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Gov Signs S Shore Study Bill

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed into law a measure that requires state lawmakers to study the idea of possibly expanding the South Shore line. House Enrolled Act 1450 will also review the makeup of the membership of the commuter line's operating board, possibly changing it to give Lake County more representation, since that's where the majority of passengers are coming from.
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Canoe Overturns in N Ind River

Indiana Conservation Officers are urging everyone to stay out of the floodwaters. Regardless of swimming or boating ability, the unpredictable fast current and underwater obstructions are hazardous. And, it's still possible to suffer hypothermia. Multiple agencies responded to a call of an overturned canoe in the flooded Wabash River Sunday night. A second canoe with was able to paddle to a park in Lafayette. Conservation officers determined the first canoe struck an underwater obstruction near a bridge and overturned. All five, ages 13, 18, 19, and 23, are from around the Lafayette area. and were wearing life jackets. Everyone was evaluated by EMS and refused medical treatment.
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Doctors Warn of 'Cinnamon Challenge'

Doctors are once warning teenagers not to take the so-called Cinnamon Challenge. ABC's Larry Jacobs reports that the prank still being depicted in videos on the Internet, is causing an increase in hospitalizations.  A report in the medical journal Pediatrics says at least thirty teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year. The fad involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in sixty seconds without water. Cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibers that don't easily break down. Aside from choking, it can make it difficult to breathe and cause collapsed lungs. Poison centers report an increase in calls because of it.
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Fatal Accident in Lake County

The Lake County Coroners office says a Leroy man suffered fatal injuries in a motor vehicle crash in the 131-hundred block of Montgomery just south of Lakes of the Four Seasons. Officials say 86-year-old Arthur Young was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after 5:30 Sunday evening from blunt force trauma. Lake County Sheriffs Police say the man's vehicle veered off the road, hit two trees then rolled over. The man's wife reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police say both had seat belts on, and authorities think the man may have suffered a medical condition while driving.
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US 6 Closure for Bridge Work

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the closure of the U.S. 6 bridge between Tracy Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard in Kingsford Heights beginning on Wednesday, April 24th. The closure, which is south of La Porte, is located between the east and west U.S. 6 junctions with U.S. 35. The structure will be closed to all traffic until the new bridge opens in October. A detour will take eastbound U.S. 6 traffic south on State Road 39, east in U.S. 30, north on U.S. 35, and back to U.S. 6. Westbound U.S. 6 will travel south on U.S. 35, west on U.S. 30, north on State Road 39, and back to U.S. 6.  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, visit www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest  or www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest .  You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Indiana Jobless Rate Unchanged

Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged in March at 8-point-7 percent, halting a recent upward trend. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the state  saw the first decline in jobs in over a year, about 11-thousand private sector jobs over the past month, most in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector, possible evidence they say of some uncertainty in the market and the recent unseasonable weather. Officials also said Indiana experienced another month of increase in manufacturing jobs, production hours and durable goods production employment, all of which they say may point to sustained growth and future expansion potential.
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Region Lawmaker Pleased with Secession Bill

The town of Griffith is a step closer to joining a new township, and Schererville State Representative Hal Slager says he's pleased House Bill 1585 is going to the Governor's desk. The measure will allow the town of Griffith to vote by referendum to opt out of Calumet Township in Lake County if certain conditions are not met by the township by 2015. Griffith has been trying to leave the township for years, saying their residents send significantly more to the township in tax dollars than they receive in return. Slager says the township's poor relief tax rate is 22-times higher than the state average. Under the bill, the township will have a year to lower that to 12-times the statewide average, and if unable
the Department of Local Government will classify the township as a Distressed Political Subdivision. By 2015, if the tax rate is not at a minimum of 12 times the statewide average then the referendum process will begin.  Current law prohibits a town or city to remove itself from a township or apply to join a new township by referendum.
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Two-Car Accident Injures Six

