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Parents, Police Talk About McCowan Verdict

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Sandra and Bill Bach
The parents of Amanda Bach are expressing their gratitude to police, prosecutors and the public, after jurors found Dustin McCowan guilty last night of murdering their 19-year-old daughter Amanda in September of 2011.  At a news conference at the Porter County Sheriffs Department today, they also thanked the numerous people, many they didn't know, who came out to look for Amanda when she was still missing, before her body was found, and said they wanted to express special tha...

 

Back Up on I-65 Near Ridge Road

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I-65 backups
The left two lanes of southbound I-65 are closed near Ridge Rd due to a traffic hazard. Motorists can expect delays as you travel southbound on I-65, near mile 258.4. Tipsters report a three-mile backup at that location, with only one-lane open at last check.
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Soil Productivity Legislation Signed into Law

soil productivity passes photo
Preventing a 57 million dollar tax increase of Hoosier farmers became the first piece of legislation for the 2013 session. Governor Mike Pence today signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 319, which delays for an additional year the implementation of new soil productivity factors, meaning soil productivity factors used for the March 1st, 2011, assessment date will be used again for the March 1st, 2013, assessment date.
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Proposal to Reward High Performing Schools

A proposal to reward Indiana's highest performing schools with additional state funding has passed the state senate. Senate Bill 493 by State Senator Brandt Hershman would allow public school corporations to qualify for state tuition support grants if ISTEP-Plus and high school end-of-course assessment results meet an overall passing rate of at least 85 percent or an overall improvement rate of at least 6 percent from the previous year. The grant amount would be determined by a General Assembly...
 

IN Senate Approves New Abortion Regulations

The Indiana Senate has approved new abortion regulations that include requiring an ultrasound examination for women seeking to end pregnancies through the use of the abortion pill. Senate Bill 371 also establishes stricter rules for clinics that distribute abortion pills.
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'Ag-Gag' Bill Advances in Indiana

A Region lawmaker says a measure approved by the state senate Tuesday jeopardizes free speech and freedom of the press. Senate Bill 373 -- some call it “Ag Gag” – makes it illegal to take photos or video of agricultural or industrial operations without permission from the owner. Portage State Senator Karen Tallian says the measure "puts a criminal penalty on the truth" and would have a major impact on First Amendment rights by punishing people who report, whether or not they're members of the me...
 

App Helps Link Hoosiers to Elected Officials

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson today unveiled a new app to help Hoosiers identify – and contact – their elected officials. The app is based on the popular Who Are Your Elected Officials website, and uses GPS from your smartphone or tablet to provide information on over 12-thousand elected officials at all levels of government from president to school board.
More info:
INDIANAPOLIS (February 27, 2013) – Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson unveiled today the WAYEO app based on the p...
 

Gary State of the City Address

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[Photo provided]
The mayor of Gary says gun violence, job creation and economic development are among the city's top concerns. In her State of the City address Tuesday at the Genesis Convention Center, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson also encouraged attendees to write to President Obama and request that he name Gary a “Promise Zone”. The President has announced a proposal to seek tax breaks for employers who hire unemployed residents and for those who make capital investments in these designated zon...
 

Helping Hoosiers Fight Tax Fraud

The Indiana Department of Revenue has launched a new section to its website to help Hoosier taxpayers avoid fraud and report suspected fraud, anonymously. The department reports impersonation scams are on the rise this tax season.
More info:
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 27, 2013) — Fraud and identity theft continue to be the number one concern of all tax agencies in 2013. Incidents are on the rise, and efforts to combat those illegal activities are also on the rise.
In fiscal year 2012, the IRS initiated...
 

Gov Pence Signing First Bill Today

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is signing the very first piece of legislation to get his signature this session... today. Senate Bill 319, the first measure to win the approval of the House and Senate, is meant to prevent an estimated 57-million dollar property tax increase on Hoosier farmers by keeping current soil productivity factors in place for another year.
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McCowan Found Guilty, Sentencing Set for March 28

A jury deliberated for six-and-a-half hours before returning a guilty verdict in the Dustin McCowan murder trial. McCowan was charged with fatally shooting former girlfriend 19-year-old Amanda Bach of Portage in September 2011. The verdict was read at about 11-o'clock Tuesday night. Police say her body was found the day after her car was discovered along State Road 130 in Wheeler. Sentencing for the 20-year-old McCowan is scheduled for March 28th.
Times Staff Reporter Bob Kasarda has been...

