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Death of Retired MC School Teacher Ruled a Homicide

Henry-Whitten
(Photo Courtesy of the Michigan City PD)

Police report the death of a 66 year old retired Michigan City school teacher has been ruled a homicide after an autopsy was conducted. Michigan City Police report the body of Henry Whitten was discovered Thursday during a welfare check at his apartment in the 500 block of East 8th Street, and the death remains under investigation. La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan says cause of death was due to a sub-dural hemorrhage as the result of blunt force trauma.

Authorities say if anyone has any knowledge or can provide any details regarding this incident to contact Michigan City Police Detective Cpl. Greg Jesse (219) 874-3221 Ext. 318. 
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Remains Found in May in MC that of Missing Woman

Candi-Brown
(Photo Courtesy of the Michigan City PD)
A body discovered May 3rd, in the area of County Line Road and Chandler Road, has been identified today by authorities as that of missing person Candi Brown. Michigan City Police say Brown was reported missing as of August 7th, 2012, by her husband David Morris, and was last seen August 25th, 2012. An investigation continues and anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Michigan City Police Cpl. Jason Holaway at (219) 874-3221 Ext #346 or the Crime Tip Hotline at (219) 873-1488.
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Police K-9 Demonstrations at Horizon Bank Today

The Valparaiso Police Department and Horizon Bank are partnering together today for K-9 demonstrations with Officer Joe Hall and his K-9 partner, Femmy.
Officer Hall and K-9 Femmy will be at Horizon Bank located at 902 Lincolnway from Noon until 3:30 p.m. meeting community members, displaying his K-9 police car and conducting demonstrations of how K-9's search for drugs.  horizon bank will provide refreshments during the event.
The Valparaiso Police Department and Horizon Bank encourage everyone to attend the demonstrations and meet Officer hall and his K-9, Femmy.  He will also be passing out items to children that attend the demonstrations.
Officers Joe Hall and Femmy
Valparaiso Police Officer Joe Hall and his K-9 partner "Femmy"
Officer Hall shows Femmy  
Valparaiso Police Officer Joe Hall and his K-9 partner "Femmy" in the lobby at Horizon Bank
Femmy
Valparaiso Police K-9 Officer Femmy
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MC Man Accepts Plea Deal for Murder Charge

A 21 year old Michigan City man has accepted a plea agreement regarding the shooting death of a 16 year old last fall. The Times reports Jamar Pasha will plead guilty to murder, and in exchange, felony robbery and felony criminal gang activity charges will be dropped, if the court accepts the plea. Pasha would receive a 45 year sentence for the death of Isiah Wright, who was found dead in September, near Eastport School. Two other defendants still face charges and each have trials scheduled for next month.
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Timeline Extended for Learning Center

On Thursday, Ivy Tech Community College issued a news release saying the timeline for construction on a new learning center in South Lake County has been extended as they seek state approval. The timeline for the building called for construction to begin in August 2013 and completion of the facility by August 2014, but no information was available at this time on how that is being affected other than they have slowed the process down.
The project, a collaboration between the Tri-Creek School Corporation and Ivy Tech, would have. Ivy Tech occupy half the facility to provide vocational and general education courses to high school and adult students. The two have been working on the project for a year to increase dual college credits and career and technical course opportunities for students in South Lake County.
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This week, Ivy Tech trustees agreed to increase tuition by more than eight-percent, which is above the maximum two-percent increase recommended by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The decision adds five-dollars to the per-credit-hour rate each semester, for four semesters over the next two years, starting this fall, as the school tries to address a 68- million-dollar statewide budget deficit. The community college is also reportedly looking at closing about one-fourth of its 72 locations in the state.
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Today,  Ivy Tech Community College announced it will freeze tuition for all Hoosier veterans eligible for the GI Bill, members of the Indiana National Guard, Hoosier veterans and Indiana members of the federal military reserve, as well as Indiana state government employees.
Ivy Tech will keep tuition at the 2013 rate of $111.15 per credit hour for these eligible groups for the next two academic years.  Ivy Tech first announced a tuition freeze for these eligible groups in 2011 when it did not increase tuition for 2012 and 2013.
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Accident Blocking NB 65

Traffic-Alert
7:34am: This just in - accident blocking ALL LANES of NB I-65 just north of the 80/94 exchange. 
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County Considering New Courthouse

