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Severe T-Storm Warning Until 4:45pm CDT

1 breaking-news
The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 4:45pm CDT. The warning is for southern Jasper and Newton Counties. Quarter size hail and 60 mile per hour wind gust are associated with the storm, according to their radar, with the potential impact of hail damage to vehicles and wind damage to roofs, siding and trees a strong possibility....

Portage FD Honors 11 year Old Girl

Portage Fire Dept. 2
The Portage Fire Department presented an 11 year old Portage girl with a Young Hero's award today for her actions and bravery regarding a house fire Wednesday evening. Assistant Fire Chief Joe Calhoun recognized Haley Lawrence, a 5th grader at Aylesworth Elementary, with the award during the annual fire prevention program, with her family in attendance. The Fire Department gives Haley credit for the minimal damage done by the fire and for the safety of residents, like her grandmother, whom she alerted after smelling smoke coming from a dryer in the basement. Officials say the girl, remembering the lessons learned through fire prevention programs, ushered her grandmother outside and reminded her the first call she should make is to 911, not other family members. The Fire Department reports the fire was contained to the dryer and the home received no structural damage. No injuries were reported and the family was not displaced. ...

Valpo PD Looking to Hire a New Officer

Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department is looking to hire a new officer. Police report application packets are available at their department, located in the three-hundred block of South Washington Street, or online. Applicants must be 21 or older, hold a high school degree or GED, be a US citizen, posses a valid driver's license, and have no prior felony arrests. All applications must be completed and return to the department by Friday, October 25th at 6pm. For a link to download the online application or for more information, visit

Food Network Show in LaPorte to Transform Restaurant

A restaurant in LaPorte is hoping a television show on the Food Network can overhaul their weak spots. Restaurant: Impossible came to LaPorte's “Seven” in the five-hundred block of State Street on Wednesday and are there again today to assess every aspect of the business including updating menus, retraining staff, and along with a number of local volunteers, paint, clean, and remodel. On the show, Chef Robert Irvine attempts to save the most desperate restaurants from impending failure in two days, with a budget of ten-thousand dollars. ...

Experts Say Asian Carp Are Adapting

asian carp
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
The Asian carp continues confound experts. The Times reports those studying the invasive species found they are much more adaptive than previously thought and a bigger threat to native species, for example, in places like the Wabash River and Flatfoot Lake. According to the article, studies are underway for a toxin to be introduced into the affected waterways to kill them and only them, but that could be expensive. A report on Asian carp, outlining five strategies, is due to Congress in January. ...

60% Approve of Pence's Job as Governor

Gov Mike Pence
A poll recently commissioned by the Indiana Republican Party shows 60 percent of Hoosiers approve of the job Governor Mike Pence has done in his first eight-months in office. The poll, which surveyed 800 registered Indiana voters between September 12th through the 15th, also found that 51 percent of Hoosiers believe the state is heading in the right direction. As for the Governor's resistance to the federal government's push to expand Medicaid, 60 percent of men 55 and older, and 53 percent of women 55 and over, give Pence their approval on that issue....

Westville Food Worker Arrested for Sexual Misconduct

Bilek Sonya
(Photo Courtesy of the Westville Correctional Facility)
A 29 year old Westville Facility food service worker was charged with felony sexual misconduct by a service provider after being arrested on September 7th. The Westville Correctional Facility today announced that Sonya Belik, of Michigan City, was allegedly seen by another food service worker engaging in an inappropriate activity, with one of the inmate kitchen workers, and an investigation by the facility's Internal Affairs Department is being conducted to determine if any charges or internal disciplinary action maybe taken with the inmate allegedly involved....

New Valparaiso Police Officer Sworn In

Michael Trueblood  Chief Brickner
Valparaiso's newest police officer was sworn into duty Monday morning, September 16th, in a ceremony held at Valparaiso City Hall. Michael Trueblood, 23, is a graduate of Indiana University and Westville High School. Officer Trueblood previously had been a police officer with Indiana University Northwest in Gary for 3 years.   The hiring of Officer Trueblood increases the department to 51 sworn officers.   [Photo/Valparaiso Police Department]...

Park Employees from Poland Visit Indiana Dunes

PolishVisitors 9-16-12
Kampinos National Park's Małgorzata Mickiewicz and Ewa Siatecka visit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. (NPS Photo)
Two park employees from Poland are in Northwest Indiana as part of a “Sister Park” program. Małgorzata Mickiewicz and Ewa Siatecka, from Poland’s Kampinos National Park will spend three weeks at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as part of a “Sister Park” program to learn how U.S. national parks are managed. Ms. Mickiewicz is the Deputy Director for Scientific Research, Monitoring, Education, Communication and Tourism and Ms. Siatecka is the park’s Specialist in Tourism and International Affairs. During their stay, which ends September 27th, they also want to learn how the National Park Service (NPS) plans recreational areas for people with disabilities and how it manages different user groups.
You can hear our interview with Ewa Siatecka online here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
The formal “Sister Park” program between the two national parks began in 1998 with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation. The intent of the program is to promote international cooperation and to exchange technical and promotional knowledge that will help improve the management of both parks. Kampinos, like the national lakeshore, has upland dunes intermixed with marshes and other wetlands. Both are botanically rich with great diversity despite being located near large population centers.
Living expenses for the Polish visitors are being supported through a donation by the Dunes National Park Association. The association is a non-profit organization that supports the protection, preservation, and promotion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore....

