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Donnelly to Indiana Veterans: I'm Here to Help

Washington, D.C. — Senator Joe Donnelly spoke with Indiana media today to engage the nearly 500,000 Hoosier veterans and their concerns, including the timely receipt of benefits and healthcare, securing civilian employment, the Veterans History Project, and a recent controversy over the placement of a medal recognizing drone pilots and cyber warriors over battlefield decorations including the Purple Heart. 
“I’m focused on ensuring that veterans earn the benefits they earned and that we appropriately honor their sacrifices,” said Donnelly.  “This takes a comprehensive approach.  From VA benefits and employment programs to recording veterans’ experiences with the Veterans History Project, I want Hoosier veterans to know that I am their advocate in Washington.” 
Donnelly encouraged veterans to contact his office in the event of difficulty with a VA claim or GI Bill benefits, giving the number to his Indianapolis office, 317-226-5555, and his official website,  The Senator said he is making other efforts to contact and support Hoosier veterans as well, citing a letter to the editor on the Veterans History Project that recently ran in several Indiana newspapers.  A copy of that letter can be found by following this link,
Donnelly also expressed optimism that the Department of Defense would “do the right thing” and rank medals earned on the battlefield above a new decoration honoring drone pilots and cyber warriors.  Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a review of the medal’s order of precedence this week after veterans groups and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers criticized the decoration’s placement above battlefield decorations including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. “I’m pleased that Secretary Hagel has initiated this process,” said Donnelly.
You can hear the Donnelly's conference call "On Demand" at
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Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina Named New Pope

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio  of Argentina ... now Pope Francis the first ... in Rome ... the choice of the cardinals was announced to thousands of frenzied onlookers, crowding to get a glimpse of the red-clad balcony of St. Peter's Basilica ... and the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.  Bergoglio becomes the first ever Latin American Pope.
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Cardinals Chose New Pope But Yet to Release Name

ABC News reports white smoke is billowing from the roof of the Sistine Chapels, bells ringing ... and in St. Peter's Square the flags are waving. After just five ballots, the Catholic cardinals have chosen a new Pope, but at this a name has not been released.
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Asner Hospitalized for Exhaustion During Gary Show

ed asner
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A performance by actor Ed Asner Tuesday night in Gary was cut-short after he was taken to a Chicago hospital. The Times reports the actor was hospitalized for exhaustion, and at last check he was expected to be released sometime today. Published reports say Asner was taken from the stage during a sold-out show of his one-man performance of F-D-R at Marquette Park Pavilion.
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Hobart Back to 3 Ambulances

The city of Hobart is back to having three staffed ambulances. This past Friday, one was added to Fire Station Two on Old Ridge Road, on the west side of the city. It was moved from Fire Station One on Tenth Street, which is now home to a new Advanced Life Support engine, which is similar to an ambulance, but doesn't provide transport. Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor says the fire chief had looked at a system that would place ambulances on the north and south sides of the city, and in the middle – on 10th Street – there would be an ALS engine as well as a rescue truck and battalion chief vehicle that could respond to any emergency. To hear Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor on this and a number of topics, visit our Region Newsmakers On Demand at Regionnewsteam-dot-com

Region Man Gets Another Chance at $1M

Hoosier Lottery officials say a Region man has defied amazing odds. Chris Ziegler of Valparaiso, a US Marine and wartime veteran who served in the Gulf War, is one of five finalists in an upcoming Hoosier Lottery Lucky Millionaire drawing in which one of the five will walk away with a million dollar prize – and this isn't his first shot at the Lucky Millionaire prize. Ziegler, who currently works as an EMT, was also a finalist in the previous Lucky Millionaire drawing last September. He didn't walk away with the million dollars that time --the prize went to Greg Langel of South Bend, so he kept entering his non-winning tickets into the mylottery second-chance drawing. One of his entries was drawn in the Jan. 30 drawing, earning him $500 and a second shot at the $1 million. The drawing is Friday at the Indianapolis St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival.
The four other finalists are Shane Dorsett of Bedford, Michael Richardson of Warsaw, Lorrie Warner of Warsaw and Bonita Henson-Turner of Crete, Ill.

Info Session in MC on Local Construction Jobs

There's another opportunity today (Wed Mar 2013) for Region residents to connect with the construction and building trades. Michigan City officials, in partnership with NIPSCO and the Indiana Plan for Equal Employment, schedled two public information sessions on construction jobs needed for NIPSCO’s air quality improvement project at the Michigan City Generating Station. The first session was Tuesday evening, and another takes place today, 9am to 12:30 pm., at Michigan City City Hall. Construction for the multi-year 250-million dollar project is expected to continue through 2016.

Gary Airport Tower Appeal Planned

The Gary Jet Center is reportedly planning to appeal the impending tower closure at Gary/Chicago International Airport resulting from the sequester cuts. The jet center manages jet aircraft and handles operations for fueling and cargo handling requirements at the airport. The airport itself had already announced it would not contest the closing, scheduled for April 7.

Lake County, Lowell Agreement Approved

The Lake County Council has approved an agreement merging Lowell's dispatch operations with the sheriffs department. Under the merger, the town's two dispatchers continue as employees of Lowell. It's unclear how a county-wide consolidation of all seventeen E-911 services in Lake County that the state is mandating by the end of next year will affect that.

