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Hoosier Lottery Says Gift Responsibly

The Hoosier Lottery is partnering with several organizations to remind everyone this holiday season that lottery tickets should only be given to adults 18 and older.
The Lottery joins the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University (Canada), along with dozens of other lotteries from around the world, to raise awareness of this issue.
"The Hoosier Lottery wants its players to gift responsibly this holiday season by not giving lottery products to those under the age of 18," said Carrie Stroud, director of Internal Controls and Contract Compliance. "We are proud to partner with experts such as the NCPG, McGill University and the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling in order to effectively get this message out to the public. We are using messaging at points of sale, on our website and through social media to communicate this very important message."
"We welcome the collaborative efforts of the Hoosier Lottery to help make everyone aware of this issue, as together we can make a difference in preventing underage gambling and gambling problems," said Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, co-director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.
"Selecting age appropriate gifts happens almost instinctively for most items," said Jerry Long, executive director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling. "We do not give alcohol and tobacco products to those who are younger than the established legal age for each. Lottery tickets are an inappropriate gift for those under the legal age of 18."
"Both delaying games of chance and by increasing the focus on problem gambling awareness, we are having a positive effect in Indiana as we see a significant decline in youth gambling," said Mary Lay, project manager and research associate with the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program. "We are seeing a reduction in gambling behaviors across all grades. It is important to remember that since gambling is illegal for almost all students surveyed, any level of gambling is a problem for our youth."...

Police Investigate Incidents on West Side of Hobart

Police in Hobart are investigating two incidents on the west side of the city Tuesday. In the 500 block of West Hansen Boulevard, reports say someone kicked in a front door and stole two 42-inch televisions. Less than a mile away, in the 37-hundred block of Liverpool Road police say someone opened a rear window and placed a chair under it to try to gain entry into the house....

'Superjock' Larry Lujack 1940-2013

Radio Hall of Famer Larry Lujack has died. Lujack, known as “Uncle Lar” and “Superjock”, was famous for his much-loved Animal Stories segments, and was a top Chicagoland radio personality from the 1960's through the 1980's. Published reports say Lujack had been battling esophageal cancer for the past year and passed away Wednesday in hospice in New Mexico. Lujack was 73. ...

Semi Carrying Mail Rolls Over Near Lowell

In Lake County, a semi loaded with U-S mail heading to Lafayette and Indianapolis rolled over around 11 am Wednesday on south bound I-65 three miles north of the Lowell exit. No mail was lost. Indiana State Police say the driver, a 60-year-old St. John man, was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Preliminary investigation by Master Trooper Martin Benner revealed that the driver was south bound on I-65 when he changed lanes from the right lane to the left. There had been a previous crash in that location earlier which was off the roadway on the right and no lanes were closed because of it, police say.   The driver told police he saw the crash activity up ahead and changed lanes to go into the left lane and began to slow down. He stated he looked to the right at the crash and when he looked forward another semi ahead of him was going slower than his semi. He steered to the left, went off the road, lost control and hit the barrier median cables, troopers say, and the semi then came back partially into the left lane before it went off the road again, losing control and hitting the barrier median cables for a second time causing the semi to roll over onto its passenger side in the median where it became entangled in the barrier cables.  [Photo/Indiana State Police]...

Westbound Toll Road Blocked

Westbound Indiana Toll Road stalled semi blocking both lanes at 28mm.  Delays begin at State Road 49. Black ice this morning.  Northbound Interstate 65 accident near 61st now clear. ...

Trooper Squad Hit, Crash Slows Traffic on I-65

Authorities say a collision involving three vehicles including a state trooper's car has the two right lanes of Interstate 65 near the Gary/Hobart/Lake Station area blocked at the 256 mile marker, just a couple miles south of Ridge Road. Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post report drifting snow and slick conditions.  Officials say a passenger vehicle slid off the road due to drifting snow and after a trooper responded, parked his vehicle and got out, and the squad car was struck from behind by another passenger vehicle.  We're told all three vehicles, the squad, a pickup truck and a passenger car, are being towed from the scene. Authorities tell us the trooper was not hurt and the other two drivers were being checked at the scene. There are long delays on northbound I-65 between Ridge Road and 61st Avenue....

Dog Lost After Tornado Reunited with Indiana Family

Separated after a tornado....Rosco the dog is back with this family in Fountain County, Indiana, but he almost wasn't.  ABC News reports after a fierce tornado damaged Kyla Robinson's home in west-central Indiana....the family's dog Rosco turned up missing.  The boxer mix was found days later wandering, 45 miles away. But the family didn't know it. The dog was taken to a shelter and adopted...but the new owner at first refused to give him up. Then, she relented. Today, Rosoe and his people were reunited. And Kyla...says she'll get him microchipped at a friend's grooming salon.  As for Roscoe, he's just happy to be home....

