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Indiana Pearl Harbor Survivor Passes Away

A Pearl Harbor survivor in Indiana has passed away. Commander James Moore of Peru, Indiana, was one of the members of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Indiana Chapter Two. James Laud, Sr., of Highland, who is Indiana State Chairman of Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, says Moore had a lengthy career with the Navy. Commander Moore died Monday at the age of 94. Laud says it's believed there are about forty Pearl Harbor survivors living in Indiana now.
Link to Commander Moore's obituary:
Hear our interview with James Laud Sr on the passing of Commander James Moore here at our website at On Demand.

Indiana Recovers Insurance Proceeds

Beneficiaries of long forgotten insurance policies may soon be able to recover proceeds they never knew existed. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today that more than 18-million dollars in unclaimed property has been recovered through agreements with some of the nation’s largest life insurance providers. The money is the result of unclaimed insurance proceeds previously held by American International Group, John Hancock /Manulife, MetLife,. and Prudential Financial. Zoeller says the funds can be claimed now at  .
The agreements came after audits performed by Verus Financial LLC on behalf of Indiana and multiple other states.  So far, Indiana has received more than 20,000 unreported insurance accounts from the audits.  The properties belong to Hoosiers who may have forgotten details, misplaced a policy, or not even known they were listed as a beneficiary on an account.
These initial funds are only a portion of the proceeds that are expected to be uncovered as the state continues to work with the auditor to identify other companies and accounts that have never been remitted as Unclaimed Property.  As part of this process, more than $3 million of additional life benefits have already been returned to Hoosiers through the due diligence process conducted by providers.
“Indiana’s leadership in this audit process reflects our commitment to the rightful owners of unclaimed property,” Zoeller said.  “It’s our obligation to do what we can to seek out these types of funds and to return them to the rightful owners.  The recovered money represents hundreds of unreported insurance accounts for Hoosiers, so it is very important that people go online and check for their name, their relatives, neighbors and friends’ names to determine if any of these funds belong to them or someone they know.”
The funds that have been turned over to the state are posted online at and can be searched 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Unclaimed Property Division’s toll-free number is 1-866-IN-CLAIM (1-866-462-5246).  This is a free service of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

Two Armed Robberies in Portage Today

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[Photo provided/Portage Police]
Police in Portage this morning are investigating two armed robberies that occurred within about an hour of each other, and police reports say the suspect description is similar in both cases – as well as a robbery at a Speedway Gas Station at Central and County Line in Portage around 3 in the morning two days ago. The first incident this morning happened shortly before 5am at Zip Foods on US Highway 20. Police say the suspect after demanding money and cigarettes, allegedly threatened to shoot the clerk, then apologized saying he had to feed his kids. Then about 5:30 this morning, Portage Police say an armed robbery occurred at the Comfort Inn on Willowcreek. Descriptions have included the suspect as a white man, about 5-10 to 6 feet tall, dressed in dark-colored clothing , described in one case as coveralls and stocking cap, and in another, a dark-colored hoodie.

Spring? Here? Where?

If you think that Spring so far seems the exact opposite of last year, you're on to something. Dr. Bart Wolf, Associate Professor of Meteorology at Valparaiso University, says data show that it looks like we're going to continue on the unseasonably cool side for maybe the next ten days to two weeks.   Dr. Wolf says when Spring does catch up with the calendar it could be just as extreme, and "within the course of a week we could go from significantly below normal temperatures to signifcantly above normal temperatures when and if this pattern decides it's finally going to shift."  More of our interview with Dr. Wolf including how to prepare for Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which is next week in Indiana, is available On Demand at regionnewsteam-dot-com.

Gary Schools Ordered to Lease Building

A Lake Superior Court judge says the Gary Community Schools must lease an unused building to a local charter school for one-dollar. The order says per state law the school corporation shall "immediately" lease the old Ernie Pyle Elementary School to LEAD College Preparatory charter school in Gary. The issue has been in the courts for several months. In a separate issue, the charter for LEAD College Prep was among those not being renewed by Ball State this year – LEAD is appealing that.

Responders Build 'Wall' in Flood Drill

A Hammond/Highland flood prep drill that had Kennedy Avenue shut down near the Borman for a few hours overnight this week. The exercise using concrete blocks and sandbags to build a 'wall' in just a couple hours on Kennedy Avenue as if floodwaters were rising was held in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure Region responders, public works and safety officials, are ready to act quickly in the event of a major flood. Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission Executive Director Dan Repay says there's a flood drill coming up in  Gary April 19th, near Harrison, just west of Broadway, near where the Little Cal runs through there.  That exercise will be held in conjunction with Indiana University Northwest. The exercises follow the devastating floods that hit Lake County in September 2008.  To hear our interview with Dan Repay, visit On Demand here at our website.

