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Westville Offenders Helping Cleanup Effort

IMG 0299 WinCE
[Photo provided]
Minimum-security offenders from the Westville Correctional Facility will be among those cleaning up major U-S highways in the Region over the next couple of weeks as part of the Indiana Department of Transportation's annual 'Trash Bash' effort. Police say when encountering a work crew, slow down and remain alert for changing traffic patterns and motorists should not pick up hitch-hikers in the area of clean–up crews or correctional facilities. Westville Superintendent Mark Levenhagen says their crews’ goal is to pick up and remove about 60-75 bags of trash each day.
“We are happy to be a part of the state’s annual Trash Bash” said Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon.  “Cleaning up Hoosier highways is one of the ways that offenders can give back to the community and turn doing time into doing good.”
Numerous state correctional facilities are working with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Adopt-A-Highway volunteer groups to clean up Indiana’s highways during the annual Trash Bash, which runs through April 28 and coincides with National Earth Day.
“Keeping Indiana’s highways clean costs the state significantly every year,” according to INDOT.  “By partnering with Adopt-A-Highway volunteer groups, sponsoring companies and the Department of Correction, we’re getting more done and taking more pride – while saving taxpayers money – in maintaining beautiful roadsides for motorists.”
Each year, hundreds of tons of trash are collected, sprucing up highways.  In 2010, 11,083 bags of trash and 79.5 tons of loose debris were collected from state highways and right-of-way areas.  This increased over 40% by 2012 to 15,812 bags.
INDOT encourages all Hoosiers to keep Indiana’s highways clean by following these tips:
Don’t litter:  Set a good example for everyone, especially children.
Be responsible:  Carry a litter bag in your car instead of tossing out the window.
Report it:  Report to local authorities areas where people have illegally dumped garbage.
Adopt it:  Individuals, families, school groups, sports teams, civic groups, scouting organizations, businesses and others are encouraged to participate in Adopt-A-Highway or other highway beautification efforts.
For more information on various INDOT programs, contact (317) 232-5509.

Two Illiana Expwy Mtgs This Week

A couple of forums are coming up this week on the proposed Illiana Expressway, and one of them is in south Lake County. The meetings, hosted by the Indiana and Illinois Departments of Transportation, are meant to explain the Tier Two process, where INDOT and IDOT say the focus will shift from the original 952 square-mile study area to the communities, landowners and access needs along the preferred corridor. The open houses will look at refining the preferred corridor, looking at interchange locations and layout, determining overpass and underpass opportunities, environmental analysis and continued outreach. The one in Lowell is scheduled for this Thursday [April 18
th ] at Lowell Middle School.
The meetings will be an open house format, and interested persons may attend anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. There will be a continuous PowerPoint presentation, and attendees will have the opportunity to view study exhibits and speak with IDOT, INDOT and study team representatives on a one-on-one basis. A question and answer forum will be held at 6:00 p.m. each day.
TIER TWO Public Meetings:
Thursday, April 18, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lowell Middle School
19250 Cline Avenue
Lowell, IN 46356
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Peotone High School
605 West North Street
Peotone, IL 60468


