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20 Vehicles in I-65 Crashes

10:40am-- Indiana State Police report as many as twenty vehicles involved in three separate crashes this morning, closing both lanes of I-65 between mile markers 230 and 220 in Jasper County. One southbound lane could reopen shortly, northbound lanes likely to be closed for a few more hours. Jasper County Coroner Andy Boersma confirmed one fatality earlier today.  Authorities say smoke from a nearby fire and fog apparently combined to obscure visiblility along the interstate. The accidents happened around 7:15 am (CDT). Troopers report one twelve-vehicle crash on the northbound side of the interstate near mile marker 227.  Indiana State Police say it appears there may have at least two other separate crashes on the southbound side, one involving six vehicles, the other two vehicles.
10:30am -- The Indiana Department of Transportation on their Northwest Twitter feed this morning reported the highway closed between mile markers 230 and 220 after a nearby farm fire caused multiple crashes. We received unconfirmed reports in the newsroom of a smoldering hay fire that was causing visibility problems along the interstate this morning and yesterday..
840am -- A ten-mile stretch of Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana remains closed and will likely for closed for some time today. We're told multiple helicopters, injured being taken from accident scene on I-65 near Demotte/Roselawn exit, also we have word of one confirmed fatality from Jasper County Coroner Andy Boersma. Several vehicles are involved, possibly upwards of twelve or more. Unknown at this time if the situation involved one or multiple separate accidents. We've been told smoke from a fire in the vicinity hampered visibility in the vicinity. Indiana State Police say expect lane closures for much of the day.
8 AM -- Indiana State Police Lowell District say both directions of I-65 are shut down this morning, specifically... the northbound lanes are closed at mile marker 220, the southbound lanes lanes at mile marker 230. This is near the Demotte/Roselawn exit.  Police say there's an accident between those two points, plus visibility is hampered by fog and smoke from a nearby fire. The accident is in the northbound lanes, near mile marker 227.
Fire crews in the Demotte area are reportedly responding to a smoldering hay fire a couple miles east of the interstate.
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Fatality Confirmed, Multiple Injuries I-65

840am -- We're told multiple helicopters, injured being taken from accident scene on I-65 near Demotte/Roselawn exit, also we have word of one confirmed fatality. Indiana State Police say expect lane closures for much of the day
8 AM -- Indiana State Police Lowell District say both directions of I-65 are shut down this morning, specifically... the northbound lanes are closed at mile marker 220, the southbound lanes lanes at mile marker 230. This is near the Demotte/Roselawn exit.  Police say there's an accident between those two points, plus visibility is hampered by fog and smoke from a nearby fire. The accident is in the northbound lanes, near mile marker 227.  Fire crews in the Demotte area are reportedly responding to a smoldering hay fire a couple miles east of the interstate.
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I-65 Shut Down Near Demotte Exit

8 AM -- Indiana State Police say both directions of I-65 are shut down this morning, specifically... the northbound lanes are closed at mile marker 220, the southbound lanes lanes at mile marker 230. This is near the Demotte/Roselawn exit.  Police say there's an accident between those two points, plus visibility is hampered by fog and smoke from a nearby fire.  Fire crews in the Demotte area are reportedly responding to a smoldering hay fire a couple miles east of the interstate.
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Water Main Break in Cr Pt

745am – In Crown Point this morning, we're getting word of a water main break along Main Street. A caller tells us the affected area is Summit to Goldsboro, where the southbound lane is closed, and the northbound lane is open, and motorists advised to use caution. Crews are on scene making repairs. We're told the main break occurred overnight.
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Hoosiers: Throw Away Cantaloupes

