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Robbery Suspect Crashes in Hobart

Police are expected to release more information today on a pursuit that ended in crash in Hobart this morning. Authorities say the suspect was wanted in connection with a strong-arm robbery in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel off I-65 in Merrillville and an earlier attempted hold-up about three miles north at the Diner's Choice Restaurant on West 37th Avenue in Hobart, just east of the I-65 interchange, Ridge Road exit. The suspect vehicle reportedly crashed on 61st Avenue not far from St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, and suspect was taken into custody after a foot chase.

Susan G. Komen Walks Dropped in 7 Cities

‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’ is canceling its three-day walks in Chicago and six other U.S. cities next year. Various published reports today say the breast cancer charity group noted participation in the fundraiser has dropped 37-percent in the past four years. Walks are also being dropped in Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Washington DC next year, and will remain in seven other locations.  Cities removed from 2014's schedule reportedly did not meet fundraising goals.  The organization says they are the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research.

21 Tons of Debris in Operation Clean Sweep

La Porte Mayor Blair Milo says more than 21 and a half tons of debris was removed from residential properties in La Porte during the city's recent Operation Clean Sweep, according to figures reported by the city this week. 645 properties received warnings Milo says, mostly for junk vehicles, garbage on the lawns, and fencing violations, and Mayor Milo says about three-quarters of owners who were cited have cleaned up their properties since the sweep. Mayor Milo also posted on her Facebook page  that a similar sweep is planned for La Porte's business district this month.

Glittery Mystery in Hammond

A Robertsdale resident is wondering what the glittery stuff is her yard and on her outdoor furniture. The complaint's been forwarded to Indiana Department of Environmental Management, who will be sending investigators to take a look at the substance, described as black and silver in color, in the 15-hundred block of Brown Avenue in north Hammond.

Colleagues Reflect on Rudy Clay's Passing

rudy clay
[Photo courtesy of the Times]
Former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay has died. Clay's political career in Lake County spanned four decades. He also served as Indiana State Senator, County Recorder, County Councilman, County Commissioner before becoming Mayor of Gary in 2006, and winning re-election the next year. Clay left politics two years ago because of prostate cancer.  Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed her sympathy and condolences to the entire Clay family for their loss, saying Clay was much more than just her predecessor, but a friend and a member of the same church, and an icon in the community, who will be remembered and cherished for years to come. First District Congressman Pete Visclosky and Indiana U-S Senator Joe Donnelly also extended their thoughts and prayers to the Clay family, with both stating they had lost a friend.   Funeral services are pending, but Clay had asked they be held at the Genesis Convention Center. Clay died Tuesday. He was 77.


Gas Prices Remain High in Region

Gas price averages for Indiana and Illinois are continuing on a high streak. Triple-A Chicago says Indiana drivers are currently paying on average $3.96 for a gallon of regular unleaded, while the price just over the state line is averaging $4.05.  While much of the rest of the U.S. has dropped in prices,  Indiana, Illinois and drivers elsewhere in the Midwest are finding themselves paying more. Illinois averages are among the highest in the continental U.S., and with a price of $4.44, Chicago has the highest city average in the continental U.S.   According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, a gallon of regular unleaded in the Gary Metropolitan Area is averaging about $4.08; it's jumped higher in the South Bend area, to $4.16.

Councilman Says Prayer Will Continue

In Hammond, city councilman Anthony Higgs says he will not stop offering a prayer prior to the start of city council meetings, until the nation's highest court issues their ruling. Concerns had been brought up by Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr in light of the recent announcement that the US Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether prayers can be offered at government meetings, based on a case out of the town of Greece in the state of New York.

