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Warrant Issued for 3rd Suspect in Death of Pregnant Teen

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A man wanted in connection with the Christmas night shooting of a pregnant Calumet City teen in Dolton may reportedly turn himself into authorities today according to the Times. Dolton Police report they have been in contact with the man's attorney and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Police report 17 year old Eva Casara's  death allegedly stems from a drug deal between her, her boyfriend 16 year old Anthony Lee, his brother 21 year old Diante Coakley, and their sibling, who were reportedly planning to rob a drug dealer from northwest Indiana. Casara, who was five-and-a-half months pregnant, died the next morning due to a gunshot wound to the head and at last check her baby remains hospitalized. Lee and Coakley have each been charged with murder and authorities continue to search for the alleged drug dealer. ...

Light Snow and Cold Temps Expected Tonight

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More snow for parts of the Midwest. Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center, says they expect some light accumulation -- for example, snow -- maybe a little bit more than light, when you get into Iowa and into parts of northern Illinois.   The National Weather Service in Chicago says, in northwest Indiana, expect light snow after sunset until around midnight with a total accumulation of a few tenths to around one-inch expected.


Former Ind Congressman Andy Jacobs, Jr., 1932-2013

Former Democratic Indiana Congressman Andy Jacobs, Jr., passed away Saturday night at his home in Indianapolis. A former Marine, Jacobs was a combat infantryman in the Korean War. Jacobs was elected to represent Indiana's Eleventh Congressional District in 1964, which later was redistricted into the Tenth District, lost his seat in 1972, then regained it two years later, serving in the US House of Representatives until retiring from Congress in 1997. Jacobs was 81. 
Granger, Ind. – Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement on the passing of former Congressman Andy Jacobs:
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of former Congressman Jacobs. I enjoyed getting to know Andy over the years, and his decades of tireless service to the people of Indiana is an example I try to follow. Jill and I send our thoughts and prayers to Kim, Andy Jr., Steven, and all of Andy's family during this difficult time.”
Indianapolis - Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement:
“Andy Jacobs, Jr.'s contributions to the life of our state and nation are incalculable and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss. Andy Jacobs personified the kind of principled and compassionate leadership that Hoosiers most admire and he will be greatly missed. 
Before serving a long and illustrious career as a member of the United States House of Representatives, Andy Jacobs served his nation in the United States Marine Corps as a combat infantryman.  Upon his return from military service, he dedicated the next three decades of his life to public service. Andy Jacobs served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1959-1960. Later, he was elected to represent Indiana’s Tenth Congressional District in 1964, serving in the same Indianapolis Congressional seat held by his father in 1948-1950. 
During his early years in Congress, Representative Jacobs helped to write the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Jacobs was known for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of America’s senior citizens by enhancing the Social Security Administration and the Medicare program.
Throughout his career, Representative Jacobs was recognized by colleagues on both sides of the aisle as a champion for his principles and a man of impeccable character.
When Representative Jacobs retired from Congress in 1997, he left a legacy of leadership and a reputation for integrity among his peers and the people that he served. 
On behalf of my entire family, I express our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family, his wife Kim, and to his two sons during this difficult time. God bless you, Andy Jacobs. Your compassion and servant leadership left Indiana and our nation better for you having been here.  You will be sorely missed and your many contributions to Indiana will be remembered always.”...

