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Pence Signs Anti-Bullying Legislation into Law

HEA1423 Signing
(Photo Provided by the Office of Indiana State Senator Tom Wyss)
Anti-bullying legislation authored by State Senator Tom Wyss was signed into law Tuesday by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, updating the state's 2005 anti-bullying law, also authored by Senator Wyss. House Enrolled Act 14-23 will now require schools to track and report incidents of bullying and to train their employees and students on how to prevent bullying.
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Governor Pence to Stop in Portage and Gary Tomorrow

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be making a couple of stops in Northwest Indiana on Wednesday. The Governor is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Portage Economic Luncheon, scheduled at noon, and then its off to Gary for a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 585, also known as the Gary Bill. The legislation will providing funding for a feasibility study for both a trauma center and teaching hospital, as well as a study to expand the Port of Indiana to Lake County. The bill will also provide the City of Gary with three-million dollars for the Gary Sanitary District, lifts Lake County property tax caps, and resets membership on the Gary Airport Board, requiring five-years of experience in business or aviation management. The bill signing is scheduled for 1:45pm, at Gary City Hall.
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Pence Signs Combat to College Bill

SEA115 Bill Signing
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Senate Majority Caucus)
STATEHOUSE (June 4, 2013) –  Veterans will now have more support in transitioning into college, thanks to legislation authored by State Sens. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) and Allen Paul (R-Richmond). Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 115 into law today.
SEA 115 requires state colleges and universities with at least 200 veteran students to establish a “combat to college” program, creating administrative and educational assistance for these students.
“As the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans remains high, we must take extra care to provide educational and career assistance for our returning soldiers,” Glick said. “The ‘combat-to-college’ program is pivotal to helping our veterans find success in civilian life.”
“The essential goal of this legislation was to support veterans pursuing a college education,” Paul said. “These policies and programs will not only meet the unique needs of veteran students but will give them more opportunities to succeed.”
Under the new law, relevant colleges and universities are required to implement the following policies and programs for veterans:
·         A centralized location for admissions, registration and financial administration services
·         Reasonable fitness accommodations for disabled veterans
·         Academic guidance and counseling services
·         Job-search assistance
Pence hailed the legislation as a victory for veteran students.
"Providing Hoosier veterans with better access to a college education will help them be more successful and will improve our workforce," Pence said. "I applaud Senators Sue Glick and Allen Paul, the authors of the bill, for their leadership on this important matter to help the brave men and women who made sacrifices to protect our freedom improve their lives through education."
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Lane Restriction Now In Place Along 54th Ave in Merrillville

Motorists speeding on 54th Avenue in Merrillville through the storm sewer reconstruction project have caused officials to announce lane restrictions effective immediately to ensure the safety of workers and residents. The five-block area of the project on 54th Avenue will now be open to local residential traffic only, as well as daily mail delivery, and will take place after school buses have had their morning runs. Officials say block closures will begin no earlier than 7am to 3:30 pm daily, and that the road will be open to all traffic by 4pm each day. As the project moves east to Lincoln, Buchanan, Pierce, and Fillmore Streets, those segments will be closed when workers are at those locations. Meantime, it is recommended motorists who normally use 54th Avenue use 57th Avenue instead. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of August or early September.
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Former Gary Mayor Rudolph Clay Has Died

Rudy Clay
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Former Gary Mayor Rudolph Clay has passed away. According to the press release, at last check, a cause of death has not yet been established, but Clay had been battling prostate cancer for over a year. Current Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson expressed her sympathy and condolences to the entire Clay family for their loss, calling the former Mayor an icon in the community, whose political service spanned decades, and that his heart for the citizens of Gary will be remembered and cherished for years to come. 

First District Congressman Pete Visclosky and Indiana U-S Senator Joe Donnelly also extended their thoughts and prayers to the Clay family, with both stating they had lost a friend.