State and federal health officials are advising all Hoosiers to throw away cantaloupes purchased from July 7 to the present, following a salmonella outbreak that's sickened 14 Hoosiers and approximately 150 people nationwide.   The Indiana State Department of Health is investigating farms in Southwest Indiana, as well as distributors and retailers, as potential sources. One farm has voluntarily agreed to do a market withdrawal and is stopping the shipment of all cantaloupes as precaution. Kentucky, which has 50 confirmed cases, is also investigating retailers and other points along the distribution chain.
Here's the news release:
INDIANAPOLIS—State and federal health officials are advising all Hoosiers to discard cantaloupes purchased from July 7 to present, following an outbreak of salmonellosis which has sickened 14 Hoosiers and approximately 150 people nationwide.
The Indiana State Department of Health is investigating farms in Southwest Indiana, as well as distributors and retailers, as potential sources of the outbreak. One farm has voluntarily agreed to do a market withdrawal and is stopping the shipment of all cantaloupes as precaution. Kentucky, which has 50 confirmed cases, is also investigating retailers and other points along the distribution chain.
"Because the investigation is ongoing and we do not have a definitive source for this outbreak, we are advising all Hoosiers to throw away any cantaloupes they’ve recently purchased as a precaution," said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D.  "We are working with other impacted states, as well as our federal partners to locate the source as quickly as possible. We will, of course, be sharing that information as it is learned.”
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, some individuals may require hospitalization from severe diarrhea. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites.  It can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection.
"Anyone experiencing symptoms and who feels they may have eaten a contaminated cantaloupe should contact their health care provider," said Dr. Larkin. "We are seeing cases in Indiana and our neighbor to the south, Kentucky, has seen many more cases and has experienced two deaths related to this outbreak. Health care providers are encouraged to be mindful of patients who may have symptoms consistent with salmonellosis and report all cases to the local health department.”
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the outbreak in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indiana State Department of Health, and affected other states, including tracing the source of the affected melons and shipments of melons that may have been contaminated.
Salmonella bacteria can be found in the intestines of several animals. Infection often results from eating raw eggs or raw poultry or cross-contamination with other food items (such as using the same cutting board for raw meats and produce). Salmonella can also be found on the skin of reptiles and other animals. Hand washing should always be encouraged after playing with pets and handling animals, especially in young children. Salmonella can occasionally be found on contaminated produce items, so all produce should be thoroughly washed and scrubbed before eating. 
For more information about Salmonella, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/salmonella or visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov .
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Valpo Hydrant Flushing to Begin

Water hydrant flushing on the north side of Valparaiso begins Monday, continuing for the next eight weeks, between 8am and 4 pm on weekdays. The area included is north of Evans Avenue and Harrison Boulevard. Residents who see discolored water are advised to run cold water for five-to-ten minutes, and if it continues, to contact Valparaiso City Utilities Customer Service Center.
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Schrenker Stunt Plane Sold

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State officials say the stunt plane of former Indianapolis money-manager and Merrillville native Marcus Schrenker has been sold for 264-thousand dollars, with proceeds going to help fraud victims of Schrenker recover losses. In January 2009, authorities say he tried to evade the law by crashing his other plane into a Florida swamp to fake his own death. He was later arrested in a Florida campground and is currently serving time in prison.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the Model Extra EA 300/L was the largest single asset purchased by Schrenker using investor money.
Here's the news release:

INDIANAPOLIS
(August 17, 2012) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson and U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita today announced the stunt plane of Marcus Schrenker has been sold. Schrenker was an Indianapolis businessman who ran an intricate ponzi scheme swindling more than $4 million from investors. In January of 2009, he tried to evade the law by crashing his other plane into a Florida swamp in an attempt to fake his own death. He was later arrested in a Florida campground and is currently serving time in prison.
The Model Extra EA 300/L stunt plane was the largest single asset purchased by Schrenker using investor money and final asset to be sold. The plane sold in the spring of 2012 for $264,000, but due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration requirements, the sale of the plane was difficult to finalize. Because state action against Schrenker commenced under then-Secretary of State Todd Rokita, Secretary Lawson contacted Rokita for advice on how to best navigate the FAA registration process. 
Rokita provided key assistance that resulted in finalizing the registration and sale of the stunt plane in weeks rather than months, expediting the return of the profits to Schrenker’s victims to recover a small portion of their losses.

“The Secretary of State’s office has been working diligently for years now to sell Schrenker’s assets so his victims can receive reimbursement for their losses,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “Selling this plane is the final chapter in this office’s efforts to close this case and gives his victims the closure they deserve.”