Blood Glucose Meters Recalled

Abbott today announced it is initiating a voluntary recall of FreeStyle InsuLinx® Blood Glucose Meters in the United States.  The company says to date, there has been one reported patient incident in the United States that may be related to this specific issue. The patient sought medical treatment, was diagnosed with hyperglycemia, treated and released. It has not been determined that the FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter was the cause.
The company has determined that at extremely high blood glucose levels of 1024 mg/dL and above, the FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter will display and store in memory an incorrect test result that is 1024 mg/dL below the measured result. For example, at a blood glucose value of 1066 mg/dL, the meter will display and store a value of 42 mg/dL (1066 mg/dL – 1024 mg/dL = 42 mg/dL). No other Abbott blood glucose meters are impacted by this issue.
Blood glucose levels at 1024 mg/dL and above are very rare. However, if high blood glucose levels of 1024 mg/dL and above do occur, they are a serious health risk and require immediate medical attention. As the FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter can display an inaccurate low result at a blood glucose level above 1024 mg/dL, there may be a delay in the identification and treatment of severe hyperglycemia, or incorrect treatment may be given. This could lead to serious injury or death.
Customers who are using the FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter should immediately take one of the following actions to address this issue with their meter:
    Customers can access a software update to resolve the issue at . The software update will allow customers to maintain settings and historical data on their meter.
    Customers can contact Abbott Diabetes Care Customer Service at 1-866-723-2697 to expedite return and replacement of their FreeStyle InsuLinx meter at no charge. Replacements are available, and Abbott will send meters to customers immediately upon request.
Until customers are able to update the meter software or until a requested replacement meter arrives, the current FreeStyle InsuLinx meter may be used; however, if patients experience symptoms that are not consistent with their readings, they should contact their healthcare professional and follow his or her treatment advice.
"Our first priority is to safeguard the health and safety of patients," said Heather Mason , senior vice president, Diabetes Care, Abbott. "We are committed to ensuring that our customers are able to continue to test their blood glucose with confidence, and we initiated this voluntary recall to ensure our products continue to meet the highest standards of quality and safety. We regret any inconvenience this action may cause."
The company is notifying all registered users, healthcare professionals, pharmacies and distributors where the FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter is sold. Abbott estimates that there are approximately 50,000 active FreeStyle InsuLinx Meter users in the United States. Upon identifying the issue, Abbott promptly developed and implemented an update to the meter.

Waterway Cleanup Almost Complete

Officials say they believe they know now what led to an oil sheen on Cady Marsh Ditch in Lake County last week. "At this point what appears to have happened is that due to the heavy rains, there were some misplaced totes that were leaking that happened to discharge to a storm sewer that leads to the Cady Marsh Ditch," said Jacob Hassan, on-scene coordinator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, who said said the totes were 330-gallon poly, or plastic, totes. He says the source has been determined, but is not being identified, as the investigation continues. "The responsible party has been very cooperative and has been willing to work with us, and things have been going very smoothly," Hassan said.  Hassan says he anticipates cleanup could be complete by Tuesday or Wednesday. The waterway flows from Calumet Township to Munster, emptying into the Little Calumet River.
Hassan says the sheen was called in late Wednesday night last week by a concerned citizen who happened to be driving past Ross Road and noticed a significant sheen on the river, and made a phone call to the National Response Center, which is operated by the US Coast Guard, who then contacted the EPA. You can hear more of today's  interview with Jacob Hassan from the US EPA at news audio on demand at Regionnewsteam-dot-com.

Large Knife Leads to Arrest at Middle School

Police in Valparaiso say a seventh grader from Thomas Jefferson Middle School was arrested after school officials found a large knife inside his locker. School officials say they learned a seventh grader was in possession of and had been displaying a dagger on the school bus. A school official accompanied with a school resource officer searched the locker of the seventh grader. Police say school officials spoke with the student and received conflicting explanations for why the student allegedly brought the knife to school. The student was arrested Friday and charged with Possession of a Knife on School Property, a Class B Misdemeanor, and taken to the Porter County Juvenile Center.


Crown Point Planners Look at Sign Laws

A sign of the times in Crown Point -- questions over signage. With more and more requests for signs, and changes to existing ones, city planners are taking a new look at their local laws governing sign size and placement and brightness and, even what constitutes a sign itself. The city is also pondering the possibility of reducing the amount of space between billboards.

Over Half of Hoosier Smokers Tried to Quit

A Ball State University study says more than half of Hoosier smokers tried to kick the habit and stopped smoking for at least one day in the past year in their attempt to quit. The report, “The Burden of Adult Smoking in Indiana 2012” shows Indiana with the 7th highest smoking rate in the nation. Over a quarter of the adult population were identified as smokers, with the highest percentage per age group being 25 to 44 year olds. Data show 97-hundred people in Indiana died and four-point-seven billion dollars was spent on annual health and other economic costs as a result of tobacco use in 2010.
For more info, visit

