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Hobart Hopes for Historic Designation

One of the oldest downtowns in the Region is hoping to land a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Last night, city redevelopment officials in Hobart held an informational meeting for residents and those who own property in downtown Hobart to talk about getting the nomination process started. Making the list would make certain grants available for restoration. More than fifty commercial buildings on Main, Third, and Center streets would make up the designated district if approved.

NTSB Wants Legal Limit Lowered

Local officials around the country are sounding their support a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers. The NTSB wants it changed to point-0-5 claiming the move could save hundreds of lives every year. But Sarah Longwell, Managing Director of the American Beverage Institute, says most DUII accidents not caused by "moderate" drinkers:  The NTSB is calling on the federal government to give states incentives for lowering the legal blood alcohol content. In most of Europe the limit is currently at point-oh-five, in some countries as low as point-oh-two. Indiana lowered its legal limit from point-one-oh to point-oh-eight twelve years ago, after more than a decade's worth of legislative attempts to do so and also as the federal government was threatening to withhold millions in highway funds if it didn't happen. The NTSB also wants stiffer penalties for first time and repeat offenders.


Donnelly Amendments Pass Senate Ag's 5 Year Farm Bill

Washington, D.C.—Today, Senator Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, applauded the committee passage of a five-year farm bill with bipartisan support.  The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 passed 15 to 5 and would reduce the deficit by $23 billion while protecting the estimated 16 million ag-related jobs across the country. 
“I am pleased that we have approved a common sense, five-year farm bill to give the Hoosier ag and rural communities the certainty they deserve,” said Donnelly.  “This bipartisan bill would not only protect the millions of ag jobs around the country; it makes the tough decisions necessary to cut spending, increase accountability, and eliminate duplicative or unnecessary programs to continue our efforts to get our fiscal house in order.
“While no bill is perfect, there are a few areas of this bill I worked to improve based on feedback from Hoosiers.  First, I worked to maintain full planting flexibility for Hoosier farmers wanting to grow fruits and vegetables on their farms.
“Second, as many of Indiana’s farmers continue to contribute to our domestic energy security, I introduced an amendment to give the next generation of bioenergy crops access to base levels of risk management so that a logical safety net will be in place for producers.  
“Further, I supported an amendment to give USDA more authority in determining conservation program technical assistance funding levels with input from the field and the stakeholder community.  We need robust technical assistance to give producers the assurances they need to know they are implementing practices correctly, and these decisions should be more reflective of needs on the ground.
“Now, I urge prompt passage of this bill by the full Senate and for our colleagues in the House to follow suit.  Indiana farmers deserve more than the partisan gridlock that prevented a five-year farm bill from passing last year.”
Donnelly introduced an amendment with Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) to address the increasing use of crops for biofuels.  This bipartisan amendment would amend the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to offer coverage for crops producing feedstock for energy purposes.  Further, the amendment would direct USDA to research and develop risk management tools promising new sorghum crops.  Read his full amendment here.
Senator Donnelly’s amendment is supported by the Advanced Biofuels Association, Agriculture Energy Coalition, Advanced Ethanol Council, BIO, Growth Energy, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association.  Read their letter of support here.
Donnelly cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp that would put the USDA in charge of conservation program technical assistance funding levels, taking the Office of Management and Budget out of the process.  This gives USDA the authority to make sure the technical assistance reflects the needs of producers in the field and the stakeholder community while allowing conservation practices to be adopted on a broader scale.
Gene Schmidt, in leadership for the National Association of Conservation Districts and producer from northern Indiana said of the conservation amendment, “We need accountability and efficiency for the dollars that are available, and we need enough technical assistance dollars to make that happen.  We’ve been so challenged in the past to have enough technical assistance dollars to properly assist implementation of programs in the field.  So many times producers want to do the right thing, but often they want assurance that they are implementing the practice properly.  I thank Senator Donnelly for being willing to sponsor this amendment because a locally led process is the way to do it.  Those on the local level know how to do it properly and least expensively.”
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 now goes to the full Senate for its consideration.
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Wednesday's Powerball Jackpot Now 360 Million Dollars