“During my service as Indiana’s Secretary of State, investigating and bringing fraudsters to justice was an important priority of mine, and it was important to follow through until we were able to resolve this issue.  I commend Secretary Lawson for working tirelessly to make certain Indiana’s securities laws are followed.  I’m glad I was able to work successfully with her office to clear up FAA red-tape that was blocking the sale of this aircraft.  Selling this plane will provide Mr. Schrenker’s victims with some relief,” said Rokita.
All of Marcus Schrenker’s assets were seized and sold, for a total of $306,000. The money was returned to Schrenker’s victims to cover a portion of their losses.
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An Alert for Boaters on Lake Michigan

The U.S. Coast Guard in Chicago is alerting boaters, especially those in small crafts, to be aware of near-shore wave conditions today. The Coast Guard says anyone planning to watch practice sessions for this weekend's Air and Water Show can expect waves in the range of 2-4 feet...moderate wave conditions causing white caps and seas to crash over area breakwalls.  Speaking of the Air and Water Show...the South Shore Line will be running extra eastbound trains during the show in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.  However, according to NICTD, the extra train will not serve Hudson Lake or South Bend--also, alcohol is prohibited on all South Shore trains on August 18th and 19th.

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Candidate at Saturday Rally

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg will join educators to usher in the start of northwest Indiana's new school year at a “Back-to-School” rally at Portage High School this Saturday.   According to campaign officials, Gregg will speak on public education and job creation as economic engines for Hoosier families to re-build the middle class and Indiana's future. The officials say he will also speak about the impact of “Right To Work” on working families and Northwest Indiana's economy.  The rally will be held  2:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday, August 18th in the parking lot of Portage East High School.  The high school auditorium will be utilized in event of inclement weather.   
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Gov. Candidate at Back-to-School Rally

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg will join educators to usher in the start of northwest Indiana's new school year at a “Back-to-School” rally at Portage High School this Saturday.   According to campaign officials, Gregg will speak on public education and job creation as economic engines for Hoosier families to re-build the middle class and Indiana's future. The officials say he will also speak about the impact of “Right To Work” on working families and Northwest Indiana's economy.  The rally will be held  2:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday, August 18th in the parking lot of Portage East High School.  The high school auditorium will be utilized in event of inclement weather.   
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No Perch Fest in Portage

The city of Portage is not putting on a Perch Fest this year. The annual event began in 2009. Mayor James Snyder issued a statement saying the decision was based on budget constraints and financial losses incurred during previous Perch Fests. The mayor also said he feels a community festival should be undertaken by a volunteer not-profit organization similar to Valparaiso's Popcorn Fest and Chesterton’s Oz Fest with the city partnering with such a group. Those interested in heading up a Perch Fest are asked to contact the Portage Event Committee.
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All 92 Qualify for Drought Help

Farmers in all 92 Indiana counties now qualify for federal drought assistance. Lt. Governor Becky Skillman says every county in Indiana has been declared a primary or contiguous natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is eligible for the same federal programs through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers in Indiana are experiencing the worst drought since 1988. Skillman's office says nearly three-fourths, 71 percent, of the state’s corn crop and 50 percent of soybeans were in poor to very poor condition. USDA estimates Indiana’s 2012 corn crop will yield nearly 38 percent below trend yields.
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Fatal Crash Leads to Crime Scene

I-94 Fatal Crash 2012-08-16
[Photo provided -- The Indiana State Police]
A wrong-way crash that killed two people on Interstate 94 near Michigan City early Thursday led police to a crime scene about two-hundred miles away, in Belleville, Michigan, which is just off I-94, southwest of Detroit.  Police are now trying to determine whether 38-year-old Michael Vanderlinden committed suicide by driving the wrong direction on the highway, instantly killing 45-year-old Juan Nelson, Jr., of Portage when their cars collided head-on around 1am. Troopers say the impact ignited a fire that engulfed both cars. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says both men were pronounced dead at the scene.  When police went to notify Vanderlinden's wife of the crash, they say they found her and her two sons, ages 7 and 4, dead at their home.
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Feel the Movie Magic