Clay was 77 years old.
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IN Borrowers to Get Nat Mortage Settlement Payment Next Week

Indiana Attorney General
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today that checks will be sent out next week to eligible Indiana borrowers who are part of the National Mortgage Settlement.  
Eligible borrowers had their mortgage serviced by one of the settlement’s five participating mortgage servicers, lost their home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and submitted a valid claim form. Eligible Hoosiers can expect a check for about $1,480 which will be dropped in the mail between Monday, June 10 and Monday, June 17.
The participating servicers include Ally (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Zoeller said 18,448 checks totaling $26.3 million will be sent to Indiana consumers, and about 55.9 percent of eligible borrowers submitted a claim – which is comparable to the national response rate of 55 percent.
“These payments are meant to help compensate borrowers for mortgage servicing abuse," Zoeller said. “The National Mortgage Settlement payments and the new mortgage servicing standards under the review of a national monitor will help ensure the public is protected from similar errors in the future.”
Zoeller said the payment does not limit a borrower from seeking relief through a separate lawsuit or other claims.
Nationally, the settlement administrator will mail valid claim payments to 962,278 loan records totaling $1.5 billion from June 10 through June 17.
In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced the historic joint state-federal National Mortgage Settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers.  Preliminary data shows that, so far, the servicers have provided more than $50 billion in direct settlement relief to borrowers nationwide, much more than originally expected.
A relatively small number of borrowers will not receive a check in the initial mailing or will receive a split payment.
  • Some borrowers will receive a check for less than the approximate $1,480 payment in situations where borrowers are divorced or separated and no longer live at the same address. The full per-loan amount will be paid on these loans, but the payment will be evenly split between the borrowers.
  • A small number of borrowers who submitted a claim form but do not have a valid Social Security number on file will be delayed in receiving their payments while tax-related issues are addressed.
  • Two servicers recently provided information on an additional 31,000 borrowers, and thus they could not be included in this distribution. Later this summer, these consumers will receive a notice and will have the opportunity to submit a payment application.
Every borrower who filed a claim will receive a letter regarding their outcome. Borrowers with questions about their National Mortgage Settlement payment should call the settlement administrator at 1-866-430-8358.
Indiana's overall share of the settlement was about $145 million. Of that, approximately $100 million was used as direct assistance to Indiana borrowers who lost their homes due to foreclosure, or to distressed borrowers who seek to refinance and save their homes. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office received $43.8 million, with $28.8 million of that dedicated by the Legislature to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the rest committed to the Consumer Protection Division and its Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) and other efforts to prevent foreclosure.
"Indiana's Legislature wisely channeled the settlement funds my office received into a fund to assist low-income homeowners who were most at-risk to be foreclosed upon and also the most likely to have difficulty paying their energy bills," Zoeller said.  
National Mortgage Settlement, Independent Foreclosure Review payments are separate
The IFR settlement is unrelated and separate from the National Mortgage Settlement and does not include the same governmental agencies.  The IFR payments began in mid-April of 2013, and the OCC announced that final payments will be mailed in mid-July.  For more information on the OCC Independent Foreclosure Review settlement, go to www.OCC.gov and click on Independent Foreclosure Review.
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Griffith Man Dies in Fatal Crash on Broad Street

A spokesman for the Lake County Sheriffs Department says their Reconstruction Unit responded to the 14-hundred block of South Broad Street in unincorporated Griffith overnight to investigate a fatal motor vehicle crash involving a passenger vehicle and a dump truck hauling asphalt for a local construction project. Police say their preliminary investigation revealed that the dump truck was southbound on Broad Street when a northbound Pontiac crossed the double yellow center line and collided head-on with the oncoming truck. The driver of the dump truck, a 51-year-old Highland man, suffered no injuries, but was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and mandatory testing in accordance with INDOT regulations. Authorities say the 19 year old driver of the Pontiac, identified by the Lake County Coroners office today as Cody Lejeune (leh-zhoon') of Griffith, was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Lake Co Native Knew Storm Chasers

A Region native tells the Times today that if it weren't for a business trip, he could have been in the path of the same tornado that claimed the lives of three storm chasers. Matt Grzych [gher'-zitch], originally from Crown Point, works at Boeing Company, investigating the cause of airplane accidents, and started working with the longtime tornado researchers five years ago when he joined onto the field research program featured on the Discovery Channel's “Storm Chasers”. Tim Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young were killed in a deadly tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday, and the National Weather Center says they are believed to be the first fatalities among storm chasers.
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/crown-point/crown-point-native-faced-storms-side-by-side-with-tornado/article_ba756088-78e2-5d14-9a03-14d1c21c3480.html
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Cook Co Police: Gary Gun Found in Arrest