North County Complex 01
A published report today says officials are looking into the possibility of building a new courthouse in downtown Portage, and selling the current North County Government Complex to North Shore Health Centers. The complex on Willowcreek just south of US 6 is about forty-years old. Porter Superior Court Judge Julia Jent tells the Times the proposal would provide more room for the two courts that are in that building.
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/new-county-courthouse-eyed-for-portage/article_fd9997ab-c038-5344-bd77-efe7da363e39.html
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Former Teacher Acquitted

A jury in Lake County has found a former teacher and coach at Morton High School in Hammond not guilty in a case accusing him of child seduction allegedly involving a 17-year-old student. 27-year-old Benjamin Chinn was acquitted Thursday following a four-day trial.
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IN to Implement 3% Contracting Goal for Veteran-Owned Businesses

govpence usethisphoto
Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today announced the next step in helping veterans do more business with the state, encouraging them to register their Indiana small businesses as veteran-owned. Beginning July 1, the state will implement a 3 percent state contracting goal for veteran-owned businesses.
“Expanding business opportunities for the men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom is right for them and right for the state,” said Governor Pence. “It will help our veterans find success, improve our state’s workforce and increase private sector employment in Indiana.”
The Governor first outlined the state’s contracting goal for veteran-owned businesses last summer, and established the 3 percent target when he signed Executive Order 13-04 on his first day in office.
In April, Governor Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 564, which codified the executive order  requiring the Department of Administration (DOA) to procure at least 3 percent of state contracts with veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs). The law also requires the DOA to adopt rules, develop policies and set forth guidelines regarding contracting opportunities for VOSBs.
Veteran-owned businesses that are not registered with DOA should go to  http://www.in.gov/idoa/2464.htm and complete the instructions to become registered vendors. Although the law does not take effect until July 1, veteran-owned businesses should have their status in place for any new contract bidding opportunities that become available at that time.
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Cruise Night Parking Restrictions, Rd Closures and Detours

cruise night
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
The following parking restrictions, street closures and detours will be in effect on La Porte's Annual Cruise Night, Saturday, June 8th.
– There will be no parking allowed on Lincolnway from the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The police department will have signs posted indicating this.
– The following street closures will be in effect from 5:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and detour signage will be in place:
- Lincolnway from Adams Street to I Street;
- J Street from First Street to Sixth Street;
- K Street from First Street to Ind. 2;
- Pine Lake Avenue overpass from Kroger Plaza to Lincolnway;
- the cruise route east turnaround of Adams Street from Lincolnway to State Street; State Street from Adams to Linwood; and Linwood from State Street to Lincolnway.
- Indiana Avenue will also be closed to semi-truck traffic and detoured at Boyd Boulevard.
Please be alert for traffic congestion and pedestrian traffic around the cruise route area.
The La Porte Police Department wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable evening!
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Hammond Man Gets 10 yrs for Battery and Neglect of a Dependent

A Hammond man was sentenced today to 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections for battery and neglect of a dependent. The Lake County Prosecutor's Office reports Stacy Striblin received four-years on the battery charge and ten-years for the neglect of a dependent charge, and that the sentences will run concurrently. Striblin was charged in January of 2012 for striking a woman and also injuring a three-month old child who was being held by the woman.
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Deceased Person Found in Michigan City During Welfare Check

michigan city police
The Michigan City Police Department is seeking the assistance of the public after a deceased person was discovered during a welfare check. Police say officers were dispatched to the 500 block of East 8th, just before 6:30 this morning, and at last check, the identification of the deceased is being withheld until next of kin are located. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cpl. Greg Jesse at (219) 874-3221 ext 318.
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Two People Found Injured by Train Tracks in Lowell

Lake Co. Sherrif
An investigation continues regarding two individuals found with what appeared to be severe injuries, lying near the railroad tracks west of Parish Avenue in unincorporated Lowell. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports a Norfolk and Southern Railroad employee reported the incident at 9am this morning. One individual was unconscious and the other was conscious, but incoherent, and both were transported to St. Anthony's Hospital in Crown Point for treatment. Authorities say at this time it is unknown how the individuals got there, or how long they had been there prior to being discovered, and what the circumstances are surrounding the incident.
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Teir Two Illiana Corridor Public Meetings Announced

Two public open houses have been scheduled for later this month regarding the second tier of the proposed Illiana Corridor. Officials say, based on previous feedback, I-DOT and INDOT will be presenting refinements to the preferred corridor, interchange types and locations, local road connectivity, overpass and underpass locations, environmental protection and opportunities. The Indiana public meeting is scheduled for June 17th, from 5 to 8pm, at Lowell Middle School, while the Illinois public meeting will take place during those same hours the next day at Peotone High School. A continuous power point presentation will take place throughout both public meetings, and a question and answer forum will be held at 6pm each day.
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Three Separate Shooting Incidents in Gary Overnight

