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Indiana, Midwest Earthquake Drill Today

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[Graphic/ShakeOut.org]
Today is the third Great Central United States ShakeOut. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all Hoosiers to register and participate in the annual earthquake drill on February 7.  For info, visit www.ShakeOut.org/centralus l. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and how to create a dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness. All organizers ask is that participants register (so they can be counted and...
 

Gary Mayor Starts Call-In for Legislative Updates

Gary city officials have a new way of letting residents stay informed on legislative action that affects their city and the Region. City Hall has announced that starting today [Thursday February 7, 2013] from 5 to 6 p.m. Central Time and each Thursday from 5-to 6 p.m. until April 25th of this year Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson wants to you call in to hear legislative updates and ask questions. The Mayor's Office says Gary state lawmakers Representatives Charlie Brown and Vernon Smith and...
 

IDEM Commissioner to Visit the Region

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Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Tom Easterly is scheduled to visit northwest Indiana this morning. He'll be making a presentation before Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Environmental Management and Policy Committee at 9 am. Kathy Luther, Director of Environmental Management at NIRPC, says Easterly’s visit is a great chance for the Region to share its concerns with IDEM and see how the area fits into the statewide environmental picture.
More info from...
 

Conversation From Space with Indiana Senate

Ford
Today [ Thursday, Feb. 7] – NASA Astronaut and current commander of the International Space Station, Kevin Ford will have a conversation live from space with members of the Indiana Senate this afternoon. The conversation will be streamed live over the Internet, and schools around the state are being invited to watch the exchange. Ford is from Montpelier, Indiana, and his older brother David Ford, was a state senator before passing away at the age of 59 from complications related to pancreatic c...
 

Bill to Protect Law Enforcement Animals Goes to House

INDIANAPOLIS – Today the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee approved a bill authored by Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) that toughens penalties on those who kill law enforcement animals.
            House Bill 1093, coauthored by Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond), passed with a 12-0 vote and will now be presented to the full House for consideration.
            VanDenburgh’s legislation requires courts to order those convicted to pay restitution for police animals that are killed or pe...
 

East Chicago Fire Department Gets $72,450 Grant

east chicago fd
It was announced today that the East Chicago Fire Department will be receiving a grant for just over 72-thousand dollars, which will be used to replace a number their radios. Chief Emiliano Perez says the grant money comes at a critical time for their department, as they are facing financial restraints that impact the manner in which they operate. Along with East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, Chief Perez thanked Congressman Pete Visclosky for looking out for their interests.
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Open House Tonight at Porter Co. Career and Technical Center

In his first week as the new chief executive of the state, Indiana Governor Mike Pence visited two stops in the Region, with the first stop being the Porter County Career and Technical Center in Valparaiso.  Jon Groth, Principal and Director of the center says he "was honored that he (the governor) chose our school as the first school to visit in Indiana after his inauguration." 
Tonight, Groth is proud to be able to show parents and students alike the school's full potential during an Open...
 

Minimum-Security Inmates Quarantined at Cook Co Jail

The stomach flu is reportedly causing the Cook County Jail to quarantine the minimum security division, which houses just under 700 inmates. The Times reports about 30 inmates are “really sick”, according to Sheriff Tom Dart, and that may cause officials to use medium-security inmates to perform duties those quarantined minimum-security inmates would do, thus requiring more supervision, and possibly, drive up costs.
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Winter Bird ID Program Friday

A free winter bird identification program designed for adults takes place this Friday at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve. Sandy Basala, Supervisor of Visitor Service for Lake County Parks, says there are many species of birds that spend winter in the region, and this is a great opportunity for beginning bird watchers to learn more about the winter birds that frequent their yards and how to attract them. Basala says, if the weather cooperates Friday, they may take a short hike as well. The event...
 

Driver Injured in Crash at Indiana Dunes State Park

The driver of a vehicle injured in a crash this morning, where the former entrance to Indiana Dunes State Park use to be, was taken to Porter Regional Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Lt. Jerry Shepard, with the Indiana D-N-R Conservation, says the incident occurred just before 7:30 this morning, when the driver dropped their cell phone, and when reaching for it, lost control of the vehicle due to slick road conditions, and hit the a stone building to the west of the former entrance.
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Man Accused of Child Molestation Pleads to Battery Charge

A 74 year old man, who turned himself in on child molestation charges in December after twice being released by Texas authorities on a Lake County warrant because Lake County declined to extradite him, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser battery charge, according to the Times. Published reports say Enrique Marks Junior was charged with allegedly groping a then 10 year old girl in Highland, and accepted a plea deal, and will not have to register as a sex offender. The Times reports under the...
   