Officials Seek Local Input on High-Speed Rail

The second of two local public meetings to get feedback on route alternatives being evaluated for high-speed rail between Chicago and Porter, for a Tier One Environmental Impact Statement on the Chicago/Detroit Passenger Rail Corridor, takes place this afternoon at the Porter Town Hall.  Staff will be available to answer questions and exhibits along with other reference materials will be on display. The meeting run from 4pm to 7pm, with a presentation at 4:30pm. Comments will be taken at the meetings or can be filled out online, and all comments must be received by October 28th to be included in this process.
You can hear our interview with Will Wingfield from the Indiana Department of Transportation [INDOT] online here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
Fast Facts from INDOT:
-          Illinois, Indiana and Michigan departments of transportation are holding a series of public meetings to obtain feedback on the route alternatives being evaluated between Chicago and Porter, Ind., including the area known as South of the Lake (SOTL). This is for a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Chicago Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor.
-          The Tier 1 EIS will help evaluate passenger rail improvements along a 300-mile corridor through three states.
-          Public comments must be received by Oct. 28 and can be submitted in multiple ways.
-          Check the website for more details.
September 4, 2013 – The Illinois, Indiana and Michigan departments of transportation, in association with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), are announcing a second series of public meetings for the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor Program. The meetings are being held to:
-          Update the public on the Program,
-          Present the route alternatives being evaluated between Chicago and Porter, Ind., including the area known as South of the Lake (SOTL), and
-          Obtain feedback to help determine the route alternatives to be evaluated in the Tier 1 EIS.
The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate passenger rail improvements along a 300-mile rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac, Mich. The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate the effects of upgrading rail infrastructure and facilities to safely accommodate potential passenger rail service improvements. Effects on the natural environment, jobs, the economy, air quality, traffic, and neighborhoods will be considered. State and federal transportation partners are seeking input from residents, business owners and other stakeholders. Staff will be available to answer questions at four upcoming meetings. Exhibits and other reference materials will be on display and presentations made.
All comments must be received by Oct. 28 to be included in this step of the Tier 1 EIS process. Multiple options for submitting comments are available including:
-          Fill out a comment form at a public meeting,
-          Use the online comment form at,
-          Call toll-free number 877- 351-0853, and
-          Mail your written comments to Bob Parsons, MDOT, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909.
Public meetings will be held in each of the three states and will be open to the public between 4 and 7 p.m. A presentation will be held at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on attendance and interest. The same information will be presented at each meeting. Meeting materials will also be posted to the program website on Sept. 13, 2013.
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Chicago Union Station in the
Union Gallery Room (off the Great Hall)
500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL
Wednesday, Sept 18, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Genesis Convention Center, Lake Room
One Genesis Center Plaza, Gary, IN
Thursday, Sept 19, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Porter Town Hall, Main Floor Meeting Room
303 Franklin St., Porter, IN
Tuesday, Sept 24, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (EDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
5801 Southfield Expressway, Dearborn, MI
Information about the program and how to participate can be found at the project website Sign up for program e-mail updates on the website or call toll-free at 877-351-0853. With an advance notice of seven days, MDOT can make accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English-speaking ability, and persons needing auxiliary aids or services of interpreters, signers, readers, or large print. To request accommodations in any of the three states, call Bob Parsons directly at 517-373-9534 or toll free at 877-351-0853....

Lake County Sheriff Requests Help for Demolition

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich has sent a letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, asking for the state to deploy National Guard petsonnel to help tear down some ten-thousand abandoned homes and commercial buildings in Gary.  Buncich says vacant properties are often locales for illegal activity and pose a danger to neighborhoods. Gary has seen forty homicides this year. Earlier this year, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson sent a letter to Governor Pence requesting the state send help to fight an increase in violent crime. ...

PUC Gets Grant to Retrain Unemployed Workers

First District Congressman Pete Visclosky has announced that Purdue University Calumet in Hammond is getting a two-point-seven-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide training to Trade Adjustment Assistance eligible workers, veterans, and others who quality who are seeking jobs in Northwest Indiana’s manufacturing industry.  It is expected that the project will impact at least 300 individuals by allowing for the opportunity to attain one or more industry certifications. Individuals receiving this training will be eligible to join the workforce as mechatronics technicians and industrial machinery mechanics.   