Two nights of back-to-back jackpot drawings that feature combined more than half-a-billion dollars in jackpot money. Hoosier Lottery officials say tonight's Mega Millions drawing offers an estimated jackpot of $170 million while tomorrow's night's Powerball jackpot has now jumped to an estimated $360 million. This marks the first time Mega Millions and Powerball have cracked the $150 million and $300 million marks, respectively, at the same time since Indiana began offering Mega Millions more than three years ago.
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Lansing PD Issues Lottery Scam Alert

Lansing IL PD
Police in Lansing, Illinois, report a lottery scam is seeing a resurgence in the area. Lansing Police say in the scam, a person is informed by letter saying they have won a lottery, oftentimes an international lottery, and that the company has been trying to contact the “winner”. Authorities say a check is usually included for a lesser amount, which according to the letter, can be used to cover the expenses incurred while obtaining the winnings. Once you call the contact person, they instruct you to cash the check and send a certain amount to them via Western Union, or another wire service, to cover their processing fees. Police say once the money is wired, it is nearly impossible to retrieve, if not impossible to determine who actually retrieved the wired funds, and no winnings are sent back and the check you cashed will come back as fraudulent.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim to this or a similar scam:
  • You cannot win a lottery you have not entered
  • There is no such things as an "international lottery"
  • There is no such things as an "email lottery"
  • Legitimate lotteries do not make the winners cover any types of fees or expenses
  • Lotteries do not contact the winners; the winner has to contact the lottery
  • Never provide any personal or financial information to a company soliciting you, which you did not initially contact yourself.
  • When in doubt, contact your local police before taking any action

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Code Enforcement Sweep In Michigan City Thur and Fri

Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer says an enforcement sweep is happening this week. Inspectors from the city will be issuing warnings and citations for code violations. The two-day sweep this Thursday and Friday (May 16 and May 17) will cover an area within Springland Avenue on the north, Vail Street on the west, Michigan Boulevard on the south, and Carroll Avenue on the east. Michigan City Fire officials will also be available citywide to help the elderly or disabled with the installation or checking of their smoke detectors, and those who'd like assistance are asked to call the Michigan City Fire Department.
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Gacy Lead Solves 41 Year Old NJ Missing Person Case

(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart today announced a 41 year old New Jersey missing person's case has been solved as a result of the on-going investigation to identify the unnamed victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Sheriff Dart says while testing confirmed no genetic association between a female relative of Steven Soden and any of Gacy's unidentified victims, her profile did match unidentified skeletal remains found 13 years ago in New Jersey, which were confirmed to be that of the missing 16 year old, who was last seen alive running away from a Burlington County campground in April of 1973. Sheriff Dart says relatives had thought the teen may have headed to Chicago where his biological father lived, and may have come into contact with Gacy.
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Arrest Warrant Issued for 2nd Home Invasion Suspect

Warren Hunter JPEG
(Photo Courtesy of the Orland, IL, Police Department)
A 350-thousand dollar arrest warrant has been issued today for 31 year old Gary man who authorities accuse of participating in a home invasion in Orland Park, Illinois, just before 3am Friday. Orland Park Police say Warren Lamont Hunter, who is 5' 3'', weighs 124 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, should be considered armed and dangerous. Police report a 30 year old male suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the home invasion incident, in which three suspects reportedly fled the scene. One suspect killed himself Friday night in East Chicago, as the Lake County Sheriff's Department Gang Unit approached a residence after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Orland Police say besides Hunter, they are now seeking two additional offenders involved with the home invasion, and anyone with information on the whereabouts of Hunter, or information regarding the home invasion, is asked to contact the Orland Police Department, at (708) 349-4111.
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NRC Approves Conrad Station Nature Preserve

Indiana DNR
The Conrad Station Nature Preserve in Newton County has become the 252nd site to receive nature preserve status. The Natural Resources Commission approved the 342 acre property today, which was purchased in 1998 with assistance from the Indiana Heritage trust program. The site is owned by the Nature Conservancy and consists primarily of black oak savannah, sand prairie, and a high-quality prairie restoration. It also connects with a large area that includes the Nature Conservancy's 72-hundred acre Kankakee Sands, Beaver Lake Nature Preserve and Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area.
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Pence Directs Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff Tomorrow

Gov Mike Pence
Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities statewide be flown at half-staff tomorrow in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors federal, state and local officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. President Obama signed a proclamation ordering flags nationwide to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, May 15. Flags should remain at half-staff until sunrise on Thursday, May 16. 
Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff to pay tribute to the brave men and women in law enforcement across Indiana and our nation.
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Valpo PD Records Div Closed May 15

Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department's Record Division will be closed the entire day on Wednesday May 15th.  The department will be conducting their annual department inspection and Memorial Service to recognize National Police Week. The Records Division for Valparaiso Police will resume normal business hours on Thursday May 16th at 7 a.m.

