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Region Responders Attend Superstorm Sandy Reunion

Ice Arena empty
A group of four responders from Indiana, including three from the Region – Lori Postma, a nurse and Emergency Preparedness and Bio-terrorism Coordinator for Franciscan Alliance in Munster; Paige Connelly, Porter County Telecommunications Dispatcher; and Mike Webber, Porter County Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director; returned to Long Beach, New York, Tuesday for a “thank you” celebration marking the one-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says the group had lunch, watched a video detailing recovery efforts and visited places that have recovered from the storm. Diane Mack, Director of Emergency Management and Continuity, Indiana University, was also on the Indiana team.
That's Postma in the top photo, taken in the past week, in the ice arena that's back open to the public.  The photo below was from last year when the Indiana team arrived in Long Beach, NY, and that arena was packed with donated goods.   The Indiana team helped manage those donations as well as thousands of volunteers in the area.   [Photos provided/Lori Postma, courtesy Indiana Department of Homeland Security]
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During the event, a letter was read from Governor Mike Pence to the City of Long Beach. It highlighted what an honor it was for Indiana to aid neighbors on the East Coast, and expressed support for the continuing recovery process.
“You couldn’t imagine that you would make that great a difference in just two weeks, but everyone remembered us,” said Postma. “It was emotional for us because we never got to see the end result, but everyone remembered us; we were treated like long lost family returning home.”...
 

Fire at Restaurant Confined to Storage Room

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Valparaiso Fire Crews were called out to Broadway Cafe at Sturdy Road and US Route 30 just after 10:30 am Tuesday.  Valparaiso Fire Department Battalion Chief Les Abraham says a fire began in a small storage room where he told the Region News Team paper products were stored too close to the water heater, which caused the paper products to burn, and the sprinkler system activated, which kept the fire under control until firefighters arrived and put it out.   Abraham says fire damage was contained to the storage room, with smoke and water damage to the building.  Abraham says there were patrons at the business at the time the fire was called in and there were no injuries. Abraham also says the fire would keep the restaurant closed until the sprinkler system could be repaired.  [Photo/Radio One Communications]

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Man Hit by Bus Charged with Obstructing Traffic Earlier

A report from the Vincennes Police Department says a 36-year-old man struck and killed by country music star Jason Aldean's tour bus was arrested earlier this month for walking on the same road. The bus, which Aldean was on at the time, struck and killed the man on US 41 early Monday, after he reportedly walked into the bus' path.  Authorities say the same man had been taken into custody on October 8 after officers found him walking down the center line of the highway causing cars to swerve. He was charged with obstructing traffic.  He was arrested again for allegedly stealing a bicycle from the Knox County Public Library and charged with theft, a class D felony.
After the accident, Aldean expressed his condolences. "With a heavy heart, I'm sad to say that a man passed away last night after stepping out in front of my bus in Indiana," he tweeted. "In all the years I've been touring and all the miles we've driven, nothing prepares you for something like this to happen. I'm praying for Albert Kennedy's family and friends today and ask that you do the same."   An investigation into the crash and death is ongoing....

 

Lowell Approves Westward Annexation

There's more of Lowell on the map. The Town Council this week approved adding 117 acres along and off of Route 2 to the west of town, toward US 41. Town Council President Edgar Corns says it's been a number of years since an annexation that large for the south Lake County community, and it could present opportunities for development in the future. "People question us about the possibility of building or land development," Corns told the Region News Team, " and we have nothing available that's inside the town limits."   The land parcels are currently farmland. ...
 

Valparaiso Police K-9 Frida Passes Away

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A sad post on the Valparaiso Police Facebook page today... saying retired K-9 Frida, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, lost her battle with cancer Tuesday. Officer Todd Kobitz and Frida worked together on the department for seven years. Frida began her career with the Valparaiso Police Department in 2005, and retired in the Spring of last year, spending her retirement at home with Officer Kobitz and his family.
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The department says Frida’s services resulted in more than three-hundred arrests. Frida was the department's first “full patrol” K-9, which means she was certified in narcotic detection, building searches, area searches, tracking of suspects, article searches and aggression.  [Photos/Valparaiso Police]...
 

