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Pence Statement of Close of the 2013 Session of Gen Assembly

Gov Mike Pence
Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement at the close of the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly:
"As this legislative session draws to a close, I am grateful for the efforts of every member who made this one of the most civil and substantive sessions of our state legislature in recent memory. 
Throughout this session this General Assembly and our Administration have put taxpayers first. We put together a budget that holds the line on spending funds our priorities, saves for the future and still puts more money back in Hoosiers' pockets. It funds excellence in our schools, rewards outstanding teachers, and includes the first new money in a decade for local roads. 
We also crafted the largest state tax cut in Indiana history-more than $600 million a year-and helped every Hoosier taxpayer, small business owner and family farmer in the process. With a combination of income tax relief, inheritance tax repeal and other business tax reductions, legislators passed the right tax relief at the right time, and it will make Indiana stronger as we compete for new jobs.
The work we have done together has laid a solid foundation for a more prosperous future for Indiana. We will attract more good-paying jobs because of the business-friendly tax climate we have produced and the strong balance sheet we have preserved. And Hoosiers will keep more of what they earn.  
This General Assembly and our Administration also have put kids first. From kindergarten to college, we have improved education in ways that will help the next generation succeed. We have given parents more opportunities to send their children to the school that works best for them. We've rewarded high-performing schools and teachers with increased flexibility. We have made a significant investment in successful dropout prevention programs to ensure that our kids finish high school. We've given college students new funding options, and we've made it easier for them to graduate on time.
And we came together, across party lines, to make sure our schools work for all our kids by taking a historic step toward making career and technical education a priority in every high school in Indiana.  Our state is poised to make sure our kids are more prepared than ever for the jobs of tomorrow. By addressing the skills gap that exists in our state, this General Assembly has put workforce development at the center of economic development in Indiana.
I commend the legislative leadership, especially Senate President Pro Tem David Long and Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, for guiding this session with a steady hand. The people of this state owe a debt of gratitude to them and to all the men and women who served in this session of the General Assembly. Their actions have made our state stronger and have laid a foundation for renewed prosperity and educational excellence. Thanks to these leaders, Indiana has again emerged as a beacon of fiscal responsibility, economic freedom and educational opportunity.  On behalf of all Hoosiers, I offer my heartfelt thanks to each and every member the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly."

Fire at Highland Shopping Plaza Under Investigation

A fire at a shopping plaza Wednesday in Highland caused moderate damage to two businesses and while the incident remains under investigation, officials say there is no indication that it was suspicious in nature. Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer says the fire was limited to a pizza restaurant and deli/catering business, and that while smoke blew throughout the complex, located in the 25-hundred block of 45 Street, every other business at the shopping plaza was operating today. Chief Timmer says they were called out about 4:15pm and spent around three-hours at the scene.
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Boy Struck by Vehicle in Schererville While Riding Bicycle

Schererville PD
Police in Schererville are seeking the public's help in reference to a boy on a bicycle being struck by a vehicle Wednesday evening near 81st Place and Westwood Court. Police say witnesses advised that the vehicle is described as an older mini-van being driven by a white or Hispanic female with dark hair, wearing a tank top and shorts. Conflicting statements were given as to the color of the vehicle, which ranged from light blue to blue, light green, green, or black, and as to the way the female was wearing her hair, which police say some witnesses stated as being in pig tails or in a pony-tail, while others described her hair as long and straight. Witnesses did advise authorities that the female got out of the vehicle and spoke with the subject and his friend, and retrieved a piece or all of the front bumper and placed it into her vehicle, and then left the scene traveling south on Burr Street. The boy was taken to South Lake Methodist Hospital for treatment, but the severity of his injuries are unknown at last check. Anyone with information regarding this incident, which took place around 5pm, is asked to contact the Schererville Police Department.
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$2.7 Million in Refunds for IN Cunsumers in E-Book Price Case

Indiana OAG Official Seal
Indiana is among 33 states declaring victory after a federal judge ruled Apple conspired with major US publishers to artificially raise the retail prices of electronic books, or E-books, undercutting its chief rival, Amazon. The five publishers named in the anti-trust lawsuit have settled their cases but Apple is appealing. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says those settlements will result in two-point-seven million dollars in refunds for Indiana consumers and more than 166-million dollars for consumers nationwide.
For more information about the refund process visit or contact the Indiana Attorney General’s office at 1.800.382.5516. The multistate lawsuits against Apple and the publishers came after a two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and attorneys’ general offices.
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Borman Lanes Blocked Due to Crash

INDOT says the left two lanes of westbound Interstate 80/94 in Lake Station are closed near the Indiana Toll Road due to a crash.  Authorities say the crash involved a semi and passenger vehicle.  Motorists are advised to expect delays approaching the 17.2 mile marker.