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart says investigators working in Dolton found a gun they later learned was stolen in 2010 out of Gary. Authorities say a 32-year-old Chicago man scheduled to appear at the Markham Courthouse today has been charged with armed violence, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, child endangerment and other narcotics related charges. Dart says his department's Gun Suppression Team observed two vehicles in the street parked alongside each other and police allege the drivers conducted what appeared to be a narcotics transaction. Investigators conducted a traffic stop on one of the vehicles; the other sped away. Police say Armond Nelson of Chicago was scheduled to appear in bond court this morning at the Markham Courthouse. Nelson allegedly told investigators he purchased the gun from someone on the streets in Indiana.  Police say the suspect's five-year-old daughter was in the back seat, and was later turned over to family members.
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Indiana Blood Center Reduces Staff

Indiana Blood Center says 45 positions are being eliminated and other changes are taking effect July first in light of shrinking revenue. The center also announced it was streamlining bloodmobile operations and closing a donor center in downstate Avon. The non-profit says demand for blood from their more than sixty member hospitals has decreased by 24-percent over the last year. The organization says they are funded by service fees they charge hospitals to recruit, collect, test, process, label, store and distribute blood.
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Griffith Teen Killed in Crash

The Lake County Coroners office says a Griffith teenager was killed in a motor vehicle accident overnight. Authorities say 19-year-old Cody Lejeune was pronounced dead at the scene at two-o'clock this morning in the 14-hundred block of South Broad Street in Griffith. Officials say the Lake County Police Accident Reconstruction Team, Lake County Police Crime lab, and Schererville Fire Department are also investigating.
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Parents Asked to Behave; Lowell, Elsewhere

In Buffalo Grove Illinois, the community's park district recently installed “adult behavior” signs – meant to remind grown-ups, parents, to behave themselves and keep their cool at children's sports activities. Closer to home here in the Region, Lowell parents whose children participate in middle and high school sports will be signing a “civility clause”. The Tri-Creek School Board has added that to their handbooks in an attempt to keep adult behavior in check. School officials are also specifying that only those with permission can take pictures or video of athletes during an event, to protect students.
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Helicopter Crash in Lansing

No injuries were reported in a helicopter crash at Lansing Airport. Authorities say two people on a Robinson Helicopter R-22, a single-engine light utility helicopter, were taking part in a training exercise when the aircraft crashed for unknown reasons shortly before 7-o'clock last night. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
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Beer Sales Approved

In Crown Point, the city council voted six-to-one in favor of allowing the sale of alcohol in city parks, but only in areas posted and designated by the city and Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The amendment to city law is specifically meant to allow beer sales in a fenced off area of adult league softball play at the city sports complex.
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Caucus Chooses Councilman

A caucus of Democratic precinct committee members in Hammond Monday night chose Jack Uylaki as their new 2nd District councilman. He'll serve the two years left on former councilman Al Salinas' term. Officials say Salinas, a longtime member of the council, resigned last month after pleading guilty to federal charges, including a felony bribery charge. Indiana law prohibits a convicted felon from holding public office.
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West Nile Detected in Illinois

ilhealth
The Illinois Department of Public Health  has confirmed the first West Nile virus positive mosquito batch reported in Illinois for 2013. Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District employees collected a positive mosquito sample on May 21, 2013 from Hillside in Cook County.
“Although we have been seeing a lot of what we call “nuisance” mosquitoes due to the flooding, those mosquitoes typically do not carry West Nile virus. We are now starting to see Culex mosquitoes, which often do carry disease,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Remember, as we head into the summer months, to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent and taking other precautions.”
The first West Nile virus positive result in 2012 was a crow collected by the Chicago Department of Public Health on May 16, 2012. Last year, 55 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. For the 2012 season, IDPH reported the second highest number of West Nile virus human cases in state history with 290 residents and 12 deaths. This was second only to the 2002 outbreak in Illinois in which 884 residents contracted West Nile disease and 67 died. No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and report.
Public health officials believe that a hot summer increases mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.
For more info click here: http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/press13/6.3.13_First_WNV_Case_For_2013.htm
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Night Time Road Work Resumes Tonight on US-30

Traffic-Alert
Walsh and Kelly Paving Contractors report two night time work periods affecting traffic on US-30 in the Merrillville area.  Starting around 8 p.m. CST drivers can expect intermittent lane closes eastbound US-30 between State Road 55 and Rhode Island St.   Then around midnight to 1 a.m. CST work will commence primarily on the north side of westbound US-30 from Mississippi St. to Colorado St.
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Walk for Sojouner Truth House Fundraiser this Saturday

