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State Auditors: Gary Schools Treasurer Owes Us Money

The Indiana State Board of Accounts have forwarded a report to the Lake County Prosecutor and the Attorney General alleging a former extracurricular treasurer for two Gary High Schools owes almost six-thousand dollars for missing fees and ticket sales receipts between 2010 and 2012. The Times reports Darrellyn Wilson is also accused of failing to ensure ticket sales for events, and auditors want an additional 42-hundred dollars to reimburse the state for audit costs. According to the article, Wilson denies taking any money.
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IL Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Gov

medical marijuana
The Illinois Senate today voted 35 to 21 in favor for allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The proposed legislation, touted as the strictest in the nation among the 18 states and the District of Columbia which allow medical marijuana, creates a four-year pilot program that allows physicians to prescribe the drug to existing patients with at least one of the over 30 medical conditions listed including cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. Patients and caregivers would be required to undergo background checks and sets a two-point-five ounce limit per patient per purchase. The measure heads to the Governor.
A Pew Research Center poll last month reported that 77-percent of Americans believe marijuana has a legitimate medical use.
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Tom Ridge Speaks at Porter Co Sheriff's Memorial Service

Tom RIdge 2
Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was the keynote speaker at the Porter County Sheriffs Department's annual Inspection and Memorial Service this morning for National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Week. Ridge called the four officers being remembered, Edward Blakely, Timothy Hecht (heck), Robert Hardesty, and Phillip Pratt, our rock stars, our celebrities, who relentlessly pursued service, and whose contributions truly mattered.
Ridge, who has since re-entered the private sector, served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 through 2001, and was the first Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, serving from 2003-to-2005 .  To hear more from today's memorial service, click News Audio On Demand.
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Valpo Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation, Molestation

Tara Tryon
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 23 year old Valparaiso woman pleaded guilty today to one count of felony child molestation and one count of child exploitation. The Times reports Tara Tryon could spend up to ten years in prison on the molestation charge and eight years for the exploitation charge, which would be served concurrently if the plea agreement is excepted by the judge. According to the article, Tyron, as part of the plea agreement, admitted to molesting a two year old she babysat for, beginning in April of 2010, and sending photos of the acts to her boyfriend, 27 year old Ryan Schroeder, who was in the Navy. In February, Schroeder received 54 years in prison after being found guilty on numerous felony charges, which included aiding child molesting and possession of child pornography.
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Powerball Jackpot Now at Record High $600 Million

powerball
INDIANAPOLIS -  Responding to surging nationwide sales, officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association increased the jackpot estimate for Saturday night's Powerball drawing for the second-straight day to a game-record $600 million.
The cash value of Saturday's jackpot is now $376.9 million.
Hoosiers can get in on the historic, record jackpot action at nearly 4,000 retailers across Indiana simply by asking the clerk for a Powerball quick pick. The sales cut-off time is 9:58 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. A Powerball ticket costs just $2.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly.
Lottery players in the United States have had a chance to win more money than this only one other time -- in March 2012 when  the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $656 million before being hit in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.
Indiana leads the nation in Powerball jackpot wins with 38, dating back to the introduction of the game to Hoosiers in 1992. 
Indiana retailers have also been on a roll since the start of the current jackpot run on March 31, having sold four $1 million prize-winning Powerball tickets since that time. 
The mission of the Hoosier Lottery is to maximize net income for the state in a socially-responsible manner. In fiscal year 2012, the Hoosier Lottery generated $211 million in surplus revenue which was used to significantly reduce the motor vehicle excise tax for all Hoosier drivers and also supported the pension funds for retired Indiana teachers, police and firefighters. Player prizes for the fiscal year totaled $533 million and $60 million was earned by Indiana retailers on the sale of Hoosier Lottery products.
Since its inception in 1989, the Hoosier Lottery has produced more than $4.2 billion for the citizens of Indiana, $1 billion in commissions and bonuses for participating Indiana retailers, and has paid out more than $8.9 billion in player prizes.
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WB S Shore Train 116 Running 15-20 Minutes Late

