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Pence and Zody Statements on Bennett's Resignation

Indianapolis - Today, Governor Pence urged the Indiana Department of Education to complete a thorough and timely review of the questions surrounding the 2011-2012 A-F letter grades and report their findings at the next State Board of Education meeting in August.
“Governor Pence believes in accountability and that students, parents and teachers deserve to know our state has a fair and impartial grading system that accurately describes the performances of our schools,” said Kara Brooks, Press Secretary. “The Governor supports our A-F grading system and believes that the people of Indiana should have confidence in the integrity of that system. Today, at the direction of Governor Pence, Claire Fiddian-Green, Special Assistant for Education Innovation and Reform, urged the Department of Education to conduct a thorough and timely evaluation of the questions surrounding the A-F grading system and to report their findings to the State Board of Education at the upcoming August meeting. After the Department of Education reports its findings to the State Board of Education, the Governor believes we will be able to make an informed decision about how we might best ensure public confidence in our A-F grading system going forward.”
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody released the following statement about the resignation of former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett as Florida Commissioner of Education in the wake of a scandal involving changed accountability grades for certain Indiana schools:
"Indiana schools and students deserved better than the disparate treatment they received during Tony Bennett's tenure, and it's a relief that Florida won't have to endure his approach to leadership.
"Unfortunately, this is the latest in a long line of stories that make it clear that Republicans have been in power too long and have let that power corrupt them and the way they govern. What's worse is that Governor Pence is still defending Tony Bennett and the mistakes he made instead of working with Supt. Glenda Ritz to improve schools for all Hoosier children. While prominent leaders from both political parties in the Statehouse, and even Bennett himself, have called for reviews and investigations into this controversy, Gov. Pence is saying nothing about it. Additionally, any individuals in the governor’s administration who were involved in this controversy should be held accountable.
"As Democrats, we're committed to recruiting candidates and supporting our elected officials, like Glenda Ritz, who approach government as public service and who intend to serve all Hoosiers equally, fairly and with dignity and common sense.
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August 1st-7th Declared Breastfeeding Week in Indiana

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—Thursday, August 1 begins World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and celebrate the efforts of all who embrace breastfeeding as the cultural norm. In conjunction with the worldwide celebration, Governor Pence has declared August 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week in Indiana. 
"Breastfeeding protects babies by providing the ultimate infant nutrition," said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health. "Breastfeeding Week is a great way for Hoosiers to recognize the value and importance of breastfeeding and demonstrate support for breastfeeding moms."  
Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development of infants. It reduces infant mortality by protecting the infant against infectious diseases and has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of developing asthma, obesity, diabetes and other diseases in childhood and later adulthood. And the physical contact of breastfeeding provides comfort and security to infants.  
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too. Breastfeeding provides a quiet time for mothers to bond with their babies and decreases the risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding is also economical because there is no formula to buy and healthier babies mean fewer visits to the doctor. In addition, breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes.   
National estimates suggest that if 90 percent of U.S. babies were breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented, and the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care costs. 
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7 each year. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlights the importance of support for breastfeeding mothers from others such as family, friends and breastfeeding peer counselors. 
The Breastfeeding Week proclamation will be read by Dr. Duwve at the Indianapolis 2013 Big Latch On, an event hosted by Indy Breastfeeding Moms that will attempt to break the World Record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously. The official “latch on” begins at 10:30 a.m. on August 3 at the Rivera Club in Indianapolis. Several Big Latch On events will take place around the state. For more information and to register, visit
For more information on breastfeeding or to see a copy of the Breastfeeding Week proclamation, visit Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at
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Portage PD Seek Help to Find Armed Robbery Suspects

portage pd
Portage Police are seeking the public's assistance in locating three black male suspects being sought in the armed robbery of a tobacco store on Sunday evening. Police report an investigation found two of the three suspects had ties to Gary, but while neither suspects could be located, authorities were able to find the vehicle used in the robbery. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of 42 year old Garland Jeffers Jr. and 49 year old Roscoe McClendon is asked to contact Detective Captain Joe Reynolds at (219) 762-3122. Police say a third unknown suspect is also being sought. No one was injured in the armed robbery that took place in the 34-hundred block of Willowcreek Road, in which the suspects reportedly stole cigarettes and cash.
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Recalled Ground Beef in Indiana

A Kansas company has recalled approximately 50-thousand pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says no illnesses have been reported linked to consumption of the meat, which was produced by National Beef Packing Company of Liberal, Kansas. The beef was sold in 40 to 60 pound cases to retailers, wholesalers, and food service distributors nationwide including IGA and Cash Saver stores in Indiana
From USDA:


New Dune Park Platform to Open

The east portion of a new high-level boarding platform at the busy Dune Park South Shore station at US 12 and State Road 49 in Chesterton is opening this month. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District officials say the new platform will let passengers board the trains without having to climb stairs, which will be especially helpful for those with disabilities, the elderly, and families with strollers. It's also expected to reduce station "dwell time," the time a train needs to be at the station to serve passengers, taking a couple minutes off the stop. The four-million dollar project includes warming shelters and an overhead canopy that'll run the full length of the platform.