April 15 - Tax Day is Here

April 15 has arrived -- Tax Day.  The Indiana Department of Revenue says filing online is the fastest and easiest way to make sure your return gets processed quickly. Indiana has a free method for filing both your state and federal taxes. It's Indiana freefile. About 1 million Hoosiers qualify for this free service. Go to  to find out if you qualify.
You can hear more about tax day and filing your state taxes at News Audio on Demand here at our website, from an interview with Chetrice Mosley with the Indiana Department of Revenue.
If you're not going to make the April 15 deadline, you state officials say you will need to file an extension of time to file. Here's more info:
To file an extension, first determine whether you are going to owe state taxes, receive a refund or break even. If you are going to owe taxes:
Download Form IT-9 from the state's income tax form list.
Figure how much you owe and mail your payment with the IT-9.
Pay at least 90 percent of the tax you are going to owe.
You will have until June 17 to file your return along with the rest of your payment.
Note: Penalties for late filing are waived, but you will still be liable for interest accrued or any unpaid amount.
If you are not going to owe taxes and will receive a refund or break even, you will need to keep the following in mind:
If you have filed for a federal extension of time to file (IRS Form 4868), then you won't need an additional extension for Indiana filing purposes. A federal extension of time to file extends your filing period with Indiana to November 15.
If you don't have a federal extension, complete Form IT-9, get it postmarked by April 15 and file your tax return by June 17.
Even if you owe no tax liability, you still must file. You can still be charged late filing penalties if you don't file on time.
If you are in the military, Indiana has special filing considerations. The Indiana Department of Revenue's Information Bulletin #27 provides details about extensions, taxability of income, deductions and a range of information for those serving in the military. If you or your spouse is serving in a combat zone, this bulletin has tax information specific to your situation. You can also visit  for helpful information for military personnel.
The Department of Revenue offers a short video to help taxpayers understand how to file an extension. To watch the video, please visit
And for more information about filing an extension of time to file, visit

Career Ed Bills Signing Today

Indiana Governor Mike Pence will join Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath today// Monday to sign career education bills, SB 465 and HB 1002, which both passed with unanimous, bipartisan support from the Senate and House.
Senate Bill 465 is the Indiana Works Council bill designed to boost vocational education. House Bill 1002, the Indiana Career Council bill, is meant to better coordinate the state's job skills and training systems with what's being sought in today's workforce.
Last week, Governor Pence signed nearly three dozen bills into law, including a measure that increases the fine for illegal parking in a handicapped spot from fifty to one-hundred dollars... and SB 153, which would exempt a child who is employed or works as a youth athletic program referee, umpire, or official from the state's child labor law.

Spring Bills Include Flood Fighting Fee

A new 45-dollar fee is popping up on Spring property tax bills for many residents of Lake County. A measure, signed into law last year, establishes a new annual fee for property owners who live in the watershed of the Little Calumet River and Burns Waterway in Lake County, meant to fund maintenance and repairs of river levees to protect residents and businesses from floodwaters. The fee is 90-dollars for agricultural land, 180 for commercial property, and 360-dollars for industrial or public utilities. House Bill 1264 also established a new Little Calumet River Basin Project Advisory Board to oversee repairs, and required the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission to expand its membership from five to nine.

Gary Woman Critically Hurt in Crash

Indiana State Police say alcohol is believed to be a factor in a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-65 just south of the 15th Avenue exit in Gary Saturday night that critically injured the driver. Troopers say 27-year-old Jennelle Taylor of Gary was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle, which police say rolled over four to five times. Authorities say there was no one else inside the car.

Dolton Man Victim of Homicide

Late Sunday night, the Lake County Coroners office says a Dolton man died at a Hammond hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at his Dolton apartment. Officials identified the homicide victim as 27-year-old Keith Daniels, and Dolton Police are investigating.