Fall Curbside Leaf Collection Begins in Lowell

The Town of Lowell's Street Department fall curbside collection of leaves got underway this week.  Following the town’s ward map, crews begin working on the east side of town each Monday and work their way west, reaching the town’s western borders each Friday, with the program scheduled to continue through November 26. Leaves must be raked to the curb and should not be placed in bags, garbage cans or any other containers for collection. Leaves also should not be mixed with branches, dirt, plants, vines or any other debris or yard waste. Town officials also remind residents that leaf equipment cannot be properly maneuvered around parked cars, mailboxes, utility poles and street signs.

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219: Save The Kennnedy Theatre

The Kennedy Theatre has been the site of first dates, movie premiers, and family fun for generations in Hessville and now they need your help. Owner Chris Benavidez says they need over one-hundred thousand dollars for studio mandated upgrades to keep showing movies in 2014. To help raise the money needed they have started The Save The Kennedy Campaign online and will be hosting a benefit November 2nd at the Hammond FOP Lodge. For more information, listen to today's 219 or our interview online at News Audio On Demand here on our website....
 

Part of Willowcreek Road Closed in Portage

Traffic-Alert
Police say Willowcreek Road in Portage remains closed at this hour between US Route 6 and Lute Road after an earlier accident.  No details available at this hour....

 

Brugos Named to Indiana Urban Forestry Council

Ann Brugos
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Valparaiso)
The founder and coordinator of the City of Valparaiso's Shade brigade effort, which promotes urban forestry, has been named to the Board of Directors for the Indiana Urban Forestry Council. Ann Brugos will serve on the 15 member board for a three-year term. Brugos (brew-goes) has been responsible for organizing tree-planting efforts, including two recent volunteer events that planted nearly 100 trees in Keystone Commons and the Jessee-Pifer Park area. She has also helped the city to win more than $40,000 in grants that have paid for reforestation efforts and she has led education efforts to help in identifying threats to trees. For information on how to get involved in the Shade Brigade, contact Brugos at Public Works, (219) 462-4612....
 

Man Charged with Molesting Portage Girl

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A Hammond man has been charged with molesting a Portage girl. The Times reports 36 year old Daniel Garcia faces three-counts of child molesting and one-count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors. According to the article, police were informed of the accusation back in mid-June and Garcia is alleged to have molested the girl twice before and reportedly showed her pornographic videos. Garcia denies touching the girl in a sexual manner. ...
 

3rd Quarter Loss for US Steel $1.79 Billion

On Monday, US Steel reported a third-quarter loss of one-point-seven-nine billion dollars. The loss was lower than Wall Street had expected, and revenue, which fell 11 percent, was below predictions which caused the stock to fall five-point-two percent in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report. US Steel operations in northwest Indiana are located in East Chicago, Gary and Portage....
   

Michigan City Man Charged with Felony Burglary

Terry Thomas
(Photo Courtesy of Michigan City Police)
Police in Michigan City today announced a 35 year old man has been charged with felony burglary regarding an incident that took place on Friday, October 18th, in the 19-hundred block of Wabash Street. Police report the occupant of the home thought she heard a sliding glass door open on October 18th, but did not see anyone, and police responded, but could not locate a suspect. The next day, October 19th, the 19 year old victim and her mother were notified of suspicious charges made on their debit/credit cards. On Tuesday, October 22nd, based on information from gathered from the investigation, a suspect was developed and identified as Terry Thomas, of Michigan City, who was subsequently arrested and charged. ...
   