   

PromotingStudent Safety in Schools Bill Passes Senate

Legislation to protect children and staff members in schools passed the Indiana Senate Wednesday. Senate Bill 345 would establish a “Commission on Seclusion and Restraint in Schools”, to develop a model plan for Hoosier schools on the proper methods, standards, and training for student seclusion and restraint, with each school corporation having to develop its own plan, which would have to be approved by the commission. Bill author, Senator Randy Head, of Logansport, says, “there have reports of...
   

Senate Approves Legislation Addressing Fed Overreach

David Long
The Indiana Senate today approved a legislative package to exert states' constitutional rights and place a check on federal government overreach. The legislation, put together by Indiana Senate President Pro-Tem David Long, includes a joint resolution exercising Indiana's ability under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call for a “convention for proposing amendments” to the Constitution, specifically confined to the topics of limiting Congress' power to tax and regulate commerce. The Senate...
   

Chicago Heights Fire Affects Polling Place

Fire crews in Chicago Heights were called out for a vacant warehouse fire this afternoon, shortly after 1pm. Chicago Heights officials report crews at the scene, located at 17th Street and East End Avenue, at this time have the fire control, possibly even extinguished, but no further information regarding fire is available. The Times reports the fire impacted a polling place, located across the street from the fire, which had to be moved to a nearby elementary school, as adjacent streets were...
   

Responders Program Registration Deadline on 3/1

A program to learn from natural disasters like the one that ravaged Joplin, Missouri, in May of 2011, is scheduled to take place next month at Valparaiso University. Russell Shirley, Porter County Director of Emergency Management , says the program will be a discussion-based exercise on the different functions responders, whether civilian or emergency, will have in the event of a serious disaster. Shirley says when a disaster strikes it will effect everyone, not just first responders, which is...

   

Semi in Ditch Backing up EB 80/94 Lake Station Area

Reportedly, a crash between a semi and an SUV caused the semi to end up in the right hand ditch on eastbound I-80/94 in the Lake Station corridor near Central Avenue.
EMS and fire crews responded and a heavy duty wrecker was on scene to pull the semi out of the ditch but as of 4 p.m. this afternoon, all lanes of eastbound I-80/94 were
backed up to a little before Grant Street in the Gary Corridor. 
Snow flurries moving through the region and temperatures below freezing are causing roads to become...
   

A Good Showing for the Housing Market

Another sign the housing market may be in recovery, a new report from the Case-Shiller Index finds prices in major cities rose across the country. Craig Lazzara Senior Director at Dow Jones Indices tells ABC News the report is promising, "as I look at the numbers, I think, this is the picture of a broadly distributed advance it's not excessive and it certainly comes at the end of several very bad years, but that said this is a picture of a recovering market."
The Indiana Association of Realtors...
   

Morning Fire at Cargill in Hammond

No injuries were reported after a fire this morning at the Cargill food processing plant in Hammond. Hammond Deputy Fire Chief Gavin Margraf says they were dispatched around 7:15 this morning, and that it took a couple of hours to extinguish the fire. The fire reportedly began in a gluten dryer, and did not spread.
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WB Borman Backed Up Due to Crash Near Cline Ave.

Two separate crashes near Cline Avenue, that happened within minutes of one another, is backing up both westbound and eastbound traffic on the Borman (I-80/94).  The westbound crash closed the two left lanes backing up westbound traffic from Cline Avenue back to I-65 this afternoon.  Another crash eastbound on the Borman (I-80/94) near Cline Avenue had earlier closed the left lane eastbound.  Traffic was backing up to near Calumet Avenue.  Drivers should seek alternates like the Indiana Toll Roa...
   

Region Could Miss Major Impact of Snowstorm

They're digging out from about twenty inches of snow in the Texas panhandle.... but here in the Region, it looks like rain... mostly rain, anyway, because we are expecting snow and freezing rain, too.  Much of northwest Indiana isn't even under an advisory, though Chicago and northern Indiana are. We asked Valparaiso University Meteorology Professor Dr. Bart Wolf about the outlook from the Chicago National Weather Service, and Dr. Wolf said from his understanding, meteorologists believe it will...

   

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