High Court Halts Lake Co Judge Move

For the time being, the process to replace outgoing Lake County Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura is on hold. The Indiana Supreme Court has granted a temporary stay preventing Lake Superior Judge Nicholas Schiralli from taking over. Three Lake County Juvenile Court Magistrates sued, asking for the opportunity to be considered for the job and arguing that sitting county judges exceeded their authority in making the decision to fill the vacancy. Bonaventura is leaving to head the Indiana Department of Child Services.

Purdue Cal Child Center Staying Open

Purdue Calumet says child care will continue at the Hammond campus. The university had said the Riley Child Center, which opened in 1992, was in danger of closing due to a lack of funds. Purdue Calumet officials say the facility will remain open, thanks to reallocated federal community development block grant funds pledged by Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. Officials say declining enrollment at the center, which has capacity for up to sixty children, has led to a 40-to-60-thousand dollar annual deficit which the university can no longer afford to subsidize.

Hammond Police Warn of Scammers

Hammond Police report the first scam of spring... an elderly person duped into letting a fake public service worker into their home. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller says it happened about a week ago. The victim was not harmed, but money was taken. Chief Miller is asking the elderly and any resident to not let people who show up on your doorstep claiming to be from a utility department into your home, and to call 911 if they want to enter. Miller also says keep an eye out for suspicious persons at grocery stores, banks, and financial institutions, as some of the city's previous victims have been followed from these businesses to their homes.

Heavy Snow on the Way?

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[National Weather Service]
The National Weather Service says a potententially significant storm system will lift northeast into the Ohio Valley Saturday night and Sunday, a system has the potential to produce several inches of accumulating snowfall after midnight Saturday night through Sunday. However, meteorologists say there is still some uncertainty on the precise track of this system, and that could affect snow amounts and where the heaviest snow might fall.

Porter Health Care System Named Company of the Year

Porter Wins Award
(Photo Courtesy of the United Way of Porter County)
Porter Health Care System was named "Company of the Year" by United Way of Porter County at the 2013 United Way Volunteer of the Year Awards State Banquet held March 7th at the Fountains Banquet and Conference Center, Carmel.
“With health as one of United Way’s primary impact areas, it was an honor to nominate Porter Health Care System, which has been recognized for the award-winning medical care it provides to Northwest Indiana,” stated Sharon A. Kish, President of United Way of Porter County.  United Way annually invests in three core initiatives which serve as the building blocks for a good quality of life:  Health, Education and Financial Stability. 
Led by CEO Jonathan Nalli, and CFO Cheryl Harmon, who serves as United Way’s current Board Chair, Porter Health Care System is committed to United Way efforts.  Jonathan and his wife, Cathleen, chaired United Way’s 2011/12 Annual Campaign, which raised $1.8 million in Porter County.  This past year, Porter also hosted United Way’s 1st Annual CEO Leadership Breakfast in the new Porter Regional Hospital before it opened.  With standing room only, the event was a great start to their campaign.  In addition, Porter served as the Premier Sponsor for United Way’s Annual Golf Classic in its 1st year at Sand Creek Country Club, and will serve again this year in 2013. 
“Porter Health Care System is a great advocate for volunteerism,” added Kish.  In 2012, the company served as the Corporate Steward Sponsor for the United Way Regional Volunteer Center.  Among the sponsored activities is the Regional Day of Caring, which attracts more than 2,000 volunteers each year. 
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IN House Passes Bill to Help Kids of Disabled Vets

