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Fair Numbers Up in the Region

Now that they're all wrapped up, here's a look-back at fair attendance numbers in the Region....Lake County attendance reportedly topped last year's numbers by more than 12-thousand, for a total of nearly 222-thousand fairgoers for 2013.  In Porter County, Fair Manager Kevin Hannon says overall this year's event beat last year's numbers on many levels, including carnival, midway vendors and grandstand.  Hannon reports an estimated 120-thousand through the gates this year, on par with last year, and gate receipts up 15-percent over 2012.  In La Porte County, attendance numbers were said to be a few percentage points higher than last year.  

Purdue Professor Invents RoboDesk

Alexander Lo, a researcher in the Purdue Center for Paralysis Research, uses an iPad on the RoboDesk. The RoboDesk is an assistive technology being developed at Purdue University to help people with disabilities use iPads and other mobile devices more easily. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Hoping to foster independence and improve quality of life for the disabled, a Purdue professor has invented “RoboDesk”.  The device is a motorized wheelchair tray that makes it easier to position and remove a tablet or other mobile device without being limited by a table or moving in and out of the chair.  Associate Professor of Engineering Practice Brad Duerstock says it could also be used as a writing surface or meal tray, and allows the user to get through doorways.   

Brad Duerstock, a Purdue University associate professor of engineering practice in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering, is developing the technology and other assistance technologies in the Purdue Institute for Accessible Science. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Duerstock says he hopes to get RoboDesk licensed and manufactured within the next three years.  He also says he hopes the device encourages more people with disabilities to pursue higher education. 


Woman Located 12 Hours After Crash

In northern Indiana, a woman involved in a crash yesterday afternoon was found late last night, several hours later.   Indiana State Police received a phone call from a distraught husband who wanted to report his wife as missing.  Less than two hours later troopers found the woman still trapped in her car after crashing into a wooded area in northeastern Elkhart County. 
State police initiated a ping service through AT&T in an attempt to locate her cell phone, and after a foot search troopers located the woman in her green 1997 Chevrolet Trail Blazer, which was nearly unnoticeable in a wooded area approximately 30 feet off the road and down an embankment. The woman had been trapped in her SUV since she crashed around 1 p.m. Thursday nearly twelve hours earlier.
She was extricated from her SUV  and transported for lacerations and trauma to her head and face. Police located her cell phone in her pocket and believe she was unable to use it due to her injuries.
It's not known why she drove off the road. The crash investigation is ongoing.

PC Residents E Cycle Over 134 Tons

Statistics from the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County show a lot of people in the area are “e”-cycling. Porter County residents have recycled more than 134-tons of electronics so far this year. Executive Director Therese Davis says the total includes items collected at five sites around Porter County, in addition to the district-sponsored One Stop Drop event at the Expo Center in May  
The State of Indiana passed legislation in 2011, Indiana Code 13-20.5, that prohibits households, public schools and small businesses from mixing unwanted computer monitors, computers, televisions, printers, computer peripherals (such as keyboards and mice), DVD players, video cassette recorders or fax machines with municipal waste that is intended for disposal at a landfill or by burning or incineration.
To insure electronics are diverted from landfills, the district partners with local municipalities to provide opportunities for residents to safely discard their electronics. For example, while the Portage and Valparaiso street departments collect electronics curbside from their residents, the district contracts with Electronic Recyclers International, Inc., to make sure those electronics are recycled.
Other waste haulers around the county will not collect electronics curbside from their customers; however, these residents have convenient drop-off locations available to them provided by the district, including: the Valparaiso compost site, 2150 W. Lincolnway, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the Boone Grove compost site, 546 S. 400 W, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Electronics drop off locations are also available for all Porter County residents at the following street departments: Portage Street Department: 2302 Hamstrom Road, 762-4564; Valparaiso Public Works: 406 Don Hovey Drive, 462-4612; Porter Street Department: 550 Beam Street, 926-2771. Residents should call the departments to determine hours and accessibility.
Anything that has an electrical cord or is powered by batteries is accepted at these sites.
Many components of electronics are considered hazardous, including computer monitors and television screens.  Electronics contain heavy metals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium that can be harmful if released into the environment. For more information on the hazards of electrics and the benefits of proper disposal and recycling, visit:
“Recycling electronics ensures these materials are safely managed, and valuable materials such as steel, glass, and plastic, as well as precious metals such as copper, gold, tin, silicon, and aluminum are reclaimed for the manufacturing of new products,” Davis said. “Reusing and recycling raw materials from electronic waste conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution.”
For more information on electronics recycling in Porter County, call the district, 465-3694, or visit . Best Buy locations also accept electronics for recycling. Visit 
To hear our Region Newsmakers interview with Therese Davis and Donna Stuckert, Public Education Coordinator for the district, visit regionnewsteam-dot-com

