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Weekend Rains a Welcome Sight

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The leaves of some plants in this cornfield in southern Tippecanoe County have wilted and turned brown. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
The Labor Day weekend brought some needed rain to northwest and central Indiana farm fields. Purdue Corn Specialist Bob Nielsen says the state's corn yields could fall somewhat after the month-long dry spell, but he added it's nowhere near as bad as last year. The 2012 drought that shriveled farmers' crops and led to fire and watering bans across Indiana ended over the winter, and any remaining abnormally dry conditions were erased by frequent rain in the spring.
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The yellowish section of a soybean field shows that plants on a hillside are "burning up" from lack of water. This is among the worst-looking soybean fields that Purdue Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel has seen so far this year. (Purdue Department of Agronomy photo/Shaun Casteel)
The state's soybeans also are at a critical time, said soybean specialist Shaun Casteel. "We need rain to retain pods and to finish seed fill," Casteel said. "The hilltops of some fields are burning up, and those plants will not recover. But there isn't that much severe stress in most of the state. "Even if soybeans lost pods due to this water stress, rain within the week would help yield recovery via seed size. It might prevent further deterioration. "
Some of the stress in soybeans is from conditions at planting time, Casteel said. Some fields delayed in planting have poor root systems from too much rainfall in June. Nielsen says in July, US Department of Agriculture projections pointed to exceptional yields for corn. Yields could fall somewhat, now, after a month-long dry spell.The most-recent U.S. Drought Monitor said much of northwest Indiana – Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper Counties – and Central Indiana were abnormally dry.

Family Rescued from Lake

An Illinois family was rescued from the waters of Lake Michigan off northwest Indiana Monday. Indiana Conservation Officers responded to a 911 call of 4 individuals about a mile off shore in Porter County, east of the Port of Indiana. Conservation Officers arrived on scene about 12:30 in the afternoon finding all four floating in life jackets in six foot or higher waves. Conservation Officers say they were able to safely remove Savino Garbuno of Plainfield and his three children, who were all in the water about one hour before they were rescued. Officials say the children, ages 7, 12, and 14, displayed initial signs of hypothermia. They were transported to the Portage Marina where they were met by the Portage Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service personnel, and checked and released. The Indiana DNR says a bilge plug was missing in the hull of the man's boat, causing the hull to flood, making the watercraft unstable and inoperable.


South Split Project Begins

In Indianapolis, I65 & I70 between the north & south splits are now closed for the next 59 days. Work is getting underway to rebuild and lower one-half mile of pavement beneath seven bridges to increase bridge clearances and reduce the potential for collisions from trucks with oversize and unsecure loads. INDOT says repeated bridge strikes cotinue to pose a safety concern.
Additional information from the Indiana Department of Transportation:
More than 400 collisions have been recorded at South Split bridges over I-65/I-70 since 1999 and the frequency of vehicle bridge strikes has increased in recent years.
The most severe incident occurred on Feb. 22, 2013, when an oversize vehicle struck the Virginia Avenue Bridge, requiring a weekend-long closure of northbound I-65 and eastbound I-70 for emergency repairs to the bridge.

Man Dies in Fall from Balcony

A man who died in a fall from a hotel balcony in St. Joseph, Michigan, over the weekend has been identified as 38-year-old David Ginter of Hebron, according to the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety. A news release from the Silver Beach Hotel said Ginter was a repeat guest. Police say the incident, which happened Saturday night, remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.

Hammond Teen Dies After Crash

Officials say a 13-year-old Hammond boy died at a Chicago hospital Sunday night after being hit by a car on Calumet Avenue in Hammond. Police say Joshua Spencer was riding his bike around 12:30 in the afternoon in the area of 171st and Calumet when he rode into traffic. Authorities say an 83-year-old woman was not able to brake in time to avoid striking the teen.

Study Planned for MC Drawbridge

Many Region residents know the drawbridge in Michigan City, the one on Franklin Street heading into Washington Park and the lakefront. An article in today's Times says La Porte County Commissioners have ordered a study to see if a stationary bridge would be more feasible because the 80-year-old drawbridge is getting more and more expensive to maintain. The board recently approved one-and-a-half million dollars worth of work, including replacing worn gears and repainting the bridge.

Hobart Shelter Concerned

The Humane Society of Hobart says they can no longer afford to house strays from the city of Portage. A board member at the Hobart shelter sent a letter to Portage saying Hobart's facility on State Road 130 cannot continue “indefinitely” with what was supposed to be a temporary arrangement with Portage that's lasted for several years. Portage officials, in turn, are urging Porter County to move forward on a proposal to build a new county animal shelter that they could become part of.