Fmr Ind School Chief Bennett Resigns Fla Post

Former Indiana state schools chief Tony Bennett this morning resigned his position as education commissioner in Florida after a school grading controversy stemming from his tenure as state school superintendent in Indiana. Bennett said Florida schools "don't deserve this distraction" and says he was urged by the chairman of the Florida Board of Education to stay on. It follows allegations reported by the Associated Press that Bennett changed the grade of a charter school run by a key Republican donor.  Bennett today described the reports as "malicious" and "unfounded". He defended the grading saying a statistical anomaly was found that did not allow not just one but thirteen schools have their grade "truly reflect their performance,"  and said he would formally request Indiana's inspector general investigate this issue, saying he is "fearless about what they will find."

Illinois Gov to Sign Medical Marijuana Bill

Today, Illinois becomes the latest state to legalize marijuana. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is set to sign legislation that will make Illinois the twentieth state in the country to legalize marijuana for medical use. Quinn is expected to set some of the toughest standards in the nation for how the drug is distributed. Patients and caregivers will have to undergo background checks and marijuana dispensaries will be regulated by the state. Patients will be allowed to buy up to two and half ounces at a time. The measure lists by name forty-two illnesses or diseases that patients would have to be seeking treatment for including cancer, HIV, aids, and ALS .

Gov Pence to Remember USS Indianapolis

Indiana Governor Mike Pence will join survivors of the USS Indianapolis in Indianapolis tonight to commemorate the 68th Anniversary of the ship's sinking. The World War Two ship was sunk by torpedoes in shark-infested waters of the Pacific July 30, 1945, after a classified mission related to delivering parts for the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan. Nearly nine-hundred of the 12-hundred on board died.

Two Big Presentations at NIRPC Committee

nirpc logo
State environmental officials will be in the Region today to present the results of the Lakeshore Air Toxics Study. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management analysis evaluated air monitoring data and performed modeling of industrial, car and truck emissions in Northwest Indiana to assess potential health risks.
Also at today's NIRPC Environmental Committee meeting this morning... the Indiana Department of Transportation is returning as a followup to an overview presentation in May, when committee members had a number of questions about water-related impacts of the proposed Illiana Expressway.  Meeting is at 9 am.
More info from NIRPC:
Jeffrey Stoakes, Senior Environmental Manager with the Office of Air Quality at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will present the results of the Lakeshore Air Toxics Study. This study was introduced at EMPC in May of 2012. The study evaluated ambient air monitoring data and performed modeling of industrial, car, and truck emissions within Northwest Indiana to assess potential health risks.
In addition, Jim Earle of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will return to EMPC as a follow up to an overview presentation in May of this year. “The EMPC members had numerous questions about water related impacts of the proposed Illiana expressway,” said Kathy Luther, NIRPC Director of Environmental Programs, “I’m pleased that the Illiana team requested an opportunity to come back and address these concerns.”
The Environmental Management and Policy Committee (EMPC) is one of the primary advisory bodies to NIRPC. The group includes elected local officials, environmental managers, regional environmental activists, industry leaders, and academics with expertise in environmental and ecological areas.

Gary Leaders Seek Answers to Violence

City and community leaders in Gary continue to search for ways to combat crime. At a meeting of the Gary Public Safety Committee Wednesday, Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram stressed the importance of economic development and jobs as part of the solution. He also said he is hoping to hire ten to eleven additional officers in the next few weeks and is planning another gun turn-in August 24th.  Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has asked the Governor for State Police to assist the city in fighting the recent surge in violence, a request Governor Pence is currently reviewing.  A man shot and killed Tuesday morning marked the 33rd homicide in the city of Gary this year.  Wednesday morning police say a 63-year-old Gary man was shot and wounded in a carjacking when he stopped to check on his tire at 5th and Wabash.


