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Authorities Investigate Fatal EC Crash

A 32 year old Gary man died this morning after a car accident in East Chicago. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Robert Patterson suffered blunt force trauma, after a crash early today at Chicago Avenue and Grasselli Street, where officials say his vehicle struck railroad tracks, went airborne, and hit several trees. The Lake County Coroners office says Patterson was pronounced dead shortly before 4 am at a local hospital.
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Photo Studios Suddenly Closed

The company that ran PictureMe photo studios at Wal-Mart and Sears Portrait Studios, and Kiddie Kandids portrait studios in stores around the country has gone out of business, and Region customers may be wondering what has become of their pictures. A statement at the website for photography vendor CPI Corporation directs people to the customer service department of their local store. The company reportedly shut down their U-S photo studios a week ago.
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Illiana Mtg in Lowell Next Week

illiana pm1 T2 header
A couple of forums are coming up on the proposed Illiana Expressway. 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 broad 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 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:
IINDIANA
Thursday, April 18, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lowell Middle School
19250 Cline Avenue
Lowell, IN 46356
ILLINOIS
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Peotone High School
605 West North Street
Peotone, IL 60468
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Saturday Mail Delivery Staying

Region residents -- Saturday mail delivery isn't ending just yet. The U-S Postal Service Board of Governors said today (Wednesday) it is delaying its plans to stop Saturday service - because Congress won't allow the change. Postal Service Spokesperson Dave Partenheimer says employees are disappointed. "The board believes that Congress has left us with no choice but to delay the implementation at this time, but the board wants to ensure that our customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties as to whether we'll be able to move forward with the new delivery schedule or not," Partenheimer said. The Postal Service had recommended cutting Saturday delivery starting this August to save two billion dollars a year.
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Voucher Expansion Okayed

The Indiana Senate today approved an expansion of the state's school voucher program, but differences between what the House and Senate are seeking still need to be ironed out before the measure heads to the governor's desk. House Bill 1003 includes a number of changes, including lifting the cap of 15-thousand vouchers statewide and allowing siblings of children already receiving Choice scholarships to be eligible.
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Some HS Challenge Games Postponed

Officials with the Gary South Shore RailCats today announced two scheduled High School Challenge contests—West Side vs. Gavit and Hales Franciscan vs. St. Patrick—have been postponed due to inclement weather. Makeup dates have not yet been announced.
Additionally, the postponed Calumet vs. Hebron game has been cancelled and will not be made up due to scheduling conflicts.
The High School Challenge will continue on Friday, as TF North faces TF South at 4:30 followed by Westville against Hammond Academy at 7:30.
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Man Fixing Flat Injured on Interstate

A man fixing a flat tire this morning ended up suffering a broken arm. Indiana State Police report the incident occurred just before 9am, on eastbound I-94, near the Portage exit. The man was injured when the jack slipped and the vehicle fell on his arm. Authorities report the man ended up taking himself to the emergency room for his injury. No further information is available.
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Donnelly: I'm Here to Help Off-Ramped Guard Members