Traffic-Alert
Westbound South Shore Train 116 is running 15-20 minutes late due to a medical emergency.
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Addressing School Safety, Pill Mills, Consumer Protection

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller applauded the efforts of state legislators who recently passed bills addressing overprescribing of prescription drugs, enhancing protections for consumers and providing funding for school resource officers.
Zoeller thanked State Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, State Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, and State Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, for supporting public safety and consumer protection during the Legislature’s 2013 session.
“Lawmakers of both parties and both houses worked collaboratively to tackle complex issues facing Hoosiers: providing for the safety of our children, protecting consumers and confronting the abuse of prescription drugs. Before session my office made recommendations about new laws needed to protect the public; and we are grateful that legislators worked so diligently to consider, refine and pass these bills that will serve the needs of constituents,” Zoeller said.
SEA 1: School Resource Officers
Zoeller thanked legislators for their passing Senate Enrolled Act 1, which allows schools to voluntarily apply for state matching grants of up to $50,000 to create or expand School Resource Officer positions. School Resource Officers or SROs are career police officers from local public safety agencies who have received special training in interaction with students, and who are assigned to schools to provide safety. 
Originally proposed by Zoeller and Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, in January, SEA 1 was based on a needs assessment study the AG’s Office conducted last fall – before the Newtown tragedy. The study found that school administrators and law enforcement officials would be interested in expanding School Resource Officer programs if funding were available. Under SEA 1, signed into law May 7 by Gov. Pence, a state board will be set up to review grant applications from schools and distribute funds. Application criteria are expected to be announced this summer. Sen. Charbonneau was the Senate second author of SEA 1, Sen. Randoph was a co-author and Rep. Lawson was House co-sponsor of SEA 1. Sen. Charbonneau and Rep. Lawson also served on the conference committee that advanced the final version of the bill.
“The School Resource Officer grant program will further develop the existing working relationships schools already have with their local law enforcement agencies. The daily presence of highly-trained, career police officers and sheriff’s deputies in schools can serve to increase respect for the law by students and also deter the problems in schools of bullying and drug abuse that occur in schools every day. We are appreciative that legislators took the original Senate approach to the bill that gives schools the flexibility to decide whether to apply for SRO grants or not, in keeping with local control, and I am pleased that the Governor signed it,” Zoeller said.
SEA 589: Licensing Enforcement and Consumer Protection
The Attorney General's Office enforces licensing laws against healthcare professionals such as physicians and nurses and other non-health related licensed professionals such as contractors, plumbers and architects. If the licensing rules are violated, then the Attorney General's Office can file a disciplinary action against the individual before one of the licensing boards, which conducts a hearing as to the licensee's status and ability to practice. If someone is practicing a profession without a license, a licensing board can issue a cease and desist order. Senate Enrolled Act 589 enhances that authority by allowing licensing boards to order unlicensed individuals to pay restitution to consumers who are victims of their actions. SEA 589 makes changes to funeral licensing, and prohibits individuals who sell pre-paid funeral plans from falsely claiming that the funeral service and merchandise is covered by Medicaid if it is not. Rep. Brown was House co-sponsor of SEA 589 and the Governor signed it into law.
“Senate Enrolled Act 589, which I co-sponsored, makes changes on various occupational licensing issues,” Rep. Brown said.  “The new law will protect professionals in those occupations as well as consumers who use their services. Consumer protection is essential to establishing consumer confidence, which in turn spurs greater economic growth.”
SEA 246: Prescription Drugs and ‘Pill Mills’
The Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which Zoeller chairs, examined the problem of pain-management clinics that dispense addictive controlled substances with little oversight.
“The epidemic of prescription drug abuse is fueled by the irresponsible overprescribing of addictive painkillers to patients which leads to drug dependency, easy access for abuse and accidental overdoses, all with terrible consequences. The Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force determined that the state’s efforts to curb these harmful practices by ‘pill mills’ would be enhanced with new state laws, and I am grateful to the legislators who have invested long hours into crafting effective new statutes to help address the epidemic in Indiana,” Zoeller said.
Senate Enrolled Act 246 makes important changes regarding clinics that prescribe, dispense or administer controlled substances. If a clinic owner does not otherwise hold an Indiana Controlled Substance Registration (CSR), then the owner must obtain a CSR for each facility they own in Indiana.  As part of registration, clinic owners have a responsibility for overseeing the operations in the clinic and ensuring that practitioners prescribe in a way that complies with law. Under SEA 246, through new rulemaking procedures of the Medical Licensing Board, the AG’s Office can move more quickly in taking enforcement action against practitioners who overprescribe and in obtaining records for an investigation. Sen. Charbonneau was Senate second author of SEA 246 and Sen. Randolph was a co-author.
 