NIPSCO Earns 2013 Energy Star Housing Awward

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is pleased to announce that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the contribution NIPSCO has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection.
Created in 2008, NIPSCO’s Residential New Construction Program offers incentives to local builders and developers who construct homes to ENERGY STAR standards. To earn the ENERGY STAR label, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are up to 30 percent more efficient than typical new homes built today.
Together, families living in ENERGY STAR certified homes saved nearly $626 million on their utility bills and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 686,000 vehicles last year alone.
Since NIPSCO’s Residential New Construction Program began, 1,527 homes across northern Indiana have earned incentives. Nationwide, more than 1.4 million ENERGY STAR certified homes have been built to date, with more than 100,000 constructed in 2012.
“We thank ENERGY STAR for recognizing NIPSCO’s efforts to help our customers build efficient homes,” said Victoria Vrab, director of conservation programs for NIPSCO. “Together with local builders we are helping encourage the adoption of energy-saving features, including insulation and duct sealing systems, high performance windows and efficient heating and cooling equipment that will help our customers achieve long-term energy savings.”
Additional energy efficiency programs
In addition to the Residential New Construction Program, NIPSCO customers have access to a wide range of energy efficiency programs which can help them identify ways to manage energy usage at home and the office, including:
·        Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: Save even more when you replace old, inefficient equipment with new, high efficiency natural gas and electric equipment as well as insulation and duct sealing.
·        Energy Efficiency Incentives for Businesses, Schools: Businesses and organizations of all size can take advantage of rebates and other incentives on renovation and new construction projects.
·        Home Energy Assessment: Learn how you can raise your home’s performance, lower energy bills and improve in-home air quality with an in-home assessment.
·        Appliance Recycling Program: Recycle your old refrigerator or freezer with us – it’s free and we’ll give you a $35 reward.
·        Air Conditioner (AC) Cycling Program: Help reduce energy demand on the hottest days of the year and earn bill credits during the summer.
·        Instant Savings on CFL Bulbs: Take advantage of instant, in-store discounts when purchasing CFL bulbs at participating retail locations. No coupons or forms needed.
A full list of energy efficiency programs available to NIPSCO customers can be found at
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).
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Harvey, IL Murder Suspect Arrested in Dolton

Michael Reid
(Above Photo: Michael Reid; Below: Christopher Chandler)
Christopher Chandler
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A 37 year old Alsip, Illinois man, wanted in connection with a Harvey murder was apprehended this morning in Dolton. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports Michael Reid was taken into custody at 5:40am, at a hotel room in the 13-hundred block of Sibley Boulevard on a warrant issued back in May. The Sheriff's Office reports while searching for Reid Tuesday in Harvey before getting a tip he was Dolton, officers arrested 22 year old Christopher Chandler of Harvey, who was wanted for concealment of a homicidal death stemming from a Harvey Police Department case.
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Gary Man Faces 45 Year Sentence in 2011 Homicide

A 26 year old Gary man is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6th, after accepting a plea agreement regarding a 2011 homicide. According to court documents, Cadereo Jester faces 45 years in prison after confessing to killing then 23 year old Christine Arnold, whose body was found in the Ivanhoe Nature Conservancy in Gary. A piece of glass found in a vehicle at the scene was analyzed through the D-N-A database, and came back with Jester as a possible contributor. Arnold admitted to Conservation officers he stabbed Arnold with a piece of glass at a residence on Hovey Street in Gary, before putting her body in a car and crashing through a fence on the property of the Nature Conservancy. Arnold died due to blunt force trauma caused by traumatic head injuries and a fracture of the cervical spine.
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Leo Finnerty to be New Chief Deputy Coroner in Lake Co

CROWN POINT -- Lake County Coroner Merrilee D. Frey R.N., B.S.N., M.S., F.N.E., will be welcoming newly appointed Chief Deputy Coroner Leo Finnerty next week. Chief Finnerty brings to us, more than 30 years of Law Enforcement / Detective expertise with the Hobart Police Department in addition to an extensive background in criminal investigations. Leo Finnerty has attended The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and the prestigious FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Leo’s diverse investigative background in addition to more than 200 training certifications will bring the type of experience of investigation that is required in the Coroners Office. Coroner Frey states, “Our plan is to utilize the professional skills of Chief Finnerty in Homicide Investigations to instruct Coroner staff employees, helping them to develop additional skills with their investigations.” In addition Leo has served as Police Chief at Purdue University Calumet Hammond, Indiana and has lectured at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, Indiana. He will truly be an asset to the Coroners Office.
“It has been an Honor to work with Chief David Pastrick for one year. He accepted the position as Chief temporarily when I was elected, to help with my transition into office as Coroner. Chief Pastrick has my support in returning to his family owned Funeral Home. Together Chief Pastrick and I choose our new Chief Leo Finnerty”
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CP Home Damaged by 2012 Fire to be Demolished