Washington, D.C.— Today, Senator Joe Donnelly announced that due to the Army’s decision to off-ramp four Indiana National Guard Units, he is here to help. In late March, the Army reversed its decision to immediately off-ramp four Indiana National Guard units, instead delaying this action, which would have significantly impacted more than 1,000 Guard members and their families, cutting off healthcare and employment. 
After hearing the Army’s plans to address sequestration cuts by replacing four Indiana National Guard units with active duty units for their deployments to the Horn of Africa and Sinai peninsula, Senator Donnelly sent a letterto the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army asking him to reconsider his decision.  In late March, it was announced that the Army will be delaying the off-ramps, giving Guard members and their families additional time on payroll and with health benefits, allowing them the transition time they have earned.
“Indiana National Guard members and their families take many steps and make many sacrifices in order to prepare for their deployment,” Donnelly said.  “These men and women have delayed their educations, asked their employers to find replacement workers, and canceled or changed their leases on cars and homes.   The Army must make tough decisions when it comes to cutting spending under sequestration, but spending cuts should be done in common sense ways that do not abruptly disrupt the lives of Hoosier warfighters and their families.  I’m pleased that the Army has taken this first step and reconsidered the timing of its off-ramping orders after I asked that they reverse this short-fuse decision.  My office is here to help all of these families with any assistance they may need.”
In Senator Donnelly’s letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Raymond Odierno, he wrote that by choosing to send Active Component units instead of Indiana Guard units, it appeared to undermine the commitment the Army made to Indiana soldiers and their families with its October 2012 mobilization order.  Further, Senator Donnelly noted that his office had received three different cost-saving estimates from the Army, pointing to the possibility that the Army had not fully considered the impact of this decision.
Senator Donnelly will continue working to address specific concerns of families, such as healthcare, education, and housing.  His Indianapolis office can be reached at 317-226-5555 or any of the affected Guard members or their family members can learn about how Senator Donnelly’s office can help with casework here.   Read Senator Donnelly’s full letter to Secretary McHugh and Chief of Staff Odierno here
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Gary Man Killled in East Chicago Crash this Morning

A 32 year old Gary man died this morning at an East Chicago hospital as the result of car accident. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Robert Patterson died due to blunt force trauma, after a crash at occurred at 3am, at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Grasselli Street, where his vehicle struck the railroad tracks, went airborne, and hit several trees.
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Public Meeting 4/16 for Valpo PD CALEA Accreditation

Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment to achieve accreditation on next week and members of the community are invited to offer their comments at a public information session. The assessment will be administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., which requires agencies to comply with state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operation, and support services, and while this will take place between April 14th through the 17th, the public is invited out at 6pm, on April 16th, at the Valparaiso Police Department, or by calling (219) 476-7955, between the hours of 1pm-3pm.  Telephone comments will be limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA's standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Valparaiso
Police Department by contacting Sergeant Michael McLinn.
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April is National STD Awareness Month

April is National STD Awareness Month
INDIANAPOLIS—Nearly 20 million new sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), costing Americans $16 billion. April is National STD Awareness Month and the Indiana State Department of Health encourages Hoosiers to discuss prevention and know the risks.
STD Awareness Month provides an opportunity for individuals, doctors, and community-based organizations to discuss prevention and testing for STDs, especially when it comes to Indiana’s youth. Half of all new sexually transmitted infections that occur each year are among youths.
“Education and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases is a high priority for Indiana,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “STDs are responsible for several health problems like infertility and low birth weight. Testing and treatment are key, but prevention is best. I encourage parents and health care providers to have the conversation about prevalence and prevention now.”
Sexually transmitted diseases can be spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Having an STD can make you more likely to get HIV. Sexually-transmitted diseases can be passed to the baby before, during or after birth. An STD like syphilis can cross the placenta and infect the baby. Pregnant women with an STD could experience:
·         premature labor or rupture of the membranes
·         Stillbirth
·         Low birth weight
·         Preterm birth
 
Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission.
In Indiana, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are of particular concern. Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in Indiana and the United States. It is most often found in the 15-24 year old population, with 1-in-50 Indiana residents ages 15-19 infected. Most people affected with Chlamydia do not have symptoms. In 2011, there were 27,801 cases of Chlamydia reported in Indiana.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported bacterial STD in Indiana and the United States, and is most often found in 15-24 year old population. In 2011, there were 6,569 cases of gonorrhea reported in Indiana and 1-in-250 Indiana residents ages 15-19 were infected. The complications of untreated Chlamydia and gonorrhea include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Syphilis can cause long term complications if not adequately treated and often symptoms may not been seen in the primary stage. Syphilis must be diagnosed through a blood test. In 2011, there were 173 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported in Indiana, and 9-in-100,000 Indiana residents ages 20-24 have syphilis.
Most STDs can be treated however there are a variety of methods to prevent STDs. Effective ways to protect yourself and your partner from STD risk include abstinence, mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner, using latex condoms and vaccination, especially against hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Knowing your STD status is a critical step to stopping STD transmission. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.
To learn more about STD Awareness Month, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/default.htm.
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New Budget May Cost Region More for Road Improvements