SEA 277: Methamphetamine Vehicles Sales Disclosure
Criminals who produce the dangerous illegal stimulant methamphetamine often attempt to do so in hidden confined spaces, such as in vehicles, sometimes called "rolling meth labs.” Indiana’s Lemon Law protects automobile purchasers by requiring the dealer or seller who knows or reasonably should know that a vehicle is defective to disclose this fact to the purchaser. Because materials contaminated with meth residue can carry health risks to people exposed to them, Senate Enrolled Act 277 updates the private enforcement rights of the Lemon Law to require the vehicle seller to disclose that a vehicle previously had been used in manufacturing methamphetamine. If a vehicle seller fails to disclose a vehicle’s history in meth manufacture, then SEA 277 creates civil penalties, including paying the cost of decontaminating the vehicle or a $10,000 penalty. Rep. Lawson was a House co-sponsor of SEA 277.
 
HEA 1084: Homeowner Protection Enhancements
The Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) within the Consumer Protection Division has filed numerous lawsuits against illegal foreclosure rescue consultants and other predators who defraud homeowners facing foreclosure. House Enrolled Act 1084 amends the foreclosure consultant law to prohibit consultants from misrepresenting themselves as being endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with any government agency or program. HEA 1084 also amends the law governing homeowner associations to create greater transparency and make a homeowner association’s financial records available to its members and to the AG’s Office.
Sen. Randolph was a Senate co-sponsor of HEA 1084.
“I’m pleased that we could pass this law to protect Hoosier homeowners from fraudulent loan practices,” Sen. Randolph said. “And I’m especially grateful for the Attorney General’s involvement in this important measure to ensure residents are given enough time to seek legal restitution.”
 
SEA 222: Unclaimed Property
By law the Indiana Attorney General’s Office administers the state’s Unclaimed Property program to ensure that abandoned bank accounts, stock dividends, insurance proceeds and other dormant assets are reunited with their rightful owners. In 2012 the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division returned nearly $44.9 million worth of unclaimed property to Hoosiers, and in 2011 paid more than 85,000 in claims Hoosiers submitted. Senate Enrolled Act 222 will allow the AG’s Office to return money to consumers more efficiently and effectively. First, it requires that if property in safe deposit boxes has been abandoned for three years, then a bank must turn over the property to the state so that the AG’s Office can attempt to return it to the owners – reducing the time frame from five years to three. Second, SEA 222 requires institutions holding unclaimed property, such as banks, to electronically notify the state of the property they hold, rather than by filing time-consuming paper notification, so that the AG’s Office can expedite its efforts to return property. Rep. Lawson was a co-sponsor of SEA 222.
“Consumers who search for their unclaimed property online on our web site, www.IndianaUnclaimed.gov, often are pleasantly surprised at the money they find. It’s their money and we want to return it to them and SEA 222 that legislators passed will aid in that process,” Zoeller said.
Zoeller expressed his appreciation to legislators of both parties in the Indiana House and state Senate who passed by wide margins the bills on his 2013 legislative agenda.
 
NOTE: More information on the Attorney General’s 2013 legislative agenda is available at this link:  http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2472.htm
More information about the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division is at this link: www.indianaunclaimed.gov...
 

