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Mushroom Hunters Lost Then Found

Indiana Conservation Officers remind anyone who enters a wooded area to let someone know where you're going and when you'll be returning after getting a call of two lost mushroom hunters at Pedestal Rock Nature Preserve in Waveland Sunday. The two, from Illinois, were in a remote area near Shades State Park and couldn't find their way back to their vehicle. Conservation officers were able to use their in-car computer to plot their GPS coordinates on a map from the 911 call from their cell phone, and the two were located, safe, within about a half-hour.
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Illinois May Raise Speed Limit


In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn says he’ll have to take a close look at legislation raising the speed limit on Illinois highways. The Illinois Senate voted last week to increase the speed limit on interstate highways and tollways from 65 miles per hout to 70. Illiinois Governor Quinn won’t say whether he supports the idea, adding it will need careful review. Opponents say motorists already drive too far over the speed limit, and that measure would result in people driving even faster. The bill still faces a vote in the Illinois House.
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Jackpot Hit in Cayuga

A ten-million dollar Hoosier Lotto ticket purchased about an hour southwest of Lafayette matched all six numbers in Saturday night's drawing. The ticket was sold at The Falcon Mart on State Road 234 in Cayuga, which is in Vermillion County, on the Indiana Illinois border. Wednesday's jackpot is $1 million. No player nationwide matched all six numbers in Powerball or Mega Millions this weekend. Tuesday's estimated Mega Millions jackpot is $114 million. Wednesday's estimated Powerball jackpot is $165 million.
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2013 Legislative Session Ends

Well depending on which side of the aisle your on, the end of the 2013 legislative session was either a success or utter failure. House Bill 10-01 passed the Senate early this morning, and according to Senate President Pro-Tem, Republican David Long, the budget is “homerun” for Hoosiers, saying it is an honest balanced budget for two years that provides the most K through 12 funding ever, pays down the debt, provides the biggest tax cut in state history, and funds roads and infrastructure. Meanwhile Democrats like Scott Pelath of Michigan City says opportunities to help the middle class were squandered, as issues like the 8.7 percent unemployment rate and a median household income which is four-thousand dollars behind the rest of the nation does nothing to benefit middle class Hoosiers. As for the five-percent tax cut, Pelath says giving the middle class a dollar back a week two years down the road won't do much to help Hoosier families. He also blasted the Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate for not restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to public schools, but instead, are giving considerable more money to schools in wealthy communities, shortchanging those in less affluent communities.
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8 years in Prison for Merrillville Man in Fatal Shooting

Angel garcia
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 19 year old Merrillville man was sentenced to eight-years in prison for killing a 39 year old Gary man. The Times reports Angel Garcia was 17 when he shot Bryan McCoy multiple times inside of McCoy's home, in the 600 block of East 48th Avenue after a verbal dispute turned physical. According to the article, a plea agreement reduced the charges, which included murder, to reckless homicide.
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Lansing Shooting Suspects Arrested in Hobart After Chase

Three suspects in a Lansing, Illinois, shooting incident on Friday are in custody after a pursuit led them into Hobart. The Times reports Lansing Police responded to a report of gunshots, about 2:15am, in the 25-hundred block of Ridge Road. The suspected vehicle fled the scene into Indiana, where their vehicle ran over stop sticks at 37th Avenue in Hobart, and eventually stopped at 39th Avenue, where the suspects fled, but were later captured. No injuries were reported, and at last check the names of the three suspects had yet to be released.
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New Law to Improve Ethics in Vehicle Dealer Services Signed

Wyss SEA 537
A bill sponsored in the state House by Valparaiso State Representative Ed Soliday to improve ethics in vehicle dealer services was signed into law on Friday. Senate Enrolled Act 537 is authored by State Senator Tom Wyss, of Fort Wayne, and creates a Dealer Services Division within the Secretary of State's Office to enforce regulations regarding licensed vehicle dealers, while also providing guidelines on criminal penalties for unfair practices and violations against vehicle dealing rules.
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Bill to Protect Hoosier Homeowners Heads to Governor

SEnator Doug Eckerty
Legislation to protect Hoosier homeowners now moves to the Governor's desk for final consideration. Senate Bill 152 essentially shifts the burden of proof from the homeowner to the county or township assessor that makes the initial assessment, according it author, State Senator Doug Eckerty, of Yorktown. Senator Eckerty says from there that assessor must substantiate his proof with the Property tax Assessment Board of Appeals to verify that the values of homes and properties are not overestimated, meaning fewer homeowners will have to appeal their assessment year after year.
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Give Back Night Monday to Help Fuel the Kids Summer Project

