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Flu Cases Up in Indiana

fluview50

Cases of influenza have taken a jump in Indiana. The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control shows influenza activity is now considered regional in the state, up from sporadic the week before, and just one step below what the CDC categorizes as widespread. Regional influenza activity was also reported in Illinois, Kentucky and seventeen other states. Widespread flu was being reported in four states: Alabama, Louisiana, New York and Texas. One state – Vermont – reported no influenza activity. [Image/CDC http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/#S5   ]...
 

Ball State Students Envision New Uses for Old Planes

SkyBrary
The sky's not the limit for college students at Ball State trying to find new ways to use old aircraft. An architecture professor has challenged students to imagine uses for thousands of derelict commercial aircraft parked in airplane graveyards around the country and the world. Among their ideas... a safe room fashioned frm Boeing 747 components that could be embedded inside a conventional home to provide shelter from tornadoes and severe storms... an entire house framed with 747 wing and fuselage segments... and a 'skybrary', a futuristic small-town library made out of parts of fuselage and wings, with an array of seats, shelves and other airplane pieces. [Image/Ball State University]...
 

President Signs Respect for National Cemeteries Act

President Obama has signed legislation introduced by Indiana US Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats giving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of the Army the authority to disinter veterans who've committed a Federal or State capital crime and are mistakenly buried in national cemeteries. Coats and Donnelly say the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act was named for an Indianapolis apartment complex manager who was fatally shot 13 times by a tenant, Michael Anderson, in May of last year, who then took his own life and was mistakenly buried with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan. Indiana 5th District Congresswoman Susan Brooks sponsored companion legislation in the House. Federal law already prohibited individuals who “have committed a Federal or State capital crime but were unavailable for trial due to death” from being buried in national cemeteries. The Koehl family requested that Anderson be disinterred, but the VA lacked the authority to do so. 
 
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Arrest in Deaths of Former Lowell Woman, Daughter

A 20-year-old Indianapolis man has been charged in the deaths of a former northwest Indiana woman and her daughter. Police say 52-year-old Marylyn Erb, who grew up in Lowell, and 23-year-old Kelley Erb were found dead last Friday inside their home in Westfield, a community just north of Indianapolis. Authorities say 20-year-old Christian Rene Haley has been charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, robbery, burglary and theft. Police say they have determined that the victim's home was not randomly chosen by the suspect, but authorities did not release any other details. Police thanked the public for providing numerous tips and information. The investigation has been a multiagency effort that also included officers from Hamilton County, Noblesville, Indiana State Police, Indianapolis, Lawrence, and US Marshals. The Westfield Police Department says the home invasion robbery occurred during the midday hours of Friday, December 20, and that both victims died as a result of blunt force trauma, police say.
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Pregnant Teen Found Fatally Shot

In south suburban Dolton, police continue to investigate the death of a 17-year-old pregnant girl found shot in the head in an alley between two houses Christmas evening. Authorities say Eva Casara was pronounced dead at an area hospital Thursday. Doctors were able to save her baby, a girl born premature at about six-months, , officials say, who at last word was in critical condition....

 

Secondary Scams to Follow Massive Data Breach

Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator for the Better Business Bureau, says further publicity of the huge data breach of shoppers at Target stores will cause even more dangers ahead.


Hendrickson says scammers are using this well publicized event as reason for sending out virus-filled email messages. He says the messages sympathize with the consumers' plight, "Saying, 'Hey you know, we understand you were effected by this target thing. Click on this link here or download this file and it will tell you what you need to do.'"


Meanwhile Hendrickson says the BBB is, "advising people to be very, very leery of any emails to do with  this target situation." He says that is is more likely you would get a letter (snail) mailed to you from your bank or credit card provider explaining what occurred and what to do next.
 
 
The breach affects consumers who made credit or debit card purchases any time from November 27 to December 15. Target says it takes the privacy of shopper information very seriously and worked swiftly to resolve the incident.


 
Target also is telling those who think they might be affected to be vigilant about their credit and debit card accounts. 


 
Hendrickson says those affected, "need to be watching their accounts and, again, if they see any suspicious charges or charges they didn't authorize, they should get in touch with their bank and credit card company immediately, because after 60 days, if they don't contest those charges, they may be liable for them." 


 
In addition, Hendrickson says that with the ever-growing number of identity-theft crimes, staying aware of frauds and scams is something people should do year-round....

 

Hunger Goes Beyond the Holiday Season in Indiana

A cut in federal food assistance benefits last month means about $36 less a month in food stamp benefits and that difference is leading to longer lines at area food pantries.  
 
Tim Keane, of Second Harvest Foodbank says the reduction is an issue in particular for people who are struggling, " because their resources are stretched just as much as everyone else's,"  
 
Keane said hunger in Indiana is widespread, with one in six adults and one in four children considered "food insecure," not certain whether they'll have enough food for regular meals everyday.  
 