Fiscal Year Closeout Shows Indiana Way Ahead

pence and berry
Indiana is closing the books on fiscal year 2013 with a nearly 483-million dollar budget surplus -- almost 100-million dollars higher than the budget bill projected. Governor Mike Pence joined by State Auditor Tim Berry today announced state tax-funded debt is down 52-percent since July of last year.
“Indiana is strong and growing stronger, and the Closeout Report confirms the balanced approach that we took in the enacted budget,” said Governor Pence.  “I proposed an honestly balanced budget in January, and that’s what the General Assembly passed in April.  The budget holds the line on spending and maintains adequate reserves while including tax relief for Hoosiers and investing in our priorities. As a result, Indiana remains the fiscal envy of the country.”
The state further strengthened its fiscal position by paying off $282 million in debt on state-owned facilities, reducing state tax-funded debt by 52 percent since the start of FY 2013. Pence also announced that the state will lower its debts by an additional $66 million by paying off the bonds for the Miami Correctional Facility. That will reduce state spending by approximately $27 million in the next two years.
“Once again, Indiana continues to be a model of fiscal responsibility,” said State Auditor Berry. “Our discipline when it comes to the state’s financial management allows us to meet our budgetary goals as well as positioning our state for a solid financial future. That is something most states today would envy.”
The FY 2013 Closeout Report is available at
[Photo/Indiana Governors Office]...

Teen Killed, Fourth Recent Fatal Shooting

Gary Police are investigating the fourth shooting death in the city in less than a week. Corporal Gabrielle King says 17-year-old Joshua Passmore of Gary was a backseat passenger in a vehicle with some friends who'd gone to a gas station in the 15-hundred block of Burr Street around 10-o'clock Wednesday night. "As the driver was putting gas in the car, they heard shots being fired in their direction from an unknown location," said Gary Police Corporal Gabrielle King. Corporal King says the driver got back in his car, and as they were driving away,  realized that Passmore was slumped over, then called 911 advising authorities they were on their way to the emergency room with a gunshot victim. The Lake County Coroners office says Passmore was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. Authorities say three people were shot and killed in Gary over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, in the five-thousand block of Pennsylvania Street, near 5th and Delaware, and in the 51-hundred block of Georgia Street.

Banner Year for Peregrine Falcon Chicks

DNR wildlife biologists say it was a banner year for banding peregrine falcon chicks in Indiana -- 44, topping the previous high mark of 38 last year.  Most of the young falcons are banded with leg identification tags to help monitor their movements and survival. Some leave the nest before they can be reached. Nesting sites in the Region, including East Chicago, Whiting, and Michigan City were among those with the most bandings. Baby peregrines were also banded in Gary and Porter County.
A half century ago, biologists say habitat loss and pesticides put peregrine falcons in peril of surviving as a species. By 1965, western populations had declined by 90 percent with not a single peregrine falcon nesting east of the Mississippi River.