The Portage Township Trustee's Office is the proud recipient of of a number of grants to help those in need in the community. Township Trustee, Brendan Clancy is proud of one in particular, a matching fund type called the "Fuel the Kids Summer Project”, to raise money for 300 food baskets in the area.  Clancy says Portage Township will be having a "Give Back Night" (April 29th) Monday, from 5pm to 8pm, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Portage. A percentage of food sales will be donated back to the "Fuel the Kids Summer Project."
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80 Years in Prison for Cedar Lake Man for Murder and Arson

Anthony LaPorta
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A Cedar Lake man was sentenced to 80 years in prison Friday for killing his neighbor and burning down the victim's home. Published reports say 24 year old Anthony LaPorta agreed to a plea bargain for 62 years in the death of 32 year old Anthony Giordano, and 18 years for arson. The incident occurred during a burglary on July 11th 2012, in the 14700 block of Cline Avenue. The Times reports LaPorta had previously received a two sexual battery sentence which will be served concurrently with the 80 year sentence.
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Rolled Over Semi on I-65 at I-80/94

Traffic-Alert
A rolled over semi is blocking the right lane and reportedly spilling fuel, which has slowed traffic this morning on the I-65 ramp northbound ramp to I-80/94. Traffic is being being able to get by in the left lane. No further information available at this time.
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Vote Postponed on Lake County Income Tax Proposal

A vote on a one-and-a-half percent local tax increase for Lake County has been pushed back to May 14th, after this afternoon's vote had to be postponed due to a legal publishing notice issue. Meanwhile, a bill now heads to the Governor's desk to lift the Lake County property tax levy freeze. The House version of the bill was approved by the Senate, which doesn't tell Lake County how to spend potential income tax funds if it passes.
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Worker's Memorial Day Ceremony at US Steel in Gary

workers memorial day
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A Worker's Memorial Day ceremony was held today in Gary to honor those who have lost their life in the past 105 years of the U-S Steel Mill. The Times reports the ceremony focused on safety and efforts made to keep more names from being added to the waist-high, three-sided memorial wall. According to the article, 2013 has so far been the safest year at the Gary facility.
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Pelath Blast Tax Cuts, Redistribution of School Funding

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, of Michigan City, held a media availability in his office today to review the end of this legislative session. Pelath called the proposed tax cuts, which includes a combined five-percent tax cut, with the first reduction beginning in 2015, followed by an additional two-percent two years later, compromised politics at its worst, and says it should have been the full ten-percent cut or nothing. Pelath says giving the middle class a dollar back a week two years down the road won't do much to help Hoosier families.
Pelath also blasted the Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate for not restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to public schools, but instead, are giving considerable more money to schools in wealthy communities, shortchanging those in less affluent communities.
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LaPorte County Burglary Suspects To Be Tried As Adults

Dolores Smith
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)
Jacob Cornett
Two juveniles charged in a LaPorte County burglary Thursday will be tried as adults, with a third yet to be charged. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office says 16 year old Dolores Smith, of Merrillville, is charged with felony burglary, and a misdemeanor charge of dangerous possession of a firearm, while 17 year old Jacob Cornett, who is being held without bond, is charged with aiding, inducing, and causing a crime, in this case burglary, a Class B felony. On Thursday morning, two juveniles were arrested after their vehicle crashed into a semi at the Lake/Porter County line while being pursued by authorities, after a witness reported them leaving the scene of a potential residential burglary in the 12-hundred block of Goldring Road. The Sheriff's office says the third suspect was taken into custody several hours later, at his home in rural LaPorte County.
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Munster and Lake Central HS Named Among Top in State

Munster and Lake Central High Schools were among the top schools in the state, according to the US News and World Report 2013 Best High School Rankings released this week. Several other area high schools were also honored, including Chesterton, Hobart, Knox, Kouts, La Porte, Merrillville, Plymouth, Portage, West Central, Whiting, Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy. For a link to the list, visit: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/indiana/rankings?schooltypepublic=y&schooltypemagnet=y&schooltypecharter=y ...
   

84 of 95 Compliant in Porter Co Sex/Violent Offender Check

porter co sheriff dept
Members of the Porter County Sheriff's Department recently wrapped up a week long detail that included a residence verification for registered sex or violent offenders living in Porter County. Authorities say 95 registered offenders were checked out by officers at various times of day, between April 15th through the 19th, and found 84 were compliant with the registry. Of the eleven that weren't, six were already incarcerated, with reports sent out for charges to be filed for two who were in violation, and according to the press release, three offenders require further investigation. A state statute requires a personal visit by law enforcement to the offender's listed address at least once a year, with those designated as a“sexually violent predator”, to be visited at least once every 90 days.
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Traffic Hazard Closes 2 Center Lanes SB I-65 @ Ridge Rd