Valpo Bike to Work Day

Valpo Bike to Work Day
Valparaiso Parks Director John Seibert and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas
Bike enthusiasts joined Mayor Jon Costas at the Valparaiso Family YMCA this morning for a 'Bike to Work Day” event organized by the Valparaiso Pathways Committee. Mayhor Costas says the event reminds us that “cars aren't the only way of getting from point A to point B”. The bicyclists made their way down to Central Park in downtown Valparaiso from the Y this morning.
Valpo Bike to Work Day
The Valparaiso Pathways Committee held a Bike to Work Day event that started at the Valparaiso Family YMCA Pavilion this morning.
[Photos by Karl Berner, Radio One Communications]
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Sup Ct Prevents Lake Judge Transfer

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that Lake Superior Court Judge Nicholas Schiralli [sher-ell'ee] cannot move into the Juvenile Court vacancy that opened up when former Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura left to become director of the Indiana Department of Child Services; justices wrote Indiana Code prevents the judges from reassigning, transferring, or rotating Judge Schiralli from the county division to the juvenile division. Justices rejected the Lake Superior Court judges' argument that the merit selection law preventing the transfer is unconstitutional. The case went before the Supreme Court after Lake Juvenile Magistrates sued in March to stop the transfer. Schiralli, who's been a judge in Lake County since being elected in 1976, did not go through the merit selection process, and had planned to transfer into the Juvenile Court position based on seniority.  75 year old Judge Thomas Webber, of Porter Township, was named by the Indiana Supreme Court in March to serve as the temporary juvenile court judge.
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Hammond Fire Investigated

The cause of a fire at a used car lot in the 56-hundred block of Calumet Avenue in Hammond overnight remains under investigation... It's not far from six other late-night fires that officials believe are suspicious that broke out within walking distance of each other since late March. Reports say the fire this morning was spotted by a Hammond Police officer around 2:30 am.
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Powerball Jackpot at $550M

jackpot
Saturday's Powerball jackpot is huge: now an estimated 550 million dollars, and growing. Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot has increased to an estimated $190 million. DePaul University Math Professor Jeff Bergen says the odds of winning both are about one in 30 quadrillion. " It's about he same odds your favorite baseball team winning the World Series 11 times in a row, or sitting down today and predicting the winning party - Democrat or Republican - for every presidential election through the year 2228," Bergen said.
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Two Dead in House Fire

Two people are dead after a house fire in south suburban Chicago Heights overnight. Officials say a man and woman were pronounced dead at a local hospital, and cause of death is pending. No information has been released of their identities at this time. The fire was in the 200 block of East 24th Street.
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Bike to Work; Trek the Township

laporte bike to work
Today is National Bike to Work Day, with related events in Northwest Indiana, including La Porte and Valparaiso. The Valparaiso Pathways Committee invited community members to meet at the Valparaiso YMCA pavilion on Cumberland Drive, ready to ride this morning, as participants  pedal leisurely downtown, ending at Central Park Plaza where there will be a light snack and water available to the bicyclists.   Anyone who pedals to work at any other locations (business group, families, etc.) and wants to have their mileage counted can call the Park Office and record their mileage for Bike to Work Week (May 13-17, 2013). The grand total of reported miles pedaled this week, can then be calculated into gasoline saved, with the Pathways Committee reporting the total at the next Valparaiso City Council meeting on Monday, May 27th.
Call the Valpo Parks Office at 219.462.5144 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with miles pedaled this week.
On the heels of National Bike to Work Day which is today.... wheels will be rolling Saturday for a new event to raise funds for Portage Township Parks... The Friends of Portage Township Foundation is hosting “Trek the Township”, a twenty-mile family bicycling event starting at Haven Hollow Park in South Haven Saturday morning, 8am. Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy says the ride follows a  scenic route along county roads and the Prairie Duneland Trail. For more info visit www.townshipfriends.org .
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Public Corruption News Conference

