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Rd Closures Around Fire Scene Until Tuesday Morning

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Road closures surrounding the two-block area of the structure fire in downtown Valparaiso at Lincolnway and Michigan continue, and are expected to remain blocked off through at least tomorrow morning, according to Valparaiso fire officials. Smoke is reportedly still smoldering at the site at last check, and the facade of the building was pulled down around 4pm today, the last major piece of the structure to be razed. Fire crews are reportedly still searching for hotspots at the site, monitoring the stability of surrounding buildings, and forklifts are digging through the rubble searching for a cause of the fire, which at this time remains unknown.
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Valpo Residents: Awoken to the Smell of Smoke

Valpo Residents: Awoken to the Smell of Smoke
(Photo Courtesy of the Porter County Museum)
Residents near where the fire occurred to the two-story brick building, at Lincolnway and Michigan, say they awoke to the distinct smell of burnt wood, and one of those residents including Mayor Jon Costas, who says he could smell the smoke when he got into his car this morning. Our own Jay Stevens spoke with the son of the building's owner, Duwayne Dermaylen, at the scene, who stated he received a phone call about 1:45 this morning about the fire at the building, which was built back in 1905, and was one of the first commercial building's in Valparaiso.
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NIPSCO: Power Could Be Back by this Evening Due to Fire

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Today's fire in downtown Valparaiso has caused some outages in the area of Lincolnway and Michigan. NIPSCO spokesperson Nick Meyer says they have about 38 customers, most of which are businesses, that are without power at last check. Meyer says crews are on-scene, waiting for the okay to switch the power back on, but with the damage, there is a number of inspections and steps that the city must take first before power is restored, but that process should be relatively quick, and they anticipate power being restored sometime tonight.
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Fire fighters Still On Scene Downtown Valpo

Several pieces of fire fighting equipment remained at the scene of a fire that was reported around 1:30 a.m. this morning in an over 100-year commercial building located at the southeast corner of Lincolnway and Michigan Ave.   Valparaiso Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief, Dan Lamb says crews were still finding hot spots and were pumping water on those areas with some of the hot spots unreachable. 
Chief Lamb says the fire destroyed and weakened the structure of the building making it potentially hazardous to the general public and because of that the remaining walls, especially located on the west side along Michigan Avenue will come down.
As of two o'clock this afternoon, Laura Waluszko of the Region News Team reporting from the scene, said a crane had begun to knock down the compromised walls of the burnt out structure.  Assistant Fire Chief Lamb earlier said that the fire department hopes to have Lincolnway reopened by four o'clock this afternoon, but that is no guarantee.
Currently, Lincolnway is closed between Morgan Avenue and Franklin Street.
The over 100-year old building was one of the first commercial buildings to be built in downtown Valparaiso. 
                                                                                                    
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(photos courtesy of Jay Stevens)
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Crews Remain On Scene at Downtown Valpo Fire

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[Photo/Karl Berner, Region News Team]

Water collects in on Morgan St., a half block from the fire scene in downtown Valparaiso as officials discuss the situation. Crews remained on scene at the fire, contained to one historic building at Lincolnway and Michigan St., at 8:15 this morning, and were expected to be on scene most of the day.

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[Photo/Courtesy Andy Urschel]

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Fire Breaks Out in Downtown Valparaiso

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[Photo/Camie Marfoe, Valparaiso]

Road closures -- Lincolnway, from Morgan to Washington... Michigan closed in both directions... The fire is at building at Lincolnway and Michigan.
There is a fire hose running down the middle of Lincolnway from the Porter County Courthouse all the way to the fire scene. The fire hose is also blocking Franklin.
City parking lot west of Round the Clock restaurant is closed with fire equipment
Expect fire crews to be on scene for most of the day
Llincolnway EAST of Morgan (where many people turn north to get to Calumet Ave) is open... CAN'T go south on Morgan, but you can go NORTH
Fire apparently under control, but heavy smoke still in the area, and winds from the west are blowing the smoke into the downtown area.
Also – there are some power outages, including the Lifestyles building... outages due to fire and power being shut off... NIPSCO has been on scene
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[Photo/Camie Marfoe, Valparaiso]

One firefighter has been transported to the hospital after a major fire breaks out overnight  in a building that takes up about a whole block,  in downtown Valparaiso. There's also fire damage to other structures on either side.  The extent of the firefighter's injuries wasn't available at this time.   The Valparaiso Fire Department got the call around 1:30 am.  Crews from Morgan Township and Washington Township were also on scene.  
Officials say the fire was in a two-story brick building at Lincolnway and Michigan, a structure that includes a mortgage company at that corner, plus businesses that face Michigan south of Lincolnway, including a barber shop and at least one other store.   Authorities say almost the entire inside of that building has been destroyed.   For those who are familiar with downtown Valpo, the building is a block east of Lifestyles.
Power is also out in some of the downtown buildings, east of the square, including the Lifestyles building from what we've been told this morning, and it's unknown how long those businesses will be without power.

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Fire in Downtown Valparaiso; Lincolnway Closed

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[Photos/Karl Berner, Region News Team]

In Valparaiso, crews are at the scene of a major fire in the downtown area overnight. Authorities are asking motorists to avoid Lincolnway this morning. Tipsters tell us the fire is at the corner of Lincolnway and Michigan. We do not have confirmed what businesses may have been affected at this time. Lincolnway is shut down just east of the downtown square and it's expected it will be closed for quite some time today.