Cell Phone Detection Program Introduced

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The Indiana Department of Correction has announced a new program aimed at combating cell phone trafficking in Indiana’s prisons.  The Cell Phone Detection K-9 Program has successfully completed its pilot phase, training two cell-phone-sniffing dogs at the Pendleton Correctional Facility and Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.
Photo: (from Indiana Department of Correction): Officer Jarod Collenbaugh and K-9 Dixie search a housing unit at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.
Corrections officials say cell phones are among the biggest challenges prison officials face today, and cell phone detection K-9s are the latest tool for sniffing out the problem. “In the hands of offenders, cell phones not only threaten the safety and security of our facilities, but can also pose a serious threat to the public,” stated IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon. “In many cases, offenders use them to circumvent prison phone monitoring systems, oftentimes to run criminal operations on the outside, plan escapes, facilitate acts of violence inside and outside of prison, communicate with gang associates, or traffic drugs and other contraband into our facilities.”
The Cell Phone Detection K-9 program pilot began in September 2013 with an intensive eight week training course developed by IDOC’s Emergency Operations Division, based off a similar program implemented by the GEO Group at the New Castle Correctional Facility. The training program began with basic fundamental detection work and handler skills, including obedience and socialization, then progressed to real working conditions. The handler and K-9 are trained in personnel searches, vehicle searches, area searches, and property searches.
Commissioner Lemmon added, “This issue has plagued states across the country, and the K-9 detection program has proven to be a cost effective solution to fighting the serious issue of illegal cell phones in prison.”
In 2012, 2560 cell phones were confiscated inside Indiana’s 20 adult correctional facilities. Monthly sweeps in cells around Indiana turn up anywhere from 50 to 60 cell phones. So far this year, the Department has seized over 1000 phones, which are often smuggled in by visitors or staff and can be sold for as much as $1200 on the inside.
The handlers and dogs were hand selected by the pilot facilities. Wabash Valley chose Officer Jarod Collenbaugh and K-9 Dixie, and Pendleton chose Officer Brantley Ferguson and K-9 Port.  All IDOC K-9s are donated to the Department and training costs are minimal training costs. The IDOC has future plans to implement this program statewide, placing a Cell Phone Detection K-9 in every IDOC facility.


Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident in Lake Station

In Lake Station overnight, police say a 25-year-old Hobart man was killed in a motor vehicle accident. The Lake County Coroner's office says John Garcia, Jr., suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at approximately 12:30 this morning at St. Mary Medical Center's emergency room. Officials say the crash occurred in the 38-hundred block of Liverpool Road....

Illinois Woman Disappears in Indiana Flood Waters

Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating the disappearance of a Des Plaines, Illinois, woman. Officials say 31-year-old Cathryn McGill was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her husband, 35-year-old Adam McGill when their vehicle was swept off the roadway in flood waters on Highway 257 near the Pike – Daviess County Line in southwest Indiana. Adam McGill was rescued but his wife couldn' t be found. Search efforts that included bank searches, side scan sonar, canine searches, wading shallow water and dragging operations, concluded at dusk. Water-based search efforts were scheduled to resume this morning.  Responding agencies included Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, Pike County Sheriff’s Department, Harrison Fire Department, Jefferson Township Fire Department, Southwest Medical, Pike County EMS, Pike County EMA, Ohio Valley Search and Rescue, American Red Cross and Indiana Conservation Officers. ...


Hobart Fire Battalion Chief Passes Away

A 48-year-old Hobart firefighter who police say crashed his minivan into his home near Hebron earlier this month has died. Porter County Sheriffs Police say John Wall suffered severe burns to his face and hands in a domestic incident December 10th in which the van he was driving and part of the house caught fire. Wall, who authorities say was on leave from the fire department after allegedly threatening his wife with a gun last month, was a battalion chief in Hobart and had worked for the fire department for twenty years. Cause of death was pending an autopsy scheduled for today. Porter County Sheriffs Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower said the family told police that Wall went into septic shock Saturday and was subsequently taken off a ventilator.  Tom Castle, president for the Hobart Firefighters Local 1641, said Wall was a hard worker who was held in high regard by the department and could have been Hobart's next fire chief....

Police Say Icy Roads Factor in Fatal Crash

The Lake County Coroners office says an 80-year-old Crown Point man was killed in a crash in the 75-hundred block of East 117th Street Sunday afternoon. Officials say Paul Plumer suffered blunt force trauma. He was transported to an area hospital where authorities say he died shortly after 3 pm. Lake County Sheriffs Police say shortly before 2:30 the man was heading west on 117th when his Buick LaSabre began to go left of center, then went off the road and struck a tree. Investigators believe icy road conditions contributed to the crash....

