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Fired Guardsman Arrested for Felony Intimidation

Published reports today say an Indiana National Guardsman was arrested Wednesday afternoon for threatening to beat up and blow up the home of the non-commissioned officer who fired him. 26 year old Paul Young, a LaPorte member of the Guard, is charged with felony intimidation for the incident that occurred at the Valparaiso National Guard Armory.
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LaPorte Co. Metro Operation Nabs 3 on Drug Charges

The La Porte County Metro Operations Unit, which is a multi-jurisdictional drug task force that is comprised of narcotics investigators from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and La Porte Police Department, arrested three wanted persons for their involvement in the distribution of drugs in La Porte County.  The arrests occurred on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at several locations in La Porte County.
Nineteen year-old Julian Townsel was arrested without incident at his home, located in the 5600 West block of Johnson Road.  He had been wanted for an arrest warrant that had been issued by La Porte County Circuit Court for Revocation of Suspended Sentence for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Hydrocodone) and Dealing in Cocaine or Narcotic Drug.  He is being held without bond in the La Porte County Jail.    
Twenty-two year-old Joseph Ukonga was arrested without incident at his home, located in the 1000 block of Weller Avenue in La Porte.  He had been wanted for Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (heroin), a class “A” felony and Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance (heroin) and class “B” felony.  He is being held in the La Porte County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.    
Nineteen year-old Emmanuel Ukonga was arrested at his home in the 200 block of “I” Street in La Porte.  He had been wanted for Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (heroin) and is being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond.  Joseph and Emmanuel Ukonga are brothers and had been wanted for criminal arrest warrants that had been issued by La Porte County Circuit Court.  All three suspects are scheduled to appear in Circuit Court on Friday, May 17, 2013.  
 
La Porte County Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer states:  “These arrests are evidence of our continuing series of narcotics investigations throughout La Porte County and the public is assured that these investigations continue and additional arrests are imminent.”     
The public is encouraged to report potential drug activity to the La Porte County Metro Operations Unit by calling (219)325-9022.
Julian Townsel
Julian Townsel
Joseph Uknonga
Joseph Ukonga
Emmanuel Ukonga
Emmanuel Ukonga
(photos provided by the La Porte County Sheriff's Department)
 
*The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”
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NWI Gas Prices Highest in State

We could start seeing gas prices fall somewhat in the Region according to an analyst for Gasbuddy-dot-com. The cost of a gallon of regular unleaded has been hovering right around 4-dollars a gallon, with a price jump in the Gary and Hammond area early this week. Triple A's Daily Fuel Gauge Report says the average in Indiana right now is about 3-74 for a gallon of regular unleaded, but in the Gary Metropolitan area, it's about four-dollars-and-one-cent, the highest in the state.
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Powerball Jackpot Now $475M

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Hoosier Lottery officials say no player nationwide matched all six numbers in last night's $360 million Powerball drawing, propelling the top-prize estimate to $475 million for Saturday night, second largest in the game's history. The cash value of Saturday's jackpot is $302.4 million. Mega Millions, that'll be played on Friday, has another big jackpot, now up to 190-million dollars.
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Agriculture and Indiana's Economy

agstudy WinCE

A new report from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business says agricultural industries contributed $37.9 billion to Indiana's economy in 2011. "Agriculture's Bounty: The Economic Contribution of Agriculture," produced by the Indiana Business Research Center, also said that the state's agricultural output supports nearly 190,000 Hoosier jobs. Of those jobs, 103,000 are directly involved in crop production and processing. Approximately 83 percent of Indiana's geography -- 19.4 million acres -- is devoted to farming or forests.
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Two-Day Code Sweep in MC

Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer says an enforcement sweep begins today as inspectors from the city will be issuing warnings and citations for code violations. The two-day sweep will cover an area within Springland Avenue on the north, Vail Street on the west, Michigan Boulevard on the south, and Carroll Avenue on the east. Michigan City Fire officials will also be available citywide to help the elderly or disabled with the installation or checking of their smoke detectors, and those who'd like assistance are asked to call the Michigan City Fire Department.
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Medical Center Abatement Tabled