Memorial Svc Thu for Professor Yovich

Yovich Dan
Longtime university professor, businessman and the founder and past director of the Inventors and Entrepreneurs Society of Indiana, Daniel Yovich, has passed away. The South Chicago, Illinois, native taught at Purdue Calumet in Hammond for many years, and later moved to Michigan. Yovich, a US Army veteran, invented educational games including Krypto, 26!, and MathSuey, and taught creativity courses for over three decades. Yovich was 83.
Yovich was nationally-recognized in academe and industry as an applied creativity instructor before retiring from Purdue University Calumet in 2000, died Friday (5/10) after a lengthy illness.   The university says Yovich, professor emeritus of organizational leadership and supervision, was considered among the most popular, foresighted and energetic faculty members to serve Purdue Calumet and its students. He also was an inventor, having produced patents in biocide coating compositions at the paint manufacturing business he founded in Kankakee, Ill.
A former Army Security Agency Intelligence Officer during the Korean War, he worked as a product development chemist in the coatings industry for 20 years before making a career change and joining the Purdue Calumet faculty in 1979.
“Dan was way before his time,” friend, colleague and Purdue Calumet Professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision Carl Jenks said. “He was bright, creative, and the students loved him. He had a way of effectively getting his points across while keeping his students interested.”
At Purdue Calumet, he introduced classes in creativity and entrepreneurship, earning national recognition teaching applied creativity in academe and industry. He was a three-time recipient of outstanding teaching awards during his 21-year faculty career at Purdue Calumet. He also was a member of the World Futurist Society.
After retiring from Purdue Calumet, he lectured at Grand Valley State and Northwood Universities in Michigan. He is survived by his wife, Anita, two sons, two daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service is scheduled at 11 a.m., Thursday (5/16) at Saint Stephen Church, 750 Gladstone SE East Grand Rapids, Mich. 49506.

Stores Sue to Sell Cold Beer

Convenience stores in Indiana are pursuing legal action to be able to sell cold beer. Executives and members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, a statewide trade association, announced today that they have filed a complaint in U.S. District Court challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer. Under current law, convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores are only allowed to sell beer warm, and only liquor stores are allowed to sell beer cold. Indiana is the only state in the country that regulates beer sales based on temperature. The law doesn’t apply to wine products, including wine coolers.
Here is the full news release:
INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2013) – Executives and members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA), a statewide trade association, announced today that they have filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against the State of Indiana challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer.
Under current law, convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores are only allowed to sell beer warm, while their competitors in the carryout market are allowed to sell beer cold.
IPCA and three of its members - Ricker’s, Thorntons and Freedom Express – claim this Indiana law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by restricting convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores to selling beer only at room temperature. In the complaint, the plaintiffs charge that Indiana statutes and regulations have evolved into an irrational and discriminatory regulatory regime that favors one class of retailer over another.
“This lawsuit is about fairness, convenience, and promoting competition for the sale of cold beer in a rational and responsible way so that my members can serve their customers,” said IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus. “We are confident that the court will agree with us that it is not the job of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”
Indiana is the only state in the country that regulates beer sales based on temperature. The current law doesn’t apply to wine products, thus allowing convenience stores to sell these products cold. On average wine products, including wine coolers, contain higher levels of alcohol compared to beer.   
Managing Member of Freedom Express Gregory Cobb, who owns three convenience stores in Kosciusko and Marshall Counties, explained that the current law is confusing to his customers who may purchase cold wine but not beer, even though wine products contain approximately double the amount of alcohol.  
“Some common sense needs to be applied to Indiana’s alcohol laws, so that Hoosier business owners like myself may provide products, including beer, without ridiculous temperature restrictions to their customers,” said Cobb.
Indiana Excise Police compliance figures show that package liquor stores were 138 percent more likely to violate Indiana liquor laws between 2007 and 2012 than convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores. Similarly, restaurants and bars, who may also sell refrigerated beer – were 1,376 percent more likely to violate Indiana liquor law over the same period of time.
“There is no logic with the current law that gives one class of retailer an exclusive right to sell cold beer,” said Imus. “Indiana’s alcohol laws have not always favored one retailer over another and in fact, it was just in the last 50 years that liquor stores were granted the privilege of selling cold beer.”
A look at the history of beer sales in Indiana shows a constantly changing regulatory environment. Coming out of Prohibition, only confectionary stores were allowed to sell cold beer. That practice ended when the General Assembly passed a law prohibiting such sales in 1941. Liquor stores could not sell beer - warm or cold - until 1953, and then, like other retailers, they were forced to sell it warm. A 1963 decision by the unelected three-member Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission granted liquor stores in metropolitan areas the right to sell cold beer. These changes were eventually codified into statute in 1979.
Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) is a nonprofit trade association that was formed in 1922 by Indiana wholesalers and retailers. Today, the IPCA has more than 250 members comprised primarily of small; to medium-sized, family owned businesses that own and operate convenience stores and supply petroleum (wholesale and retail), and related products and services throughout Indiana....