IN Responders Go to NY for Super Storm Sandy Reunion

DHS Logo
A group of four responders from Indiana, three of which are from the region, returned to Long Beach, New York, today for a “thank you” celebration marking the one-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security reports the group had lunch, watched a video detailing recovery efforts and visited places that have recovered from the storm. The three northwest Indiana members of the group are Paige Connelly, Porter County Telecommunications Dispatcher; Mike Webber, Porter County Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director; and Lori Postma, a nurse and Emergency Preparedness and Bio-terrorism Coordinator for Franciscan Alliance in Munster.
A letter was read during the event from Governor Mike Pence to the City of Long Beach, which highlighted what an honor it was for Indiana to aid neighbors on the East Coast, and expressed support for the continuing recovery process. ...
   

Elderly Woman Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash

Highland Police
A two-vehicle crash around noon today in Highland resulted in the death of an elderly woman. Highland Police Commander George Georgeff says initial indications are that the woman was driving her vehicle in the parking lot of the Highland Post Office when she began driving erratically, possibly due to a medical condition she was experiencing. Her vehicle struck the corner of a building, just south of the Post Office, and veered out into southbound traffic on Kennedy Avenue where a large truck traveling south struck the driver's side of her vehicle.
Commander Georgeff says the woman, whose name has not yet been released, had to be extricated from her vehicle and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she died a short time later. The truck driver was not injured in the crash. Indiana State Police are assisting in the investigation and the Lake County Coroner's Office has been notified....
   

World Stroke Day October 29th, 2013

World Stroke Day T
To help raise awareness of the United States's 4th deadliest killer the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are observing World Stroke Day today. 
According to the American Heart Association, even though strokes are largely preventable, treatable and beatable, every 40-seconds someone somewhere in the U.S. suffers a stroke. 
Facts on strokes provided by Ryan Johnson, Director of Communications of the American Heart Midwest Region show that one in six people will experience a stroke in their lifetime and every six seconds someone dies from a stroke.  Strokes happen across the planet with 15 million strokes reported worldwide that claim nearly 6 million lives annually.  In addition, statistics show that African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first stroke over their Caucasian counterparts.  
Johnson says the most important, controllable risk factor for the disease is high blood pressure, which can be controlled through diet, exercise and medication. 
Recognizing stroke warning signs and calling 911 during a stroke emergency to get the stroke victim into immediate treatment at a hospital is crucial to surviving a stroke.
It is also extremely important that the hospital's attending emergency room physicians have been specially trained by the American Heart Association's standards to look for signs of stroke. 
Ryan says a Region woman who suffered a stroke in 2002 felt a sharp pain in her neck and then her right arm started to hurt and after a while the woman did not want to talk and could not open her eyes.
According to Ryan, she was rushed to ER where a CT scan showed no signs of a stroke but the attending doctor, who received special stroke training from the AHA, ordered an MRI which showed she suffered a stroke. and says the woman has recovered and is a stroke survivor who works to spread the message about stroke.
To help better the odds of surviving, the American Stroke Association has fashioned the acronym "F.A.S.T." to remember stroke warning signs, "F" for face drooping, "A" for Arm Weakness, "S" for Speech difficulty and "T" for Time to call 911 for any of those symptoms--even if the symptoms go away.
According to the National Stroke Association's website that fewer than 20-percent hospitals of major hospitals are stroke certified, but Ryan says northwest Indiana is an exception citing Methodist Hospitals.  Methodist is the recipient of the American Hear Association and the American Stroke Associations' "Get With the Guidelines Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award." 
The award is given to hospitals who put into practice a higher standard of stroke care be ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment for at least 24 months according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations including aggressive use of medications t Pa, antithrombotics, anticoagugulation therapy,DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation.
FREE STROKE SCREENINGS
Methodist hospital is partnering with the American Heart Association in offering FREE stroke screenings.  The first screening will be held on Tuesday November 5th, 2013 at their Midlake Campus at 2269 W. 25th Avenue in Gary and two other free screenings at Methodist Hospital's Southlake campus at 200 E. 89th Avenue in Merrillville.
The screening includes heart attack and peripheral artery disease risk assessments,and a stroke screening with blood pressure and carotid bruit checks. Registration is required. Call 1-888-909-3627.  More information about stroke as well as heart disease is available at:  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG....
   