Troopers Warn of Meth Lab Trash

With Spring here and more people out jogging or bike riding, Indiana State Police are warning Hoosiers to beware of meth lab trash that can include things like battery casings, zip style plastic bags, empty blisters pack and containers like pop bottles that contain a granular material.
The Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section says the trash may contain chemicals that are toxic, flammable, corrosive, and acidic. The combination of these chemicals could cause an explosion, fire or burns if they come into direct contact with the skin. Police say “meth cooks” use a variety of containers to manufacture the drug, a popular one being a half gallon gas can. Troopers say the cans appear to be new and have been found along the roadside by unknowing people who believe that they have found a new gas can and end up with a working meth lab.
Sergeant Mike Toles and Master Trooper Andy Smith, Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section, have identified some points for the public to keep in mind.
• Meth cooks are using a variety of containers to manufacture their product. A popular container is the one and a half gallon gas can. These cans appear to be new and have been found along the roadside by unknowing people who believe that they have found a new gas can and end up with a working meth lab.
• Other Items to be aware of include battery casings, Ziploc style bags, empty blister packs, and containers (pop-bottles, jars, etc.) that contain a granular material. They may or may not have a tube extending out of the top depending on whether it is a hydrochloric gas generator (HCL) or a one pot reaction. Both of these are extremely hazardous.
• Be aware of any type of cylinder found in an odd place (middle of a field, ditch line, wooded area) that has a modified valve. The valve will typically be modified in some way and will have a bright blue color to it. These cylinders are used to store or transport anhydrous ammonia, which is an extremely dangerous gas when direct contact or inhalation has occurred.
If someone comes across this type of trash, they should not handle it. Instead, contact your local  Indiana State Police Post or call Indiana State Police toll-free (800) 552-0976 (Indiana only). Any questions or concerns about meth can be directed to the Meth Suppression Section at (877) 855-METH or online at


Updated High School Challenge Schedule

Saturday, April 13th

4:00 p.m. - *Kankakee Valley vs. Thea Bowman

7:00 p.m. - *Bishop Noll vs. Lowell

Monday, April 15th

4:30 p.m. - *Lake Station vs. River Forest

Tuesday, April 16th

4:30 p.m. - *West Side vs. Gavit

Wednesday, April 17th

6:30 p.m. - *North Newton vs. South Newton

Friday, April 19th

4:30 p.m. - *Lew Wallace vs. Roosevelt

7:30 p.m. - *East Chicago vs. MC Marquette

Saturday, April 20th

1:00 p.m. - *Michigan City vs. Boone Grove

4:00 p.m. - *Chesterton vs. Griffith

7:00 p.m. - *Victory Christian vs. Calumet Christian

Tuesday, April 23rd 

7:30 p.m. - *Hales Franciscan vs. St. Patrick

*indicates home team
HS Challenge at US Steel yard ...


Michigan City Man Sentenced for Fatal July 2012 Crash

On July 19th, 2012 Katherine Atkins was negotiating a curve while traveling east on Joliet Road in rural La Porte County, when the vehicle was suddenly struck by a westbound vehicle.  As a result of the crash, Ms. Atkins was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Three children inside Ms. Atkins vehicle were injured as a result of the crash. The other vehicle was found to be driven by Mr. John MIKLE.  Initial responding Deputies from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office at the crash scene activated the newly developed La Porte County FACT (Fatal Alcohol Crash Team). 

An ongoing investigation by FACT members determined that Mr. MIKLE had an extremely high level of the drugs of PCP and Marijuana in his bodily system at the time of the crash.  In August, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. MIKLE for the offenses of Operating While Intoxicated, causing a death and serious bodily injury.  It was determined that Mr. MIKLE had fled the area.  The assistance of the United States Marshals was solicited who subsequently located Mr. MIKLE within a relatively short amount of time in South Bend, Indiana.

Based upon the extensive investigation of FACT, a guilty plea was entered by
Mr. MIKLE. Mr. MIKLE pled guilty to Operating While Intoxicated, B-Felony, and two counts of Operating While Intoxicated D-Felony.  On April 11th, 2013, in the La Porte County Circuit Court, Mr. John Mikle was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Thomas Alevizos.  Mr. MIKLE was sentenced to a total of sixteen (16) years in the Indiana Department of Corrections.  Mr. MIKLE will serve twelve (12) years with four years suspended.  Mr. MIKLE was remanded back to the custody of the La Porte County Sheriff.

The conclusion of this case is a significant event for La Porte County FACT due to its recent establishment.  La Porte County FACT is grant funded by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and is overseen and monitored by the Governor’s Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving.  
LapPorte County Sheriff logo - this one  
# # #...


