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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
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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 TribStar.com 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.
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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 arborday.org/TreeCityUSA
“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.”
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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.
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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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Public's Help Sought on Hammond Fires

Fire officials in Hammond are asking for the public's help as they investigate five fires in an area of the city west of the downtown since the end of March. Reports say most of the buildings have been vacant. Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith told us earlier this week that some of the fires have broken out around the same time, very early in the morning, around 3am. Officials say the fires have been on State Street, Sibley and Erie. No injuries have been reported.
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Fatal Crash in Newton County

The Newton County Sheriffs Office is investigating a fatal crash. Officers responded to a one-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon on State Road 16 near Iroquois River Road, and found the driver, 63-year-old Larry Strole of rural Brook, unconscious inside a pickup truck. Police say Strole was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Officials say it appeared the man's truck left the road for unknown reasons, struck a guard rail, utility pole, and came to rest against a tree.
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Former School Guns Bill Heads for Vote

The Indiana House is expected to vote Monday on legislation providing ten-million dollars in matching grants to help school corporations hire security officers – a measure that no longer includes a plan requiring all public and charter schools to have at least one person armed with a gun, to protect against school shootings. If they didn't have an officer, for instance, a school employee would have been armed to serve as a 'school protection officer'. Hammond State Representative Linda Lawson was among those who very much wanted that provision removed from Senate Bill 1. The revised bill instead creates a summer committee to examine the idea.
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Valpo University Volunteers Picking Up Trash Tomorrow

Indot Logo color
VALPARAISO, Ind. – The snow plows are barely off the roads but it’s time to think spring! Throughout the state of Indiana this month volunteers are strapping on safety vests and getting their hands dirty. They’re picking up trash as part of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) month-long “Trash Bash” for Adopt-A-Highway groups. The annual Trash Bash coincides with National Earth Day to join in the fight against littering on Indiana roads and highways.
On Saturday, April 13th volunteers from Valparaiso University will do their part by picking up trash on U.S. 30 near Sturdy Road, near Valparaiso University. Volunteers will be along this stretch beginning after 12:30 p.m. The media is welcome to visit their work site. Volunteers will be available to talk about their hard work to keep Indiana’s Highways looking great.
In 2012, nearly 2,300 Adopt-A-Highway volunteers, along with INDOT crews and the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC), removed 15,812 bags of trash from 3,367 miles of state road and right-of-ways. Adopt-A-Highway volunteers logged more than 4,831 hours of hard work in that time.
Everyone is encouraged to clean up and prevent litter on Indiana’s highways:
·         Don’t litter: Set a good example for everyone, especially children.
·         Be responsible: Carry a trash bag in your car instead of tossing trash out the window.
·         Report it: Report areas where people have illegally dumped garbage.
·         Adopt it: If you are involved in a civic group, scouting organization or sports program, encourage the groups to adopt-a-highway. Visit http://www.in.gov/indot/2598.htm for details or contact the INDOT LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
For the latest news on Trash Bash, in addition to INDOT project updates and road restrictions, like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Circus Postponed at Porter County Expo and Fairgrounds

The weather today has caused the postponement of the circus scheduled for this afternoon and evening at the Porter County Expo Center and Fairgrounds. Office Manager Debbie Garner says the Circus Pages performance maybe rescheduled for sometime in May, but at this time nothing has been set in stone.
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—It is an uncomfortable topic that people often don’t want to discuss; however, sexual violence affects many Hoosiers and it’s time to start the conversation about how to prevent it. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and aims to educate individuals about sexual violence prevention. This year’s theme is “It’s time…to talk about it.” 
“Even one person impacted by sexual violence is too many,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Sexual violence is a public health issue and as such there are evidence-based interventions that can be applied to help prevent it. It’s going to take the collaborative effort of the entire community, including the State and local health departments, schools, faith-based organizations and community groups to move the dial in the right direction.”
In Indiana, one in five women will be victims of sexual violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly three in ten women and one in ten men will be victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Youth also feel the impact as nearly 15 percent of young women and five percent of young men have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse in their lifetime.
The Indiana State Department of Health Sexual Violence Prevention Program is working to stop this violence before it starts. Working with Indiana’s Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Council, whose members are from around the state, the program partnered with the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in releasing the Sexual Violence Primary Prevention Policy Brief. This brief focuses on primary prevention and the state of sexual violence laws and policies in Indiana. Read the brief at www.in.gov/isdh/23820.htm.
In response to issues raised in the brief, WFIU/WTIU Bloomington created a documentary examining sexual violence among Indiana's youth. The documentary aims to educate people on sexual violence and encourages prevention efforts. View the documentary for free online at http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/special-features/shadows-of-innocence/video/
You can help prevent abuse. State health officials offer the following tips:
·         Be a role model by treating your kids and others with respect. Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early, before they start dating.
·         Provide age-appropriate and accurate responses to questions about healthy and developmentally expected sexual development as children grow and learn.
·         Attend an awareness event during April, like the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault balloon release at the Indiana Statehouse on April 23. Get more information on this and other events statewide at www.womenshealth.isdh.in.gov.
·         Promote boundaries and respect privacy. Practice respectful boundaries when it comes to touch and affection by not forcing hugs or other touch.
·         Learn what you can do as an active bystander when you see an instance of sexual violence. Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) Bystander Intervention resource page to learn more at http://nsvrc.org/.
If you find yourself in a threatening situation, focus on getting out safely and then tell someone what happened. If you have suffered physical or sexual abuse, go to an emergency department immediately for an examination.  
To learn more about the efforts happening in Indiana, visit www.womenshealth.isdh.in.gov.
For more information about sexual violence prevention, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at http://nsvrc.org/.
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Asner's One Man FDR Show to Return to Gary

