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LaPorte Woman Assaults Officers After Arrest for Battery

Kristina Yacconi
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte PD)
A 34 year old LaPorte woman was arrested Tuesday night for assaulting a woman and the woman's ten-year old daughter, and then assaulting a two police officers while being processed. LaPorte Police report the victim informed them that she, along with another person, were playing cards at a home in the 300 block of State Street, when Kristina Yacconi, of LaPorte, came home and appearing intoxicated, allegedly proceeded to assault the victim and her daughter. Police called out to the scene just after 11:30pm and located the suspect minutes later at a neighboring residence where she was initially taken into custody on battery charges. Police say while processing Yacconi, she allegedly became combative, and assaulted a LaPorte Police Officer and a LaPorte County Jail Officer, and was additionally charged with felony battery to a law enforcement officer.
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CP Man Gets 4 Yrs for OWI Crash that Killed his Passenger

A Crown Point man was sentenced to four years in prison for the death of his passenger in a July, 2011, crash. The Lake County Prosecutor's Office reports Nicholas Stockman was charged with felony operating while intoxicated causing death after his vehicle left the roadway while heading north on I-65, just north of the U-S 30 exit, and struck a light pole, causing both Stockman and his passenger, Desmond Ramos to be ejected. Ramos was pronounced dead at the scene, and authorities reported neither man was wearing their seat belt at the time of the crash.
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Gary Man Sentenced to 19 1/2 Years for House Burning

A Gary man today received 19 and a half years in prison during sentencing for arson, battery, and stalking. The Lake County Prosecutor's Office reports James Gardner III was convicted of arson for damaging the residence of Kaneka Turner in December of 2008. Gardner was also found guilty of battery and stalking against Turner, as well as several other crimes, including harassment and criminal mischief.
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Substance in Water Posed No Threat to Swimmers

A swimming advisory has been lifted for all beach areas at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials report lab tests conducted by both the US Geological Survey and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management determined that the substances found in water did not pose a health threat to swimmers. Park rangers were dispatched to the Porter Beach area Monday afternoon after visitors reported an unidentified substance sticking to swimmers. A US Coast Guard helicopter observed the extent of the material and estimated it to be approximately one-eighth of a mile long. Water samples taken ruled out an oil spill and further analysis indicated the presence of Tricalcium Orthophoshate. The US Coast Guard continues to investigate and a report is expected within a week.
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All Lanes WB on the Borman (I-80/94) Running Slow

WB 80-94 at Calumet crash  06-19-13
Traffic westbound on I-80/94 is backing up just past Kennedy Avenue due to a crash on the outside shoulder near Calumet Avenue, which has the right lane closed between Indianapolis blvd. and Calumet.  Rescue crews are on the scene, be alert to slowdowns in the westbound lanes.
(photo from INDOT)
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19 Year Old Charged with April Burglary in Michigan City

McFaddenAndre 05-15-13

(Photo Courtesy of the Michigan City PD)

A 19 year old already in the LaPorte County Jail on unrelated charges, was served a warrant on Friday for one-count of felony burglary for an incident on April 1st, in Michigan City. Michigan City Police today announced that after a lengthy investigation probable cause was found for Andre McFadden who is accused of gaining unlawful entry to the B-P Gas Station in the 700 block of State Road 212, where tobacco items were reportedly taken.

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Woman Allegedly Assaulted in LaPorte

LaPorte PD
Police in LaPorte are investigating an alleged assault of a 24 year old woman Tuesday night. Authorities report the LaPorte woman informed police she was attacked from behind while walking south in the one-hundred block of Fox Street, near Family Express. The woman reported seeing a man standing at the west side of the store just after 10pm, and after realizing the store was closed, became nervous, so she began walking south and that is when she reports being strangled until she passed out by an unknown man. Police report the woman had fresh scrapes to her knees, ankles, and feet, a cut on her hand, redness on both sides of her neck, and refused medical treatment. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact LaPorte Police at (219) 362-9446 or http://lpcitypd.com ...

 