A Crown Point home that has been sitting vacant since a fire in February of 2012 has been approved for demolition. City officials today (Wednesday) approved allowing the demolition of the burned-out home and put a lien on the property, located in the 95-hundred block of Johnson Street. Officials say it poses a health and safety risk to the community, and will prevent property values on other homes in the vicinity from being impacted.
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Jim Gaffigan Talks With Karl Berner


World-famous comedian Jim Gaffigan is in The Region this week preparing for a stop at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville with his current act “The White Bread Tour”.
His show is tomorrow night at 7:30pm. The Region News Team's Karl Berner caught up with Jim this morning. Hear the full interview HERE.

Naturalized Detention Basin Worshop and Tour

save the dunes
Save the Dunes is pleased to announce that registration for an upcoming workshop on naturalized detention basins on August 14th is now open.   Space is limited, so they request that interested parties or individuals please register soon to reserve their seat. Registration is required for this event.  This full day workshop is free, but there is a $10 charge to cover a light breakfast, lunch, and drink service throughout the day.  The deadline to reserve a lunch for this event is August 7th, however registration will still remain open until the workshop is full (food options will be available on and adjacent to the Valparaiso University campus). This workshop will feature presentations by Dr. Kristopher Bass from North Carolina State University. Dr. Bass has years of experience designing and installing naturalized basins, making him a national expert on this stormwater practice that improves water quality and provides urban habitat.
Topics and activities for the workshop include:
A brief introduction to Save the Dunes and watershed management, an overview of traditional detention basin design, design options and considerations, cost and economic considerations, benefits and pollutant load reductions, maintenance, naturalized basin case studies, what these practices mean in the context of the Salt Creek Watershed planning efforts, Thorgren & Wall Street basins case studies, and a tour of those two naturalized basins in Valparaiso, Indiana.
To register for this event, please go to the registration webpage: or email Shaena Reinhart at Empower Results at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
This workshop is part of the Salt Creek Watershed Management effort. The naturalized basins are also part of Save the Dunes’ Salt Creek efforts as well as the Valparaiso Stormwater master plan. Save the Dunes received financial support to naturalize the Wall Street Basin through the Salt Creek Cost Share and Education program, which was funded by a Clean Water Act section 319 grant in 2011. The Thorgren Basin was naturalized and expanded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant program in 2012 in partnership with the City of Valparaiso.
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Man Shot During Carjacking Incident in Gary

Gary PD
A 63 year old Gary man was shot during a carjacking incident this morning. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says James Murray had stopped to check the tire on his 1995 Champagne-colored Cadillac Seville, at 5th Avenue and Wabash Street, when he was approached by three black males, one of which started shooting. Corp. King says Murray then fled the scene, when he notice he had been shot in the leg, but managed to walk to a friend's house, in the one-thousand block of Whitcomb Street, where the authorities were called and he was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Corp. King says the suspects fled the scene in Murray's vehicle, which was not registered and had an interim plate. Anyone with information is asked to contact Corp. Mike Barnes, of the Gary Police Department at (219) 881-7300 ext 3004.
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Scneider Man Arrested on Warrant for Dealing Rx Meds

Michael Johnson
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office)
A Schneider man was arrested this morning with charges pending through the Lake County Prosecutor's Office on two-counts of dealing prescription medication. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports tactical officers served a narcotics search warrant at a residence in the 99-hundred block of West 241st Avenue, in Schneider, at 6:30am, and arrested 58 year old Michael Johnson. Authorities say numerous prescription pills were seized from the home.
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Dentist from LaPorte Arrested for Heroin Formally Charged

ben porter
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 30 year old LaPorte dentist arrested Monday evening for possession of heroin with intent to distribute has been formally charged today.  Portage Police report they pulled over Benjamin Porter's vehicle for speeding, after an officer noticed his vehicle weaving through eastbound traffic on I-80, just west of the Portage Toll barrier. Police say Porter reportedly admitted to possessing heroin in his vehicle, after he was informed an officer was en-route with a canine to check his vehicle, after initially denying a search of his vehicle. Porter is scheduled to appear in Porter Superior Court on the two felony charges Friday.
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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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