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Highland Native Speaks to GMA About Mother Injured in Blasts

Nearly three-hundred people from Indiana... about twenty from the Region were registered to participate in the Boston Marathon, an event marred by two deadly explosions Monday afternoon. ABC's Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos spoke to Highland native Rebecca Roche, who had just finished the race when the bombs went off. She was okay. But her mom, Beth, and a friend who were there to support her were badly injured. Roche told Good Morning America she felt guilty that her mother and friends were injured because they would not have been there if it were not for her.  Roche says the double bombings happened right about a minute after she finished the race, and the scene was chaotic panic– with people being pushed out of the way, running with the police, and that people were hiding under buses. Roche says her mother and friends are recovering from surgery.
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Over 200 Without Power in Valparaiso

A brief power outage around 2:30 this afternoon has left about 200 NIPSCO customers without power. According to NIPSCO's Outage Map, crews have been assigned, and power is anticipated to be restored by 5:30pm.  To view the outage map,

Crews Clearing Storm Sewer Grates in Highland

Officials in Highland say in order to prevent flooding issues due to the heavy rains expected in the area, the city's street department is out checking the grates over storm sewers to make sure they are not blocked by any debris. Authorities are asking residents of Highland, if you have a grate over a storm sewer in front of your home, please make sure it is open, in case crews are now able to check all of them.
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Pence Calls April Revenue Forecast Great News

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued a statement today saying the April revenue forecast is great news for Hoosiers and good news for the budget process. Governor Pence says the forecast has 290-million dollars more in revenue than the December forecast, giving him more confidence than ever that a balanced budget can be crafted to fund priories like roads and schools, and provide the kind of tax relief Hoosiers need and deserve. To view the April revenue forecast, visit

INDOT: Work Zone Awareness Week in Indiana

Indot Logo color
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Michael R. Pence is proclaiming April 15-19, 2013 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Indiana. Work Zone Awareness Week marks the ceremonial start to highway construction season and aims to bring awareness to motorist and worker safety in work zones. The danger is real. In 2012, Eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured in Indiana work zones.
This year the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) produced a new public service announcement (PSA) titled “No One Drives Through Your Office at 70 mph”. The new video showcasing the dangers of speeding through work zones is featured on the INDOT YouTube page. INDOT encourages the media to share the new PSA and inform the public about Work Zone Awareness Week. Find the PSA at this link: ">
Highway workers aren’t the only ones at risk. Four out of every five deaths in highway work zones are drivers and their passengers. The majority of work zone injuries and deaths are caused by rear-end collisions, following too closely, or making improper lane changes.
The penalties in work zones are stiff. Motorists face fines of up to $1,000 for speeding, up to $5,000 for driving recklessly, and up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to eight years for injuring or killing a highway worker. These fines are used to fund additional Indiana State Police work zone patrols.
For more about Work Zone Awareness Week check out our Northwest District’s social media sites: and
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Obama: The American People Refuse to be Terrorized

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                      April 16, 2013
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
11:30 A.M. EDT
     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I've just been briefed by my national security team, including FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano, and my Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, on the attacks in Boston.  We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriate law enforcement resources to protect our citizens, and to investigate and to respond to this attack. 
Obviously our first thoughts this morning are with the victims, their families, and the city of Boston.  We know that two explosions gravely wounded dozens of Americans, and took the lives of others, including a 8-year-old boy.
This was a heinous and cowardly act.  And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.  Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror.  What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why; whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.  That's what we don't yet know.  And clearly, we’re at the beginning of our investigation.  
It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened.  But we will find out.  We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice.
We also know this -- the American people refuse to be terrorized.  Because what the world saw yesterday in the aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness, and generosity and love:  Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood, and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets.  The first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives.  The men and women who are still treating the wounded at some of the best hospitals in the world, and the medical students who hurried to help, saying “When we heard, we all came in.”  The priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and the fearful.  And the good people of Boston who opened their homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.
So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil -- that’s it.  Selflessly.  Compassionately.  Unafraid.
In the coming days, we will pursue every effort to get to the bottom of what happened.  And we will continue to remain vigilant.  I’ve directed my administration to take appropriate security measures to protect the American people.  And this is a good time for all of us to remember that we all have a part to play in alerting authorities -- if you see something suspicious, speak up.
I have extraordinary confidence in the men and women of the FBI, the Boston Police Department, and the other agencies that responded so heroically and effectively in the aftermath of yesterday’s events.  I’m very grateful for the leadership of Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino.  And I know that even as we protect our people and aggressively pursue this investigation, the people of Boston will continue to respond in the same proud and heroic way that they have thus far -- and their fellow Americans will be right there with them.
Thank you very much.  And you can expect further briefings from our law enforcement officials as the day goes on.  When we have more details, they will be disclosed.  What I’ve indicated to you is what we know now.  We know it was bombs that were set off.  We know that obviously they did some severe damage.  We do not know who did them.  We do not know whether this was an act of an organization or an individual or individuals.  We don’t have a sense of motive yet.  So everything else at this point is speculation.  But as we receive more information, as the FBI has more information, as our out counterterrorism teams have more information, we will make sure to keep you and the American people posted.
     Thank you very much, everybody.
                             END                11:35 A.M. EDT
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Minor Flooding on Kankakee River at Shelby