In 1997, the year it was founded, Sojourner Truth House (STH) served 800 individuals with emergency food, clothing and emotional support. Today, the day center serves more than 2000 people per month, many of them homeless women and their children from Gary and the surrounding communities.
According to STH Executive Director Sr. Peg Spindler, the numbers of individuals and families seeking services has been sharply increasing in recent years. “We saw a 30% increase in traffic from 2011 to 2012, and we’re already on pace to surpass that in 2013.”
Sojourner’s main fundraiser of the year, the Walk for Sojourner Truth House, is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, 2013. Registration is at 8:00 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:00 a.m. at 13th and Madison Street in Gary.
A special website has been created where individuals can register to walk or donate to help www.walkforsth.org. Registrations and donations will also be accepted on the day of the walk at Sojourner Truth House at 410 West 13th Avenue in Gary.  To learn more about the walk and the Sojourner Truth House visit http://indiana105.com/index.php/news/news-on-demand.html
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Gary Mayor Announces Dollar Home Program

Gary Mayor Announces Dollar Home Program
(Photos Courtesy of the City Of Gary Mayor's Office)
Arlene Colvin at Press Conference
(Gary, Ind.) – Earlier today, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Community Development
Director Arlene Colvin outlined the guidelines for the City’s updated version of the Dollar Home Program. Known for its wide appeal in the 1980s and 90s, the Dollar Home Program was developed by HUD to combat home abandonment in communities, assist new homebuyers and elevate the property value of neighboring homes.
Freeman-Wilson began the press conference by sharing a personal story of how her first home was purchased through the Dollar Home Program about 25 years ago.
“I still own that home and remember clearly how helpful the Dollar Home program was in helping me acquire my first home,” Freeman-Wilson. “We are excited to be able to reintroduce this program to Gary residents and look forward to it being another way that we beautify our neighborhoods.”
The Dollar House Program will launch with 13 homes located in the University Park area near Indiana University Northwest. Interested Gary residents may begin picking up applications June 7th at 839 Broadway, Suite 302 North. Applicants must come in person between 8:30a.m. – 5:00p.m., Monday through Friday, and the submission deadline is July 12th.
“This program is not a part of HUD,” explained Colvin. “This is a new program that is being run by the City of Gary because we want to help our citizens find affordable housing.”
Details about the Dollar House Program are listed in the fact sheet below and can also be found at the City of Gary website at www.gary.in.us. For more information, citizens can also call the Community Development Department at (219) 881-5075.

MAYOR’S DOLLAR HOME PROGRAM
What is the Dollar Home Program?
Under the Dollar Home Program, a home is awarded by drawing to an eligible participant for one dollar upon the condition that if the home is brought up to city building codes within six months and the participant resides in the home for a period of five years, at the end of that five year period, the participant will receive complete ownership of the home.

Who is eligible to participate in the program?
To be eligible to participate in the program, you must:
1. be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
2. be a Gary resident for at least six (6) months;
3. NOT be a current homeowner;
4. meet 80% of area median income standards;
5. have at least $1,000 in a savings account;
6. be able to demonstrate that you have the financial ability to rehabilitate a home.

What is the process for participating in the program? What are important dates to remember?
Persons interested in participating in the program may obtain an application package at the Community Development Department, 839 Broadway, Suite 302 N. Applications will be distributed beginning June 7, 2013. The deadline for submitting applications is July 12, 2013.

How many homes are available under the program?
13

Where are the homes located?
The University Park neighborhood.

Will participants be able to see the properties before they are awarded? How will the properties distributed?
All qualified applicants shall participate in an open house to inspect all properties. Each applicant will be allowed to designate three preferences. Participants shall be assigned a number which shall be utilized in a random drawing process. At the drawing, as each participant’s number is drawn, a home shall be awarded to that person from among those previously selected. This process will be followed until all participant numbers.
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INDOT Worker Injured When Bucket Truck Tips Over

INDOT TRUCK TIP OVER
(Photo Courtesy of Indiana State Police Lowell Post)
The right lane of I-65, just south of the Crown Point exit, was closed for about two-hours this afternoon to upright a bucket truck that tipped over, injuring one INDOT worker. Indiana State Police Lowell Post report a preliminary investigation revealed two workers were inside the lifted bucket, attempting to repair a large roadway sign on the right outer shoulder, when truck tipped over just before 12:30pm. A 31 year old INDOT worker from Westville sustained a broken leg and was transported to Saint Anthony's Hospital in Crown Point. No other injuries were reported, and all lanes were reopened just before 2:30pm.
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