New Report of Glittery Mystery

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is investigating new reports of a glittery substance in the Region. One said a substance was seen floating on Lake Michigan Friday between East Chicago and Burns Harbor. Additionally, a resident of Robertsdale said he spotted something tiny and silvery on cars and the sidewalk while walking his dog in the 23-hundred block of Indianapolis Boulevard Sunday morning. A mystery glittery substance was also reported in Robertsdale back in June. In June and July an oily sheen seen on the waters of Lake Michigan off Porter Beach, and authorities said the sheen might have been a food additive.

EC Approves New Public Safety Ordinance

In East Chicago, the city council has approved a new local law meant to increase public safety. The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Anthony Copeland, is meant to hold tenants and property owners accountable for illegal activities on their property, and property owners can face fines of up to several thousand dollars. One councilman said the Police Department spends a lot of time responding to calls at apartment buildings.

Senator Coats Statement on Syria

Indiana US Senator Dan Coats says he'll be traveling across the state to hear from Hoosiers on the president’s request for Congressional authorization of the use of military force in Syria. Coats issued a statement Sunday saying, “The president's decision to set a 'red line' with Syria while failing to have a long-term strategy in place unfortunately has left the U.S. without any good options. I am pleased, however, that President Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for potential military action in Syria so the American people can have a voice in this debate. I will be traveling across Indiana next week to hear from Hoosiers so I can take their views back to Washington. I will continue to urge the administration to work with our friends and allies on a comprehensive strategy to address the broader challenges throughout the region.” 

Popcorn Fest is Saturday

Popcorn Fest is this Saturday (Sep 7)  in Valparaiso... always the Saturday after Labor Day... and that means the daily lunch and dinners begin today (Tue Sep 3) and continue thru Friday afternoon, all under the Orville Redenbacher tent in downtown Valpo.  As many as 60-thousand people are expected to attend Saturday's festival, now in its 35th year.  Performing at this year's fest on the Central Park Plaza stage will be the nationally-known pop group, the Gin Blossoms.

New Trucks for Union Fire

The Union Volunteer Fire Department has added two new fire trucks -- a 78-foot aerial quint and three-thousand gallon tanker-pumper.  Fire Chief Tim Beach says the new ladder truck will help them reach rooftops in Shorewood Forest, where several homes are at least two-stories tall. Both will be parked at Station 2, which is just a little north of US 30 on County Road 600 West. Beach says having the tanker there will let the department quickly get three-thousand gallons of water to Union Township south of US 30, where a lot of areas don't have fire hydrants.  [Photos/Provided]

Beach, who previously served as fire chief for Union Township in Porter County, was recently reappointed to that post by the Union Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors, replacing Jaime Garcia, who is no longer with the department.  Beach, a 19-year member of the department, has also served as an Ogden Dunes police officer for the past eight years.


Indiana in Ford Recall

Ford is recalling 370-thousand full sized sedans in Indiana and 21 other states and Canada. The models are the Ford Crown Victoria, the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Lincoln Town Car from 2005 through 2011. The problem is the potential for corrosion on the steering shaft, and that could result in a loss of steering. Dealers will inspect the cars and make repairs if necessary. The recall is in effect for 22 states that have a heavy use of road salt in the winter and the District of Columbia. Owners in other states can ask for inspections and repairs if needed at no cost.
Information from NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Adminstration):
Ford Motor Company
Ford is recalling certain model year 2005-2011 Ford Crown Victoria (including Crown Victoria Police Interceptors), Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car vehicles. The affected vehicles are currently registered or were originally sold in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Severe corrosion can seize the lower intermediate shaft which may cause the upper intermediate shaft to collapse and the steering column lower bearing to separate.
If the lower bearing separates, the vehicle may experience a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.
Ford will notify owners and dealers will replace the lower intermediate shaft, free of charge.  The upper intermediate shaft and steering column lower bearing will be inspected to identify any damage that may have occurred as a result of lower intermediate shaft corrosion, and repaired or replaced as necessary.  If the steering column lower bearing has separated, a retainer clip will be installed.  The recall is expected to begin October 21, 2013.  Owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.  Ford's recall number is 13S08.
Customers located in non-corrosion states who have concerns regarding their steering will have a one-time option to have their vehicles inspected and, if necessary, repaired.  Owners of these vehicles should contact Ford directly about these vehicles.  Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Weather Ofc Hit by Lightning

As meteorologists were tracking strong thunderstorms Saturday, the Chicago office of the National Weather Service was hit by lightning.  The building in suburban Romeoville took a direct strike just after noon, taking down the radar and their phones. An electronics technician has been assessing the situation and amount of damage to equipment and communication lines. Their web site remained active, and you can also reach them by Facebook. 