Donnelly Pushes to Prevent Sexual Assault in the Military

Washington, D.C. — Senator Joe Donnelly, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today pushed top defense officials to improve their efforts to prevent sexual assault in the military.  At a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, Senator Donnelly told the first panel of witnesses, Service Component Chiefs and Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs), that they have an obligation to current and future service members to solve this problem and to address the psychological needs of survivors of sexual assault in the military.
“I was at the Indy 500 a week before the race, and we inducted a couple hundred men and women into the service.  And I want to be able to know when I look them in the eyes, that I can keep my obligation to tell them that you can serve our country, serve with dignity, have your dignity respected, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Senator Donnelly.
Senator Donnelly is working with his colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee to develop policies to improve the military’s efforts to prevent sexual assault.  The Pentagon released a report last month showing a 35% increase in the estimated number of sexual abuse incidents in 2012 compared with 2010.
Further, sexual assault has been found to increase the risk for death by suicide by as much as 14 times for female victims compared to women who have never been assaulted, even after controlling for psychiatric diagnoses present prior to the assault. According to results of a new study by researchers at the University of Utah, military personnel have experienced increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions if they were the victims of physical or violent sexual assault as adults.
One of Senator Donnelly’s priorities is preventing military suicides, as we lost more service members to suicide (349) than in combat in Afghanistan last year (295).   Donnelly believes survivors of sexual assault in the military should have a safe and confidential place to go when they need help.  He is dedicated to working with his colleagues to ensure their psychological needs are addressed, that they are screened for risk of suicide, and that they have access to resources such as counseling and suicide prevention.
VIDEO: Senator Donnelly questions top military officials at today’s hearing on sexual assault prevention legislation
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Northern IN Residents Can Report Storm Damage Online

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers who sustained damage caused by severe weather and flooding in northern Indiana beginning May 31, 2013 can report damage online. These reports will aid in the evaluation to determine if federal assistance will be requested.
A link to the form is available on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) website at In the middle of the page under "Featured Topics," click on "Report Damage From Severe Storms and Flooding – Beginning May 31, 2013."
Individuals will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number and type of damage the property sustained. Losses can include structural damage to homes and loss of personal property.
For questions, contact your county emergency management agency. Local agency's contact information is available by accessing:
Individuals without Internet access are encouraged to contact a friend, family member or neighbor for assistance. Web access is also available at many libraries, religious institutions, community centers or other public facilities. If none of those options are available, individuals may also contact their county emergency management agency to report damage.
This is NOT an application for a grant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Information will be used to help local emergency management agencies and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security preliminarily assess damage to determine if federal assistance can be pursued.
All Hoosiers are advised to stay tuned to local radio and television weather broadcasts or listen to an all hazards alert radio for updated warnings and safety information related to potential weather threats.
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Pence Signs Anti-Bullying Legislation into Law

HEA1423 Signing
(Photo Provided by the Office of Indiana State Senator Tom Wyss)
Anti-bullying legislation authored by State Senator Tom Wyss was signed into law Tuesday by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, updating the state's 2005 anti-bullying law, also authored by Senator Wyss. House Enrolled Act 14-23 will now require schools to track and report incidents of bullying and to train their employees and students on how to prevent bullying.
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Governor Pence to Stop in Portage and Gary Tomorrow

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be making a couple of stops in Northwest Indiana on Wednesday. The Governor is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Portage Economic Luncheon, scheduled at noon, and then its off to Gary for a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 585, also known as the Gary Bill. The legislation will providing funding for a feasibility study for both a trauma center and teaching hospital, as well as a study to expand the Port of Indiana to Lake County. The bill will also provide the City of Gary with three-million dollars for the Gary Sanitary District, lifts Lake County property tax caps, and resets membership on the Gary Airport Board, requiring five-years of experience in business or aviation management. The bill signing is scheduled for 1:45pm, at Gary City Hall.
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Pence Signs Combat to College Bill

