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Critics Voice Concern Over Farm Bill Amendment

Critics say an amendment introduced to the Federal Farm Bill by Iowa Representative Steve King could undermine state efforts to improve animal welfare, and if approved, could mean the end of Indiana's puppy mill law and efforts to protect farm animals in the Hoosier state and around the country.  Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, says animal welfare and health has an impact on food safety, and he believes the amendment could hamper future efforts by Indiana to pass farm animal welfare laws. Representative King has said he believes the wide variety of animal protection laws restricts commerce and creates obstacles for farm producers to widely sell their products.  Pacelle says King's amendment could nullify hard-won rights in 34 states.

Brisk Sales Prompt Jackpot Jump

Today's (Sat Aug 3) estimated Powerball jackpot increased from $290 milllion to $300 million as players flocked to stores nationwide to purchase tickets ahead of Saturday night's drawing.  Hoosier Lottery retailers have sold a record 38 Powerball jackpot winning tickets over the years, more than any other state - and 11 more wins than the next closest state, Missouri.   With the recent addition of California to the game, Powerball is now played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.   The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play. Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.
From the Hoosier Lottery: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. 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 Lottery income is contributed to the State and helps reduce excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.

Indiana Files Brief in Prayer Case

Zoeller  Greg tweet bigger
An amicus, or friend-of-the-court brief, co-authored by Indiana and Texas and joined by 21 other states asks the Supreme Court to overturn a US Court of Appeals ruling that prohibited legislative prayer at the start of a town council meeting in a town in New York. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says they're asking the high court to craft an unambiguous ruling that prayer is permitted before legislative bodies without requiring legislative leaders to screen prayers for sectarian references.
More from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office:
“When the United States Supreme Court considers major constitutional issues facing our nation, it is essential that the states make their legal position known to the Court. We ask the Supreme Court to provide clarity so that uncertainty will not hinder the authority of our state Legislatures to make decisions,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. The Office of the Attorney General represents the State of Indiana before the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts.
Friday's amicus brief notes that because various federal appeals courts have reached conflicting conclusions about the Supreme Court precedent on legislative prayer from 30 years ago, Marsh v. Chambers (1983), government officials at all levels typically are faced with costly litigation whether they decide to permit legislative prayer or not. The brief argues that if the Supreme Court issued a clear standard upholding the long tradition of legislative prayer as not violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, then it would enable governments to make informed decisions when such situations arise. On page 13, the brief states:
“The Court should reject the assumption that the content of private citizens’ prayers before legislative assemblies is attributable exclusively to the government.  Such prayers, rather are expressions of private belief made in service to an elected body of citizens. Those present may participate or not, but each citizen’s mode of rendering this particular service to a governmental body may rightfully be accommodated.”
Drafted by Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher, the amicus brief filed today recounts the Indiana Attorney General’s defense of the Indiana House of Representatives in a 2005 lawsuit that challenged the practice of legislative prayer prior to sessions of the House.  A federal district court had issued an injunction against House prayer, but that ruling later was overturned by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and legislative prayer prior to Indiana House sessions is currently permitted by the court.
Groups of states that are not litigants in a lawsuit routinely file amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court to make their legal positions known to the Court.  Indiana routinely authors or co-authors amicus briefs that other states join -- and routinely joins briefs that other states author -- in support of the sovereignty of state government and separation of powers.
It is anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court will schedule oral argument in the Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway  case sometime during its coming term which begins in October.  In addition to Indiana and Texas, the amicus brief filed Friday was signed by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Serbian Fast Food Restaurant Proposed

A historic building at 22 Washington Street in downtown Valparaiso right across from the county courthouse could become home to a Serbian fast food restaurant. The owner of Stan's Painting and Decorating in Hobart along with his architect are scheduled to present their plans to the city's Site Review Committee meeting this Tuesday.

Two Teens Charged in Tire Vandalism

Michigan City Police say two juvenile girls, age 16 and 17, were arrested this week in connection with a spree of damage to tires about a month ago. Police say each girl was was charged with fifteen counts of criminal mischief. Overnight on July 8th, officers were dispatched to the area of Main, Phillips, and Tremont Streets in Michigan City on a report of vandalism.

Fire in Lake Station

In Lake Station, crews responded to a fire at an empty house in the 32-hundred block of 34th Street on the west side of the city. The structure was reportedly engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 9-o'clock Friday night. Reports say fire crews last month were called out to the same house, which is abandoned, the property owned by the city.

Cedar Lake Moving Ahead on Road Work

A third of the road miles in Cedar Lake reportedly need work, and the town has approved a paving program to get to those in most need of repair. A group of residents recently came before the town council to express concern over condition of the roadways.

Plea Agreement Filed for Former Library Dir

The former director of the East Chicago Public Library has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to one count of filing a false federal income tax return. Court documents say in exchange, prosecutors will not press charges against his wife for any federal tax violations for tax years 2009 and 2010. Manuel Montalvo was accused of claiming more than 23-thousand dollars in unreimbursed business expenses, when the library had already reimbursed him for his costs, and falsely claiming more than 17-thousand dollars in medical expenses. He faces up to three years in prison according to the plea agreement.

Legacy Fields Dedicated

Local officials applauded Legacy Fields in Crown Point at this week's dedication of the second-phase of the city-owned Sportsplex that they envision becoming a major tourist destination. The complex consists of three adult-league softball fields. The site is already set to be featured in the 2014 Girls National Softball Association Fast Pitch World Series. The next phase will include an indoor sports facility.