At Least Two Killed in I-65 Crash

Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say at least two people were killed in a fiery three-vehicle crash that shut down northbound I-65 near the DeMotte/Roselawn exit last night near mile marker 230. Due to the severity of damage to a Jeep that was struck from behind by one semi, pushing it into the back of another, investigators say they have yet to determine the number of casualties inside. The Jeep has been taken to a secure location so emergency personnel can extricate victims. Police say at least two bodies were observed in the wreckage at the crash scene. Troopers say a preliminary investigation shows the first semi and the Jeep stopped due to traffic backup from an approaching work zone, when the Jeep was rear-ended by the second semi, igniting a fire that engulfed the Jeep and part of both semis. Northbound lanes were closed from shortly before 10-o'clock last night until about 6:30 this morning.

Fatal Crash on NB I-65

Indiana State Police say a fatal accident involving two semis and a third vehicle has had all lanes blocked on northbound I-65 near Demotte/Roselawn, at mile marker 231.  The crash happened around 10-o'clock last night.



TradeWinds' Kids Run to Support Animals

ColorRun.Group Celebration
(Photo Courtesy of TradeWinds)

A group of children participating in the TradeWinds Summer Camp program heard about the sad plight of animals on “death row” at Gary Animal Control and decided to do something about it.  Friday, August 9th, the youngsters, ranging in age from age 5 to 18, took part in the first ever “Color Run”.
The children pledged to run for donations of food, pet supplies and blankets to be delivered to the Gary Animal Control Facility in the hope of prolonging the lives of the abandoned animals until they can be fostered and eventually adopted.  Both TradeWinds Staff and the summer campers have been busy collecting donations for the ten-lap run.  At the completion of each lap runners were  splashed with a non-toxic paint.
TradeWinds’ Director of Programs Lisa Previs said that community awareness and involvement is one of the hallmarks of the TradeWinds’ children’s programs.  “Despite their own special needs, these children are looking outward and making a difference – literally a life and death difference—on behalf of these unfortunate animals.  It’s their hope that their time, talent and compassion will save the lives of the dogs and cats until they can be placed in safe and loving homes.”
Children attending the TradeWinds Summer program come to camp with various abilities and disabilities.  “Tolerance and acceptance of one another is the one of the fundamental keys of the program,” said Previs, “and thinking about and caring for others is a very important life lesson.”
The fundraiser took place at TradeWinds’ main center in Gary, IN. TradeWinds is a non-profit agency that supports children and adults with disabilities whose mission is “Serving people with special needs by empowering them to realize their full potential.”  For more information visit  
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Reminder: Watch for Children and School Buses

school bus dangerzone
Many schools in the region and across the state have already begun, which is why Indiana State Police are reminding motorists to watch out for children in school zones and waiting to board buses, especially in the early morning hours.  Motorists are also reminded that whenever a school bus arm is extended that you are required by law to stop. State Police want to remind parents to emphasize the danger zone immediately surrounding the school bus and to encourage your children to carry all articles in a back pack or book bag and never chase after dropped items.  Westville Schools are scheduled to begin today with even more slated to start next week. 

Parents should also remind children of these school bus safety tips:
•Wait for the bus in a safe place away from traffic.
•No horseplay at the bus stop.
•Wait until the bus and other traffic comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus.
•When on the bus remain seated and talk quietly so the driver will not be distracted.

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Police Seeking Vehicles Alledgedly Involved in Shooting

Police in Merrillville are seeking the public's help in locating a vehicle believed to be involved in a shooting that took place this afternoon.  Authorities report officers were dispatched to 58th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street around 4pm.  Anyone who may have witnessed a maroon van and a silver Dodge Durango in the vicinity of that area around that time is asked to please contact the Merillville Police Department.  At last check there were no reports of any injuries.
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SR 312 Closure in EC for Rail Crossing Repair