Being on the edge of your seat could literally mean, “on the edge of your seat “as the Portage 16 IMAX is the first theater in Indiana to feature D-Box MFX seats.  According to the the manufacturer's website the seats will move you gently forward, and backward, from side to side and up and down" following the motion of each frame of the movie.  The site also says, motion is combined with intelligent vibrations to create the most amazing entertainment experience ever.”  According to http://www.nwitimes.com over two dozen of the D-Box seats were installed in July and are an extra eight dollars to sit in.  The article says the seats can be reserved online which is an advantage because theater manager Kevin Morgan says, “you can walk in just before the show starts and know where you're sitting."
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Lowell Has Eye to the Future

The town of Lowell wants to be in a good position if and when the proposed Illiana Expressway is approved. So, published reports say. the town is making preparations to annex an 80-acre parcel of land that will fill out its southern border—specifically toward Interstate 65. According to http://www.nwitimes.com, some members of the Lowell Redevelopment Commission say companies have already expressed an interest in the annexation because of the proposed Expressway location. A meeting to begin the steps of a formal annexation plan is next scheduled for August 23rd at 6 pm at Lowell Town Hall, according to the article....
   

Developing News: Morning I-94 Crash

As police investigators try to find a link to today's early morning head-on crash on I-94 near the Indiana/Michigan state line and a homicide claiming the lives of one of the victim's families, A TV Station in Detroit is reporting that the driver who caused the crash, identified as 38-year-old Micheal Vanderlinden of Belleville Michigan, had attempted suicide and had a prior history of mental illness.   According to WDIV-TV, police discovered the deaths of Vanderlinden's wife and their two young sons at the family's Belleville home after officers attempted to contact the next of kin to notify them of the fatal crash, police noted the front door of the home was open when they arrived.  Indiana State Police believe Vanderlinden may have pulled out of a rest stop just west of the 900-north overpass in LaPorte county going the wrong way, when his vehicle crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by 45-year-old Juan Nelson Jr. of Portage, Indiana in the center lane.   Police say the impact ignited a fire that engulfed both cars,  killing both drivers and leaving the victims and vehicles burned beyond recognition....
   

Family Found Dead After 94 Crash

12noon update: New details are being reported today that the wife and two young children of one of two men killed in a fiery accident shortly after 1 am overnight on westbound I-94 were found dead in their Belleville, Michigan, home when authorities went to notify family members of the fatal crash. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene; they were identified as 45-year-old Juan Nelson, Jr., of Portage, Indiana, and 38-year-old Michael Van der Linden of Belleville, Michigan. Sullivan says police believe Van der Linden may have pulled out of a rest stop just west of the 900 North overpass in LaPorte County going the wrong way when his vehicle struck Nelson's car head-on in the center lane. Indiana State Police say the impact ignited a fire that engulfed both vehicles, leaving the victims and vehicles burned beyond recognition. Sullivan said it was the "worst accident I've seen probably in 20 years"....
   

Family Found Dead in MI After 94 Crash

I-94 Fatal Crash 2012-08-16
(Photo Provided -The Indiana State Police)
12noon update:
New details are being reported today that the wife and two young children of one of two men killed in a fiery accident shortly after 1 am overnight on westbound I-94 were found dead in their Belleville, Michigan, home when authorities went to notify family members of the fatal crash. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene; they were identified as 45-year-old Juan Nelson, Jr., of Portage, Indiana, and 38-year-old Michael Van der Linden of Belleville, Michigan. Sullivan says police believe Van der Linden may have pulled out of a rest stop just west of the 900 North overpass in LaPorte County going the wrong way when his vehicle struck Nelson's car head-on in the center lane. Indiana State Police say the impact ignited a fire that engulfed both vehicles, leaving the victims and vehicles burned beyond recognition.
Police in Michigan are expected to hold a news conference this afternoon.
6am update, News Release from Indiana State Police:
LaPorte County – Early this morning, at approximately 1:35 a.m., Indiana State Trooper Lawrence McFarrin responded to a two vehicle crash on Interstate 94 at the 43 mile marker (this is three miles east of the Michigan City exit) in which both drivers were killed.
The preliminary investigation by Trooper McFarrin revealed that possibly one of the vehicles traveled from the rest park entrance ramp (just west of the 900 N overpass) onto Interstate 94, traveling east bound in the westbound lanes. The second vehicle was traveling west bound in the center lane when the two vehicles collided head-on. The crash impact ignited a fire which engulfed both vehicles.
After firefighters from the LaPorte Fire Department extinguished the flames, both drivers had to be extricated from their vehicles. The LaPorte County Coroner pronounced both drivers deceased at the scene.
At this time, the crash is still under investigation.
The deceased and vehicles have yet to be positively identified.  Once identified and family is notified the information will be released.  
The two right lanes west bound remain closed at this time for reconstruction of the crash, removal of the deceased and vehicles, clean up of the roadway.
Assisting agencies: LaPorte Fire/Rescue Department, LaPorte Coroner, Ace Autobody Towing
5am update:Two people are dead after a fiery crash overnight on westbound Interstate 94 just west of the Indiana-Michigan state line. Two cars apparently collided head-on and LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says both drivers, both male, were burned beyond recognition.  Sullivan tells us the vehicles burned into the asphalt. Officials were called out around 2 a-m.  All lanes on the westbound side have been blocked.
We have updates on-air on the traffic situation in Region Traffic.
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Highway Worker Killed