Region residents may have to start shelling out more money if they want northwest Indiana road conditions to improve. The measure is part of the 2014-2015 budget, and according to published reports Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, and Porter Counties do not assess either the vehicle excise or wheel tax, which would be required as part of House Bill 1001. Proponents of the bill say it is only fair that local governments get as much revenue as possible from local sources before asking for additional funding. The Times reports State Representative Chuck Moseley, of Portage, says it seems the state is holding tax payers money hostage until they agree to pay even more. The legislation now heads to a House-Senate conference committee.
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First Reading of Lake County Income Tax Passes 4-3

The Lake County Council on Tuesday voted four to three to approve a one-point-five percent assessment on the personal income of all county residents. Published reports say the more than 90-million dollars expected to be raised would be shared around the county to primarily benefit suburban property owners, and build local government budgets. A public forum is expected to be held before a second vote on the matter, which could happen at Council's next scheduled meeting on May 14th.
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Bosma Scheduled to Return to State House Today

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma is scheduled to return to the State House today after contracting an infection in his knee that he had replaced last summer. According to the House Communication Director, the Speaker will preside over the session, in part, and rest his knee in his office as need be. The infection required him to have surgery last week on Tuesday.
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Voucher Study Defeated by Part Line Vote in Senate

A proposed change to House Bill 1003, that would call for an interim study committee to examine the impact of the voucher program on funding for public education, was rejected along party lines by the Senate on Tuesday, 34 to 15.. State Senator Tim Skinner, of Terre Haute, who proposed the study, says his aim was to determine what effects the program on every child's ability to obtain a high-quality education. Skinner says a total of around nine-thousand vouchers have been given away in the last couple of years, at the expense of over one-million public school students, and questioned the priority of supporting funding public schools.
Skinner also expressed concerns over the potential costs of expanding the voucher program, saying the General Assembly needs to scrutinize the fiscal impact to protect taxpayer investment.
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Kelly Wins Illinois Second Congressional District Seat

Former Illinois State Representative, Robin Kelly captured the second congressional district seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr. in Tuesday special election, easily defeating her closest competitor, Republican Paul McKinley. The 56 year old Matteson Democrat, who vowed to fight for gun control legislation during the campaign echoed the message again after her victory.
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Woman in Portage Ignores Alleged Police Impersonator

portage pd
Police in Portage say a woman did the right thing by not stopping for a man in a dark-colored SUV with flashing read and blue lights, who was motioning for her to pull over. Portage Police say the incident occurred at approximately 3:20 Monday afternoon, in the area of Dombey Road and Central Avenue. The woman reported to police the lights were inside the vehicle, driven by a white male, and appeared to be coming from a mobile phone application, and after ignoring the man, she stated the vehicle turned around, and she notified police after reaching her destination. Police say Indiana law prohibits officers from writing a ticket or making an arrest if not in uniform or in a marked car, but doesn't prohibit the officer from pulling you over to give a verbal warning. If you believe you are being pulled over by a police impersonator, call 9-1-1, and if unable to call 9-1-1, wave out the window to acknowledge the officer, drive to a well lit location and stop, and then be ready to explain your concerns as to why you did not stop.
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Governor Pence Signs Child Labor Laws Bill

Today, Governor Mike Pence signed the child labor laws bill, 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.   Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senators on the bill.  Burkart wanted to work as a soccer referee a year ago, but couldn't because Indiana Soccer officials stopped using 12- and 13-year olds once they learned that hiring them would be illegal.
Gov signs Child Labor Laws Bill
Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senator Vaneta Becker (R) and State Representatives Suzanne Crouch (R), Ron Bacon (R), Gail Riecken (D) and Martin Carbaugh (R) on the bill.
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RailCats Caravan to Invade Northwest Indiana

Now that spring and baseball have finally arrived, the anticipation for RailCats baseball season is building throughout Northwest Indiana. In order to further excite the fan base for Opening Day on May 16, the RailCats will be coming out into the community on the first-ever RailCats Caravan!
 