Wintry Conditions Returning to the Region

Wintry weather returning to the Region... with freezing rain, freezing drizzle, snow showers and bitterly cold temperatures all in our forecast. After relatively mild temperatures Saturday, temperatures are in the 30s today, and a Freezing Rain Advisory has been issued for much of northwest Indiana.  Meteorologists say freezing drizzle may result in a glazing of ice on area roads. Here's a look at the forecast at the National Weather Service Chicago website:

IDOT Bridge Inspections at Bishop Ford Over Little Cal

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)  announced that weather permitting, an inspection of the bridges at I-94/Bishop Ford Freeway northbound & southbound bridges over the Little Calumet River, 1.3 miles north of Illinois Route 83 in Calumet City, is scheduled today (Saturday, December 28, 2013). 
In order to complete the work,  lane closures on northbound and southbound I-94 (Bishop Ford Freeway) will be necessary. The left lane will be closed from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Motorists should anticipate delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. Motorists are asked to please obey the speed limit, observe closure signs and remain alert for workers.  Find details on other construction projects in IDOT’s District 1 at  IDOT says additional updates on the impacts to traffic are available at ....

Melting Ice Falling From Hancock Building

With the upswing in temperatures, a downtown Chicago hazard we're hearing about -- melting chunks of ice falling from the John Hancock building Friday night. Warning signs were posted and the affected area was blocked off by police....

Dyer Man Gets Unexpected Deal from Delta

Some travelers got quite a deal buying tickets on Delta Air Lines's website Thursday, including Milos Rokosz of Dyer, who ended up getting six tickets to Florida for about 29-dollars apiece. Today's Times says he came across them on a website called Kayak-dot-com, a travel metasearch engine, then went to Delta's site to see for himself. Delta's online booking system offered double-digit, round-trip fares that were incredibly cheap, like New York to LA for 47 dollars, which would normally cost close to ten times that much. Word quickly got around on travel blogs, and the low prices started disappearing. Delta admitted it was a glitch, said it was fixed, and announced any tickets purchased at the incorrect prices would be honored. ...


Cedar Lake Improvements Planned for 2014

Infrastructure growth will be a focal point in Cedar Lake in 2014. During a recent Region Newsmakers interview, Cedar Lake Town Council President Randy Niemeyer says capital projects include the east side 133rd Avenue reconstruction, from Morse to Fairbanks Streets, which kicks off this spring. "It's an in-house funded project funded by our TIF district," Niemeyer said.  The pavement then from Fairbanks to Colfax, he said, will be completed . "Our entrance to the east side of Cedar Lake will be complete and it'll be beautiful. Our west side second phase of 133rd Avenue reconstruction from Industrial Boulevard to US 41 is going to be underway in the Spring and should be will be substantially completed by the end of October with all-new stormwater and sewer infrastructure and new pavement, a three-lane road."  The new three lanes of 133rd Avenue, from Morse to Fairbanks, are anticipated to be completed by the 4th of July. To hear more of our Region Newsmakers interview with the Cedar Lake Town Council President, visit Region Newsmakers here at our website.  ...

Michigan Man Killed on Interstate 94

Overnight, Indiana State Police say a man from Sawyer, Michigan, was killed when he stepped out in front of an oncoming car on I-94 in Porter County. Troopers say a preliminary investigation revealed that at about 1:15 am, 36-year-old Bradley Miner for unknown reasons parked his Jeep Wrangler on the shoulder of the expressway at the 29 mile marker, which is just east of the westbound truck scales, and stepped out in front of a car traveling in the middle lane. Police say Miner was pronounced dead at the scene and the motorist, a 25-year-old Gary man, was uninjured. The right, middle and entrance ramp to the scales were closed until approximately 4-o'clock this morning. ...


Gary Police Investigating Homicide

Police in Gary are investigating a homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 24-year-old Trammel Harper of Gary suffered multiple gunshot wounds at 22nd and Georgia and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 9:30 Friday night. ...

Influenza Cases Up in Indiana, Illinois

Cases of influenza have taken a jump in Indiana and Illinois. Flu activity is considered regional across both states, and that's just one step below what the Centers for Disease Control categorizes as widespread. In Chicago, the city's public health department says the predominant circulating strain is influenza A H1N1, the so-called swine flu strain that triggered a nationwide pandemic in 2009.