New Budget Deal, Many Hope Farm Bill Will be Next

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Now that Congress has approved a new budget deal, many around the country and in northwest Indiana are hoping a new Farm Bill will be next. During a recent Region News Makers interview, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Executive Director Arleen Peterson talked about the issue of poverty and those facing hunger, especially in light of the SNAP cuts to food stamps last month. Peterson says they have been receiving numerous calls on food pantry locations from those whose benefits have been cut.
Published reports recently announced any potential vote on the Farm Bill will not take place until January and Executive Director Peterson urges you to contact your U-S Congress or Senate representative to advocate for its immediate passage. To hear more of our Region News Makers interview with Food Bank of Northwest Indiana Executive Director Arleen Peterson, visit


Merrillville Stormwater Resource Center Officially Open

stormwater ribbon
(Photos Courtesy of Karl Berner)
A ribbon cutting was held at the new Merrillville Stormwater Resource Center, a one-of-a-kind facility in the state of Indiana which houses stormwater equipment and allows for better administration, provides conference rooms for workshops, and is more accessible to the public. Matt Lake, Executive Director of Stormwater Utility for the Town of Merrillville, applauded the efforts of Merrillville's Stormwater Management Board in getting to this point.
stormwater truck

Lake says the Town of Merrillville Stormwater Utility is looking toward the future with their Stormwater Master Plan, which—among other initiatives—aims to locate areas suitable for upland water storage.
stormwater people
To view viseo of today's ribbon cutting click

One of Two Mega Millions Winners Comes Forward

Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia has been named as one of two Mega Millions winners. ABC News reports she'll collect half of the $636 million jackpot which comes out to about $120 million in cash after taxes. Georgia Lottery President Debbie Alford says Curry heard the numbers over the car radio, and became curious after hearing the mega ball was her lucky number seven. Alfrod says Curry picked all the numbers on the winning ticket using a combination of family birthdays and her family's lucky number...number seven.
At last check the other winning ticket holder has not yet identified themselves. ...

I-65 SB Backing up from Earlier Rollover Crash

As crews continue to off-load a semi involved in an earlier rollover accident, the left lane remians blocked southbound I-65 south of the US-231 Crown Point exit near mile marker 244.  Traffic tipsters are reporting that the southbound lanes of I-65 are backing up from 109th Avenue.  Drivers may want to seek an alternate to avoid delays.

Audio: BP Marks Final Major Milestone in Whiting Project

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(Photos Courtesy of BP Whiting)
BP announced today that all of the major new units associated with the multi-year, multi-billion dollar modernization project at the Whiting refinery are up and running. The Region News Team spoke with BP Spokesman Scott Dean and you can hear our interview by clicking News Audio On Demand at
bp 2 ...

Intoxicated LaPorte Man Assaults Police Officer

shawn espinosa
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A LaPorte man is charged with two felony counts of battery to a police officer after an incident early Saturday morning in an alleyway in the 700 block of Clay Street. LaPorte Police report they were at a home on Perry Street to investigate a report of a battery which had just occurred when, at approximately 2:11am, they observed a man in an alley on his hands and knees. The subject identified himself as Shawn Espinosa, who police report smelled of an alcoholic beverage and appeared intoxicated. Police report while attempting to verify his identity, Espinosa allegedly became verbally and physically aggressive and struck an officer in the face while police attempted to place him into custody. Officers and Espinosa continued to fight on the ground until he was eventually secured. ...

US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra

Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 40 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department since 2007 for child molesting is the US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, “Fugitive of the Week.” Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra is described as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes who has been known to reside throughout the northern Indiana area with ties to Merrillville.  Anyone with information on Jose Gonzalez-Ibarra and his whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous....

Home Invasion and Battery at LaPorte Village

LaPorte PD
Police in LaPorte are investigating a report of a home invasion and battery that took place Saturday morning at LaPorte Village. LaPorte Police say the victim reported he heard knocking at his entry door and cracked the door partially open to see who was there, when two men forced their way inside and began hitting him with a baseball bat. The victim stated he knew the suspects, but had no idea why they allegedly forced their way into his home and assaulted him. EMS responded to the scene, in the one-thousand block of East State Road 2, but the victim refused medical treatment....

Free Shipping Day

Today is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year for procrastinators. ABC News reports thousands of retailers are doing it this free shipping day to make sure you shop, by offering your gift a free ride to its recipient, by Christmas eve.  The event began six years ago, and organizers say it's as much a holiday tradition as eggnog and jingle bells.  You can find a list of retailers offering the perk, at, along with a disclaimer, saying the offer is only valid on in-stock items in the Continental US. ...