The Caravan will be driven in a limousine bus from Southlake Limousine Service and will make four stops at locations throughout the Region. On Friday, April 26, the Caravan will stop to play at Jak’s Warehouse in Schererville from 6-8 p.m. On Saturday, April 27, the RailCats will be at Fuel Fitness in Cedar Lake from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and then at Catch 22 in Merrillville from 6-7 p.m. On Sunday, April 28, the final stop on the Caravan will be at Fuel Fitness in Crown Point from 12-1 p.m.
 
Members of the RailCats Caravan include RailCats manager Greg Tagert and players Cristian Guerrero, Mike Massaro and Craig Maddox. Of course, mascots Rusty and Rascal will be there to join in the fun as well. The RailCats crew will be interacting with fans, signing autographs and spreading the word about the upcoming season.
 
“This is a unique opportunity for us to take the RailCats out into the community and connect with our passionate fans,” said RailCats President/General Manager Kevin Spudic. “This will be a lot of fun for the fans to see the players and our manager up-close and personal and have the chance to interact in a different setting.”
 
Opening Day is approaching and single game tickets are on sale now. Fans may purchase tickets online at www.railcatsbaseball.com or by calling the box office at 219-882-2255.  
 
RailCats Caravan
April 26—Jak’s Warehouse, Schererville, 6-8 p.m.
April 27—Fuel Fitness, Cedar Lake, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
                Catch 22, Merrillville, 6-7 p.m.
April 28—Fuel Fitness, Crown Point, 12-1 p.m.
Gary Railcats
( http://www.railcatsbaseball.com)
(Article provided by Matt Friedman, Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Gary Southshore  Railcats)
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Gary Mayor Observes National Day of Service

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined more than 800 mayors across the country for the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, a nationwide bipartisan effort to highlight the impact of national service in tackling city problems.

“In the face of budget cuts, volunteerism and community service are ways that we fill major voids within our city,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson.  “AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps participants have a positive and lasting impact, making our cities better places to live.  As Mayor, it is my honor to salute them today for all they continue to do in our community.”

More than 60 volunteers hailing from a variety of non-profit organizations (United Way, RSVP, Catholic Charities, Sojourner Truth House, The NWI Arc, NWI Adult Guardianship Services, and One Accord Global) packed the council chambers at City Hall. Volunteer coordinators from each of the organizations shared brief remarks about the important work volunteers perform every day. Freeman-Wilson then read a proclamation and proclaimed it National Service Recognition Day in the City of Gary. 

The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is was conceived of by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as a way to recognize the positive impact of national service in cities, to thank those who serve; and to encourage citizens to give back to their communities.  The day is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the National League of Cities, and Cities of Service.

“Mayors are leaders who get things done, responding every day to needs in their cities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  “I commend Mayor [NAME] for joining in this important effort to recognize the impact of national service.  We are proud to work hand-in-hand with mayors and other local partners to improve lives and strengthen communities through national service.”

As the federal agency for service and volunteering, CNCS annually engages more than five million citizens in service at more than 70,000 locations in 8,500 cities across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs.  National service participants address the most pressing challenges facing our cities and nation, from educating students for the jobs of the 21st century and supporting veterans and military families to preserving the environment and helping communities recover from natural disasters.

Across the country, mayors are participating in a variety of activities, including visiting national service programs, hosting roundtables at City Hall, issuing proclamations, and communicating about national service through social media.  By shining the spotlight on the impact of service and thanking those who serve, mayors hope to inspire more residents to get involved in their communities.
Hear Region News Team reporter Karl Berner, talk with some of the recognitiion recipients available at News Audio On Demand at:  http://www.regionnewsteam.com    

For more information on the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, including background and a list of participating mayors, visit www.nationalservice.gov/mayorsforservice.
Gary Mayor
(photo provided by the mayor's office)
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