Rail Conference in Hammond: 'Junction 2013'

The 65-million dollar Potash Corporation investment in Hammond... at Gibson Yard... will be the highlight of the Northern Indiana Rail Conference, “Junction 2013”, coming up in Hammond next Friday April 19th. The Canadian fertilizer giant will talk about why they chose Hammond for their new distribution site and rail transfer facility, and a panel of experts will follow with info on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railway, the nearly three-hundred new construction and permanent jobs created by the Potash project and more. They'll also talk about the impact of the Potash project on the Region.
The Northern Indiana Rail Conference - Junction 2013, is sponsored by the Steering Committee of the Northern Indiana Rail Conference, and hosted by the Lakeshore Chamber and the Crossroads Regional Chamber.
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Location: Dynasty Banquet , 4125 Calumet Avenue, Hammond, IN 46320
Cost: $25.00
Due to limited spacing, prepayment is required. You're asked to confirm your reservations by calling the Lakeshore Chamber Office at (219) 931-1000 by Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Man Dies in Garbage Truck Downstate

Police in downstate Terre Haute say a Connecticut man is dead and his girlfriend was seriously hurt after they apparently sought shelter from the rain and spent the night inside a trash bin that was picked up and compacted by a garbage truck. Police tell the Terre Haute that the driver told investigators sleeping in dumpsters is more common than one might think, and that he's had several instances where someone woke up and popped up from under the lid.

That's Three For Merrillville Tree City Honor

For the third year in a row, Merrillville has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
Merrillville achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Matt Lake, Executive Director of Merrillville Stormwater Utility and former Indiana DNR State Urban Forester, says trees are a key component of green infrastructure, helping the environment and improving quality of life. “Trees are a key component of our green infrastructure, and the Tree City USA program recognizes our efforts to manage our urban forest", Lake said.
More information on the program is available at
“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Merrillville, make smart investments in urban forests,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.”

EPA: Potential Source of Cady Marsh Sheen Identified

Investigators from the U-S Environmental Protection Agency and others were back in Lake County today, trying to determine the cause of an oil sheen on the waters of Cady Marsh Ditch. The ditch flows from Gary to Munster, through Griffith, Highland, Munster and Calumet Township, eventually draining into the Little Calumet River. Jacob Hassan, on-scene coordinator for the US EPA, says they have identified a potential source, and the investigation continues.  The sheen is "pretty much gone", Hassan says, from this morning compared to Thursday. Both hard booms - physical barriers - and soft booms - absorbent/tubular booms used to absorb petroleum products -- were used to contain the sheen, and he says containment and cleanup are underway.   Hassan says they have not seen any visible impacts at this time on nearby residents or wildlife.  Hassan says the sheen was called in by a concerned citizen who happened to be driving past Ross Road and noticed a significant sheen on the river, and made a phone call the National Response Center, which is operated by the US Coast Guard, who then contacted the EPA.  Hassan also says the rain appears to have helped the sheen dissipate. You can hear more of our interview with Jacob Hassan from the US EPA at News Audio on Demand.


Officials Canvass Neighborhood for Help on Fires

Fire officials say they're investigating five suspicious fires within about a week's time in a residential area east of downtown Hammond, and they're asking for the public's help. Hammond Chief Fire Inspector Michael Opinker says he and members of the fire department were out this morning (Friday) reaching out to the neighborhood and handing out fliers.   Opinker says anyone who's seen anything suspicious can call the Hammond Fire Department, at 219-853-6419, and remain anonymous. Opinker says the fires all happened after midnight, within walking distance from each other, on State Street, Sibley and Erie, and three of them are believed to be connected -- those three, Opinker says, happened between 2:30 and 3:30 am. Opinker also says they usually have quite a few bystanders at fire scenes, but in these cases, there was hardly anyone around. Opinker says three occurred at abandoned houses, one was at an occupied residence but no one was home at the time, and another occurred with someone home and they got out safely.  Officials say there were no injuries. Opinker says two of the structures are expected to be torn down because of the fire damage.


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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
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Region News Team
Region News Team
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