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Farmers Making Progress

The latest crop report from the U-S Department of Agriculture says warm, sunny days allowed Hoosier farmers to make good progress planting corn and soybeans, with the most acreage planted across northern Indiana and some central counties. 64-percent of intended corn acreage is now in the ground, compared with 96-percent last year, but 65-percent is the five-year average. Thirty percent of soybean crops are planted, compared with 84-percent last year, and 36-percent for the five-year average. Just a couple weeks ago, there had been little to no progress on planting corn because of rain and soggy field conditions, especially in portions of southern Indiana.

Teen Hurt in Whiting Shooting

Whiting Police are asking for the public's help as they investigate a shooting near the Community Center Saturday night. At about 7:30 pm, officers responded to Clark Street and Community Court in reference to a shooting. Whiting Police say their preliminary investigation indicates a 19-year-old Robertsdale resident and an unidentified male individual were in the area when words were exchanged, and the unidentified male pulled a handgun and fired at the 19-year-old, striking him in the back, then fleeing in a dark-colored vehicle. Police say the victim was taken to a local hospital in serious condition, then later airlifted to a Chicago-area hospital. Whiting Police say they believe the incident was gang-related, and they are currently following leads. Anyone with information is asked to contact Whiting Police Police Department Detective Bureau at 219-659-2131.

Vision Testing Expands

Vision Testing Expands
Hoosier school kids will be getting their eyes checked more often. Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed into law a measure that expands vision testing to students entering fifth grade. Current policy only requires screening for students entering kindergarten or first grade, third grade and eighth grade. Senate Enrolled Act 553 also requires exams for kindergarteners and first graders must be performed by a licensed opthalmologist or optometrist
Photo provided | Pictured, from left to right at desk: Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), Sen. Becker, Gov. Pence, Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany); from left to right in back: Yara Catoira-Boyle, MD; Kim Williams, Executive Director of the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology, Inc.; Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler); Derek Sprunger, MD; Polly Hendricks, OD, Indiana Optometry Immediate Past President; James Stewart, OD, Indiana Optometry President; Rep. Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville); Jim Zieba, Executive Director of the Indiana Optometric Association.

Area Students Compete in Science Olympiad

munster olympiad
Munster HS Science Olympiad Team [provided]
Region students were among more than a-hundred teams to compete in the Science Olympiad National Tournament at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Saturday. Munster High School placed 18th, and Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso placed 19th. The local schools advanced to the national tournament after winning at the state competition at Indiana University in Bloomington in March. This was the 24th consecutive year T- J students competed in the national championships. Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division, with a division for middle school and a division for high school.

Valpo Paving Season Soon

Paving crews in Valparaiso will hit the streets toward the end of next month for their annual repaving program, starting with Montdale Drive in Montdale Industrial Park. Parts of several other roads in the city are also having work done, including Academy Street, Andover Drive, Don Hovey Drive, Howard Street, Linden Street, and Sheffield Drive. Some sidewalks are also being replaced in parts of the city.

'Do Not Call' Deadline

Tuesday May 21, 2013, is the next deadline to sign up for Indiana's Do Not Call List. Since January, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office has gotten more than five-thousand complaints about telemarketing calls either with a live operator or prerecorded message. Zoeller says nearly one-thousand consumers got an automated call from a woman from “Cardholder Services” offering to lower credit card interest rates, asking for money but not really providing any service.
Nearly four-hundred complaints have been filed this year about an automated call that mentions an FBI report on home break-ins offering a “free” home security system, but Zoeller says they'll sell your info to a home monitoring company that will charge you. Zoeller also says these telemarketers have no relationship with federal law enforcement agencies.
Individuals do not need to re-register for the Do Not Call list unless their address has changed. To sign up or to confirm a number is already on the list, visit or call 1.888.834.9969.
Zoeller's office says out-of-state area codes can also be added as long as the billing address is located in Indiana. Those consumers who are registered and receive an unwanted call can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting  and clicking on “file a complaint.”

Two Men Charged in Death of Markham Man

Brandon Johnson
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Lester Larkin
Two men face first degree murder charges in connection with the death of a 35 year old Markham man whose body was discovered in April in unincorporated Calumet City, Illinois. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports an joint investigation with the Harvey Police Department led to the arrest of 27 year old Brandon Johnson, of Harvey, and 25 year old Lester Larkin, of Riverdale, Illinois, for the shooting death of Eddie Bell. The Sheriff's Office reports Bell, who had been the subject of a missing person's investigation, was identified on April 16th, after his body was found near Thornton and Lansing Road, east of Stoney Island Avenue in Calumet City. An investigation began in late March while Harvey Police were investigating Johnson's residence where blood, weapons, and cleaning materials, but no body, were found, after gunfire had been reported. Both men were denied bond in their court appearance today.
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Man Shot by Merrillville Officer at Planned Parenthood

shooting at pp
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
The Times is reporting a Merrillville officer shot a man for illegally parking a semitrailer at Planned Parenthood. According to the article, the incident occurred while a citation was being written, and both the officer and the man were reportedly taken to a local hospital. No further information is available at this time.
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Van Til Bonds Out, Pleads Not Guilty to Charges

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til plead not guilty today in Hammond District Court and was freed on a 20-thousand dollar bond. Van Til was charged on Friday with six-counts of wire fraud and two-counts of obstruction of justice, and is alleged to have devised a scheme to defraud Lake County of money and property by utilizing county employees to perform personal and political services so Van Til would be reelected surveyor.
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19 Year Old Robertsdale Resident Shot Sunday in Whiting