Police say two people had to be extricated from a vehicle in a two-car crash Thursday night that also injured four others in Hobart. The collision occurred on the frontage road in front of a bowling alley on US 30 around 9:30, reports say. No word on the injured's conditions.
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Dyer Quiet Zones Ahead

The town of Dyer is moving forward on instituting a 'quiet zone' at the Hart Street railroad crossing. A contractor's been hired to make the changes required,like a specially-designed gate. Another quiet zone is planned on Lake Street. The rail company covering the cost. The Federal Railway Authority in a designated quiet zone, railroads have been directed to cease the routine sounding of their horns when approaching public highway-rail grade crossings.
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Flooding Still a Concern

Flood warnings continue along rivers in Northwest Indiana, like the Little Calumet River in Munster and Kankakee River at Shelby, near Kouts and at Dunns Bridge. While the rain has stopped, flooding is still a concern along a number of rivers in the Midwest as floodwaters continued to rise. ABC's Todd Ant reports flood fighters were busy all day Friday from small Mississippi River hamlets to the suburbs of Chicago trying to hold back raging rivers, after days of torrential rains soaked much of the Midwest.  Mississippi river communities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri are expected to see significant flooding -- some near-record levels.  The Morton Arboretum in Illinois will remain closed to the public Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, 2013, due to extensive flooding. The Arboretum has been closed since Thursday, April 18.
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Store Evacuated Friday Night

Customers were evacuated for a time last night by employees at the Valparaiso Walmart, after the store reportedly received a bomb threat. Valparaiso Police responded and checked the store. No other information available at this hour.
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Boston Bombing Suspect in Custody

Cheers throughout the Boston area with the arrest of the second suspect in this week's deadly bombings.  The 19 year old ethnic Chechen wanted in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings - the younger brother of the man killed in a police shootout -- - was captured alive in Watertown, Massachusetts Friday evening. The suspect was taken into custody here after a lenghty manhunt that virtually shut down the city and an intense firefight: "One of the officers said to me that there was a huge explosion when they first encountered the suspect and were exchanging gunfire - he said, then the second explosions weren't as powerful so I just kept shooting,"  Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. ABC News reports Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in the hospital after he was found hiding in a backyard boat.
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National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 14th-20th) is an opportunity to recognize the women and men who serve as public safety dispatchers. They are the calming voice at the other end of an emergency 911 call and the provider of critical information over the radio to Police, Fire, and EMS responders. Heard but rarely seen, these dedicated professionals are an often forgotten component of public safety.
Telecommunicators Week began in California in 1981 and quickly grew to national recognition. Just ten years later, Congress designated the second full week of each April as a time to remember the important role that dispatchers play in keeping us all safe.
Porter County is served by a Central Dispatch Center (C-Comm) that employs 48 full-time and part-time Telecommunicators. Eight police departments, 18 fire departments, and 1 EMS agency are dispatched from the center. Over 175,000 911 and non-emergency calls were handled in 2012.
Throughout this week the Telecommunicators of Porter County C-Comm will be honored by the Police, Fire, and EMS agencies they dispatch. Telecommunicator Service Awards will be presented by John M. Jokantas, Director of Communications, at the Porter County Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Tuesday, April 16th at 1pm. A special Years of Service Award will be presented to Kathy Sepiol, who recently retired after 35 years at Porter County.
“It’s important to remember the women and men who work in our 911 Center. They are often referred to as the “Hidden Heroes”. You can see a police car, you can see fire trucks and ambulances, but you don’t ever see the person who is taking the calls. Our Telecommunicators are a dedicated group who want nothing more than to help those in their time of need.” said Jokantas.
dispatch
Central Communications Center, Porter County
( provided by:  http://www2.porterco.org)
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DNR Properties Affected by Flooding and Flood Driving Tips

Indiana DNR
Indiana Conservation Officers are staying busy in parts of west central Indiana today dealing with vehicle in flood water on many roadways, and as a result are warning the public of the dangers associated with driving through flooded waters. The Indiana Department of Resources reports many closing, restrictions, and warnings at a few D-N-R properties across the state, including at the Kankakee Fish and Wildlife in North Judson where Ten-mile Road is closed.
A complete list of D-N-R properties affected:
J.E. Roush Fish & Wildlife Area, Huntington, (260) 468-2165
—Kil-So-Quah campground and boat ramp will be closed for several days, until further notice.
—Shooting range remains open until further notice, depending on county road access.
—Turkey hunting will take place as scheduled. Road closures to lower areas may require hunters to walk farther and a few flooded areas will not be accessible.
—Hunters should take extreme caution if wading.
 