Valpo Man Claims Insanity for Attepted Child Molestation

Wayne Han II
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 36 year old Valparaiso man charged with two-felony counts of attempted child molesting is claiming insanity. The Times reports Wayne Han II's attorney presented the notice on his behalf today in court, and that a hearing to review results of the evaluations will be held on September 27th. Han allegedly held a handgun to the head of a 13 year old girl, during the early morning hours of November 29th, and demanded sexual acts, while staying with the girl's mother at the time of the incident.
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Valpo PD Asking Residents to Inform Them of NNO Events

Residents in many communities in the region this coming Tuesday will be getting together with their local law enforcement agencies for “National Night Out”, in an effort to promote community-police partnerships and get to know one another. During a recent Region News maker interview, Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner stated the event is one of their favorite nights of the year and the Valparaiso portion of the event will take placefrom 6:30 to 9pm.
The Valparaiso Police Department is asking neighborhoods to plan an event during the above date and time. If you are planning an event please contact Sgt. Michael Grennes at 462-2135 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to schedule your event. Officers from the Bicycle Unit, K-9 Unit, Detective Bureau and Patrol Officers will be visiting events during the night. We would like to visit your event.
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No Extension This Year for NWI House Raffle

house raffle
Friday, August 2, 2013, Northwest Indiana. – Don’t forget! Don’t miss it! It’s awesome and it’s for a good cause! What is it you ask? – The Northwest Indiana House Raffle of course! And Tuesday, August 6th is last call for ticket buyers because there will be NO EXTENSION this year; the official drawing will take place on Friday, August 9th as originally scheduled and advertised.
The Northwest Indiana House Raffle organizers have announced that more than 4,000 tickets 4,000 tickets have been sold to date, the odds are truly in your favor – better than 1 in 80. With a few days left to purchase tickets, the minimum ticket sales goal of 4,100 will be reached. Ticket sales end Tuesday, August 6th at 9pm and the official drawing of 75 lucky winners will take place Friday, August 9th at 10am. “We’re pleased to have reached our minimum goal this year and we’re appreciative of all the support we’ve received so far,” said Mary Govert, Executive Director – St. Jude House. The 1 in 80 odds are based on a sales goal of 6,000 tickets; if less than the goal is reached, odds increase.
The grand prize winner may choose $225,000 cash or “The Baybridge” home located in Spring Run in Lowell, IN. The new home construction by Phillippe Builders is a two-story, 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home with a 2-car garage. “The Baybridge” is the ONLY home in this year’s House Raffle HOME TOUR and the only home the Grand Prize winner may choose. The home comes with an additional $50,100 in cash – for a value of $280,000 – the cash back is based on the home builder’s estimated home value. If the winner chooses the home, a formal appraisal of the home will be conducted to determine its value. The winner may also opt for the $225,000 cash prize. The Times Media Company sponsors the House Raffle Home Tour.
“The children, families, and seniors that we’re able to help through proceeds from the House Raffle are truly grateful. It’s a great fundraising event for a great cause,” said Phil Mallers, CEO – Crossroads YMCA. The NWI House Raffle benefits the YMCA – Southlake Branch and St. Jude House, located in Crown Point, IN. The fundraiser helps to support each organization’s services by providing assistance for hundreds of families in need throughout the community.
The House Raffle offers 75 cash prizes; and the grand prize winner may choose either “The Baybridge” home in Lowell or $225,000 cash. This year’s redistribution of cash prizes have been a draw for participants as organizers have created more larger cash prizes – the grand prize remains the same at $225,000, however, there are more $5,000 and $2,000 prizes and the lowest prizes are now $300 compared to the $175 prizes in past years. A complete list of the 75 cash prizes is available online
Tickets are on sale for $150/ ticket and are available at the Southlake YMCA branch at 1450 S. Court, Crown Point and at the Hammond and Griffith Y branches through Tuesday, August 6th. For those looking to save on gas, tickets may also be purchased by phone by calling the NWI House Raffle Hotline 219. 663.5810/ toll free 888.663.5810. Ticket sales end Tuesday, August 6th at 9pm.
The official drawing on Friday, August 9th will take place at St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point. All 75 winning tickets will be drawn by a blindfolded nun. The drawing is open to ticket buyers and the general public. To receive reminders and updates on the NWI House Raffle, the public is invited to join the House Raffle’s VIP Texting by texting to: 36000, and message: HRAFFLE. For more information visit or call 219.663.5810/ toll free 888.663.5810.
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Coats Opposes Federal Bailout of States

Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) joined with several of his Senate colleagues to introduce the No State Bailouts Resolution (S. Res. 215), which expresses opposition to federal bailouts of financially struggling states.
“This resolution should remind state governments that they are responsible for their state’s financial solvency,” said Coats. “The federal government should not be in the business of reconciling state budgets, especially when Washington can’t even manage its own 17 trillion dollar deficit. In Indiana we have balanced our budget by adopting the Hoosier model of living within our means.”
The resolution was introduced two weeks after the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy—the largest such filing in U.S. history. Although cities have a legal authority to absolve their debt by declaring bankruptcy, states do not.
The No State Bailout Resolution was introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Along with Coats, the bill is cosponsored by Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). A copy of the resolution can be found here.
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Powerball Estimate Upped to $300 Million

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INDIANAPOLIS (August 2, 2013) -  Saturday's estimated Powerball jackpot has been increased from $290 milllion to $300 million as of noon today.  Multi-State Lottery Officials (MUSL) raised the jackpot estimate as players flocked to stores nationwide to purchase tickets ahead of Saturday night's drawing.
In Indiana, players have until 9:58 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday to purchase their shot at the jackpot. 
Hoosier Lottery retailers have sold a record 38 Powerball jackpot winning tickets over the years.  That's more than any other state - and 11 more wins than the next closest state, Missouri.  
With the recent addition of California to the game, Powerball is now played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.  
ABOUT THE HOOSIER LOTTERY: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. 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 Lottery income is contributed to the State and helps reduce excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.
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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.

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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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