The U-S Attorney's Office in Hammond announced Thursday that a press conference will be held this afternoon to announce several matters relating to the ongoing investigation of public corporation. The press conference will be held at 2pm, at the Hammond Federal Courthouse, in Hammond.
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Bus Rollover on I-65

bus two WinCE
Occupants of a special needs school bus from the Lafayette/ Tippecanoe School Corporation, returning from a field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo escaped serious injury after a rollover crash on I-65. Thursday afternoon.  Indiana State Police say preliminary investigation and witness accounts revealed a box truck or white box trailer being pulled by a semi tractor reportedly made an abrupt move, and the 55-year-old bus driver of Lafayette, steered into the grass median to avoid a collision. The bus rolled over and came to rest on the wheels in the median. Troopers say the other vehicle, which did not make contact with the bus, did not stop. All 12 passengers, seven adults and 5 children ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade, were transported to St. Vincent’s and Methodists Hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries. All bus passengers were reported to be wearing restraints.
bus one WinCE
[Photos/Indiana State Police]
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Man Dies After Construction Accident

Officials say a Dyer man died after a construction accident on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston Thursday. Authorities say a beam was knocked off the sixth-floor of a building by a construction crane and struck 57-year-old Michael Kerr, who died at a Chicago-area hospital. An autopsy was scheduled for today.
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$450 Tip for Indiana Waitress

A customer at an Indiana diner leaves her waitress a nearly 450-dollar tip. CeCe Bruce fits in her full-time job at the Steak n-Shake in north Indianapolis alongside her studies, thought there had to be a mistake when she saw the total sale written on the $5.97 bill. The generous customer known as Miss Jo, who regularly enjoys a breakfast on Wednesdays at the diner, had watched while Bruce waited on her table, as well as a table of four.
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Loaded Gun Found During Harvey Traffic Stop

gunarrest
(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A stop for a traffic violation Tuesday in Harvey, Illinois, led to the recovery of a loaded handgun and the arrest of a 20 year old Sauk Village man. The Cook County Sheriff's Office says they discovered the loaded handgun under the front passenger seat of the vehicle while taking inventory, after officers learned the car's driver had a revoked driver's license. The Sheriff's Office says the gun belonged to one of the three passengers in the vehicle, who did not have a Firearm Owner's Identification, or FOID, card. Sheriff Tom Dart says in the last three months the department's Gun Suppression Team, formed to remove guns from those who possess them illegally and confiscate revoked FOID cards from those who are no longer allowed to have them, have recovered 98 guns, 113 revoked FOID cards, and have resolved 74 FOID cases. The Sheriff says in Cook County alone, nearly four-thousand revoked FOID card holders have not returned their FOID cards to Illinois State Police.
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Portage PD Seek Help to ID Purse Theft Suspects

portage purse theft suspects
(Photos Courtesy of the Times)
portage purse theft suspects 2
The Portage Police Department today released two surveillance photos showing two people suspected in a purse theft from a vehicle on May 7th. The Times reports the photos were taken at a Hobart store on May 8th, and also shows the vehicle they were driving. According to the article, a purse was taken from a vehicle in the 61-hundred block of Robbins Road and the woman in photo allegedly used the victim's credit and debit cards at the Hobart store where the photo was taken. Police say the vehicle appears to be a late 1990's model Ford or Toyota. Anyone with information is asked to contact Portage Police.
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IN Farm Bureau Optimistic for Long-term Farm Bill in 2013

IN Farm Bureau logo
The Indiana Farm Bureau today applauded the House Agriculture Committee's approval of the 2013 farm bill Wednesday night. According to a release, the Farm Bureau says they are optimistic that approvals now from both the House and Senate Ag Committee will lead to the passage of a long-term farm bill yet this year. The Farm Bureau says the proposed legislation in both cases provides Hoosier farmers with what they need most: risk management tools that are built around crop insurance, and thanked U-S Senator Joe Donnelly for his work on the Senate Ag Committee in moving its version of a five-year farm bill forward.
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