Gary Mayor Responds to Animal Control Closure Petition

City of Gary
Recently, a petition was launched on Change.org suggesting that the City of Gary’s Animal Control facility and services be transferred to Lake County Animal Control (LCAC). In light of the claims raised by concerned citizens, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson issued the following statement:
“We are certainly aware of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the city’s Animal Control facility, and the staff has been working with rescue groups and committed volunteers to improve the environment for the animals that occupy the building. The current Animal Control staff is fully trained with proper certifications to handle animals and operate the facility. However, the outdated structure presents challenges as they seek to give these animals the care they need and deserve.
There is a need for a new or renovated facility that can accommodate the quarantine of infected animals. Because current budget restraints don’t allow for the construction or renovation of a facility using city dollars, we are exploring other ways to accomplish this goal. Most recently, representatives from the Bissell Pet Foundation in partnership with Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) have come forward to offer their assistance.
From July 8-12, 2013 ARC President Scotlund Haisley will visit our Animal Control facility to conduct a needs assessment at no cost. He and his team will assess all elements of Gary’s Animal Control field and shelter operations, identify any deficiencies, make recommendations on cutting costs while maximizing efficiency and effectiveness, and suggest ways to expand and improve service. Areas to be assessed include but are not limited to budget, facility, staff, training, database system, customer service, emergency plan, animal handling, animal enrichment, behavior assessments, veterinary care, housing quality, intake protocol, euthanasia criteria and protocol, adoption program and policies, community outreach, shelter and rescue partnerships, food program, volunteer program, foster program, etc.
The above assessment is only the beginning. Once ARC reps report their findings, which will take approximately 3 weeks, recommendations can then be made to the Bissell Pet Foundation on how they can help with the implementation of these findings. It is our hope that this partnership will lead to the building of a new facility or complete renovation of the current or an alternate building in the city.
Our Animal Control division is an enforcement agency that serves the residents of Gary. While there have been suggestions in the past to move the services to Lake County, we have been advised that LCAC cannot handle the volume of animals that Gary Animal Control impounds on a daily basis.
Currently, our Animal Control team is developing a contingency plan that will outline the immediate next steps for addressing the housing situation for these animals, and these measures will be shared publicly by July 1. Our first priority is to provide a safe and sanitary location for these animals to dwell until rescued. Ideally, we want to keep these vital services here in our community. A city of Gary’s size and population deserves it.
Finally, I would like to thank the citizens of Gary and surrounding communities for their outpour of concern, and ask that they continue to volunteer and support the Animal Control Department as we work through these challenges.”
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IN Republican State Chair Holcomb to Step Down on 7/9

INDIANAPOLIS (June 19, 2013) - Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb issued the following statement regarding upcoming leadership changes at The Indiana Republican Party:

"At today's State Committee meeting I announced a series of upcoming leadership changes at The Indiana Republican Party.  While there is never a perfect time for these types of transitions, I believe this year, being an off-election year, is the best time.  In addition, and most importantly, these changes will give Governor Mike Pence a wonderful opportunity to charge forward and write our Party's next chapter of success. 

"My final day as State Chairman will be July 9, 2013.

"For quite some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my professional career. With the support of Governor Mike Pence and the confidence that our State Party's debts are paid off, we have surpassed our recent fundraising goals, our staff is smaller and more efficient than ever and we've already completed our biggest technological upgrade in a decade, made now the right time.

"I've had the honor and rare opportunity to serve alongside the leadership of two Republican governors, legislative leaders second to none, the best Congressional delegation in the country and local leaders in all 92 counties in the state.  This service ranks as one of the best experiences of my life. I have enjoyed giving it my all and yet always realized I received so much more out of the endeavor than I ever invested in it.

"An announcement regarding my next assignment will come sooner rather than later."

In addition, Holcomb announced that Executive Director Justin Garrett will be moving on to the private sector effective tomorrow, June 20.

"On a Mitch Daniels for Governor campaign, in the Governor's office and as a member of our Indiana Republican Party staff, Justin has been an indispensible leader, colleague and friend.  Our gains in the past few years are in large part because of his dedication to the cause," Holcomb said.

Former Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will also step down from her role as National Committeewoman following our Summer Dinner on July 9th.

Under State Party rules, Vice Chair Sandi Huddleston, in her capacity as Acting Chairman upon Holcomb's resignation, will be charged with conducting the election for a new State Chair.  Vice Chair Huddleston will also step down at that time herself.


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Swimming Advisory Lifted at Indiana Dunes State Park

Officials report the waters of Indiana Dunes State Park are now open again. Those waters had been under a swimming advisory after officials were alerted by beach-goers who reported children coming out of the lake with what they described as a 'sticky substance' on them Monday afternoon. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and US Geological Survey both took samples Monday, and expect a report on their findings within a week. IDEM Spokesman Dan Goldblatt says the Coast Guard continues to investigate, but the substance, whatever it is, is not believed to have come from the shore or any stacks, and are also investigating the possibility if this incident is related to a glittery substance reported on vehicles and outdoor furniture in the 15-hundred block of Brown Avenue in Robertsdale earlier this month.
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Sentors Donnelly and Collins: 40 Hours is Full-Time

