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Philpot Found Guilty

Taking just three hours Friday, a U.S. District County Jury found Lake County Coroner and former County Clerk Thomas Philpot guilty on all five counts of theft and fraud charges.   Philpot's defense of being a victim of an honest mistake and bad legal advice which resulted in him reportedly taking more than 24-thousand dollars from Indiana's federally funded child support incentive funds was soundly rejected by the jury, according to an article in http://www.nwitimes.com/.   The conviction strips Philpot from his office as county coroner and will probably end his public career, according to the article....
 

Moving Day for Porter Aug 25

Saturday August 25, 2012, a historic day for health care in northwest Indiana as Porter closes one chapter, and one facility, and moves into another, about eight miles north.
Moving Day for Porter Aug 25
New Porter Regional Hospital
From 6 am to about 1 this afternoon, Porter Hospital, at 814 Laporte Avenue in Valparaiso, will be relocating to the new Porter Regional Hospital at Highway 6 and State Road 49 in Valparaiso... as of 6 am, the emergency department at the former hospital on laporte avenue is closed and the new hospital fully operational, and accepting patients.
Moving Day for Porter Aug 25
New Porter Regional Hospital
This traffic note: there are some road closures in Valparaiso associated with today's move:
Garfield Street from Lincolnway south to Union Street.
LaPorte Avenue from Garfield Street east to Roosevelt Road.
Brown Street from Greenwich Street east to University Park Drive.
Monroe Street  from Greenwich east to University Park Drive
Greenwich Street from Brown Street north to Lincolnway.
Indiana Avenue from Greenwich east to Garfield.

Here's a map of the transport route:
Porter Map
The hospital at 814 LaPorte Avenue, Valparaiso, IN, closed as of 6 am CDT Saturday August 25, 2012:
VHC exterior
Old campus, 814 LaPorte Ave
[Graphics and photos courtesy of Porter Health Care System]
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Moving Day for Porter

Today's the day.... a historic day for health care in northwest Indiana as Porter closes one chapter, and one facility, and moves into another, about eight miles to the north.
Moving Day for Porter
New Porter Regional Hospital
From 6 am to about 1 this afternoon, Porter Hospital, at 814 Laporte Avenue in Valparaiso, will be relocating to the new Porter Regional Hospital at Highway 6 and State Road 49 in Valparaiso... as of 6 am, the emergency department at the former hospital on laporte avenue is closed and the new hospital fully operational, and accepting patients.
Moving Day for Porter
New Porter Regional Hospital
This traffic note: there are some road closures in Valparaiso associated with today's move:
Garfield Street from Lincolnway south to Union Street.
LaPorte Avenue from Garfield Street east to Roosevelt Road.
Brown Street from Greenwich Street east to University Park Drive.
Monroe Street  from Greenwich east to University Park Drive
Greenwich Street from Brown Street north to Lincolnway.
Indiana Avenue from Greenwich east to Garfield.

Here's a map of today's transport route:
Porter Map
The hospital at 814 LaPorte Avenue, Valparaiso, IN, closed as of 6 am CDT today (Saturday August 25, 2012):
VHC exterior
Old campus, 814 LaPorte Ave
[Graphics and photos courtesy of Porter Health Care System]
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WB Lanes 80/94 Reopened

An injury accident had closed three right lanes blocking westbound I-80/94 between the I-65 connector ramps and Broadway for about an hour this afternoon.   Westbound traffic was backed up as far as US-20 in the Lake Station corridor and traffic northbound I-65 was backed up to Ridge Rd.   The crash was cleared away about 45-minutes after the accident occurred.    
WB Lanes 80/94 Reopened
    (WB I-80/94 crash - from INDOT )...
 

WB Lanes 80/94 Reopenned

An injury accident had closed three right lanes blocking westbound I-80/94 between the I-65 connector ramps and Broadway for about an hour this afternoon.   Westbound traffic was backed up as far as US-20 in the Lake Station corridor and traffic northbound I-65 was backed up to Ridge Rd.   The crash was cleared away about 45-minutes after the accident occurred. 
WB Lanes 80/94 Reopenned
    (WB I-80/94 crash - from INDOT )...
 

