The accident scene is between Michigan and 173rd Street.  No information on if there are any injuries....

Governor Pence Disappointed in Shutdown

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor – and former Congressman -- Mike Pence says the government shutdown in Washington, D.C., is a frustration, expressing his disappointment in a statement issued today.   Pence also says he has long supported efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Pence contends the law’s medical device tax has cost Hoosier jobs. “ This tax increase hits Indiana particularly hard,” the governor said, as Indiana is "home to half the nation’s orthopedic industry.”
Here's the text of the Governor's statement:
The government shutdown in Washington, D.C., is a frustration to me and every American and is a result of a lack of leadership by the Obama Administration. I am disappointed that this administration has made no effort to find common ground. The President has resolutely refused to compromise at any point.
I have been a legislator, and now I’m an executive. I know that it takes give and take to reach agreements between an administration and a legislature. On behalf of every Hoosier, I urge him to change course and seek agreement to reopen the government as soon as possible.
I have long supported efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this week I pointed to a possible area of agreement in urging the Senate to repeal the law’s medical device tax. This tax increase hits Indiana particularly hard as we are home to half the nation’s orthopedic industry, and it has already cost Hoosier jobs. The President must step up and work with Congress to resolve this issue in the best interest of the American people....

Caucus to be Scheduled for Lake County Assessor

The first Republican elected to countywide office in Lake County in half a century resigned Tuesday for health reasons. 77-year-old Lake County Assessor Hank Adams has been battling cancer for the past year. Adams was elected in 2010. Prior to taking on the role of county assessor, Adams served as St. John Township's assessor for 16 years, and was a town councilman in Schererville before that. A caucus of Republican precinct committeemen will be called within thirty days of the office officially being designated as vacant. ...

Police Investigate Suspicious Incidents at Park

Valpo PD
Valparaiso Police are investigating the report of suspicious incidents in Kirchoff Park. Police say female teenagers told authorities they have observed a male subject on numerous occasions this week following the girls and staring at them, making them uncomfortable, and others report witnessing the same behavior. Police arrived in the park shortly after 6-o'clock Tuesday evening, but were unable to locate the male subject, described as a white male, 40 to 50 years old, 5’9”, average/thin build, and dark brown/ear length curly hair., wearing an orange t-shirt and light blue jeans, and riding a bicycle to and from the park each day. Police continue to investigate....

UPDATE: NICTD Reports Train Service Resumes

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) is reporting that all South Shore train service has resumed. Inbound South Shore and Metra Electric trains had been stopped in the vicinity of Van Buren this morning due to the report of a suspicious package at Van Buren and Michigan. Van Buren is the stop before Millennium Station at Randolph Street. The package has reportedly been secured....


Police Respond to Suspicious Package in Chicago

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District reports inbound South Shore trains are being stopped in the vicinity of Van Buren Street due to police activity. Metra Electric District is also reporting inbound trains are being halted in the area of Van Buren.  Chicago Police and Fire units are responding to the report of a suspicious package in the area of Van Buren and Michigan. The Van Buren stop is the last one before Millennium Station at Randolph Street. Estimated length of delays unknown at this time. ...


Sen Donnelly Academy Information Nights Postponed

Due to the current government shutdown, Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly's office has announced all their Academy Information Night events scheduled around the state, including northwest Indiana, will be postponed until further notice.
The five events were meant for high schoolers interested in applying for one of the five Military Service Academies to help students navigate the application process and outline the additional requirements that are needed to be considered for a nomination from Senator Donnelly.   
The dates for all Military Service Academy Information Nights events were as follows:
Monday, September 30
TIME:     5:00 PM -7:00 PM EDT
WHERE: Senator Donnelly’s Regional Office , 205 W. Colfax Avenue, South Bend, Indiana
Tuesday, October 1
TIME:     5:00 PM -7:00 PM EDT
WHERE: Senator Donnelly’s Regional Office, 203 East Berry Street, Suite 702B, Fort Wayne, Indiana
TIME:    5:00 PM 7:00 PM EDT
WHERE: Senator Donnelly’s Regional Office, 702 North Shore Drive, Jeffersonville, Indiana
Wednesday, October 2
TIME:     5:00 PM -7:00 PM EDT
WHERE: Senator Donnelly’s Regional Office, 10 West Market Street, Suite 1180, Indianapolis, Indiana
Thursday, October 3
TIME:     5:00 – 7:00 PM CDT
WHERE: Senator Donnelly’s Regional Office, 123 NW 4th Street, Suite 417, Evansville, Indiana
TIME:     5:00 PM -7:00 PM CDT
WHERE: American Legion Post #94, 4 Monroe Street, Valparaiso, Indiana...