donnelly
Washington, D.C. — Today, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) took a two-pronged approach to addressing what is an increasing problem around the country: employers needing a better definition of and clarity on “full-time employee” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).   
Collins said, “The new health care law creates a perverse incentive for businesses to cut their employees’ hours so they are no longer considered ‘full time.’  If its definition of a full-time worker as someone who works only 30 hours a week is allowed to go into effect, millions of American workers could find their hours, and their earnings, reduced.  This simply doesn’t make sense.”
Donnelly said, “Most Hoosiers I know think forty hours is full time.  We need to change the definition of a ‘full-time employee’ in the Affordable Care Act to bring it in line with what most Americans have traditionally recognized as full time.  We also need to provide clarity to employers so they have the information they need to run their businesses and plan for the future.  Many employers have to make decisions because of this definition, and some have chosen to cut current part-time employees’ hours.  This leaves too many Indiana families struggling to make ends meet.  I’m pleased to join my friend, Senator Collins, in introducing both a legislative and administrative approach to addressing this problem.  These are straightforward, common sense improvements that would benefit both employers and employees.”
Beginning in 2014, employers with more than 50 full-time employees will be required to provide employees with a basic level of health insurance or potentially face a penalty.  Under the ACA, a full-time employee is defined as an individual who works an average of at least 30 hours per week.  This is inconsistent with what most Americans, think: full-time is a 40 hour work week.  Further, there is significant confusion among employers who are struggling to understand and comply with the new requirements. 
Offering a legislative approach to solving this issue, Senators Collins and Donnelly introduced the Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013, which would change the definition of “full time” in the ACA to 40 hours per week and the number of hours counted toward a “full-time equivalent” employee to 174 hours per month. 
As they work together on a bipartisan legislative solution to develop clear, workable guidelines necessary for American businesses and workers, Senators Collins and Donnelly simultaneously urged President Obama to provide transition relief for employers.  They co-authored a letter to the President strongly urging his Administration to work with the employer community to provide transition flexibility beyond January 1, 2014, free from the threat of penalty.
To read the full text of Sens. Collins and Donnelly’s letter to President Obama, click here.
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Ind School Supt Wants to Help Guidance Counselors

Indiana State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she wants to enhance school counseling. Speaking to an audience of school counselors this week, Ritz introduced the idea of having thirteen Department of Education Outreach Coordinators in nine regions across the state work with counselors on how to better help students better succeed after high school. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Indiana's student to counselor ratio is eighth worst in the nation, at 539-to-one. The Indiana Youth Institute has brought experts to Indy yesterday and today for a Postsecondary Counseling Institute. The institute said 90-percent of counselors responding to a survey of theirs said they didn't know all the information needed to help students succeed
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More Work Ahead on 133rd in Cedar Lake

In Cedar Lake, a public hearing is coming up next month as town officials prepare for additional work along 133rd Avenue. Town Manager Ian Nicolini says financing essentially will cover two different projects.  "The second phase of 133rd Avenue," Nicolini said, "which is on the west side, will pay for the water main extension of that project.  The remainder of the project is paid for with federal funds.  On the east side of 133rd Avenue, we're paying for a reconstruction locally with TIF dollars as part of this financing."   For more about the project visit News Audio on Demand. Nicolini said the public hearing is July 8.
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Graduation Cat Caps IU Grad's Cake

grad cat cap WinCE
A graduation cat capped this IU grad's cake...22-year-old Laura Gambrel of Zionsville graduated from Indiana University last month.... and her mom ordered her a cake that featured a photo of her photo in the icing, and she requested that a cap be drawn on the top of picture. Someone, however, apparently accidentally wrote down “cat”, and that's what drawn in icing on top of Laura's head. The mom says they all got a good laugh out of it – including the bake staff – and she asked them not to scrape it off.
[Photo/ABC News Blogs/courtesy Laura Gambrel]
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New Report on Asian Carp

carpstudy
A new report out by the US Geological Survey says Asian carp don't need as much room to spawn as scientists thought. USGS Hydrologist Elizabeth Murphy says findings indicate that two species of Asian carp—silver and bighead carp—may be able to spawn in more Great Lakes tributaries than previously estimated.  Murphy says it's hoped that the information can help resource managers implement control measures and potentially prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes. Hear more of our interview online at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3618&from=rss_home
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Some Indiana Toll Road Rates Going Up