Purdue Study Questions Health Value of Diet Drinks

Purdue researchers say artificially-sweetened diet drink may not be helping you lose weight after all, and may be contributing to health issues – like weight gain. Professor Susan Swithers says findings from a variety of studies show routine consumption of diet sodas, even one per day, can also be connected to higher likelihood of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. She says public health officials concerned about sugar-sweetened drinks may need to think about advocating limiting the intake of artificial no-cal or low-cal sweeteners as well.   Her findings were published by Cell Press on Wednesday (July 10) in an opinion article in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
(Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
More information from Purdue:
The concerns for these chemical sweeteners emerged across studies that varied widely in design, methodology and population demographics, and they applied to sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. About 30 percent of adults and 15 percent of children in the United States consume artificial sweeteners.
"The concern that these non-caloric sweeteners might not be healthy is a message that many people do not want to hear, especially as the prevalence of artificial sweeteners increases in other products," Swithers said. "There is a lot of pressure from the public health sector to find solutions to counter the rise of obesity and chronic disease, and there is a lot of money and business at stake for the food industry as it develops and promotes these products. Beverages are becoming political issues as government leaders and politicians seek regulation and taxing to limit their availability and consumption, but most of these measures exclude diet soft drinks because they are perceived as healthy. When it comes to making policy decisions, it's more important than ever that the science is considered and that the public understands what the science says in order to help them make the best health decisions."
Swithers, who also is a member of Purdue's Ingestive Behavior Research Center, looked at a variety of studies, including the San Antonio Heart Study that reported an increase in body weight gain for adults and adolescents who consumed artificially sweetened beverages over beverages regularly sweetened. Data from a number of studies, including the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study also reported greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which is related to diabetes and cardiovascular problems, for consumers of artificially sweetened beverages. Some data indicated that those who consumed artificially sweetened beverages had double the risk of metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.
Research also shows that non-caloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interfere with a body's learned responses. The assumption is that fewer calories means less weight gain. Research, including studies from Swithers and colleagues, shows that frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the opposite effect by confusing the body's natural ability to manage calories based on tasting something sweet. Swithers' research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and she is continuing to study these effects.

Weeklong Road Closure in Dyer

The Indiana Department of Transportation says US 30 will be closed not far from the Illinois state line for railroad crossing repair next week.  Here's the info along with detour details  from INDOT:

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of U.S. 30 at the railroad crossing in Dyer, located just west of Calumet Avenue. U.S. 30 will be closed to all traffic at the crossing beginning Monday, July 15th through Friday, July 19th. Crews will be repairing the crossing.
Drivers wishing to travel west on U.S. 30 will be detoured north on US 41, west on I-80/I-94, south on IL-394, and back to U.S. 30. Drivers wishing to travel east on U.S. 30 will be detoured north on IL-394, east on I-80/I-94, south on U.S. 41, and back to U.S. 30.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at  and follow us at  .
You can find traffic restriction information at Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

Ind Conservation Officers are Hiring

From the Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Division: Indiana Conservation Officers are beginning a hiring process on July 31st. Anyone interested in being considered must pass an on-line prerequisite test that may be found at  .  The prerequisite test must be completed before August 15th, 2013 to be considered for employment during this hiring process.

Indiana Conservation Officers are employees of the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Natural Resources and have been a state law enforcement profession since 1911. When fully staffed, 214 Conservation Officers carry out the statewide law enforcement duties which include natural resource laws, outdoor recreation laws, DNR property regulations, boating laws, off-road vehicle laws, environmental laws and Fish and Wildlife laws.

Successful candidates for this hiring process must be 21 years of age prior to February 24th, 2014, have an Associate’s Degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university, or have completed at least 60 credit hours toward a Bachelor’s Degree. The above listed website has additional tips that will assist interested applicants to prepare themselves to become a top candidate for this career.


La Porte Curfew Reminder

La Porte Police say they're sending out a courtesy reminder of their city's curfew law, and issued this news release:
The purpose of a curfew for minors is to aid in reducing juvenile crime and to help protect young people from being victimized.
The City of La Porte has a Curfew Ordinance which limits the lateness of hour and circumstances that youth can be in a public place.
Of course, parents may set curfew times for their children to be home at an earlier time than what the ordinance provides.
The city’s curfew ordinance generally states:
Children who are 14 years of age or under are not allowed to be in a public place after 10:00 pm or before 5:00 am on any day.
Children 15, 16 and 17 years of age cannot be in a public place:
- between 12:01 am and 5:00 am on Saturday and Sunday
- after 10:00 pm Sunday thru Thursday; or
- before 5:00 am Monday thru Friday.
Exceptions to this are a child:
- who is accompanied by his/ her parent, guardian or custodian;
- who is accompanied by an adult, authorized in writing by his/ her parent, guardian or custodian, which written authorization the child shall have on his/ her person; or
Participating in, going to, or returning from:
- lawful employment
- a school sanctioned activity; or
- a religious event
Violations of the ordinance can result in the child being taken into custody, and an ordinance fine issued to the parent/ guardian/ custodian in the amount of $50.