SEA115 Bill Signing
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Senate Majority Caucus)
STATEHOUSE (June 4, 2013) –  Veterans will now have more support in transitioning into college, thanks to legislation authored by State Sens. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) and Allen Paul (R-Richmond). Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 115 into law today.
SEA 115 requires state colleges and universities with at least 200 veteran students to establish a “combat to college” program, creating administrative and educational assistance for these students.
“As the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans remains high, we must take extra care to provide educational and career assistance for our returning soldiers,” Glick said. “The ‘combat-to-college’ program is pivotal to helping our veterans find success in civilian life.”
“The essential goal of this legislation was to support veterans pursuing a college education,” Paul said. “These policies and programs will not only meet the unique needs of veteran students but will give them more opportunities to succeed.”
Under the new law, relevant colleges and universities are required to implement the following policies and programs for veterans:
·         A centralized location for admissions, registration and financial administration services
·         Reasonable fitness accommodations for disabled veterans
·         Academic guidance and counseling services
·         Job-search assistance
Pence hailed the legislation as a victory for veteran students.
"Providing Hoosier veterans with better access to a college education will help them be more successful and will improve our workforce," Pence said. "I applaud Senators Sue Glick and Allen Paul, the authors of the bill, for their leadership on this important matter to help the brave men and women who made sacrifices to protect our freedom improve their lives through education."
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Lane Restriction Now In Place Along 54th Ave in Merrillville

Motorists speeding on 54th Avenue in Merrillville through the storm sewer reconstruction project have caused officials to announce lane restrictions effective immediately to ensure the safety of workers and residents. The five-block area of the project on 54th Avenue will now be open to local residential traffic only, as well as daily mail delivery, and will take place after school buses have had their morning runs. Officials say block closures will begin no earlier than 7am to 3:30 pm daily, and that the road will be open to all traffic by 4pm each day. As the project moves east to Lincoln, Buchanan, Pierce, and Fillmore Streets, those segments will be closed when workers are at those locations. Meantime, it is recommended motorists who normally use 54th Avenue use 57th Avenue instead. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of August or early September.
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Former Gary Mayor Rudolph Clay Has Died

Rudy Clay
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Former Gary Mayor Rudolph Clay has passed away. According to the press release, at last check, a cause of death has not yet been established, but Clay had been battling prostate cancer for over a year. Current Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed her sympathy and condolences to the entire Clay family for their loss, calling the former Mayor an icon in the community, whose political service spanned decades, and that his heart for the citizens of Gary will be remembered and cherished for years to come. 

First District Congressman Pete Visclosky and Indiana U-S Senator Joe Donnelly also extended their thoughts and prayers to the Clay family, with both stating they had lost a friend.

Clay was 77 years old.
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IN Borrowers to Get Nat Mortage Settlement Payment Next Week

Indiana Attorney General
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today that checks will be sent out next week to eligible Indiana borrowers who are part of the National Mortgage Settlement.  
Eligible borrowers had their mortgage serviced by one of the settlement’s five participating mortgage servicers, lost their home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and submitted a valid claim form. Eligible Hoosiers can expect a check for about $1,480 which will be dropped in the mail between Monday, June 10 and Monday, June 17.
The participating servicers include Ally (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Zoeller said 18,448 checks totaling $26.3 million will be sent to Indiana consumers, and about 55.9 percent of eligible borrowers submitted a claim – which is comparable to the national response rate of 55 percent.
“These payments are meant to help compensate borrowers for mortgage servicing abuse," Zoeller said. “The National Mortgage Settlement payments and the new mortgage servicing standards under the review of a national monitor will help ensure the public is protected from similar errors in the future.”
Zoeller said the payment does not limit a borrower from seeking relief through a separate lawsuit or other claims.
Nationally, the settlement administrator will mail valid claim payments to 962,278 loan records totaling $1.5 billion from June 10 through June 17.
In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced the historic joint state-federal National Mortgage Settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers.  Preliminary data shows that, so far, the servicers have provided more than $50 billion in direct settlement relief to borrowers nationwide, much more than originally expected.
A relatively small number of borrowers will not receive a check in the initial mailing or will receive a split payment.
  • Some borrowers will receive a check for less than the approximate $1,480 payment in situations where borrowers are divorced or separated and no longer live at the same address. The full per-loan amount will be paid on these loans, but the payment will be evenly split between the borrowers.
  • A small number of borrowers who submitted a claim form but do not have a valid Social Security number on file will be delayed in receiving their payments while tax-related issues are addressed.
  • Two servicers recently provided information on an additional 31,000 borrowers, and thus they could not be included in this distribution. Later this summer, these consumers will receive a notice and will have the opportunity to submit a payment application.
Every borrower who filed a claim will receive a letter regarding their outcome. Borrowers with questions about their National Mortgage Settlement payment should call the settlement administrator at 1-866-430-8358.
Indiana's overall share of the settlement was about $145 million. Of that, approximately $100 million was used as direct assistance to Indiana borrowers who lost their homes due to foreclosure, or to distressed borrowers who seek to refinance and save their homes. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office received $43.8 million, with $28.8 million of that dedicated by the Legislature to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the rest committed to the Consumer Protection Division and its Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) and other efforts to prevent foreclosure.
"Indiana's Legislature wisely channeled the settlement funds my office received into a fund to assist low-income homeowners who were most at-risk to be foreclosed upon and also the most likely to have difficulty paying their energy bills," Zoeller said.  
National Mortgage Settlement, Independent Foreclosure Review payments are separate
The IFR settlement is unrelated and separate from the National Mortgage Settlement and does not include the same governmental agencies.  The IFR payments began in mid-April of 2013, and the OCC announced that final payments will be mailed in mid-July.  For more information on the OCC Independent Foreclosure Review settlement, go to and click on Independent Foreclosure Review.
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Griffith Man Dies in Fatal Crash on Broad Street