Minor flooding is occurring on the Kankakee River at Shelby, affecting Lake and Newton Counties. The National Weather Service reports at 9:45 this morning, the river was a half-foot above flood stage, which is nine-feet. Officials reports the river will continue to rise to over ten-feet by tomorrow morning, and the the impact of that could causing flooding of some county and local roads in that area. A flood warning continues until Friday morning.
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Region Runner: 'We Can't Give In'

For many, the sights and sounds of the storied Boston Marathon are close to their hearts, as they react to the deadly bombings that marred yesterday's race. Longtime northwest Indiana veterinarian Dr. Larry McAfee ran the marathon about twenty years ago, as a charity runner for Heifers Across America, a veterinary group that sponsors taking care of cows in underdeveloped countries. "You know, Boston is the epitome of marathons in the world," Dr. McAfee said. "To have something like that happen, it just, it hurts. It hurts to the core of your being."
Dr. McAfee says he believes it's important to not “give in", and give in meaning "not run Boston again."  Dr. McAfee also said he's got the Indianapolis 500 Mini-Marathon ahead of him, an event he and others he knows are taking part in. For anyone who's running the Indy, Dr. McAfee said, "Please run. We can't give in."
Officials in Indianapolis say they are closely watching the events in Boston as they prepare for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon May 4th, described as the nation's largest half-marathon. The 13-point-one mile race held just a few weeks prior to the Indianapolis 500 has a field of 35-thousand runners.
To hear more of our interview with Dr. McAfee, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website.

President, Governor Direct Flags to Half-Staff

Indiana Governor Pence is directing flags at state facilities in all counties of Indiana to be flown at half-staff today. President Obama signed a proclamation this morning honoring the victims of yesterday's tragedy in Boston and ordering flags nationwide to be flown at half-staff. Per the President's directive, flags are to remain at half-staff until sunset on Saturday, April 20.  Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to honor the victims and their families.
Here is the President's proclamation:
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on April 15, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, April 20, 2013. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Victim Suffered Smoke Inhalation

Fire officials in Portage say a 43-year-old man was found dead inside a house in the 56-hundred block of Buttercup Monday afternoon after crews responded to the report of an odor of smoke coming from a home. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says an autopsy conducted this morning determined the victim suffered smoke inhalation.  Officials say the man's mother had stopped to check on her son,who was wheelchair bound, and when she didn't get an answer at the door and smelled smoke, called 911. Crews arrived within six minutes to find smoke coming from exterior vents. Harris says the man. identified as Nokomis Musenja, was located in a hallway leading to a garage. The fire department says crews had the fire extinguished within 30 minutes. The Portage Fire Department, Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, and Porter County Coroners Office are investigating the cause.

Two Thwart Scanner Theft

In La Porte, police say a citizen helped foil a theft in progress at a Radio Shack, and police continue to investigate.  LaPorte Police say they responded to the business at 5:15 Saturday evening, after two people entered the store, and one asked to see a police scanner and how it worked.  Police say one of the suspects tried to walk out with it, and as an employee was trying to prevent the theft a citizen walking up to the store saw what was happening and grabbed the scanner. Police say both suspects fled through an alley.
Additional information released by La Porte Police:
Suspect 1 is described as a white male, with a faded tattoo on his left hand that resembled the letter "F."  Suspect 2 is described as a white male, wearing a jacket with fur around the hood.  If you have information regarding this crime, or any other criminal/ suspicious activity, please contact the La Porte Police Department at 362-9446, or at to submit a crime tip. You can remain anonymous while providing important information to help make your community safer. Please be as specific as you can about the activity you are reporting.