Police Investigate Gary Homicide

In Gary, police are investigating an apparent homicide overnight. The Lake County Coroners office says 17-year-old Joshua Passmore of Gary suffered a gunshot wound in the 15-hundred block of Burr Street and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight this morning. The Lake County Crime Lab is also investigating.

Hammond Co Buys Old North Coast Bldg

The former North Coast Distributing building in Valparaiso has a new owner. Valparaiso's redevelopment commission Wednesday announced AM Stabilizers, out of Hammond, is purchasing the property on Silhavy Road for two-point-seven million dollars with plans to move to the site early next year. The global plastics company specializes in making stabilizers for PVC. The old North Coast building has been vacant for about a year-and-a-half.

Funding Approved for New Tamarack Hall

tamarack 1960
Tamarack Hall in 1960 (Photo/IU)
Indiana's State Budget Committee has approved 45-million dollars to rebuild what was the very first building on the campus of Indiana University Northwest in Gary. Historians say the original Tamarack Hall, known as Gary Center, and Gary Main after going up in 1958, was renamed Tamarack in the 70s when a number of buildings on campus were given the names of trees. Tamarack is an American Larch. Tamarack Hall was damaged in the devastating floods of September 2008, and demolished early last year. The university says Tamarack was widely considered to be one of the finest theater venues in northern Indiana. The new hall at 35th and Broadway will be shared by IUN and Ivy Tech.
IU says the former Tamarack Hall Theatre was also home to Theatre Northwest, with its first performance in 1961. At its origination, Theatre Northwest was the only such performing arts venue and program out of all the IU regional campuses.

NW Indiana Man Rescued from River

Indiana Conservation Officers and personnel at the Tippecanoe River State Park rescue a northwest Indiana man. The Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Division says the 65-year-old man and his wife were kayaking on the Tippecanoe River when the kayak hit an underwater obstruction and flipped over, throwing the man into the water near Winamac, where he hung onto a nearby snag until help arrived. Officers say visitors overheard his cries for help, and contacted park employees. Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Richwine responded with his patrol boat and along with Mike Manion from the state park they report getting the man out of the water unharmed.  Officer Richwine, who is an Indiana River Rescue Instructor, says the La Porte County man had a lifejacket, but it wasn't accessible in the kayak.

Gary Dollar Home Deadline Friday

The deadline to submit an application for the Dollar House Program in Gary is tomorrow (Friday July 12, 2013), 5pm. Director of Communications for the City of Gary, Chelsea Whittington,says the program applications number in the hundreds, and the program has exceeded their expectations. The homes in the program are located in the University Park area of Gary, near Indiana University Northwest. Details about the program are listed in a fact sheet that can be found at the City of Gary website, .  For more information, contact the Gary Community Development Department at 219-881-5075.

New Program Challenges IN County Fairs to Create Food Drives

INDIANAPOLIS – Thousands of people attend Indiana county fairs each summer to enjoy an elephant ear, corn dog or other favorite fair food.  At the same time, approximately 694,500 Hoosiers each year are unable to survive without Indiana food banks according to the Hunger in America 2010 Indiana State Report.  This summer, the Indiana State Fair, Indiana Association of Fairs, Festivals and Events, Elanco and Indiana Farm Bureau are working together to help eliminate hunger in Indiana through a new program called FAIRs Care.
FAIRs CARE challenges Indiana county fairs to create a Fair Food Drive to collect non-perishable foods or monetary donations to serve their local food pantries.  On the last day of the State Fair Sunday, Aug. 18, Elanco and Indiana Farm Bureau will award eight $500 awards at random to participating county fairs to continue their hunger drive programs in 2014. 
"Indiana agriculture means many things to many people, but most importantly it means food on the table for all Hoosiers,” Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock said.  “Indiana Farm Bureau members are proud to be partnering with the State Fair, county fairs all across the state and our dear friends at Elanco on this project.  We are working together to make sure no Hoosier goes to bed hungry."
Altogether, 15 county fairs have stepped up to the challenge to participate in the new program.  They are:

·        Allen
·        Decatur
·        Elkhart
·        Hamilton
·        Hendricks
·        Jennings
·        LaGrange
·        Lawrence
·        Marion
·        Monroe
·        Noble
·        Porter
·        Starke
·        Vermillion
·        Wells
Throughout the county fair season, the Indiana State Fair, Elanco and Indiana Farm Bureau will also reward each donor with two admission tickets to the Indiana State Fair good for any day of the fair, Aug. 2 – 18.  This $20 value can be had with a minimum $3 of food items or financial support while supplies last. 

About Indiana State Fair
The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating Hoosiers’ spirit and agricultural heritage. Nationally recognized for offering great entertainment, showcasing youth, interactive agriculture education programs, premiere facilities and a variety of unique, fun foods, the Indiana State Fair has been an annual tradition for generations of Hoosiers since 1852.  The 2013 fair boasts “Fun at Every Turn” and is celebrating the “Year of Popcorn” presented by Weaver Popcorn Company.  For more information, please visit  
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Senate Republicans Call for Permanent Delay of Obamacare

Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today joined all 45 other Senate Republicans in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to permanently delay the implementation of the health care law for all Americans. After receiving concerns from the business community, the Obama administration announced last week that it will delay implementation of the employer mandate, a critical provision of Obamacare, until 2015.
In their letter the senators write to the president, “[W]hile your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families… Given the widely-held belief by the American people that the Affordable Care Act will not fulfill its promises and will result in higher costs for American families, we implore you to listen to the American people.” 
In addition to Coats, the letter was signed by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Jeffrey Chiesa (R-N.J.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Click here for a copy of the letter.

Below is the text of the senators’ letter.

July 10, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:
We write to express concern that in your recent decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate, you have unilaterally acted and failed to work with Congress on such a significant decision.  Further, while your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.
In response to questions about the administration’s decision, your senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said, “We are listening,” while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours.  We have been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand your burdensome requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the louder their outrage has become.
We are also listening to the views of the American people.  A recent Gallup poll from June of 2013 showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.  The same survey revealed that for every one person who believes they will be better off under the Affordable Care Act, two believe they will be worse off.  Opposition to your health law is growing, and it will continue to grow as more Americans realize that the law is built upon broken promises and will result in higher health care costs and more taxes. 
Under the individual mandate, the IRS, which is still under multiple investigations for unfairly targeting conservative groups, will play a central role in the implementation of the health care law in our country.  Last fall, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly six million Americans, primarily in the middle class, will have to pay a tax under the individual mandate, which was two million more than previously estimated.  When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, the average individual mandate tax will be nearly $1,200, which clearly contradicts your previous statement that the individual mandate “is absolutely not a tax increase.” 
Further, families are facing significant increases in premiums.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an analysis of premiums and concluded that under your law some Americans will see their premiums “double or even triple,” which is the opposite of your promise that premiums will go down by $2,500 for American families. 
Given the widely-held belief by the American people that the Affordable Care Act will not fulfill its promises and will result in higher costs for American families, we implore you to listen to the American people.  This law is unworkable and harmful to the economy and to American families, and your actions to delay the employer mandate are an acknowledgement of this fact.  While your recent action provides temporary relief for some, we believe that all Americans deserve permanent relief from this onerous law, so that we can adopt common-sense reforms that will actually lower costs and that Americans support.
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Abused Dogs Found in Dolton, Illinois

dolton dog 1
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
dolton dog 2
A 29 year old Dolton, Illinois, woman faces animal cruelty charges after the Cook County Sheriff's Police Animal Crimes Unit found an emaciated female dog outside her residence. Sheriff Thomas Dart says officers acting on a tip went to the 15400 block of East End Avenue this morning and found a total of eight pit bull mix dogs outside of Amanda Wise, some in crates and pens, with others chained to a fence, with no clean drinking water or food. Sheriff Dart says the seven other dogs discovered were in fair condition, and there was no indication of dog fighting at that location. The dogs have since been taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
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