VU Signs Bryce Drew to Long-Term Contract Extension

Valparaiso University and head men’s basketball coach Bryce Drew, a 1998 Valpo graduate, have reached an agreement on a new, 10-year contract.  Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera announced today that Bryce Drew will continue with the Crusaders, where he started his career as both a player and a coach.
“We are thrilled to have a coach of such high caliber for our men’s basketball team,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “Bryce Drew demonstrates extraordinary leadership, integrity and character, and I am confident he will continue to develop Valpo student-athletes who exhibit these same characteristics.”
Drew was named head coach in May 2011 and guided the Crusaders to consecutive Horizon League regular season titles in his first two seasons. As a rookie head coach, Drew was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year, and his second season culminated with the program’s first Horizon League Championship crown and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“Bryce Drew has shown himself to be one of the exceptional young coaches in college basketball,” said LaBarbera. “His outstanding record clearly shows his ability to recruit and lead talented student-athletes. We are grateful for Coach Drew’s dedication to Valparaiso University and excited that he will continue in a leadership role here for the foreseeable future.”
Prior to his appointment as head coach, Drew was a member of the Valpo coaching staff for six years as an assistant and then as associate head coach of the men’s basketball team. During that period, Valpo moved into the Horizon League in 2007-2008 and advanced to the postseason on two occasions.
“I love coaching at Valparaiso University. The leadership on our campus radiates what is exceptional about collegiate athletics and the college experience. I feel extremely blessed to work under such great leadership and for such a great university,” Drew said. “I definitely have a place in my heart for Valpo. Growing up I remember enjoying watching my dad and brother put their passion into building Valpo’s basketball program. Being a Valpo student-athlete, I was able to experience everything about the university hands on. With all of that experience here coming to work does not feel like a job but a part of who I am.”
Drew graduated from Valparaiso University in 1998 and was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball team, leading Valpo to the Sweet 16 of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. He spent six seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, and he played one year professionally overseas before joining the Valpo coaching staff....

Board Opposes Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage

The Porter County Board of Commissioners this week unanimously approved a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Indiana. The resolution notes that state law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and points to concerns voiced by the Hoosier business community. Two Region mayors, Democrat Thomas McDermott Jr of Hammond and Republican Jon Costas of Valparaiso are among a dozen mayors around the state who also recently took an official stand against the proposed amendment, House Joint Resolution Number 6....

Webinar on Ped, Pedal and Paddling in the Region

More and more Region residents are finding themselves walking, biking, and paddling in northwest Indiana, and you can go online tomorrow to take a peek into the future of local non-motorized travel routes.  Click here for info on signing up for the webinar, set for 11a-12n CST Thursday Dec 19:

You can hear our conversation with Barloga online here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Transportation Planning Manager Mitch Barloga says the free webinar Thursday is basically for anyone wanting more info, and that could include elected officials; health professionals; bicycle, walking and paddling enthusiasts; and anyone else with an appreciation reducing our dependency on the automobile, and to engage in healthier lifestyles.
He says the webinar will last about an hour. Barloga says the Region has seen a huge increase in new trail miles over the past twenty years.
"We have about 130 miles of trail on the ground," Barloga said, "and that is a ten-fold increase from just two decades ago when we only had thirteen accounted for."
NIRPC works with municipalities and advocates alike on expanding the non-motorized network through funding and educational avenues....

Pelath Reacts to Pence Announcement

Representative Pelath
Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Mike Pence’s recent announcement about job creation figures in our state this year:
"Hoosiers have seen a lot of these slick jobs announcements in recent years. And once the press releases are deleted and the promised jobs never materialize, they notice that the politicians are long gone.
"Folks are skeptical about these announcements, and with good reason.  The fact is that they already know how to judge our prosperity.  They ask, ‘Am I working?  Am I earning enough to take care of my loved ones?  Will I earn enough next month to plan for the future?’
"Our citizens believe Indiana can do a lot better, and they will cast their judgments based on outcomes and not promises.
“And given the hyperbole that sometimes comes with job creation announcements – with inflated numbers that get carried over from year to year and never seem to match what people see around them – attention must be paid to the fact that Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to exceed that of our fellow Americans.
“And let us remember that creating jobs is only half of our mission.  Creating good-paying jobs that grow our middle class is just as important…and that is where our state has just as much work ahead of it.
“Since numbers are so much a part of announcements like this, here are a few that are verifiable:
“According to the national census, Indiana’s median household income is $48,393, compared to the national average of $52,762.
“The census also tells us that our per capita income of $24,497 is behind the national average of $27,915.
“This is why we must dedicate the 2014 legislative session to creating jobs that help lift our Hoosier middle class, rather than hand out more tax cuts to corporate boardrooms and debate a marriage amendment that will drive the best and brightest away from Indiana.
“If the grand numbers touted today turn out to be true, then we should feel a little better about our state’s future.
“But we cannot be content with mere numbers.  What matters is whether our people are prospering as they could.”...

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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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