Body Found in Region Trailer Park

A body of an apparent hit-and-run victim was discovered early Friday morning in a Cedar Lake Trailer Park.  Reports say shortly after 4 a.m. ppolice were called out to the trailer park in the 9000 block of W 133rd Place.  Officers found the body of a white male reportedly to be in his early 50's lying in the middle of the roadway with several cuts and lacerations all over his body showing no signs of life.  Reports say it appears the victim was hit by a vehicle and then dragged several feet with the driver then fleeing the area.  The man was pronounced dead on the scene by the Lake County coroner's office.  The incident is under investigation and police say that they have two persons of interest in custody. ...
 

Crash Closes 3 WB Lanes I-80/94

An injury accident has three right lanes blocked westbound I-80/94 between the I-65 connector ramps and Broadway as of 3:15 p.m. this afternoon.   Westbound traffic is backing up to Grand Blvd. and traffic northbound I-65 is backing up to just south of Ridge Rd.  Drivers should consider taking the Indiana Toll Rd. as an alternate.
WB I-80-94 crash at I-65
    (WB I-80/94 crash - from INDOT )...
 

Redenbacher Statue Unveiling Sept 4

City officials today announced Valparaiso's life-size Orville Redenbacher statue will be unveiled September fourth, one of the opening events for the annual Popcorn Festival, celebrated in Valpo every year since 1979. Redenbacher, born in downstate Brazil, began growing popcorn at the age of 12. In 1951, he and partner Charlie Bowman bought the George F. Chester and Son seed corn plant near Valparaiso, and the rest is popcorn history. The famous brand was first sold at Chicago's Marshall Field in 1970. Redenbacher passed away in 1995 and Bowman in 2009. They're both memorialized in a plaque in the city’s downtown.
Lou Cella of Arlington Heights, Illinois, is the sculptor.  His works include the bronze statue of Cubs legend Ernie Banks at Wrigley Field. The Redenbacher sculpture will be seated on a park bench, letting visitors get a photo op with the 'king of popcorn'. 
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Green Days in Valparaiso

The City of Valparaiso Department of Public Works is hosting Green Days today and tomorrow (Fri Aug 24 and Sat Aug 25). The free recycling event for electronics at Fairgrounds Park (they say anything with a plug!) is being held in cooperation with the Porter Count Recycling and Waste Reduction District (PCRWRD).
Free off-site confidential paper shredding will be provided by OE/Secure Shred (up to two banker's boxes per family) today only.
Free rain gauges and great water saving tips from the city of Valparaiso Engineering Department. Free reusable shopping bags limit 5 (with turn-in of 10 plastic bags for each reusable bag) while supplies last, courtesy Town & Country and Wiseway supermarkets  Backyard compost kits (includes bin and "how-to" book) will be available for $15 each provided by PCRWRD.
More info here: http://ci.valparaiso.in.us/
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Caution After Cantaloupe Recall

The Indiana State Department of Health says the recent Salmonella outbreak has sickened 19 Hoosiers, 178 people nationwide and is responsible for two deaths in Kentucky. Officials have identified Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Indiana, as a potential source. Here's the full news release:
 
INDIANAPOLIS—Late yesterday, Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Indiana, was identified as potentially being one source of the recent Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 19 Hoosiers, 178 nationwide and is responsible for the deaths of two Kentuckians.  At this time, only cantaloupes grown at Chamberlain Farms are included in this recall.  
Consumers can continue to purchase and eat cantaloupes that do not originate from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. Cantaloupes grown at Chamberlain Farms should not be eaten and should be discarded. Hoosiers unsure of where a cantaloupe was grown should ask the retailer about the source of the cantaloupe. If the cantaloupe is from Chamberlain Farms or the retailer does not know the source, it should be discarded. State and federal health officials continue to investigate the outbreak.
Produce can become contaminated with Salmonella or other bacteria through soil contamination, water contamination, or in processing. With cantaloupes in particular, soil and dirt can cling to the rough rind. If Salmonella is present on the outside of the cantaloupe, that bacteria can be introduced into the melon when it is cut.
Below are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses for you and your family.
·         Begin with clean hands. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm water before handling produce.
·         Use a clean cutting board and knife. Do not use same cutting board or knife for your produce that you use for meats and cheeses to avoid cross contamination.
·         Clean the outside of produce before cutting, eating or serving it. Use a fruit and vegetable scrubber to thoroughly clean the outside of produce with rough rinds, cantaloupes or other melons.
·         Thoroughly wash any cut fruit or vegetables. Pat dry with a clean towel.
·         Refrigerate any leftovers in a closed container within two hours of preparing.
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.
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.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella infection and feel you may have been exposed to Salmonella, visit your health care provider and be sure to let him or her know you may have been exposed.
For more information about the multistate Salmonella outbreak, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-cantaloupe-08-12/index.html or visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov....
 