Indot Logo color
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of State Road 312 at the railroad crossing in East Chicago between Huish Drive and Grasselli Street beginning Monday, August 19th through Friday, August 23rd. Crews will be repairing the railroad crossing.
A detour will take eastbound SR 312 traffic north on U.S. 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), east on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on SR 912 (Cline Ave), and back to SR 312. Westbound SR 312 traffic will be detoured north on SR 912 (Cline Ave), west on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on US 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), and back to SR 312.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, “like us” at and “follow us” at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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LMMSDC Elects Officers

A commission charged with developing a comprehensive environmental master plan for redevelopment and development within the Lake Michigan corridor elected its officers today.  The Lake Michigan Marina and Shoreline Development Commission met at the NIRPC building in Portage and during the meeting elected Michael Kuss, manager of the Michigan City Sanitary District representing the Mayor of Michigan City, Chairman. Anthony Copeland, Mayor of East Chicago, was elected Vice Chairman, and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary was elected Treasurer.
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Hammond PD Hires Four New Officers

new hammond officers
(Photo Courtesy of the Hammond Police Department)

The Hammond Police Department welcomed four new officers to the force today.  Chief Brian Miller reports all four are current sworn police officers that were serving on different departments. The new officers are Gabriel Nava and Michael Rivera, both formerly of the East Chicago Police Department, Albert Hulitt formerly of the Gary Police Department, and Thomas Uszakow formerly of the Munster Police Deaprtment.  Chief Miller says his department is very fortunate to have these four officers, who each bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience, and will be in their Field Officer Training Program in the next few weeks. 
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Martin to be Charged Friday

porter co sheriff dept
The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports charges will be signed tomorrow against a 45 year old Jackson Township man who barricaded himself inside his home for nine-hours Wednesday.   Police say the incident began when officers went to Eric Martin's home, on County Road 1050 North, to investigate an alleged battery by Martin against his father.   Authorities say Martin was eventually subdued by hard foam beanbag rounds.

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Charges Filed Against Man Who Claimed to be Shot

portage pd
Police report false informing charges have been filed against a 33 year old man who claimed he was shot outside of his vehicle, at a gas station on US 6 and Swanson Road late Saturday afternoon.  The Times reports Portage Police investigated the incident, and determined the man was accidentally shot at a Portage residence by another person who was handling the gun.  Charges have been forwarded to the prosecutor's office for review, but no charges have been filed against the man who shot him.

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Record Enrollment at La Lumiere School

La Lumiere School
La Porte, Ind. – August 14, 2013 – La Lumiere School began its 50th Anniversary year Sunday, August 11 with 216 students, the largest opening day enrollment in school history.  The student body is comprised of a diverse group of day and boarding students.  Day students come from as far east as South Haven, MI, and as far west as Schererville.  Boarding students choose La Lumiere from 10 countries and eight states.  Countries represented among the current student body include Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Egypt, Grand Bahamas, Japan, Korea and Panama. States represented include Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.
La Lumiere School is pleased to announce the further development of the School’s academic Areas of Excellence, as well as new program offerings for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond.  The Areas of Excellence strategy provides an intensive educational experience for our students in critical subjects.  Among the first academic Areas of Excellence are 21st Century Math & Science and Global Studies.  La Lumiere’s recent efforts to develop Areas of Excellence have driven the national and international recruitment and hiring of several new teaching faculty.
About La Lumiere School
La Lumiere School is a co-educational, independent boarding and day secondary school providing a college-preparatory education based in character, scholarship and faith.  Our rigorous education, personal relationships, and focus on values create a rich learning environment for students.  They are known by faculty, staff and other students from all grades.  This familiarity enables our students to make lasting connections, engage in academics, participate socially and define their paths.  Founded in the Catholic tradition in 1963, the student body consists of over 200 students from a rich diversity of backgrounds. It is situated on a beautiful rural estate, 25 miles west of South Bend, 60 miles east of Chicago, and 8 miles from both La Porte and New Buffalo. La Lumiere School is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA).
More information about La Lumiere School can be found at

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IL Bans Indoor Under 18 Tanning and eCigarette Use