Some motorists will be paying more to drive the Indiana Toll Road soon. On July first, the a typical passenger car paying cash to travel the entire 157 miles between Illinois and Ohio will pay nine-dollars-seventy-cents, thirty-cents more than the July 2012 rate. Drivers who use an E-ZPass-compatible transponder for electronic tolling will continue to pay four-dollars-65-cents for the same trip and will not see an increase. Those rates are frozen through 2016, and ITR Concession Company says those are the same rates that have been in effect since 1985. A typical five-axle semi truck traveling one state line to the other will pay a-dollar-thirty-cents more, up to a total of $38-dollars-70-cents. ITR Concession says passenger cars, trucks and motorcycles wishing to avoid the rate increase may still purchase an E-ZPass transponder for ten-dollars.
For more info, visit www.ezpassin.com
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Sheen Reportedly Reached Michigan City

coast guard great lakes
The US Coast Guard is among the agencies investigating the sheen seen on Lake Michigan at a Region beach on Monday, causing authorities to order swimmers out of the water. National Lakeshore officials say all Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches remain under an advisory until it's determined what it was. The Coast Guard says about 3 p.m. Monday, a communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City was notified that people were coming out the water with an oily substance on them at Porter Beach.
The station directed the reporting source to contact the National Response Center, and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago dispatched a response boat to the area, and officials say pollution investigators found no visible sheen. Authorities say a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was diverted from a training mission to conduct an overflight of the area from the Port of Indiana to Michigan City, and found no evidence of sheen. They report they did see a few pollen blooms, and that just after 4 p.m., Station Michigan City received a report that the sheen had reached Michigan City.  The U.S. Geological Survey has taken water samples, and the results are pending. The Coast Guard also says their investigators are also reviewing a surveillance video provided by the Port of Indiana and have not noticed any signs of pollution.
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Group Wants Statue to Stay

Our Lady statue
A group calling themselves “Save Our Lady” is prepared to go to court... and appeal to Rome if necessary... to prevent the relocation of The Marian Wayside Shrine on US 41. The 15-foot hand-carved marble statue of the Virgin Mary, from Italy, has been in place along the highway in St. John for nearly sixty years, having been placed there, the group says, so the statue could be seen by all faiths during their travels....Route 41 used to be a main north-south highway connecting the upper midwest to the southern states, all the way to Florida. Yellow caution tape has been placed around the statue, also called the Great Lady, as St. John the Evangelist Parish is making preparations to move the statue about a half-mile away to parish grounds, and place another statue of the Virgin Mary, called Our Lady of the New Millennium, 33-feet tall and made of metal, at the US 41 location. On the Save Our Lady Facebook page, the group says they have civil lawyers working on an emergency injunction and a Catholic priest who specializes in Canon law who is prepared to work within the Catholic legal system all the way to Rome.
[Photo/Save Our Lady]
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Group Wants Statue to Stay

Our Lady statue
A group calling themselves “Save Our Lady” is prepared to go to court... and appeal to Rome if necessary... to prevent the relocation of The Marian Wayside Shrine on US 41. The 15-foot hand-carved marble statue of the Virgin Mary, from Italy, has been in place along the highway in St. John for nearly sixty years, having been placed there, the group says, so the statue could be seen by all faiths during their travels....Route 41 used to be a main north-south highway connecting the upper midwest to the southern states, all the way to Florida. Yellow caution tape has been placed around the statue, also called the Great Lady, as St. John the Evangelist Parish is making preparations to move the statue about a half-mile away to parish grounds, and place another statue of the Virgin Mary, called Our Lady of the New Millennium, 33-feet tall and made of metal, at the US 41 location. On the Save Our Lady Facebook page, the group says they have civil lawyers working on an emergency injunction and a Catholic priest who specializes in Canon law who is prepared to work within the Catholic legal system all the way to Rome.
[Photo/Save Our Lady]
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2013 Tax Sale Payment Plan

The May tax deadline has come and gone and preparation for conducting a Tax Sale begins. Tax payers who have not paid taxes due from May 10, 2012 or before may find themselves subject to tax sale on October 29, 2013 at 10:00am, said Treasurer Mike Bucko.
SRI of Indianapolis is conducting the tax sale for the county and will notify taxpayers via Certified Mail in August of 2013 followed by a 1st Class Tax Sale notice mailed in early October, of 2013 for those who have not responded to the certified mailing. A non-refundable fee of $100.00 that covers advertising costs and SRI’s fees will be applied to each certified taxpayer.
You may be eligible to be placed on a tax sale payment plan which provides an extended time period to pay but all delinquent taxes and all penalties are collected. This is not an alternative to the annual payment method but you may be eligible said Bucko
Taxpayers on a payment plan WILL remain on the tax sale list and be advertised three consecutive times beginning in September. Once certified the only way to prevent being advertised is to pay the amount owed in full prior to the dead line for advertising.
If you are in the payment plan and have made your down payment and all monthly payments on or before the 10th of each month due up to and including October 10, 2013 without fail you may be removed from the tax sale list October 28, 2013. Late payments are not allowed and will void the agreement
You may call the Treasurer’s Office at 219-465-3470 for an appointment Monday – Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm except holidays with the Treasurer or his Chief Deputy Treasurer at 155 Indiana Ave. Suite 209, Valparaiso, IN.
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