Shots Fired in Road Rage Incident

2012-8-24 Shot Fired

Indiana State Police are asking for the public's help after a twenty-two year old woman sustained an abrasion when shots were allegedly fired in a road rage incident on the Borman Expressway in Gary around 9-o'clock Thursday night. Troopers say a preliminary investigation revealed the woman was west bound, west of Grant Street in Gary when a dark colored pick-up driven by a man described as an older white male, with white hair, wearing a baseball cap drove up behind her and tailgated her for about a mile, then tried to force her into the median wall before eventually driving back to the other side of her vehicle and reportedly waving a silver handgun in the air. Troopers say the woman heard a “bang” and noticed a hole in her passenger door. The suspect vehicle exited at Cline Avenue, and anyone with any information is asked to call  Indiana State Police Detective Campione at 219-696-6242.
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BP: Bad Gas Source/Found/Fixed

BP says today they have traced the source of the bad gas back to the alkylation unit at it's Whiting refinery.  BP says it has made operational changes at the pant to fix the problem and now fuel produced there is back within normal specifications.  The company says it continues to systematically inspect and test the distribution system served by the refinery, as well as test the gasoline to ensure quality.  BP also says it has begun paying claims and is following up with consumers who have contacted the company.  The company says any consumer who purchased off-specification fuel wishing to file a claim should call 1-800-333-3991 or 1-800-599-9040 to speak to a claims representative.  BP reminds consumers they should save sales receipts, credit/debit card records and repair bills.   Consumers can also access info and submit an online inquiry at www.bpresponse.com.
logo bp
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2 Boaters Rescued Early Thursday

Two boaters reportedly ran their boat aground in Chicago's Calumet Harbor Wednesday night.  Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor says the initial report came in at 8:15pm but the boat was not in distress at that time.  Then a second call for help was radioed in early Thursday morning.  Petty officer 2nd Class Levi  Read says the second call reported the boat taking on water.  At that time, Petty Officer Read said the Coast Guard's 25-foot RPS boat was sent out and arrived on scene at 1:27 a.m.  The water was too shallow for the RPS boat but the rescue continued as crews reached the boaters using a skiff, which Read said is not required gear to have aboard such a small rescue craft.  According to reports, the RB-S transported the two rescued boaters to Hammond Marina in Chicago shortly before 3:00 a.m.  The Coast Guard credits the boaters with knowing how to properly use their VHF-FM Marine radio alerting the Coast Guard station and the skiff
 being immediately available for a successful rescue.   ...
   

Historic Gary Driving Range Reopens

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[Photo provided -- City of Gary]
In Glen Park, the City of Gary Parks Department held a ceremony to officially reopen the North Gleason Driving Range Wednesday. Closed for years after the devastating floods of September 2008, the newly restored , most-recently overgrown, location sits just south of the I 80-94 overpass at Broadway not far from the campus of Indiana University Northwest. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and 5th District Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson joined Parks Superintendent Lori Latham Peterson and her staff to greet golfers at the range.
Peterson spoke of the history of the range noting that it was once the segregated golf area for black residents in the 1950s. She also applauded the Department of General Services for assisting in a massive clean-up that took place over the past six weeks.
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[Photo provided -- City of Gary]
Immediately following the reopening ceremony, Freeman-Wilson received a brief golf lesson from golf instructor Darryl Baker.
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Interim Director Named for Expo Ctr