The Hobart City Council last night tabled a tax abatement request for a proposed medical facility off the interstate. Some council members and the police chief voiced concerns about traffic issues. The office/medical building would go up at the northeast corner of 62nd Street and Marcella Boulevard, not far from the busy I-65/61st Avenue interchange.
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Hebron Recount Still an Option

We should hear soon whether the Hebron Schools will be asking for a recount in their recent referendum. In a special election last week, voters in the M-S-D of Boone Township district were asked to approve a property tax increase for the schools, and the referendum failed by just four votes, according to as-of-yet unofficial tallies. The Porter County election board is meeting Friday. The school superintendent has said personnel cuts would be necessary without the additional funds.
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Pence Sought Federal Shield Law

The Attorney General is coming under fire from both Democrats and Republicans for the department's seizure of reporters phone records, despite the Attorney General's claim that a very serious leak of classified information is involved. The White House has renewed a push for a federal shield law. For several years, when he served as a US Representative from Indiana, Republican Governor Mike Pence tried to pass such a law. His “Free Flow of Information Act” meant to let journalists t'shield' confidential sources from disclosure except in certain situations, such as when national security is threatened.. Pence has said he feels a free and independent press is the 'only check on government power in real time.'  Though there is no federal shield law, states have them, and Indiana's is considered one of the broader ones in the country.
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70+ Apply to Adopt Abandoned Pups

Mama Dog and Maura WinCE
Mama Dog with Foster Mom Maura (Photo provided)
Local animal foster group Lakeshore PAWS is sending out a thank you to everyone involved in helping the mom and 17 puppies who were found in Porter County this past weekend. Porter County Sheriffs Police say anyone with information on who may have dumped the dogs in the area of State Park Road and Waverly Friday night is asked to call Porter County Animal Control. Lakeshore PAWS says they have received more than seventy applications to adopt the pups, so are no longer able to take applications for them. The group also says the mother is now in a foster home.  Lakeshore PAWS will be hosting an adoption event this Saturday (May 18th) at Coco’s Canine Cabana, but the 17 pups will not be available for adoption, though a number of other animals who need homes will be.
219.476.PAWS (7297)
www.LakeshorePAWS.org
www.Facebook.com/LakeshorePAWS
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Payroll Records Subpoenaed

Published reports say federal agents recently subpoenaed nearly a decade's worth of payroll records of the office of Lake County Surveyor. About a year ago, Indiana State Police and the FBI removed documents and computers from the surveyor's office. No charges have been filed. George Van Til has been Lake County Surveyor since 1992, winning re-election last November.
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/crown-point/federal-agents-examining-lake-county-surveyor-s-payroll-records/article_cb0bb48e-7fab-52a8-b464-e4533f9899e7.html
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NIPSCO to Give Back to Hammond Schools Friday

On Friday, NIPSCO and Junior Achievement will be teaming up to give more than 15-hundred school children of Hammond Elementary Schools the opportunity to learn of their economic success, help them plan for the future, and make smart academic choices through the “J-A in a Day” program. Kathleen Szot, of NIPSCO, says all walks of life from the NIPSCO employee group will be represented and will act as teachers in kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms, going through a lesson plan that Junior Achievement has catered for each grade level, but also allows the employees to give different professional perspectives and experiences.
Szot says NIPSCO and Junior Achievement have worked together for the last two years visiting Northwest Indiana schools, but this is this first year the partnership has been amped up to this magnitude.
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Traffic Hazard on SB I-65 Connector Ramp from EB 80/94

Traffic tipsters are reporting an accident in a bad place--the inside wall of the southbound connector ramp from eastbound Borman (I-80/94).  In addition, an earlier crash SB I-65 near 45th Avenue, that has since been cleared away, is still causing stop and go traffic until past 53rd Avenue.  INDOT says the backup to SB I-65 is just before Burr Street on EB I-80/94.  Drivers should expect delays.
Connector Ramp crash
A Hoosier Helper is seen before the three vehicles involved in an apparent accident on the inside wall of the SB I-65 connector ramp from eastbound I-80/94.
(photo from INDOT traffic cam)
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Obama Meeting with Officials to Fix IRS Issue