ed asner
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Today's Times reports Ed Asner is feeling fit, and ready to continue his one-man FDR show. The actor had to be hospitalized during a performance in Gary last month for exhaustion. According to the article, a makeup date has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 23rd, at the Wirt Emerson V-P-A Theater Auditorium, in Gary, at 7pm, and all tickets from the previous show will be honored.
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Bill to Expand Vision Testing in School Heads to Gov's Desk

A bill to expand vision testing at Indiana schools has passed the General Assembly and now heads to the Governor's desk. Senate Bill 553 would expand vision testing to students entering 5th grade, as well as establishing new standards for testing, like having a licensed optometrist perform the eye exams. The current law only requires annual vision screenings for students entering kindergarten or 1st, 3rd and 8th grade.
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I-94 Lane Restrictions Begin Sunday Night

Indot Logo color
Overnight lane restrictions are scheduled to begin Sunday night for both east and westbound I-94, between the State Road 249 exit and the State Road 51/Indiana Toll Road exit. INDOT reports the lane restrictions will begin no earlier than 9pm, and end no later than 5am, and will continue until this phase of the bridge rehabilitation project over U.S. 20 is completed, which is anticipated for this fall.
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Authorities Investigating Oil Sheen on Cady Marsh Ditch

Cady Marsh Ditch oil sheen
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
The Environmental Protection Agency will be investigating again today to find where a sheen of oil discovered Thursday on the surface of Cady Marsh Ditch originated. According to an article in the Times, the EPA believes the leak may have begun Wednesday, and it does not appear to be from any of the area's petroleum pipelines, and does not appear to endanger any municipal water supplies.
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16 Year Sentence for Mikle in Traffic Death of Valpo Woman

A 36 year old Michigan City man was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Thursday for a July crash that killed a Valparaiso woman and seriously injured her two daughters. The Times reports John Mikle crossed the centerline on Joliet Road, near Westville, while under the influence of PCP, and hit Katie Atkins's SUV head-on.
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Rebuilding Together Duneland Volunteer Deadline Monday

Rebuilding Together
You can help make a difference in the Duneland Community on this year's annual National Rebuilding Day, Saturday April 27th. Rebuilding Together Duneland is accepting volunteers, skilled or unskilled, to help rehabilitate 13 homes and two community improvement projects. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 15th, and for information on to apply online, visit http://www.rtduneland.org
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EC Traffic Advisory for Friday

Traffic-Advisory
In East Chicago, the Indiana Department of Transportation says Dickey Road is scheduled to be closed from 7 am to 3 pm Friday, April 12, for lift bridge maintenance. INDOT advises drivers take Chicago Avenue to Indianapolis Boulevard as a detour.
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Gov Signs VanDenburgh's Veterans Bill

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed into law legislation sponsored by Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh coordinating services for veterans at state educational institutions.
Senate Bill 115, which mirrors VanDenburgh’s House Bill 1134, requires state universities with at least 200 enrolled veterans to provide a centralized office for veteran services. The office would provide admissions, registration, and financial administration services, as well as accommodations for disabled veterans. The institutions also must provide academic and counseling services.
“Often, returning veterans come home and enroll in college to pursue their dreams, but have a difficult time navigating campus and learning the ropes,” said VanDenburgh. “Many are unaware of the scholarships and services available to them. This bill gives Hoosier vets a place to go to have their questions answered and their needs met," VanDenburgh said.
“This bill helps both veterans and universities,” she explained. “The veterans can further their education to get higher paying jobs, which will help lower our veteran unemployment rate. It also helps universities, because they will see a higher success rate among their veteran students. These men and women are determined students who can use the unique skills they learned in the service to help them succeed.”
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Cal City Woman Buys Lucky Ticket in Hammond

shanklin WinCE
[Photo courtesy Hoosier Lottery]
A trip just across the state line to the Strack and Van Til on Sibley in Hammond paid off big for a Calumet City woman. Constance Shanklin played the $100,000 Taxes Paid scratch-off game, in which the Hoosier Lottery pays taxes on the win, so Shanklin got a check for the full 100-grand. Hoosier Lottery officials say Shanklin plans to "buy a car and help a few people out”.
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