Hunter Injured in Fall from Tree Stand

Indiana Conservation Officers say they are investigating an accident in which a hunter fell to the ground from an elevated tree stand. Officials issued a news release saying 18-year-old Tyler Claus of DeMotte was hunting in Newton County when he fell approximately 20 feet to the ground from his deer hunting stand. The investigation revealed Claus fell asleep prior to falling. He was able to use his cell phone to call a friend who was hunting nearby. He was treated at the scene by the Newton County EMS for a possible broken hip then transported to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee, Illinois for further treatment. The Indiana DNR says elevated tree stand falls are one of the most common deer hunting accidents investigated by Conservation Officers throughout the state.  Indiana Conservation officers say tree stand falls can be prevented by using proper equipment that includes: steady well constructed stands, sturdy ladders, and a full body safety harness. The Indiana DNR also says It is prudent for hunters to carry cell phones, and let others know when and where they will be hunting. Deer hunters may also hunt from ground blinds. Visit for hunting laws, and regulations pertaining to ground blinds. ...


Region Students Affected by Federal Shutdown

Campers and visitors aren't the only one affected by the closure of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the federal government shutdown. Region grade-schoolers won't be able to use cabins at the Lakeshore for their annual three-day science and history program that was scheduled through the Dunes Learning Center.
The local IRS office is closed in northwest Indiana, and some Region homebuyers could face delays as paperwork goes on hold, with lenders being unable to verify certain information with the federal government.
The US Mail will keep being delivered. The US Postal Service is controlled by Congress, but it doesn't get tax dollars for day to day operations.


Hoosier Lottery Launches 'Walking Dead' Scratch-Off

The Hoosier Lottery is introducing a new scratch-off game based on the hit AMC television series THE WALKING DEAD™.  The game launched October 1, in time for the premiere of the show's fourth season on Sunday, October 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.   
The $2 Scratch-off features multiple scenes from the show and offers the chance to win up to $15,000. THE WALKING DEAD™ Scratch-off is available at approximately 4,000 Hoosier Lottery retailers around the state.  
THE WALKING DEAD™ Scratch-off is officially licensed from MDI Entertainment.  AMC's THE WALKING DEAD™ is one of the highest-rated shows on television among adults 18 to 49 and has more than 18 million Facebook fans.
Profits from the sale of THE WALKING DEAD ™ Scratch-off, and all Hoosier Lottery games, benefit all 92 counties. 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 Hoosier Lottery earnings help reduce motor vehicle excise taxes by 50 percent.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.   ...

Lake Co Has Income Tax, Jasper Co Rate Decreases

The Indiana Department of Revenue says four counties --  Allen, Hancock, Jasper and Washington counties -- have changed their county income tax rates effective Oct. 1, 2013. Lake County has adopted a new county income tax effective Oct. 1, 2013.
The changes for Allen, Jasper and Washington counties are as follows:
Allen – The resident rate has increased from .01 to .0135. The nonresident rate has increased from 0.0055 to 0.006375.
Hancock – The resident rate has increased from .0155 to .0165. The nonresident rate has increased from .0035 to .0045.
Jasper – The resident rate has decreased from .03114 to .02964.
Washington – The resident rate has increased from .015 to .02.
In addition to those that changed their rates, Lake County is the final county in Indiana to adopt a county income tax rate. Lake County has adopted a resident rate of .015 and a nonresident rate of .0025, effective Oct. 1, 2013.
Local income tax rates are established or adjusted by county officials and reported to the Department of Revenue, where they are cross-referenced to ensure they are supported by Indiana law.
The list of rates for all Indiana counties is available on the Indiana Department of Revenue’s website. These rates affect businesses with employees who live or work in any of these counties and have income tax withholdings.
The Indiana law that allows counties’ local tax rates to change throughout the year has new effective dates, per the 2013 legislation. Now, rates adopted by the county:
After Dec 31 and before Sept 1 take effect on Oct 1.
After Aug 31 and before Nov 1 take effect on Jan 1 of the following year.
Unlike previous years, no ordinance can be adopted Nov 1 through Dec 31.The Indiana Department of Revenue will publish further rate changes (if any) to its website on Jan 1.
The list of the rates is available at For more information about how Lake County will adopt this new rate, visit

Efforts Concerning Unemployment Benefits Continue

Karen Tallian
Indiana State Representative Karen Tallian, of Portage, expressed her appreciation today to the Indiana General Assembly's Unemployment Oversight Committee on their decision to adopt a new policy concerning unemployment benefits. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development will begin accepting bids for providers of debit cards used for unemployment payments. Included in the Request for Proposals is a new provision requiring the availability of direct deposits, which Senator Tallian says she has long advocated for. Tallian says those who are out of job through no fault of their own should not have to jump through additional and unnecessary hoops. In-network ATM's for claimants to use for free transactions or to transfer funds for free are available in most major cities, but she says rural claimants are left with fewer fee-free options....

Lake County Assessor Resigns

A year long battle with cancer has taken its toll on Lake County Assessor, 77 year old Hank Adams, who resigned today from the office he was elected to in 2010, and will not seek re-election. A caucus of Republican precinct committeemen will take place within 30 days to find a replacement to fill the vacancy. ...

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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


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