Attempted Purse Snatching in Valpo

Police in Valparaiso responded to the parking lot the K-Mart on Calumet Avenue around 5-o'clock Monday evening for the report of an attempted purse snatching. Police say the female victim was walking toward the front door of the store when a young male subject walked toward her talking on a cell phone, then grabbed her purse, but was unable to pull it away, then ran eastbound across the parking lot toward Calumet Avenue. Anyone with information is asked to call Valparaiso Police.
Additional info released by police::
The subject was described as a young black male 14yrs-16yrs old, approximate 5'7"/140 lbs, wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and dark colored long shorts. The male's hair was described as curly/or dread locks.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Valparaiso Police Department at (219) 462-2135.

Jail Escape in St. Joseph County

Rice Franklin WinCE
[Photo Provided by St. Joseph County Police]
Police in St. Joseph County say a jail inmate escaped around 4:30 this [Tuesday] morning, Eastern time, after getting access to a bread delivery truck that had keys in the ignition. Officials say 27-year-old Franklin Rice of South Bend then drove the truck from a dock area at the jail and through a gate. Police have located the bread truck, and also located his jail-issued shirt and hat, but the inmate has not yet been found. He was booked into jail in October on a burglary charge, and was due to be sentenced next week.
Here is more information from St. Joseph County Police this morning:
At approximately 0430 hrs. an inmate housed at the St. Joseph County Jail, 401 W. Sample St. South Bend, IN 46601, was able to escape custody.
The inmate, identified as Franklin L. Rice, 27, of South Bend, was able to gain access to a bread delivery truck which had the keys in the ignition. Rice then drove the truck from the rear dock area located on the north side of the jail. Rice proceeded driving the delivery truck through the secure gate on the northeast side of the secure jail property. Rice drove the truck onto Lafayette Blvd. and stopped leaving the vehicle on foot, between Sample Street and Bronson Street. It appears Rice got into another vehicle and fled the scene. With the assistance of our midnight patrol officers, K-9 unit, jail staff, and the South Bend Police Department a perimeter was set up immediately around the surrounding area. Rice wasn't located, however, his jail issued hat and shirt were found on Bronson Street.
Rice was booked into the St. Joseph County Jail on October 11, 2012 on a burglary charge.  Rice was due to be sentenced on April 24, 2013 (unknown at this time if he pled guilty or was found guilty).  Rice became a jail worker in November of 2012 and worked in the kitchen area of the jail since that time.  
Rice is described as a male white 5'11" 165lbs with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to please call their local police or the St. Joseph County Police immediately at (574) 235-9611.

Toll Road Restaurant Robbed

Indiana State Police at the Toll Road continue to investigate an armed robbery at the Hardee's on the north side of the Indiana Toll Road in Portage. Indiana State Police say the restaurant was held-up by three individuals in the early morning hours Saturday. The suspect vehicle reportedly fled the scene at the local exit and onto Clem Road in Portage.

Body Found Outside Hebron

Officials are trying to determine the identity of a man whose body was discovered in a rural area of northwest Indiana late Monday afternoon. The body was found in a drainage ditch about twenty-feet wide near County Road 500 West between County Roads 900 and 1000 South in Boone Township south of Hebron. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says it's possible the person could have died several months ago.  Harris says the severely-decomposed body was observed floating in about three-feet of water, and a forensic autopsy is being scheduled for today or tomorrow to determine cause of death.  Harris also says Conservation Officers were also on scene to bring the body to shore.  Due to the level of decomposition, authorities say they are unable to tell the man's race or age.


Fire Sparked by Video Game

In East Chicago, firefighters are considering the possibility that a fire in the 48-hundred block of Walsh Avenue Monday afternoon appears to have been caused by an Xbox gaming console that was left charging on a mattress. The fire was reportedly contained to the mattress and was out within minutes.