A number of traffic tipsters are calling in Northwest Indiana's Traffic Hotline reporting a full-size refrigerator was in the center lane southbound I-65 near Ridge Rd.  The traffic hazard has caused INDOT to close the two center lanes southbound I-65 approaching Ridge Rd. and that is backing up traffic on the connector ramp from the Borman (I-80/94).
Drivers need to exercise caution.
Traffic backing up on connector ramp
Eastbound I-80/94 connector ramp to southbound I-65 backing up due to traffic hazard in the center lanes southbound I-65 near Ridge Rd.
(photo from INDOT)
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Burglary Suspect and His Mom Arrested by Portage SWAT

portage pd
Two suspects wanted in connection with numerous burglaries throughout Portage are now in police custody, including one suspect's mother. Portage Police report just before 9 this morning, they served a felony forgery warrant in the 68-hundred block of Mercedes Avenue for 22 year old James Rasch, whom police say they had looking for, along with another suspect, 26 year old Mark Bogart, for approximately a week. Authorities report James's 46 year old mother battered a SWAT officer during the execution of the warrant, and was subsequently arrested for battery and resisting arrest. Police say Bogart had previously been arrested on Wednesday, at a residence on Airport Road, and charged with felony possession of a hypodermic needle, and that the detective bureau is currently working on burglary charges for Bogart and Rasch.
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Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Divisions Honored

IPLA’s prescription monitoring program, INSPECT, and their Medical Licensing Board of Indiana both win national award.
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency’s (IPLA) prescription monitoring program, INSPECT, received national recognition recently when it was awarded the Administrators in Medicine (AIM) “Best of Boards” award on April 17, 2013. The award recognized both INSPECT and the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana’s recent efforts to become the 1st state nationally to integrate prescription drug monitoring data into an electronic healthcare system.
On January 15, 2013, INSPECT began delivering prescription data to healthcare systems at Community Hospitals, St. Vincent Hospitals and Health Services, St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers, I.U. Health, and Wishard Health Services through the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC). For the first time nationally, physicians are now able to access patient prescription history within their daily workflow without taking the added and onerous step of accessing the same information via the Web. This ensures that healthcare providers have a ready access to valuable prescription history before writing a prescription for a controlled substance.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by AIM,” said Marty Allain, the Director of INSPECT, who accepted the award on behalf of the program and the board. “Being the first program in the country to deliver this data to physicians is an important step in the fight against prescription drug abuse.”
Prescription drug abuse is a national epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, prescription painkillers have topped car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. To combat prescription drug abuse, Indiana maintains a prescription drug monitoring program, INSPECT, that collects controlled substances dispensed by pharmacies into a database accessible to physicians and pharmacists. INSPECT collects 13,000,000 prescription records annually and the system processes over 11,000 requests for patient history reports every day; however, the system is only accessed 1 time for every 10 controlled substance prescriptions written in the state. This low rate of use is due to the difficulty of accessing the system on-line with a username and password, and the added task of querying for search results. Doctors lose valuable time attempting to access the data and many times choose not to use the program at all.
To increase use, INSPECT has partnered with the Regenstrief Institute and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to deliver this data directly into physicians’ workflows. In June 2012, Wishard’s Emergency Department used the new system during a pilot project. The results were staggering: Physicians stated that this new data in their system reduced the number of pills they prescribed for 6 out of every 10 patients treated.
“All of the physicians that are now accessing the data through the INPC have responded positively to the integration efforts,” said Kristen Kelley, the Director of the Medical Licensing Board. “In a recent survey, 100% of the physicians responded that the new system was easier to use.”
The integration efforts deliver Indiana’s PDMP data to the five major hospital systems connected to the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), which includes Wishard, I.U., St. Francis, St. Vincent, and Community Hospitals. These five INPC hospital systems operate a total of 11 different hospital facilities and more than 100 geographically distributed clinics andday surgery facilities. Collectively these systems admit 165,878 patients and serve more than 390,000 emergency room visits and 2.7 million clinic visits per years.

In March 2013, the integration effort was also showcased at the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference, the premier exhibition for healthcare data interoperability in the nation.
Administrators in Medicine (AIM), a not-for-profit organization, is the national organization for state medical and osteopathic board executives. Founded in 1984, the mission of AIM is to assist and support administrators for medical licensing and regulatory authorities to achieve administrative excellence and ultimately advance public safety.
The Office of National Drug Council Policy (ONDCP) has named prescription drug program monitoring as one of the four major tenants of addressing the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/prescription-drug-abuse. INSPECT has continually pursued progressive efforts to ensure that it provides the best possible service in the fight against prescription drug abuse:

  • First PDMP in the nation to participate in interstate sharing of data (along with Ohio) (2011).
  • First PDMP to engage in email-based unsolicited reporting of PDMP information to practitioners (2011).
  • First PDMP to permit user-led unsolicited reporting (2012).
  • First PDMP to track and enforce pharmacy uploading (2009).
  • 2009 Recipient of the Governor’s Public Service Achievement Award for its efforts in registering end users and increasing pharmacy compliance.

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