Crusaders Going to NCAA Tourney

The Valparaiso men’s basketball team is going back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 after a 62-54 victory over Wright State to earn the Horizon League tournament championship at the ARC Tuesday night. Valparaiso, 26-and-7, set a new program record for victories in a single season on Tuesday as well with their 26th win of the 2012-2013 campaign. The Crusaders will find out their Second Round opponent for the 2tourney Sunday evening when CBS unveils the brackets [ 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 17]. Valpo will be holding a viewing party for the selection show in the Harre Union ballrooms starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Nine-Span Demolition Continues

In Hammond, the Nine-Span Bridge is coming down – span-by-span. Demolition work began a couple months ago on the historic bridge on Indianapolis Boulevard. When it's rebuilt, the Indiana Department of Transportation says it won't be a nine-span anymore.
The Nine-Span, spanning the railyards as it connects Hammond and East Chicago, was built in the mid 1930s. INDOT says the new bridge is expected to open before the end of the year.
For more photos click here:

Gov Favors Merit Selection for Bonaventura's Replacement

Governor Mike Pence says today he supports the merit selection process for Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's replacement as the head of Lake County's Juvenile Court. The Times reports Governor Pence says Bonaventura was chosen to be his new director of the Indiana Department of Child Services through merit selection, which is intended to remove politics from the courtroom. Published reports say Bonaventura asked Indiana's Supreme Court to prevent Judge Nicholas Schiralli from becoming her replacement, because he was not chosen through merit selection.
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Python Found During Chicago Apartment Eviction

(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
An eviction unit found an unexpected guest in an apartment this morning in Chicago, a three-foot Burmese Python. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports deputies enforcing a court-ordered eviction in the five-hundred block of East Bowen Avenue found the python in an aquarium in bedroom of the apartment, which was unoccupied at the time. The Sheriff's Office reports the Chicago's Animal Control removed the python and there were no injuries to it or deputies. Authorities say just last month, deputies with the eviction unit found a two-foot long alligator in an aquarium in the 45-hundred block of West George Street in Chicago while enforcing a court order.
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Student Accuses Union Twp Teacher of Battering Him

No charges have been filed at last check regarding a reported incident Monday at Union Township Middle School, where a male teacher is accused of allegedly battering a 12 year old male student. The Times reports Union Township School Corporation Superintendent John Hunter says the accusation will be investigated to determine its validity.
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Flood Warning Continues for Kankakee River at Shelby

A flood warning continues for the Kankakee River at Shelby, affecting Lake and Newton Counties, from late Wednesday night to Saturday evening. The National Weather Service reports as of this morning, the Kankakee River at Shelby was at eight-point-four feet and is expected to rise to near nine-point-two feet by Thursday evening, impacting lowland agricultural area in the vicinity. The flood stage for the river is nine-feet.
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Challenger Learning Center Gets $10,000 Donation

The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana has received a ten-thousand dollar donation to help fund the purchase and redevelopment of teacher professional development programs, as well as supplies for the upcoming space adventure summer camp series. Executive Director of the Challenger Learning Center, Rebecca Manis, says the donation, from Praxair, Inc., will help the center continue to provide relevant, current, and educational opportunities to both students and teachers. The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana has provided an educational hands-on experience for over 185-thousand children in the region since its inception in February of 1999.
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LaPorte EB Exit Ramp to be Closed Wednesday Night

Indiana Toll Rd Logo
The entire LaPorte eastbound exit ramp on the Indiana Toll Road will be closed to motorists starting at 9pm Central Standard Time tomorrow for concrete testing. Officials at the Indiana Toll Road say the concrete testing will encompass the LaPorte exit bridge deck and substructure, and will reopen at 5am Central Standard Time. Eastbound traffic who normally utilize the exit at LaPorte are being asked to detour at the Michigan City exit. Signage of Wednesday's closure is in place to direct traffic, and officials say the closure will not impact the LaPorte westbound exit ramp or the entrance ramp.
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Notre Dame to Join ACC

The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference for athletic competition in all sports except football and hockey beginning with the upcoming 2013-14 seasons.
Notre Dame has been a member of the Big East Conference in most sports since 1995. The University announced September 13 it would leave the Big East to join the ACC. While the vast majority of Notre Dame athletic teams will begin ACC play in 2013-14, the Irish football program remains independent. Beginning in 2014 Notre Dame will play five football games per season against ACC programs.

Lawsuit Tries to Stop Court Move

Testimony is scheduled to continue today in a lawsuit filed against outgoing Lake Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's decision to close the Gary branch of her child support division a little over a month ago, and consolidate it with juvenile facilities in Crown Point, to save tax dollars. Gary and East Chicago city officials and private litigants are asking for the move to be reversed, citing hardship on residents and transportation difficulties. Bonaventura is leaving the bench to become director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Read more in today's Times:

Pipeline Project Open House in Schererville

There's an open house in Schererville this Thursday evening on a proposed Enbridge Energy pipeline project. The company says Line 78 involves building about 77-miles of new crude oil pipeline that will parallel, or twin, Enbridge’s existing Line 62 crude oil pipeline right-of-way from Enbridge’s Flanagan Terminal near Pontiac, Illinois., traveling northeast to Enbridge’s Griffith/Hartsdale Terminal near Griffith, here in the Region.
The Schererville open house is Thursday, March 14, 2013, 5p-7:30p at Andorra Banquets and Catering, San Loria Room, 1112 US 41, Schererville, IN

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


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