Man Found Dead in Portage Fire

Fire officials in Portage say a 43-year-old man was found dead inside a house in the 56-hundred block of Buttercup Monday afternoon after crews responded to the report of an odor of smoke coming from a home. Officials say the mother of one of the residents had stopped to check on her son,who was disabled and wheelchair bound.  When the mother did not receive an answer at the door and noted a smell of smoke, authorities say, she called 911, and crews arrived within six minutes to find smoke coming from exterior vents. No other family members were home at the time of the fire, officials say.  The fire department says crews had the fire extinguished within 30 minutes. The Portage Fire Department, Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, and Porter County Coroners Office are investigating.

NWI Runners in Boston Marathon

Hundreds of state and federal investigators are in Boston trying to find out who could have built two bombs that exploded Monday at the Boston Marathon.  About twenty Region residents were participating in the race, and in total nearly three-hundred people from Indiana were registered to compete. Monday evening, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security sent out a notice saying Hoosiers having difficulty contacting family in Boston can call a designated number- 617-635-4500.   Residents are urged to not call the number unless there is difficulty contacting family.
Officials in Indianapolis said they were closely watching what was happening in Boston and plan to review security procedures for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, just weeks away, in light of the deadly bombings. The 13.1 mile race on May 4, just a few weeks before the Indianapolis 500,  is said to attract about 35,000 participants each year.

Candle-Light Ceremonies Tuesday for Child Abuse Awareness

INDIANAPOLIS (April 12, 2013) – At 7 p.m. throughout Indiana on April 16, communities across the state will gather together simultaneously to hold candle-light ceremonies marking the need to prevent child abuse in Indiana.
The ceremonies, representing all 92 Indiana counties, will be held in 83 different locations, possibly making it one of the nation’s largest single-day demonstrations to raise awareness about preventing child abuse.
DCS is working with child-advocacy groups across the state, and local officials in every community, to unite families, neighbors, professionals and policy makers, in the concerted effort to identify and address the issues that lead to abuse or neglect.
“This is about unity and solidarity in making children a priority,” said new DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura.
By the time children come into the DCS system, they’re already victims of abuse or neglect, said Bonaventura, who spent 30 years on the bench as a judge hearing cases of family crisis. “We need all eyes and ears in the community reporting child abuse and neglect, but equally as important, we need everyone -- from families, to extended families, to communities -- working together to prevent child abuse.”  
Melanie Flory, DCS director in Knox County, says she sees the root-causes everyday of child abuse as she works with families. “Parenting is hard enough,” said Flory. “But when families are also struggling with basic survival needs, like food, shelter and keeping the lights on, it can create stress and hopelessness that escalates into child abuse.”
Children’s Bureau, Inc. understands the realities that can lead to family crises. “Child abuse prevention is a cause that should mobilize our communities to blend our resources, talents and efforts in order to protect vulnerable children,” said Tina Cloer, president and chief executive officer. “There is tremendous work being done to protect our children in the State of Indiana, but there is always opportunity for each of us to do more.”
The Children’s Bureau partners with DCS throughout the year in working to prevent child abuse, and strengthen families.
Governor Mike Pence has proclaimed April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in Indiana. The governor will kick off the Marion County ceremony on the south steps of the Indiana State House.
For a list of ceremony locations, visit:
About Indiana Department of Child Services:
DCS is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. The agency’s primary goal is to safely keep these children at home with their families by offering appropriate support services. If safety continues to be a concern, children are placed with relatives or in foster care. DCS also oversees adoptions from the foster care system and manages the Child Support Bureau. The Kids First Trust Fund, supported by the sale of ‘Kids First’ specialty automobile license plates, subsidizes programs designed to prevent child abuse and neglect.  Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline:  800.800.5556.
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Free Radon Test Kits Available at Porter County Health Dept

A nationwide campaign continues to educate Americans about the dangers of radon exposure and to encourage them to take action to protect their homes and families. Administrator Keith Letta, of the Porter County Health Department says radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless gas, and exposure to elevated levels is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Letta says older homes with basements that are not air and water tight are most susceptible to having high radon levels
The Porter County Health Department's Portage and Valparaiso Offices are currently offering free radon test kits. For more information, 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


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