'Zombie Run' in Portage

The Portage Parks & Recreation Foundation will be hosting a 5K Extreme Run, the 2nd Annual Freaky Fun Zombie Run, on October 19, 2013 at 4 pm. Runners will experience the challenge of one of Imagination Glen’s Outback Trails, as well as, several strategically placed obstacles.
Runners will endure mud, water, rough terrain, an army crawl, and Zombies, according to the Portage Parks' foundation. After the race, runners can enjoy food and beverages at Imagination Glen. Registration forms can be found on the City of Portage’s website and typing Zombie in the search or email the foundation for a copy. Early registration deadline is September 28. The early registration fee is $30, which includes a t-shirt, food & a beverage.
Participants are encouraged to dress in costume. Group entries are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for top 3 runners in each age category, largest group, and best costume. Additional information can be obtained by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 219-781-3295. Anyone interested in volunteering as a zombie or to help with the race can also email us for additional information.

Jewelry Store Moving

A  jewelry store that's been in in downtown Valparaiso for several decades is moving to a new location in the city.  The former Focus Financial Center on US 30 near Applebee's is being remodeled as the future home of Martin Binder Jewelers. The family that owns the store tells the Times they haven't decided what will be done yet with the current building at the corner Lincolnway and Franklin.

Dangerous Rip Currents in Forecast

Dangerous pounding waves and life-threatening rip currents are expected today at Indiana and Illinois and beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  A Beach Hazards statement remains in effect through tonight (Mon Sep 02 2013).  The National Weather Service Northern Indiana office says since 2002, about 20-percent of all known rip current fatalities, from Michigan City, Indiana, to St. Joseph, Michigan, have occurred around the Labor Day weekend.  [Image/Northern Indiana National Weather Service]

NWS Northern Indiana:

 NWS Chicago (also includes NW Indiana):


Fatal Crash Near St. John

The Lake County Coroners office says a 52-year-old Evergreen Park, Illinois, man was killed in a motor-vehicle crash early Sunday afternoon on 109th Avenue near St. John.
Officials say Christopher Reynoso suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:45 pm.   Lake County Sheriffs Police says a minivan began going onto the side of the road, then apparently over-corrected more than once, and a collision occurred between the van and the motorcycle Reynoso was driving. The other driver was reportedly taken to the hospital with minor injuries and the accident remains under investigation.

Holiday Cleanout Week in Valpo

It's Holiday Cleanout week in Valparaiso. City officials encourage residents to clean out sheds, basements, attics and garages, but there are some restrictions -- No tires, household hazardous material, asphalt shingles or grass clippings, and no contractor debris. The Valparaiso Department of Public Works is closed on Labor Day, Sept. 2 and all garbage and recycling pickups will be delayed one day this week.
City website:

Next Phase of Roundabout Work

The third and final phase of work on Valparaiso's newest roundabout is set to begin next week.  City officials have announced that traffic patterns will shift on September 10th, when Vale Park Road will be closed 200 feet west of the five-points intersection. Additional restrictions will be in place.  Trucks will not be allowed through the intersection.
Valparaiso Five-Points Roundabout Phase Three:
Vale Park Rd will be closed to all traffic from approximately 200' west of 5-Points Intersection to the intersection.  There will be no access to or from Vale Park West at the intersection.
Official detour:
Calumet Ave to Glendale Blvd, to Valparaiso St to Vale Park Rd; OR
Calumet to Bullseye Lake Rd to Vale Park Rd
Due to the closure of Vale Park Rd West (see separate closure info above) and Phasing on the 5-Points Roundabout Project, Calumet Ave, Roosevelt Rd and Vale Park Rd East will be limited to the following directions:
Northbound Calumet can continue north on Calumet or east on Vale Park.
Southbound Calumet can ONLY continue south on Calumet.
Northbound Roosevelt can go north on Calumet or east on Vale Park.
Official detour:
Roosevelt: Calumet Ave to Glendale Blvd; Vale Park: Calumet Ave to Country Club Rd to Silhavy Rd; Truck Route: Calumet to Burlington Beach to SR49 OR Calumet to Rte130 to SR149...


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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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