Gary PD
Gary Police are investigating three separate shooting incidents overnight and into this morning. Corp. Gabrielle King says 17 year old Antwon Davis Jr. was walking east on 47th Avenue at Broadway, when an unknown vehicle pulled up and the occupants opened fire striking Davis in the leg. Anyone with information or who may have been area at the time of the shooting is encouraged to contact Detective James Bond, at (219) 881-47-51.
Meanwhile at 11:30 Wednesday night, Corp. King says 54 year old Edward Pointer reported that he was shot at 6th and Washington Street, but police do not have much to go on regarding this incident because he refused to give them any details.
Finally, just before 5am this morning, officers were dispatched to a call of shots fired at 25th and Clark Road. Corp. Kings when officers arrived in the area they were stopped by two hysterical females who claimed to have been shot at by two men in an orange S-U-V.   Corp. King says officers were able to locate the vehicle in question, and recovered two handguns from the vehicle. Both the driver, 23 year old Darrius Wilkins, and his passenger, 25 year old Emmitt Smith, were charged with criminal recklessness.
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AG: 'A Milestone in Restoring Public Trust'

ec news conf
Attorney General Zoeller, Mayor Copeland
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland held a news conference at the mayor's office this morning to release an update on the Indiana Attorney General's civil prosecution of a racketeering lawsuit filed nearly a decade ago. Zoeller today turned over to the City of East Chicago over 331-thousand dollars, collected from former longtime Mayor Robert Pastrick and his co-defendants, Zoeller saying today's conclusion of this lawsuit regarding the so-called "sidewalks for votes" scheme marked 'a milestone in restoring public trust'. Pastrick served as mayor of East Chicago for more than thirty years.
Here is more information from today's news release from the Indiana Attorney General's office:
The distribution to the City of East Chicago facilitated by the Attorney General includes $145,416.70, the amount liquidated from Pastrick after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruled March 25 that his assets were not exempt from a separate federal court judgment in the civil racketeering case.
Zoeller also distributed to the City $186,250, the amount remaining from settlements and judgments paid by Pastrick’s co-defendants who were named in the Attorney General’s original lawsuit brought under RICO, the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations statute.
Zoelle said the money turned over to the city today was a partial payment toward the approximately $24 million squandered in the sidewalk paving scheme intended to influence the 1999 mayoral primary election. Zoeller announced the distribution today with current Mayor Anthony Copeland.
Starting with a State Board of Accounts audit that asked the Attorney General’s Office to recover the $24 million, then-Attorney General Steve Carter in 2004 filed suit against Pastrick and co-defendants in U.S. District Court under RICO seeking repayment and treble damages. The same year, Pastrick was defeated in a special election ordered by the Indiana Supreme Court when it found the 2003 mayoral election had been tainted by fraud. (It was through the intervention of the Attorney General’s Office in challenging the 2003 election that the results were overturned and a special election ordered.)
In the RICO lawsuit, a federal district court in June 2009 entered a judgment against Pastrick on every racketeering count the State alleged. The judgment was the first time a U.S. court had found that a municipal government – the Pastrick administration – was a corrupt enterprise under federal racketeering law.  In March 2010, U.S. District Court Judge James Moody ordered a treble damages award of $108 million against Pastrick. After Attorney General Zoeller started collection efforts through Rubin & Levin, a collection law firm, Pastrick filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition to avoid consequences of the judgment. Initially the ex-mayor claimed the judgment could be discharged, or avoided, through bankruptcy.
The State, represented by Attorney General Zoeller’s office, objected, contending Pastrick’s civil judgment could not be legally discharged through bankruptcy due to the underlying theft and statutory penalties imposed. The State filed a motion for partial summary judgment in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and ultimately, Pastrick conceded: On August 16, 2012, Pastrick filed an amended answer, admitting liability on one of the counts the State alleged – that the debt is not dischargeable – and consenting to an entry of judgment for the full amount. On March 25, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in South Bend ruled in the State’s favor and found that Pastrick can’t use bankruptcy to avoid the judgment.
The ruling by Judge Harry C. Dees marked the end of the State’s adversary proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In the remaining case, under the court’s supervision, the bankruptcy trustee already had collected and sold for payment what portion remained of Pastrick’s assets that legally were considered non-exempt. The City of East Chicago and the State of Indiana were the only creditors. The State received the trustee’s distribution of $145,416.70 and Zoeller said the payment was turned over entirely to the city treasury, under the new management of current Mayor Copeland.
In litigating the original RICO suit, the Attorney General’s Office previously obtained judgments against or settlements with co-defendants of Pastrick who were political associates or contractors who benefited from Pastrick’s “sidewalks for votes” scheme. Zoeller also turned over the remaining unallocated funds paid by those co-defendants, $186,250 after legal expenses, to the City.
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Taste of Care Tonight to Benefit TRIAD