Report: Sentencing Date Moved

The Times today is reporting that the sentencing date for former longtime Gary Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas has been rescheduled for August 21. Krusas pleaded guilty in Hammond Federal Court last month to tax evasion, after being accused of failing to file tax returns since 1991 and failing to pay taxes on a 232-thousand dollar inheritance. She resigned in April from the Gary City Council, where she had served since 2000.  This past Saturday, Mildred Shannon was chosen at a democratic caucus to replace Krusas on the council.

Farming Accident in N. Ind

In northern Indiana, the Marshall County Coroner's office reports a 61-year-old Plymouth man died in a farming accident in which his clothing got caught on a shaft connecting an engine and a pump on an irrigation device. Officials say he had gone out to the field Sunday night, and family members discovered his body Monday morning near the equipment. Coroners officials say the man suffered severe internal injuries

Big Back-to-Back Jackpots

Two nights of back-to-back jackpot drawings that feature combined more than half-a-billion dollars in jackpot money. Hoosier Lottery officials say tonight's (tue may 14 13) Mega Millions drawing offers an estimated jackpot of $170 million while tomorrow's night's Powerball jackpot currently sits at an estimated $350 million, marking the first time Mega Millions and Powerball have cracked the $150 million and $300 million marks, respectively, at the same time since Indiana began offering Mega Millions more than three years ago.

AT&T Expands 4G LTE to Valpo

att soliday
Valpo State Rep. Ed Soliday, AT&T Indiana Pres. George Fleetwood
State and local lawmakers gathered at the Porter County Government Center today for an announcement regarding cell phone service in Valparaiso. AT&T has upgraded seven mobile internet cell sites in the area to expand 4G LTE coverage for residents and businesses. George Fleetwood is president of AT&T Indiana says the goal is for "our customers to have an extraordinary experience, and our investment in the local wireless network is another way we're accomplishing that."  Valparaiso State Representative Ed Soliday says technology continues to play a larger role in the way we communicate, and for "the many businesses and consumers who rely on wireless devices everyday to stay connected, this investment is a big step forward".  AT&T launched its 4G LTE network in Gary last October.
[photo by Karl Berner/Radio One Communications]

Demolition of La Porte Church

laporte church
A more-than century-old church is in the process of being demolished in downtown La Porte. St. Paul's United Church of Christ was built in the late 1880's. Membership had declined and after the congregation dissolved late last summer, the property was transferred to the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ in Indianapolis. The parent organization has said necessary repairs and upgrades would have been very costly. The Indiana Department of Transportation this morning said there were some lane closures on State Road 2, also known as Lincolnway through there, as crews tearing down the church ran into some water problems.

Forty 4-Stars in the Region

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced Indiana's 4 Star schools for 2013 . Nearly forty are in the Region. To achieve this designation, a school must be in the top 25th percentile of schools in ISTEP+ testing results. A total of 313 schools received the award throughout the state.
Here's the full list:

Man Shot in Vehicle

Police in Gary are investigating a shooting that injured a 28-year-old man as he was reportedly sitting inside a vehicle in the four-thousand block of Connecticut Street. Officials say it was just before 8:30 Saturday night when the victim said an unknown male came from between two homes and started firing. He was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

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Region News Team
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