Help From Public Sought to Find Missing Woman

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 59 year old woman under treatment for mental illness for the last two-years has been missing since the first week of December and family members are seeking help in locating her. The Times reports Paula Palo left her residential unit at Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living on December 8th and has been without her medication ever since. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Gary Police at (219) 881-1214. A description of the woman has not yet been made available. ...


Unemployment Benefits End for Over 1.3 Million Saturday

Unemployment benefits expire tomorrow for Americans who've been out of work for more than six months. ABC News reports during a five minute session of the House Thursday, Democratic whip Steny Hoyer complained Republicans left town, allowing benefits to expire for more than 1-point-3 million people, calling it a moral outrage and another congressionally-inflicted blow to our economy.  Democrats argue congress has always extended unemployment benefits, when so many people have been out of work for so long. Republicans may be open to a retroactive extension, but only if it's coupled with cuts elsewhere in the budget....

Senator Rogers: Stop the Pettiness, Focus on Education

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Governor, state board must end pettiness, focus on early learning 
By State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary)
In the 38 years I spent at the front of a classroom, I’ve undoubtedly seen this type of behavior before. Not getting what they want, a student chooses to sulk and do everything in their power to disrupt what’s going on around them. It’s expected from grade-schoolers. It’s something else altogether to witness this childish behavior from the “adults” in Indianapolis when it is at the detriment of Hoosier students.
In 2012, Hoosiers rallied behind then candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, electing her over her opponent, with more votes statewide than the governor himself received. Since then, Superintendent Ritz has faced attempts from this administration to dilute her constitutionally-mandated office and obstruct her vision for Indiana education policy. Hoosiers made it clear they were fed up with the previous administration’s assault on local control and attitude that Indianapolis knows best when it comes to overseeing the direction of our schools. Ritz has shifted the focus back to students, parents and teachers by strengthening the connection and upping the dialogue between her Department of Education (DOE) and our schools.
Instead of focusing on kids, there has been a return to theheavy-handed policies Hoosiers soundly rejected. At a time when the state’s agencies have been asked to tighten their belts by $75 million, the administration created a new agency tasked with deposing Ritz’s Department of Education. Of the Center for Education and Career Innovation’s 16 staffers, six make more than $100,000 and the pseudo-agency has been heavily criticized for performing functions already handled by the DOE.
The governor-appointed State Board of Education has displayed a willingness to flat out ignore the will of Hoosiers voters and Indiana statute in their efforts to undercut Ritz. That statute plainly spells out that the superintendent chairs the state board and her agency alone is tasked with calculating schools’ A-F grades. That didn’t stop board members from covertly attempting to have those grades calculated by an outside entity and regularly challenging Ritz’s authority as board chair. 
What’s most upsetting is the willingness to elevate pettiness over policy. Ritz has been an ardent supporter of early childhood education and ensuring Hoosier children arrive in classrooms ready to learn. Instead of focusing on education policy, the administration is caught up in attempting to erase elections results from more than a year ago.
It’s my hope the governor joins Superintendent Ritz, the Senate Democrats and others education stakeholders this upcoming legislative session in embracing the benefits of quality early childhood education.
Sen. Rogers represents Indiana Senate District 3 which encompasses portions of Lake County. District 3 communities include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Ainsworth, Merrillville and Crown Point.
For more information on Sen. Rogers, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit

Murder Charge Filed Against Gary Man

A number of charges, including murder, have been filed against a 21 year old man in the death of a Gary resident earlier this month. According to court documents, Mark Cherry, of Gary, is accused of killing 22 year old Rolando Correa at a home in the 62-hundred block of West 29th Avenue, shortly after midnight on December 2nd. Investigators say it was determined that three masked gunmen came to the front door of the residence and tried to get in, then went around to the side door, where they came into contact with one of the occupants of the home. Police say they led him back into the house at gunpoint, a struggle ensued and shots were fired. Four people were shot, including Cherry, authorities say, and a man later identified by the Lake County Coroners Office as 22-year-old Rolando Correa was pronounced dead at approximately 2 am at an area hospital....

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