INDIANAPOLIS – Thanks to the efforts of State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster), legislation designed to assist Hoosier veterans interested in pursuing a college degree now contains language that helps the children of those who were disabled during their military service.
            On a 93-0 vote today, members of the Indiana House approved Senate Bill 177, which contains a series of provisions assisting veterans who wish to attend a state-supported college or university once they have completed their service.
            Among those provisions is a proposal from Candelaria Reardon that ensures that any child of a veteran with any form of service-related disability will be able to attend college without paying any tuition or fees. The benefit covers students pursuing an undergraduate degree and covers a four-year period.
            “This change corrects an egregious error made by the Indiana General Assembly back in 2011, when it was decided to scale back this plan in an effort by the previous administration to cut costs,” Candelaria Reardon said.
            “Up until 2011, any child of a veteran with any level of disability was able to attend college and have 100 percent of tuition and fees remitted over a four-year period,” she continued. “The change from 2011 reduced the level of benefits, which meant some children would have to pay for a portion of tuition and fees.
            “I felt that change reneged on our commitment to take care of those who give so much to take care of the rest of us, particularly when you consider that at the same time the Republican majority in the Legislature was cutting this benefit for disabled Hoosiers, they were also cutting corporate taxes,” Candelaria Reardon said. “This year was a perfect time to restore a sense of fairness to this issue.”
            Senate Bill 177 also provides that combat veterans can receive in-state tuition if they choose to go to a college or university in Indiana within a year of being discharged from their service. The bill also enables veterans to pursue a higher education with their tuition and fees frozen at a fixed rate over four years.
            “It is very easy for us to talk about demonstrating a commitment to those who place themselves in harm’s way, but I think now is the time to put those words into definitive actions that tell our veterans that we care for them, and we are willing to do everything we can to thank them for their service and help both them and their families,” Candelaria Reardon concluded.
            Senate Bill 177 now returns to the Indiana Senate to see if members there concur with changes made in the House....

Gary PD Seek Help in Wednesday Shooting Incident

Gary Police say that anyone with information regarding a Wednesday afternoon shooting in the 22-hundred block of West 17th Avenue is encouraged contact them and ask for Detective Lorenzo Davis. Public Information Officer, Corporal Gabrielle King, says a 74 year old woman and a 22 year old man were shot and hospitalized, and at last check the 22 year old, identified as Richard King, had been released.
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16 Year old Homicide Suspect Remains At-Large

A 16 year old male suspect remains at-large at last check, regarding a double homicide that claimed the lives of two brothers, and for an armed robbery that took place minutes before the shooting. Gary Police Public Information Officer, Corporal Gabrielle King says17-year-old Johnte Crawford, who is in custody, and 16-year-old Donnell Wilson, who is at-large, each faces two-counts of murder and one-count of robbery armed robbery, for the two separate incidents that began with the robbery in the 15-hundred block of Ellsworth Place Sunday afternoon.
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Brief Lockdown at Gary HS Over Missing Gun

In Gary today, officials say Lew Wallace STEM Academy was on lockdown for about twenty minutes after one of the school security officers realized he didn't have his gun.  Reports say the missing weapon was not related to a fight that broke out between students today. The officer reportedly went home where he located his weapon, and the lockdown was canceled.

Butler Moves On While Valpo Knocked Out of Tourney

Valparaiso fought hard but just could not overcome Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament today, falling to the Spartans, 65 to 54. Senior guard Ben Boggs led the Crusaders in scoring with 15 points. Also in NCAA Tournament action this afternoon were the Butler Bulldogs, who defeated Bucknell 68 to 56, and move on to face the winner of the Davidson verses Marquette game.
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Foul Play Not Suspected in Strangulation Death

The Lake County Sheriffs Office says foul play is not suspected in the strangulation death of a Schneider woman. The Lake County Coroners office says the manner of death was pending for 41-year-old Tracy Ritter-Loitz. Lake County Police responded to a medical call to the woman's Schneider residence in reference to a medical call. Tri-Creek EMS was on scene treating Ritter-Loitz, who was subsequently transported to a local hospital, where she died Monday night.. The case remains under investigation.

How Tweet It Is: Twitter Turns Seven

Here in northwest Indiana, a statue has its own Twitter account... that would be the bronze likeness of Orville Redenbacher at downtown Valparaiso's Central Park. And that's not that unusual for the social-media-revolutionizing machine. Twitter turns seven years old today (Thursday). On March 21, 2006, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first social-media tweet, typing "just setting up my twttr". He spelled it T-W-T-T-R and used only 24 of the allowed 140 characters. Fast-forward to today, the company's Elaine Filadelfo says 200 million users tweet 400 million times a day and just over every two days there are a billion tweets sent.

Powerball Jackpot Now $320M

Powerball continues to climb. The jackpot is now an estimated 320-million dollars for Saturday night's drawing after no one matched all the numbers. Hoosier Lottery officials it's is the largest in the game since last November's historic $587.5 million run ended with jackpot winners in Missouri and Arizona.
Indiana leads the nation in Powerball jackpot wins with 38. A Hoosier Lottery player laid claim to the very first Powerball jackpot win in the first Powerball drawing in April 1992. Two of the game's top ten ranking jackpots -- $314.3 million and $295 million -- were also scored in Indiana.

Kouts Council Vacancy Filled

Kouts has a new councilwoman. 36-year-old Nicole Markovich will fill the remaining term of Democrat Orville Jefferson, who left his at-large seat on the town council to become the town's building inspector. Markovich was the only person to file for the vacancy.

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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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