While some experts claim the economic recovery started more than a year ago, Keane said the increasing number of clients at their food pantries paints a different picture. "There may be more folks that now have found it difficult to find employment that will pay them a living wage," he said. "So, we see folks that maybe used to be our donors, are now are in line as clients receiving service." 
 
During the holiday season, helping others is top of mind for many people. But Kean said he's more worried about what happens to needy families after the first of the year. "January, February, March, where the weather is typically the worst, utility costs are typically the highest and resources may be more scarce than they've ever been," he said.
 
 
Keane believes local, state and federal leaders need to take a closer look at the reasons some people are struggling now more than ever, and develop long-term solutions.
 
 
For more information about hunger in Indiana and how you can help visit: http://www.curehunger.org...
 

East Chicago Woman Dies as Result of Monday Crash

An East Chicago woman died on Wednesday due to injuries sustained in a three-vehicle crash Monday afternoon at the intersection of State Road 49 and County Road 600 North. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports 75 year old Patricia Dahlin was conscious after the crash and spoke to medical personnel at the scene, with the only visible injury being a dislocated left elbow. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says a brain injury led to her death as a result of the crash.
According to the crash report Patricia Dahlin was a passenger in the vehicle driven by 79 year old Carl Dahlin who was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the hospital. Authorities say the driver of one of the vehicles involved reported she watched the Dahlin vehicle cross from the east to the median on County Road 600 North, but the rear of the vehicle was not completely out of the roadway and she did not have enough time to avoid it and struck the driver's rear side. The third vehicle was stopped in the median, waiting for southbound traffic on State Road 49 to clear, when the previously mentioned impact caused her vehicle to be struck....
 

Most Common Orthopedic Surgery May Not Help at All

Most common orthopedic surgery may not help at all according to the findings of a new study.  ABC News reports minimally invasive surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee is performed some 700-thousand times each year in this country but researchers in Finland found, after one year, there was no difference in pain. The scientists staged fake surgeries in real operating rooms and compared the results to legitimate surgeries. After one year there was no difference in knee pain after exercise and no difference in the number of patients who needed more surgeries for the same problem. If the results hold up some experts take it to mean a four billion dollar elective surgery industry is unnecessary. ...
 

SNAP Benefit Delivery Dates to Change in January

FSSA
More than 926-thousand Hoosiers from approximately 418-thousand households across Indiana have been informed of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, changes that will impact them starting in January. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Spokesperson Marni Lemons says a change of date on which all SNAP recipients receive their benefits begins January 1st but the amount received will not change. Lemons says to phase in the change, in the month of January 2014 only, SNAP clients will receive half of their benefits on their current date and the other half on their new date. Payment dates for SNAP depend on the first letter of the client’s last name, and benefits have previously been made to clients during the first 10 days of each month. Starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
This chart and the example below demonstrate the distribution of benefits for SNAP clients and how they will change:


First letter of SNAP recipient’s last name
A or B
C or D
E, F or G
H or I
J, K or L
M or N
O, P, Q or R
S
T, U or V
W, X, Y or Z
Old deposit date
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th 
10th
New deposit date
5th
7th
9th
11th
13th
15th
17th
19th
21st
23rd

Here, for example, are dates for a client with the last name “Smith:”

            December 2013 benefits - issued December 8, 2013
            January 2014 benefits – half issued January 8, 2014 and half issued January 19, 2014
            February 2014 benefits – issued on new date of February 19, 2014

Lemons says the changes are a result of Senate Enrolled Act 530, which was past earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly. To hear more, click News Audio On Demand and for a link for more information on the date changes, visit http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/4832.htm...
 

Hobart Teen Accused of Making Death Threats

porter co sheriff dept
A 15 year old Hobart boy could face a misdemeanor charge of intimidation after threatening to kill a Facebook user and his family. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports they were informed of the alleged death threat on Tuesday and report the issue stemmed from the teen becoming upset of a comment about his bad grammar and the user using racist slang. The Sheriff's Office reports the Hobart teen informed them, while he did post a photo of a gun and also threatened to blow up the user's house, he had no intention of committing those actions, as he has no access to a gun and the photo was found online. Authorities say the incident has been referred to the juvenile probation department for review. ...
   

Indiana Dunes Tourism Earns DMAP Reaccreditation

Indiana Dunes Tourism Logo Color copy
Indiana Dunes Tourism announced today they have earned re-accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International's accreditation program. Promotions Director Ken Kosky says Indiana Dunes Tourism was first accredited in 2009 and the accreditation period lasts for four years. To become accredited, a destination marketing organization like Indiana Dunes Tourism must successfully comply with 58 mandatory and 30 voluntary standards in areas that include governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research. Kosky says the re-accreditation is a testament to management and the overall job they are doing to promote the destination. Indiana Dunes Tourism is one of only 172 destination marketing organizations in the world to achieve this distinction....
   