Police in Whiting are asking for the public's help regarding a shooting incident Sunday near the Whiting Community Center. The Times reports a 19 year old Robertsdale resident was shot in the back around 7:30pm, and the suspected shooter fled in a dark-colored vehicle. At last check, Authorities report no one is in custody and charges have not been filed. According to the article, the 19 year old was listed in serious condition at an Oaklawn hospital. Police say they believe the incident is gang related, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Whiting Police Department.
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14 Year Old Drives Car in Gary Home Friday

Gary PD
Trying to teach an underage driver how to drive ended up getting an 18 year old arrested Friday. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corp. Gabrielle King says the incident took place just before 1pm, in the 21-hundred block of William Street. King says the 14 year old ended up driving a vehicle into the home of two elderly women, who were not injured. The 18 year old is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and also received a traffic citation.
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Valpo PD Seeking Help to Identify Subject of Interest in Theft

Exiting Target
(Photo Courtesy of the Valparaiso Police Department)
Police in Valparaiso have released a video surveillance photo of a person they say is a “subject of interest” regarding a May 8th purse theft. Authorities report a woman shopping at the Valparaiso Walmart informed them she believes someone took her wallet from her purse, which was located in the front of a shopping cart, while she was distracted. The woman says she returned home and contacted her credit card company and was informed that two-thousand dollars had been charged on her credit card at the Valparaiso Target store. Anyone with information regarding the identity of the subject is asked to contact Detective Lt. Tom Horn of the Valparaiso Police Department at (219) 462-2135.
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Driver of Friday's Fatal Crash in Newton County Identified

Newton County Sheriff Dept
A 22 year old from Brazil, Indiana, has been identified as the driver, and lone occupant, of a vehicle who was pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle crash in Newton County Friday morning. The Newton County Sheriff's Office today reports Daniel Dillman was heading north on U-S 41, just north of Kentland, when for unknown reasons the vehicle drifted off the roadway. Authorities say when Dillman attempted to return to the roadway, he lost control, crossed the median, and into the path of a southbound tractor trailer. The truck driver was not injured.
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Fight at Citgo Station Friday in LaPorte

LaPorte PD
Battery charges has been forwarded to the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office for review after a fight between two women at a Citgo gas station Friday afternoon. LaPorte Police report the victim told them she was pumping gas when a red van pulled into the lot, and the driver, whom the victim recognized, got out and starting attacking her. Authorities say the two women fought until the driver of the van left prior to police arriving at the scene. Officers report the victim suffered injuries to her face and hands.
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Traffic Light Flashing Red at US 30 and Sturdy in Valpo

Tipsters reporting the traffic light at US 30 and Sturdy Road in Valparaiso is flashing red at last check. Please use the intersection as a four-way stop until the issue can be resolved, or use an alternate route.
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Suspects Sought in Shooting

Hammond Police say two people, identities not known at this point, remain at large after a shooting incident in the parking lot of the Walmart in north Hammond Sunday afternoon. Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda says it appears two men leaving the store around 2:30 were approached by two vehicles with multiple subjects, then the men went to their vehicle, and one began firing an handgun at the vehicles. Police say an employee who was outside suffered what appeared to be a graze wound from a bullet, and a parked vehicle was struck apparently by one of the vehicles leaving the scene.

Armed Robbery in Hammond

Police in Hammond say someone dressed up a like a delivery person held up J-and-J Coins in the seven-thousand block of Calumet Avenue  this morning. Lt. Richard Hoyda says the subject came in carrying boxes, then pulled out what appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun from some sort of bag, and a handgun was taken from the business. Police got the call around 9:15 am. No one was injured. Police say they're trying to determine whether a green four-door Ford Taurus seen leaving the scene was involved or not.

Severe Weather Possible

noaa lightning WinCE
An unseasonably warm and tropical like airmass has arrived across the Region. After more than 300 reports of severe weather in the US on Sunday, the National Weather Service says another round of dangerous severe weather is expected today//Monday with the greatest threat once again in the southern Plains targeting Oklahoma and parts of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. However, severe weather is also possible in northwest Indiana and Chicago.

[Photo courtesy NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)]


Two Region Tickets One Number Shy

Two Powerball tickets purchased in the Region came oh.. so... close. The record Powerball run that ended with a nearly 600-million-dollar jackpot winner in Florida produced 148-thousand non-jackpot-winning tickets for a combined 918-thousand dollars in winnings in Indiana Saturday night. Hoosier Lottery officials say that total includes eight tickets that came within one number of winning it all, matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball... sold in Crown Point, Hobart, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Brownstown, Kokomo and Spencer and each worth ten-thousand dollars. Hoosier Lottery retailers also reaped rewards, scoring more than $1.5 million worth of Powerball sales commissions since the start of the run March 31.

Grass Clippings Do's and Don'ts

grass clippings
Valparaiso’s Department of Public Works reminds residents that grass clippings do not belong in the trash and Public Works employees will not empty trash cans found to contain grass clippings. “Grass would add significantly to the city’s waste stream and add expense for all residents, so we must remind residents of other options for yard waste,” said Matt Evans, Public Works Director. “With a 90% water content, heavy grass clippings are too expensive to landfill—and too valuable to throw away!” he said.
The city offers the following guidelines:
  • Never place grass clippings in your garbage or recycling containers.
  • Use a mulching mower, or spread grass clippings underneath your shrubs. This replaces moisture and nutrients in your soil. 
  • For Valparaiso residents who still wish to bag, grass clippings may be brought to Valparaiso Public Works, 406 Don Hovey Drive, Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 4:00 pm and Saturday 7:00 am - 3:00 pm.
  • For Porter County residents who do not have city garbage service, grass clippings may be taken to the County's Boone Grove compost site only. For hours and directions, call 465-3694 or visit and click on “Compost” under “Services.”

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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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