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Road Closure on LaPorte Ave in Valpo Later This Month

The removal of an MRI from the old hospital in the 800 block of LaPorte Avenue will require a road closure there later this month. The City of Valparaiso reports they will have to close LaPorte Avenue, in front of the hospital, from the east to the west end, to set up a crane and semi. The closure, which is scheduled to take place either March 20th or 21st, will begin at 6am, and the process will reportedly take approximately ten-hours.
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1st Source Bank in LaPorte Robbed Thursday

The Times is reporting police in LaPorte are investigating a bank robbery. According to the article, 1st Source Bank, located on the city's east side was robbed Thursday at about 12:30pm. Published reports say a man, who indicated he had a gun, but who reportedly did not display one, handed a note to the teller demanding money, and fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The Times reports this is the fourth bank robbery in LaPorte since November.
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LaPorte Man Arrested for Child Solicitation

A 23 year old LaPorte man was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of child solicitation. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports Christopher Albin was arrested without incident at his home in the 800 block of Virginia Avenue. State Police say the arrest stemmed from a joint investigation with Florida authorities into allegations the LaPorte man was having an inappropriate on-line relationship with a 14 year old Florida girl.
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Gary Man Steals Ambulance and Strikes Vehicle

A Gary Police Department ambulance was stolen Friday afternoon as it was left running while medics where checking on prisoner. The Times reports police medical personnel were dispatched at 2:30pm for an emergency call in the five-hundred block of Polk Street, and while inside attending to a prisoner, 59 year old Ricky Warren, of Gary, reportedly drove off in the medical response vehicle. Published reports say Warren struck a vehicle on 11th Street, and was finally stopped by police on Ridge...
   

Zormier Named New Hobart Police Chief

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In a simple ceremony at the Hobart Police Station, Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor named Hobart police officer Rick Zormier as Hobart's new police chief, effective immediately. After nineteen years on the force, Zormier received a law degree from Valparaiso University in 2004 and takes the helm as top cop, vowing to resolve issues that have given the Hobart Police Department some recent negative publicity and to make sure the citizens of Hobart get the integrity and transparency they deserve....

   

New Study on Asian Carp Potential to Enter Great Lakes

CLEVELAND — A study conducted by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Thursday concluded that barge ballast tanks present a minimal risk for incidental transport and introduction of Asian carp into the waters of the Great Lakes. 
There has been concern that Asian carp eggs, larvae and fry contained in towboat and barge ballast tanks could be transported past electrical dispersal barriers operated by the U.S. Army...
   

Schererville Man Sanctioned for Filing Frivolous Lawsuit

A Schererville man has been sanctioned by a federal judge in Indianapolis for filing a frivolous lawsuit against the Lake County Sheriff's Office, claiming they do not have properly trained dogs. The Times reports Kevin Miller, who plans to appeal the decision, was ordered to pay Lake County three-thousand-150 dollars to compensate taxpayers. Published reports say Miller filed a similar lawsuit last year in Indianapolis against 52 police departments, including many here in the region, which was...
   

Free Dillinger Day Event Tomorrow at IN Welcome Center

 Hammond, IN (February 28, 2013) – Visit the Indiana Welcome Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 to explore the life and times of John Dillinger and his gang. Visitors may enter the John Dillinger Museum for free and watch the “wooden gun” clip from Mysteries at the Museum.
   The clip from Mysteries at the Museum features the history behind the infamous wooden gun. Visitors may watch the clip inside the In-Vision Theatre every half hour during the event.
   The Lake County and Po...
   

Pack of Cigarettes Up Another Dollar to $11 in Cook Co

Just across the state line, cigarette taxes in Cook County are going up by one-dollar today, boosting cigarette prices to about eleven-dollars per pack. The tax is expected to generate more than 25-million-dollars a year for Cook County hospitals.
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Westbound S Shore Train to Chicago Running Late

Traffic-Alert
Westbound South Shore Train 18 scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 2:24 PM is running 20-30 minutes late due to red signals.
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Lake Village Death Ruled Accidental

The Lake County Coroners office says a 71-year-old woman was pronounced dead shortly after 7-o'clock this morning at a Lake County hospital. A news release says Darlene Denton suffered smoke inhalation in a field just east of her home off of State Road 10 in Lake Village and her death has been ruled accidental. Lake County Police, Newton County EMS and Fire also responded. No other information was available at this hour.
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Indiana Flu Deaths Up to 61

Indiana State Health officials say even though this year's flu shot was less effective than thought, it was still helpful in reducing hospitalizations and deaths. Sixty-one flu-related deaths have now been reported in Indiana, three more than the week before, most of the individuals being 65 and older, according to the latest weekly influenza report from the Indiana State Department of Health.
More info:
INDIANAPOLIS—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week that t...
   

Valpo Chamber Provides Downstate Update

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[Photo/Nick Russ, Radio One Communications]
The Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce provides regular opportunities for its members to get downstate updates. One of those opportunities was this morning, featuring a conference call with a variety of Region lawmakers. Chamber President Rex Richards says the chamber hosts these calls the first and third Friday of each legislative session, and it gives business owners a chance to ask questions about specific pieces of legislation.
For more info, call the...
   

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Meet-The-Team

Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
LAURA WALUSZKO
Region News Team
SCOTT ROSENBERG
Region News Team
BRENT BROWN
Region News Team
Jay-WAKE Karl-WAKE Annie-WAKE
JAY STEVENS
Region News Team
KARL BERNER
Region News Team
ANNIE FOX
Region News Team

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