A spokesman for the Lake County Sheriffs Department says their Reconstruction Unit responded to the 14-hundred block of South Broad Street in unincorporated Griffith overnight to investigate a fatal motor vehicle crash involving a passenger vehicle and a dump truck hauling asphalt for a local construction project. Police say their preliminary investigation revealed that the dump truck was southbound on Broad Street when a northbound Pontiac crossed the double yellow center line and collided head-on with the oncoming truck. The driver of the dump truck, a 51-year-old Highland man, suffered no injuries, but was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and mandatory testing in accordance with INDOT regulations. Authorities say the 19 year old driver of the Pontiac, identified by the Lake County Coroners office today as Cody Lejeune (leh-zhoon') of Griffith, was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Lake Co Native Knew Storm Chasers

A Region native tells the Times today that if it weren't for a business trip, he could have been in the path of the same tornado that claimed the lives of three storm chasers. Matt Grzych [gher'-zitch], originally from Crown Point, works at Boeing Company, investigating the cause of airplane accidents, and started working with the longtime tornado researchers five years ago when he joined onto the field research program featured on the Discovery Channel's “Storm Chasers”. Tim Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young were killed in a deadly tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday, and the National Weather Center says they are believed to be the first fatalities among storm chasers.

Cook Co Police: Gary Gun Found in Arrest

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart says investigators working in Dolton found a gun they later learned was stolen in 2010 out of Gary. Authorities say a 32-year-old Chicago man scheduled to appear at the Markham Courthouse today has been charged with armed violence, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, child endangerment and other narcotics related charges. Dart says his department's Gun Suppression Team observed two vehicles in the street parked alongside each other and police allege the drivers conducted what appeared to be a narcotics transaction. Investigators conducted a traffic stop on one of the vehicles; the other sped away. Police say Armond Nelson of Chicago was scheduled to appear in bond court this morning at the Markham Courthouse. Nelson allegedly told investigators he purchased the gun from someone on the streets in Indiana.  Police say the suspect's five-year-old daughter was in the back seat, and was later turned over to family members.

Indiana Blood Center Reduces Staff

Indiana Blood Center says 45 positions are being eliminated and other changes are taking effect July first in light of shrinking revenue. The center also announced it was streamlining bloodmobile operations and closing a donor center in downstate Avon. The non-profit says demand for blood from their more than sixty member hospitals has decreased by 24-percent over the last year. The organization says they are funded by service fees they charge hospitals to recruit, collect, test, process, label, store and distribute blood.

Griffith Teen Killed in Crash

The Lake County Coroners office says a Griffith teenager was killed in a motor vehicle accident overnight. Authorities say 19-year-old Cody Lejeune was pronounced dead at the scene at two-o'clock this morning in the 14-hundred block of South Broad Street in Griffith. Officials say the Lake County Police Accident Reconstruction Team, Lake County Police Crime lab, and Schererville Fire Department are also investigating.

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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
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Region News Team
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