Raccoon State Recreation Area, Rockville, (765) 344-1884
—The Hollandsburg and main Raccoon boat ramps are open; all other ramps are closed.
Wabashiki FWA, West Terre Haute, (812) 659-9901
—North of Interstate 70, 90 percent flooded; south of I-70, 70 percent flooded.
Kankakee FWA, North Judson, (574) 896-3522
—10-mile Road is closed.
 
Muscatatuck Healthy Rivers INitiative project area (812) 346-5596
—State Road 256 West from Austin may be closed overnight.
Fairbanks Landing FWA, Fairbanks, (812) 659-9901
—Lower bottom land areas are flooded along County Road 1200 N
 
Chain O’Lakes State Park, Albion, (260) 636-2654
—Some trails are closed due to high water.  The Indiana Trail 100 race will be held as planned this weekend; however, a portion may be re-routed.
 
Shades State Park, Waveland, (765) 435-2810 & Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, (765) 597-2635
—The trails may remain closed this weekend due to high water. Even if the creek’s level goes down overnight, trail access points may remain a challenge.
 
Mississinewa Lake, Peru, (765) 473-6528
—Warning of potential “high water” over recreation roads and parking areas. Boat launching may be difficult due to the inability to turn around on water covered ramps.  Users must back down the ramps to load and unload their boats. The Youth Turkey Hunt will still be held as planned. 
Residents that live or travel through areas prone to flooding should use extreme caution and follow these simple tips.
• Never drive around barricades at water covered roadways.
• Do not drive through flowing water.
• Drive with care at night. This is when it may be difficult to see barricades or flowing water.
• If you choose to abandon your vehicle, prepare for the fast moving water and seek higher ground immediately.
• Always travel with a fully charged cell phone.
• Turn Around Don’t Drown
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50 Years in Prison for Hobart Man for Molesting a Child

Arthur Gutierrez
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 33 year old Hobart man received 50 years in prison today at his sentencing for molesting a child. The Times reports Arthur Gutierrez received five years more than prosecutors were seeking, and 30 years more than his defense sought. Gutierrez abused the child, who was between the age of four and seven, from 2007 through 2010, in Liberty Township. According to the article, the Hobart man had been tried late last summer on similar charges which resulted in a hung jury.
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DHS Asking Hoosiers to Report Suspicious Activity

With many upcoming local events, it’s important for Hoosiers to be vigilante in monitoring and reporting suspicious activities. Suspicious activity reports are one of the best defenses against violent acts.
According to a survey released earlier this week, 56 percent of Americans said they hadn’t heard of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. In light of the incident at the Boston Marathon and the data from the report, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Indiana State Police (ISP) and the City of Indianapolis Department of Public Safety are doing all that they can to bring forth this message, including calling on the media to help spread the word.
The encouraging side of the survey is that 57 percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to meet with homeland security or local police to talk about reporting suspicious activity.
“Citizen awareness is one of the best partners we have against manmade crises,” said IDHS Executive Director John Hill. “We need the average person to know that their input is critical to preventing violent situations. Do not feel embarrassed for reporting anything out of the ordinary.”
To report suspicious activity, contact on-site security, local law enforcement’s non-emergency line or the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center at 1-877-226-1026. If violence is imminent, call 9-1-1.
When reporting suspicious behavior, it is important to take note of several key details. When and where you witnessed the behavior and any description of individuals involved such as gender, age, physical description and unique characteristics. Also take note of any vehicles involved, make and model of the vehicle, and its direction of travel.
Examples of suspicious activity include monitoring personnel, testing security, unusual or prolonged interest in security measures, or purposely placing objects in sensitive areas to observe response. For example, a person taking photos at a high profile event is not unusual in itself, but if that person is only taking photos of security cameras or personnel, that activity would be suspicious.
For more information on the See Something, Say Something campaign visit http://www.dhs.gov/if-you-see-something-say-something-campaign or getprepared.in.gov.
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Two-Day Workshop Teaches Basics of Grant Writing