Prompt Ambulance will host the third annual Porter County Taste of Care event this evening (Thu Jun 06 2013), with proceeds to benefit Porter County Triad.  Volunteers from Triad will be in attendance along with Porter County Sheriff David Lain who will serve as one of the local celebrity judges voting on the Top Chefs as they sample dishes prepared by chefs from local health care communities.  "And I think it's interesting," Sheriff Lain said, that "people think of hospital food and nursing home food as bland, and I think what we're going to find is that it's anything but," and they'll be seeing "some fairly gourmet selections".
The event is 4:30 to 7:30 tonight at the Porter County Expo Center, and it's open to the public, five-dollar admission. UCAN will be landing their medical transport helicopter around 5pm, weather permitting, for attendees to tour.  For more information on TRIAD, visit http://www.portertriad.com/Home_Page.php
To hear more from Porter County Sheriff David Lain on the event visit News Audio on Demand here at our website.
Participating facilities:
Addison Pointe
Waters of Duneland
Avalon Springs
Rittenhouse
Life Care Center of the Willows
Life Care Center of Valparaiso
Brookdale Senior Living
Meals on Wheels VNA
Millers Senior Living
Residences at Deer Creek
Porter Regional Hospital
University Of Chicago UCAN
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Indiana Medicaid Reimbursement Rates Going Up

Indiana Governor Mike Pence says the state will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, starting this January, for the state’s health care providers who saw those rates drop three years ago as a cost-cutting measure. Indiana currently has 1-point-1 million Medicaid recipients. The 2010 reductions will be eliminated completely for providers on a number of services including dental, vision, medical transportation, lab and radiology, speech and hearing therapy, freestanding dialysis and medical supplies. Rates will be restored in part for other providers including hospitals, nursing facilities, home health care, immediate care and intellectual disability facilities.
“This decision is very important for our hospitals—it provides a more solid financial footing at this critical time given continued federal Medicare cuts,” said Doug Leonard, Indiana Hospital Association President. “This is even more significant considering hospitals in other states are facing even further Medicaid cuts while Indiana is able to reverse them.”
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Arrest in Valparaiso and Walkerton Exposure Cases

Police have made an arrest in connection with two reports of a man exposing himself to female subjects in the Target parking lot in Valparaiso Saturday afternoon. Valparaiso Police learned of a similar recent report in Walkerton, about 34-miles away. A 37-year-old Knox man allegedly admitted to incidents in both cities. He was arrested by Walkerton Police and taken to Saint Joseph County Jail on the charge of Public Indecency, and additional Public Indecency charges in Porter County have been forwarded to the Porter County Prosecutors Office.
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Indiana Boater Seriously Injured

Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a boat accident that sent a 68 year old Bedford man to the hospital with significant propeller trauma to both legs. Officials say the victim was boating with his 44 year old son at Monroe Reservoir when he attempted a left turn. For an unknown reason the boat cut hard to the left, causing the victim to be ejected from the boat. The victim was then struck by the rear of the boat, causing propeller strikes to both legs and his right arm. The son was able to stop the boat and rescue his father from the water before receiving assistance from fellow boaters to get back to the ramp. Neither man was wearing a life jacket on the boat.
The victim was transported by ambulance to IU Health Hospital in Bloomington before being flown to Methodist Hospital.
As more Hoosiers take to the water this summer, Indiana Conservation Officers encourage all boaters to follow recommended safe boating practices. This includes utilizing an engine kill switch cord. This is a small cord that runs from the ignition and is meant to be attached to the operator. In the event that the operator is ejected from the boat, the engine is immediately stopped, keeping the boat from running over the operator or crashing, unmanned, into shore. Although it cannot prevent all boating accidents, conservation officers say this small device, when worn properly, can prevent injury similar to what this victim sustained.
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