Indiana State Police say a highway worker from northwest Indiana was struck and killed on the Indiana Toll Road about one mile west of the Michigan City exit Wednesday afternoon.  Troopers say a preliminary investigation revealed a semi veered to the right, out of the right lane, whent he driver looked across the interstate at the truck parking lot on the eastbound side and struck 34-year-old Chad Fleager of Lowell, who was outside of his vehicle, standing on the entrance ramp to the lot, conducting pre-measurements for roadwork.  A helicopter
landed in the truck parking lot on the north side of the interstate and flew Fleager to Memorial Hospital, in South Bend, where he was pronounced dead at the hospital two hours later. Here is the full news release from the Indiana State Police:
Highway Worker Airlifted After Being Struck On The Indiana Toll Road
LaPorte County- Earlier this afternoon, at approximately 12:55 p.m.(EST), Indiana State Police responded to a crash involving a roadway worker and semi on Interstate 80 (Toll Road) west bound at the 37.8 mile marker (this is approximately one mile west of the Michigan City exit) where the worker was air lifted for his injuries.
Preliminary investigation revealed that James B. Payton, 60 of Calumet City, Illinois, driver of a 2012 Mack semi pulling a box trailer was in the right lane. The roadway worker, Chad Fleager, 34 of Lowell, Indiana was outside of his vehicle, on the entrance ramp (truck parking lot) next to the right lane, conducting pre measurements for roadwork.
The Mack semi veered to the right, out of the right lane when Payton looked across the interstate at the truck parking lot located on the east bound side of the interstate. The Mack semi struck Fleager as he stood on the ramp.
The Memorial Med Flight Air Ambulance landed in the truck parking lot on the north side of the interstate then flew the worker, Fleager to Memorial Hospital, in South Bend, Indiana with massive blunt force trauma injuries. Fleager was pronounced deceased at the hospital two hours later. The family has been notified.
The 2012 Mack semi, owned by Pitt Ohio Express LLC out of Grove City, Ohio, was hauling paint. The load was coming from Toledo, Ohio headed to Forest Park, Illinois. There was no load lost from the semi.
The roadway worker, Chad Fleager, was a rental coordinator for RoadSafe Traffic Systems, out of Crown Point, Indiana.
The right lane west bound were closed for approximately three hour while attending to injured, helicopter landing, and reconstruction and crash investigation.
Agencies assisting: Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Porter County Ambulance, LaPorte County Fire/Ambulance Department, and Memorial Med Flight Air Ambulance, and Indiana Toll Road Concession Company Maintenance.
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Two Killed on I-94

Two people are dead after a fiery crash overnight on westbound Interstate 94 just west of the Indiana-Michigan state line. Twp cars apparently collided head-on and LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says both drivers, both male, were burned beyond recognition. Sullivan says they believe one of the victims is from Portage, Indiana, and the other from Belleville, Michigan.  Sullivan tells us the vehicles burned into the asphalt. Officials were called out around 2 a-m.  All lanes on the westbound side have been blocked.
We have updates on-air on the traffic situtation in Region Traffic.
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