Fire at Broadway Cafe in Valpo

A fire this morning at the Broadway Cafe in Valparaiso will keep the business closed for the time being until their sprinkler system can be repaired. Valparaiso Fire Department Battalion Chief Les Abraham says they were called to the scene at the corner of Sturdy and Morthland, on US 30, just after 10:30am. Chief Abraham says the fire began in a small storage room due to paper products being stored too close to the water heater, causing them to burn, but the sprinkler system kept the fire under control until crews arrived and put it out.
Fire damage was contained to the storage room, with smoke and water damage to the building. Chief Abraham says there were patrons at the business at the time the fire was called in and there were no injuries....

   

Famous Flick from Film Immortalized in Hammond


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A famous “Triple Dog Dare” is now immortalized in Hammond.  Officials today unveiled a new permanent bronze statue of the character Flick from the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story”, a film classic inspired by the stories of Hammond-native Jean Shepherd.  [Photos/Karl Berner, Radio One Communications]
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Just before the start of the annual “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to see Flick, a character from the classic Christmas movie “A Christmas Story,” get his tongue stuck to a flag pole in front of the Indiana Welcome Center.
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Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, and Scott Schwartz, the actor who played Flick in the movie, unveiled the statue during a news conference this morning.
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“The South Shore CVA wanted to do something special for our 30th anniversary, as well as the 30th anniversary of the holiday classic ‘A Christmas Story,’” said Batistatos. “In honor of Jean Shepherd and the movie, the iconic “Triple Dog Dare” scene will be immortalized on one of the Indiana Welcome Center’s flag poles.”
The Flick statue was commissioned by the South Shore CVA in January 2013 and was created, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, by Timeless Creations – The Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany. In addition to the creation of Flick, Rotblatt-Amrany’s studio created the Orville Redenbacher statue in Valparaiso, as well as Michael Jordan, Frank Thomas and Harry Carey in Chicago.
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The “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit will open Saturday, Nov. 9 and run through Sunday, Jan. 5. The Indiana Welcome Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, Indiana 46323. For more information on the exhibit, weekend and holiday hours or special events, contact Bethany Randolph, special events and services manager for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, at 219-554-2229 or visit www.achristmasstorycomeshome.com....
   

Cedar Lake to Step Up Patrols for Halloween

Many Region communities will be holding traditional trick-or-treating hours on Thursday, including the town of Cedar Lake. Chief of Police Gerald "Jerry" Smith says on Halloween they'll be stepping up patrols.  "We triple the size of the normal patrol that would be out there," Smith said, "and the fire department provides most of their firefighters and a lot of their equipment. And, what we do is, we divide up areas of the town and all the emergency vehicles drive around and we keep our flashers on so that we can easily be spotted, and we drive around and make sure that everybody's safe during the hours of trick-or-treating." Chief Smith says bike patrols will be on the streets as well during trick-or-treat hours, which are from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. Thursday night in Cedar Lake.
You can hear more from Chief Smith in our Region Newsmakers interview at regionnewsteam-dot-com
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Crash on Kennedy Avenue in Highland

Traffic-Alert
Region motorists are advised of an accident scene blocking traffic in the area of Kennedy Avenue and LaPorte in Highland.  We're getting reports of a multi-vehicle crash in the area, not far from the Post Office.  This is just a little north of Ridge Road in Highland....
   

State Panel Forwards New Grading System

A State Board of Education panel has assembled and forwarded a new model for grading Hoosier schools that would look at test score improvement and performance. A vote by the state board is expected next month. The proposal keeps the A-through-F letter grades. The panel is also recommending new state reading tests for the first, second, ninth and eleventh grades. In April, the General Assembly ordered the state board to come up with a new formula by November 15th of this year after complaints about the current one.

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