A series offered by Purdue University Extension will help those who work for nonprofit organizations and government agencies learn how to prepare grant proposals.
The two-day Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing Workshop will take place at the Purdue Extension LaPorte County office on April 26th and May 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central time. The workshop teaches grant writers of all skills levels how to develop a professional proposal. Also, during the workshop the attendees will learn how to identify and work with funding sources.
Past participants of Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing Workshops have received millions of dollars in funding allowing them to expand facilities, buy computers and other technical equipment, and increase their services provided.
Pre-registration is required to attend the workshop. The workshop registration is $150 per person and includes a workbook, reference materials and lunch both days.
The workshop will be held at the Purdue Extension LaPorte County office, 2857 W. State Road 2 Suite A, LaPorte Indiana on April 26 and May 17 from 9a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT.
For more information and to register, log onto the workshop website at http://www.purdue.edu/grantwriting. Click on “Registration Form” and then “Select An Event” for a list of workshops, then select “LaPorte County.”
Questions can be addressed by contacting Peggy Hosea at 765-236-0955, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling the Purdue Extension, LaPorte County at 219-324-9407.
2857 W. State Road 2, Suite A 35 LaPorte, IN 46350  (219) 324-9407 · FAX: (219) 326-7362 · www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/laporte
Purdue University, Indiana Counties and U.S Department of Agriculture Cooperating   An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution...
   

LaPorte PD's Wanted Persons of the Week

eric eaton
(Above: Eric Eaton. Below: Nathan Hinz)
nathan hinz
(Photos Coutesy of the LaPorte PD)
In LaPorte, police today announced they are seeking the public's help identify the whereabouts of two men who were recently added as “Wanted Persons of the Week”. LaPorte Police say 28 year old Eric Eaton is wanted on a warrant for battery and is described weighing 240 pounds, and is five-foot eleven-inches tall, with blond hair and green eyes. Also wanted is 23 year old Nathan Hinz, who is also wanted on a warrant for battery, and is described as weighing 170 pounds, is approximately six-feet tall, with brown hair and green eyes.
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Two Arrest in LaPorte on Warrants for Dealing Heroin

Clifton Riegert
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
Brittany Sons
Authorities in LaPorte County report their on-going investigation into the sale and distribution of heroin in the City of LaPorte and the County resulted in two arrests Thursday. 30 year old Clifton Riegert, of LaPorte, and 19 year old Brittany Sons, of Westville, were arrested on warrants, and without incident, in the parking lot of Indiana University Health – LaPorte Hospital. Riegert is charged with three-counts of dealing a controlled substance and is being held without bond, while Sons is charged with one-count of dealing a controlled substance, with bond set at 100-thousand dollars. Authorities say additional arrests are anticipated, and urge the public to report potential drug activity to the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit.
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Lake Co DHS: Please Report Flood Damage ASAP

In light of all the recent rainfall, flooding has become an issue for some residents in Lake County, which is why the Lake County Department of Homeland Security is urging those who sustained damaged caused by severe weather and flooding to report the damage. Director Jodi Richmond says it is very important that residents with damage contact them in the event an emergency is declared, which means additional funding to help residents recuperate their home, but she says there is big threshold number the County needs to hit first, so it is important to file a report as soon as possible. That phone number is 219-755-35-46, and for a link to the form, https://myoracle.in.gov/hs/damage/ia-public.do?method=form&incidentId=IA20130419121922.
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