ABC News reports that one day after the official report criticizing IRS operations, President Obama is considering ways to fix what he considers bad behavior. One question to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney really cut to the heart of the issue - President Obama has argued for years in favor of bigger government. Carney answered that improper behavior has to be held accountable. The President is meeting this afternoon with officials from the Dept of the Treasury on how to fix the IRS.
The Times reports Governor Mike Pence, while still serving in the US House of Representatives, sponsored shield legislation, the Free Flow of Information Act, which would have prohibited government agencies from obtaining the telephone records of reporters from communication companies without a federal judge's approval. That legislation though was derailed after a 2009 proposal demanding an exception for leaks that could harm nation security.
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Power Restored to Most Customers After Valpo Pole Fire

Valparaiso Police were still advising motorists, at last check, to avoid Calumet Avenue, north of Glendale, between Albert and Wall Streets, as NIPSCO crews were replacing utility poles and wires affected by a pole fire that occurred around noon today. Traffic lights were out at the busy five-points intersection, which is under construction, but tipsters reported just before 3pm that the lights were back on. NIPSCO reports 15-hundred customers were initially without power, but at last check, all but 100 have had their power restored, although no restoration time has been made available.
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Inaugural Cook County Vs Russia Inmate Chess Tourney

chess2
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Chess1
Ten Cook County Jail detainees squared off against ten Russian inmates in a chess tournament today through a secure internet line. Sheriff Tom Dart says there were two rounds played by each player on each team, and when it was over the final score was 14 and a half to five and a half in favor of Russia. Sheriff Dart launched the jail's chess program in April of 2012, which was expanded in December to permit detainees to participate in online chess tournaments. The Sheriff says today's successful competition is a tribute to Dr. Korenman, who along with the Sheriff, and Anatoly Karpov, a legendary Russian chess grandmaster and former world champion, came up with the idea for today's international tournament. To date, approximately 600 Cook County Jail detainees have participated in the jail's chess program, of which the goal is to instill the importance of patience, diligence, and critical thought in detainees....

   

Valparaiso Police Remember Fallen Officers

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(Photos Courtesy of the Valparaiso Police Department)
Valparaiso Police today remembered fallen officers during a ceremony at the police department. Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas thanked the officers for their service and Chief Michael Brickner spoke of National Peace Officers Memorial Day today and the seven days including today that make up National Police Week. Officers placed a carnation at the base of a memorial wreath in remembrance of the 120 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who lost their lives in 2012 serving in their communities across America.
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Two Day Closure of SR 16 Near Brook Starts Tomorrow

Indot Logo color
A sealing operation will have a portion of State Road 16 closed to motorists for two days starting tomorrow in Jasper and Newton Counties. The Indiana Department of Transportation reports State Road 16, between U-S 231 and Hess Street, in Brook, will be closed Thursday and Friday, weather permitting, so crews can fog-seal the roadway. 
A detour will take westbound SR 16 traffic south on U.S. 231, west on U.S. 24, north on U.S. 41, and back to SR 16. Eastbound SR 16 traffic will travel south on U.S. 41, east on U.S. 24, north on U.S. 231, and back to SR 16.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
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Valpo Police: Avoid Calumet Ave Today

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Valparaiso Police say NIPSCO crews advise Calumet Avenue north of Glendale, between Albert and Wall Streets, will be shut down for the rest of the afternoon (at least four hours) as crews replace utility poles and wires affected by a pole fire around noon today. Also, the traffic lights are out at the very busy five-points intersection, which is currently under construction for the new roundabout, with part of Roosevelt Road closed for that project. Officials also report sporadic, scattered power outages in the immediate area. Valparaiso Police urge motorists to avoid Calumet Avenue this afternoon.
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WB Borman I-80/94 Backing Up Due to Crash

Traffic tipsters are reporting a three car wreck that is backing up traffic westbound on the Borman at this time, with two of the vehicles involved reportedly spun around in the opposite direction.  At one time two left lanes were reportedly closed.  INDOT is reporting all westbound lanes I-80/94 near I-65 are moving slowly due to the crash that has been moved to the inside median.
crash WB Borman 80-94  05-15-13
All lanes westbound Borman I-80/94 from I-65 to Broadway is backed up due to reported three car crash near mile 10.9
(photo from INDOT)
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