The Porter County Commissioners this week announced Ken Blaney will serve as interim director of the Porter County Expo Center. Blaney is the husband of Porter County Councilwoman Laura Blaney. Blaney is a businessman and former owner of Kelsey's Steak House. Brian Schafer resigned as director of the Expo Center and the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso last month. Earlier this month Michelle Smith was appointed interim director of the Opera House.
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Region Cold Case May Thaw

A “cold case” crime in the Region may start to heat up. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich is requesting the public's help in solving the 1979 strangulation death of Linda Carol Martin. Police say Martin left the Playboy Lounge which was located at 11th Avenue and Taft Street in Gary around midnight on February 21st, 1979. Her body was located near 2300 Rutledge Street several hours later. The Sheriff says there is currently an unnamed “person of interest” in the investigation.  Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Matt Eaton at (219) 755-3346.
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Nature of FBI Raid Revealed

The FBI conducted statewide raids today in connection to a drug ring allegedly operated by inmates inside a Indiana prison with the help of corrections officers.  IndyStar.com is reporting that over 300 federal agents rounded up about 40 people in the raids with at least 17 people appearing in federal court in Indianapolis this weekend.  According to the ChicagoBreakingNews.com, an indictment unsealed today says correction officers smuggled cellphones and controlled substances into prison.  The article says two inmates are among those charged including the alleged ringleader who is serving time for murder and attempted murder.  While the FBI did not divulge the purpose of the investigation or where the raids were occurring, WANE-TV in Ft. Wayne is reporting arrests were made in Northeast Indiana and Elkhart....
   

BP Adds 2nd Claims Hotline

To date, 7,000 consumers have contacted BP regarding the bad gas issue, according to the Whiting, refinery.  Due to the huge call volume BP has set up a second customer hotline for the processing of consumer claims in order to better assist those who believe their vehicle may have been harmed by using the fuel affected in the recall, according to BP.  The refinery says any consumer wishing to file a claim should have save sales receipts, credit/debit card records and repair bills and should call 1-800-333-3991 or 1-800-599-9040 to speak to a claims representative.  Customers having trouble reaching someone on the hotline can also access information and submit an online inquiry at www.bpresponse.com.
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FBI Statewide Raid Today

Federal agents reportedly conducted a statewide raid today resulting in the arrests of around 40 persons.  Over 300 agents were involved in the raid with nine of the persons taken into custody appearing in federal court in Indianapolis, this afternoon, according to http://www.indystar.com.  The article says the indictment contains 26-charges some are drug related and that an FBI spokeswoman would not disclose the nature of the investigation or where the raids were happening.  WANE-TV in Ft. Wayne is reporting arrests were made in  Northeastern Indiana and Elkhart.
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Ind AG Opens Investigation Into Recall

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today his office has opened an investigation into the Northwest Indiana BP gasoline recall. Here is the news release issued by Zoeller's office today:
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that his office has opened an investigation into the BP gasoline recall to make sure consumers’ rights are protected.
Motorists who purchased regular grade gasoline in Northwest Indiana at BP and other retail outlets including Luke Oil, Thornton’s and others have reported car problems as a result of tainted gasoline.
“Our office opened an investigation regarding the BP gasoline recall in order to protect the significant number of consumers impacted," Zoeller said. “We are closely monitoring the response by BP and will be reviewing their claims and reimbursement processes. As the watchdog for Indiana consumers my office has a duty to ensure consumer's rights are protected and that there is no undue delay in appropriate reimbursements.”
According to a statement released by BP on Tuesday, the company believes 2.1 million gallons of regular grade gasoline blended at BP’s Whiting, Indiana gasoline storage terminal between Aug. 13 and 17 contained a “higher than normal level of polymeric residue” which can cause drivability issues. This contaminant may cause hard starting, shaking of the engine, non-starting or the check engine light to illuminate. 
Zoeller said consumers who purchased fuel in Northwest Indiana at BP and other retail outlets during the past week could be impacted.
BP asks customers to call their hotline at 1-800-333-3991 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if their vehicles were affected by the tainted gasoline.  
Consumers can also file a separate complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516 to request a hard copy of the form. Zoeller said customers are not required to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office to take part in the BP claims process, but complaints regarding BP's responses are particularly appropriate.
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