Snow Removal Parking Restrictions Lifted in Mich City

Snow removal parking restrictions in Michigan City have been lifted today. Parking restrictions were set in place Monday by the city, due to snow removal conditions, and normal parking rules and regulations are now back in effect. Mayor Ron Meer wants to thank everyone for their help and cooperation.
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Lawmakers Consider Lifting Sunday Alcohol Ban

Indiana lawmakers again taking another look at dropping the Sunday ban on retail alcohol sales. The House Public Policy Committee was holding a hearing earlier today on a bill that would allow people to purchase liquor for carry-out on Sundays, something that's been banned since the Prohibition-era in the Hoosier state. The Indiana Retail Council supports a change, but some owners of small liquor stores have spoken against lifting the existing 'blue law' ban. Indiana is the reportedly now the...
   

Two Arrests Made in Home Burglary

The La Porte County Sheriffs office has made two arrests in connection with a residential burglary yesterday (Tuesday), where deputies were dispatched to Goldring Road... after the homeowner arrived to find items stacked outside the home – and suspected something was wrong. Officials say the same home had been burglarized about two weeks earlier. Police say deputies tracked two people seen running into a wooded area for about a half-mile, and the 18-year-old suspects were taken into custody at a...
   

It's Official: USPS Says Sat Mail Delivery Ending

The Postmaster General announced today ( Wednesday)  that the US Postal Service will end Saturday mail delivery this summer... in an effort to save about two billion dollars a year. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says things like online bill payments have resulted in big losses for the postal service.  The postal service plans to continue more profitable delivery of packages on Saturday. ABC News reports that Congress could still block the move, having insisted for years on six-day mail d...
   

Carey Named Special Projects Coordinator

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program has hired Dorreen Carey of Gary as special projects coordinator. Carey, who's been involved in environmental issues in the Region for decades, most recently worked as a storm water and environmental consultant for business and municipalities, and prior to that she served as environmental director and storm water coordinator for the city of Gary. Carey begins her new job February 18, and state officials say her primary...
   

US 20 Crash Victim Identified

Officials say a 24-year-old woman was killed and six other people hurt in a two-vehicle crash on US 20 in Pine Township just west of the Porter/LaPorte County line Tuesday afternoon. Reports say an SUV collided with a car that had apparently lost control and crossed the center line. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says a passenger in the car, identified as 24-year-old Jacquelyn Reed, who'd just recently moved to Michigan City, died at the scene. The driver was at last word reported as...
   

Reports: Saturday Mail Delivery Ending

Today (Wednesday) the United States Postal Service is expected to announce an end to first-class mail delivery on Saturdays. The announcement, planned for about 10 a.m. EST, is also expected to say that packages, mail-order medicine, and express mail will continue to be delivered on Saturday, but not letters, bills, cards, and catalogs. The move is meant to save the financially struggling agency about $2 billion a year as it responds to the rising popularity of email and social media and the...
   

Autopsy Photos Shown at Murder Trial

Trial continues for Dustin McCowan, a Wheeler-area man charged with murder in the death of his one-time girlfriend, 19-year-old Amanda Bach of Portage. The Times reports a packed courtroom heard testimony Tuesday, and prosecutors showed autopsy photos of Bach. McCowan, who has maintained his innocence, is accused of taking Bach's life in September 2011
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Baked Goods Manufacturer Growing in the Region

A baked goods manufacturer in the Chicago suburbs has announced plans to expand its operations in Michigan City. Hearthside Food Solutions makes grain-based snack foods, including snack bars, cookies, crackers and pretzels.  Formed in 2009, the Downers Grove-based company plans to renovate and add to its existing facility on US Highway 20, and install equipment expected to be operational this spring that will allow it to produce a cracker-based product.  Hearthside already has more than 400 f...
   

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