Beta Steel Explosion Settlement Reached

A settlement has been reached regarding a January 2010 plant explosion in Portage that resulted in the death of a Griffith man and severe injuries to a Valparaiso man. Of the eight-point-two million dollar settlement, three-point-four million, minus attorney fees, will go to the survivors of Michael Kies. Stephen Kinlaw, who was left disabled after the explosion at the former Beta Steel plant, will receive the balance, minus attorney fees. According to the settlement, operators had knowledge or should have known of a previous furnace explosion and modifications made increased the probability of another such incident taking place. The two men were repairing a leak on the roof of the furnace when the explosion occurred....
   

Curbing Celebratory Gun Fire This New Year's Eve

The East Chicago STOP Team and Region STOP Team will increase patrols this holiday season to curb “celebratory gun fire” associated with New Years Eve. East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker says since September of this year, his department has teamed up with “ShotSpotter”, a California based company that uses advanced technology to quickly identify gunshots and then, literally within seconds, direct officers to the location of where those firearms are being shot....
   

UPS: Delays Result of Bad WX, Surge in Online Shopping

UPS is spending the day delivering packages that were supposed to arrive on Christmas. ABC News reports across the country there will be a lot of this as the delivery service makes good on Christmas delays that resulted from bad weather and an unexpected surge in online shopping. Other customers took to Facebook and Twitter where one called UPS the "Grinch of Christmas." FedEx said few of the nearly 300 million packages it handled this season were delayed and customers could pick them up at counters....
   

Hundreds Gather for Christmas Day Meal in Gary

More than six-hundred people gathered for a Christmas Day meal in Gary Wednesday, and Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon Smith was among those serving. More than seventy volunteers helped put together the Annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner led by Dr. Smith in honor of his mother, the Reverend Julia Smith, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and Patricia Tillotson, former educator in the Gary School System. Dr. Smith says the event is primarily for residents of Gary, Merrillville, Griffith, New Chicago, Lake Station, and Hobart, but anyone from Lake County or anywhere else is welcome. In particular, Dr. Smith says it's meant for those who are poor and hungry, senior citizens, and others, who will be away from family and friends, to attend. The dinner was held at the Ivy Tech Gary campus. Dr. Smith says dinner's popularity has grown dramatically since the first one was held in 1987. Representative Smith hosts the dinner with Joyce Washington-Price, Dwight Pointer, Dwight Williams, and Robin Bernal. ...
   

Flags at Half-Staff in Illinois to Honor Slain Officer

Flags are at half-staff in Illinois in memory of an off-duty Cook County Sheriff's officer killed last Friday. Authorities say 50-year-old investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada was shot to death trying to stop two people from robbing his daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint as they carried food from a car outside a family Christmas party at a VFW Hall in west suburban Bellwood. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has ordered flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise today through sunset this Saturday. Before joining the police force, Estrada was a Marine who served in Desert Storm. Two 22-year-old men face multiple charges including first-degree murder in the officer's death....
   

Highland Crews Respond to Two Fires

Highland fire officials are trying to determine the cause of two fires. Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer says a fire at an apartment building on Farmer Drive just off 45th Street left two families displaced during Christmas. Crews also responded to a fire at Sophia's House of Pancakes at Indianapolis Boulevard and Hart Road around 5:30 pm Christmas eve to put out a kitchen fire that reportedly caused significant damage inside. Officials say the restaurant had already closed for the holiday during the time of the fire. Several area departments assisted Highland. No reports of any injuries.  ...
   

Portage PD to Accept Officer Applications in January

Applications to be a probationary patrol officer with the Portage Police Department will be available for a limited time next month starting January 6th. Chief Troy Williams says those interested can pick up an application packet at the police station beginning on that date.
Here is information recently posted by Chief Williams:
The Portage Police Department will be handing out applications for Probationary Patrol Officers beginning January 6th, 2014. I expect us to have openings to fill. The Portage Police Department is a proactive, innovative and respected Law Enforcement Agency with Divisions in Patrol, Detective, Training and Admin. We have Officers that specialize in SWAT, K9, Accident Reconstruction, Firearms Instructors, Field Training Officers, Hostage Negotiation, Emergency Vehicle Operations and we have assignments in the Porter County Drug Task Force, School Resource Officer, US Marshalls Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, and District 1 Task Force. If you are interested in becoming a Police Officer or know someone that is have the applicant come by the department and pick one up. The list is normally good for one year once completed. I'm hoping to hand out at least 200 applications to find the very best, dedicated, and service-oriented candidates out there. If you have any questions, just ask. Chief Troy Williams...
   

State Senator Plans to File 'Merry Christmas' Bill

jim smith senator indiana
State Senator Jim Smith
An Indiana State Senator says he wants Hoosiers to be able to recognize Christmas in the classroom again. Charlestown Republican Jim Smith says he's filing legislation in the upcoming session of the General Assembly to protect public schools and teachers from being sued over Christmas activity. Smith says Christmas is under attack "in a way that no other cultural traditions are," and his "Merry Christmas" bill would allow Christmas traditions like putting up a Christmas tree as long as teachers recognize at least one other holiday celebration, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The Indiana legislative session reconvenes January 6th....
   

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