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today took steps to protect the health of youth across Illinois by signing legislation that prevents anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds and electronic cigarettes, an increasingly common cigarette alternative. The Governor was joined by legislators, health professionals, survivors of melanoma and their families, and teens who have recognized the dangers of skin cancer and nicotine addiction. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to protecting and improving the health of the people of Illinois.
“Our young people have their whole lives ahead of them and we want them to be well, grow and thrive in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “I am signing these new laws today so that our youth and their families can be spared the consequences of very serious and preventable health problems that are caused by dangerous habits formed at a young age. Together these measures will protect the health of Illinois youth and save lives in the long-run.” 
Sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), House Bill 188 prevents youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, which studies have shown can lead to cancer. According to research, people who begin using tanning beds at a young age have a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma. Over the past 40 years, the rate of young women with melanoma has grown by 800 percent. 
Current law in Illinois allows minors to access tanning beds with parental or guardian consent. The new legislation is designed to respond to increased worldwide awareness of the dangers of melanoma and an understanding of the urgency required in the prevention of skin cancer. HB 188 passed with the strong support of the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association. The new law takes effect January 1, 2014.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 1756, sponsored by State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) and State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago), which bans anyone under the age of 18 from using electronic cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products. While electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, these products do contain nicotine, which is the highly addictive substance that makes smoking difficult to quit once someone begins. Dependence on nicotine is the most common form of chemical dependence, impacting almost 20 percent of all Americans.
“Nicotine has been proven to be a harmful and addictive substance,” Senator Mulroe said. “We ban children from purchasing it in all of its other forms.  This law just helps us keep up with the advancements in the ways it is being sold.”
The law takes effect January 1, 2014.
For more information on the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma, visit For more information on the dangers of nicotine addiction and how to quit, visit
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Lane Closures on US 41 in Newton Co Start Monday

Indot Logo color
NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces lane restrictions on U.S. 41, between State Road 10 and State Road 14, beginning Monday, August 19th through Thursday, August 22nd. At least one lane in each direction will be maintained on U.S. 41 throughout the project. Crews will perform a chip seal operation to preserve the road surface. Please note: this project is dependent on dry weather and may be delayed if conditions aren’t ideal.
The chip-seal process consists of distributing a liquid asphalt emulsion on the roadway and covering the liquid asphalt with crushed stone to provide a new wearing surface. Chip-sealing extends the life of a roadway by protecting it from moisture, ultra-violet degradation, and any other damaging exposures.
Drivers should exercise caution during these projects. Loose stone will be present on the roadway during the initial cure of the asphalt and can damage windshields and paint on vehicles that may be following each other too closely. It is recommended when travelling on a recently chip-sealed road to slow down and allow additional space between vehicles.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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Five Women Arrested in Hammond Prostitution Sting

Five women were arrested during a prostitution sting on Wednesday by the Hammond Police Department. Chief Brian Miller says an undercover officer cruised the downtown area in an unmarked vehicle during the early, evening hours and waited for the ladies to flag him down.
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809 Area Code Scare

809 Area Code Scare
Many people including a police officer have and are receiving email notifications being passed from friend to friend again throughout the United States and it has now hit LaPorte County.
The email they are receiving is a warning you may get a message on your answering machine which asks you to return a call to a number beginning with area code 809. The reason you are asked to call varies, it can be to receive information about a family member who is ill, to telling you someone has been arrested, died or to finally let you know you have won a wonderful prize. In each case, you are told to call the 809 area code and number right away. Since there are so many new area codes people are unknowingly returning these calls. 
If you call from the United States you will either get s long recorded message, or someone that asks you to hold on for as long as possible to increase the charges. Either way you apparently can be charged anywhere from $2,435 per minute! Because this area code is from the British Virgin Islands (Bahamas) this area code is similar to a “Pay Per Call” number that is not covered under U.S. Regulations like 900 numbers.
Although the basics of the “809 Area Code” scam were once real, this email has become one of the most over publicized online scares and has continually been circulating on the internet for the last ten years.  The warnings have grown out of proportion from the scare to the amount of money you will be charged.
·         Not every phone number in the 809 area code is part of this scam.
·         This scam can and has been used with other area codes.
·         The amount of money involved has become greatly exaggerated as the email circulates.
·         This scam is no longer very common, the average U.S. resident is unlikely to ever encounter it.
·        We are becoming more knowledgeable all the time on scams and frauds and hopefully we can all work together to help and educate our neighbors and friends. 
As always if you feel that you have been scammed or someone is attempting to cheat you please contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski 873-1461 ext. #333 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Weeds a Growing Problem on Lake George

The city of Hobart has contacted a company to devise a plan of action for dealing with weeds on Lake George.  Mayor Brian Snedecor was invited by two city councilmen on a boat ride to see the overgrowth up close.  Residents have expressed concern over the effect of herbicides on wildlife on and in the lake. City officials say the Indiana DNR is reviewing proposals, and that the treatment would not have an effect on the ducks or fish.  There reportedly will be restrictions on pets and irrigation.

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