“Putting our citizens to work is my foremost priority. It is incumbent upon us to invest in a well-trained workforce to protect the jobs of today and create the jobs of tomorrow. I am pleased to know that this grant will address the needs of area industry and build upon the existing successes of our region’s advanced manufacturing sector,” Congressman Visclosky said. 
The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
Chancellor Tom Keon, Purdue University Calumet, explained that the College of Technology has been working on workforce development in Northwest Indiana for several years.  “It is important to note that our manufacturing partners need an educated workforce with proper training at many different levels.  The College of Technology at Purdue University Calumet is dedicated to providing qualified graduates and to training the NWI workforce in areas of sophistication that are needed in our ever evolving manufacturing technologies,”  Chancellor Keon said.
Photos: Congressman Visclosky visiting Purdue University Calumet’s mechatronics and advanced manufacturing laboratories. [Courtesy/Congressman Pete Visclosky's office]...


Strong Storms, Heavy Rain, Power Outages

More than four-thousand customers of NIPSCO, mainly across Gary and Hammond, lost power during strong storms Wednesday night. As of this morning, the number is down to about 600 across the service territory, with scattered outages in the Region, also including Lowell. Valparaiso got over an inch and a half of rain by about nine-thirty last night, according to National Weather Service estimates, while as of three-o'clock this morning National Weather Service Doppler Radar estimated that four to five inches of rain has fallen in eastern Jasper County, including cities like Remington and Rensselaer, where a flash flood warning remains in effect  until 7:30 am Central Daylight Time.
To view watches and warnings click here:

New Lake County Precinct Map Update

Lake County could have its new precinct map next month. The Lake County Board of Elections and Voters Registration on Tuesday approved establishing the precincts which were given approval by the state election commission earlier this summer. As for any changes, some Lake County comunities added a new precinct, while some others were lost, but registered voters will be notified by mail if your precinct has changed, once the period to challenge the new map has ended and that cannot even begin until the Indiana Elections Division gives their approval, which is expected to be decided in about a month. ...

Pence Names Indiana Regional Works Council Chairs

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced Kristin Emaus, Training Manager at NIPSCO as Chair of the Indiana Region One Works Council. Emaus was one of 11 Region Chairs named by Governor Pence, who were chosen for their leadershipship and experience. Emaus has worked for 34 years at NIPSCO in human resources, labor relations and training capacities, and played a key role in implementing the Indiana Energy Consortium.
The Indiana Regional Works Council was signed into law in April and specifies that each Council will bring educators and employers together to evaluate and develop career and technical education that meets the demands of employers in each region. For a complete list of Indiana Regional Works Council members by region, visit

GNIAR: August Marks 26th Month of Continued Growth

GNIAR logo
The most recent statistics released by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors for August marks the 26th month of continued growth in year-over-year comparisons. 556 single-family homes were sold in Lake County in August, for an increase of 18-point-six percent from August of 2012, while in Porter County in August 240 single-family homes were sold, for an increase of 30-point-four percent from 2012 figures. When you combine Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties, August homes sales were up 20-pointseven percent from last year, with the median selling price up point-seven percent. ...

Man Could Face Murder Charge in Gary Homicide

Gary PD
Evidence is expected to be presented tomorrow to prosecutors for murder charges against a Gary man accused in the Tuesday morning shooting death of 39 year old Dewayne Young. Witnesses informed officers they saw 22 year old Jerode Cursey shoot Young, in the 15-hundred block of Delaware Street, just after 9:30am. Cursey, who resides in the 15-hundred block of Delaware Street, is currently in custody for disorderly conduct for arguing with police at the scene. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says officers discovered Young's body in the drivers seat of a black SUV with multiple gunshot wounds to his body. The homicide is the 40th in the city this year....

ISTEP Plus Scores Up Slightly Statewide

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education released statewide, corporation, and school level ISTEP+ scores today.  The data shows that scores went up statewide, with 79.5% of Hoosier students passing the English/Language Arts portion of the test and 82.7% passing math up from 79.4% for English/Language Arts and 81.2% for Math in 2012.  73.5% of students passed both sections.  The 2013 numbers released today are preliminary and will be finalized after students and parents have the opportunity to request re-scores of the Applied Skills portion of the test.
“First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, educators, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education for their efforts during the administration of this test,” said Superintendent Ritz.  “Despite considerable difficulties, our students improved their overall performance yet again, and deserve our congratulations.”
Statewide, 76.2% of 8th graders passed the English/Language Arts (ELA) portion and 81.2% passed Math compared to 74.2% for ELA and 80.1% for Math in 2012.  For 7th graders, 74.2% passed ELA and 80.2% passed Math, compared to 76.3% for ELA and 79.0% for Math in 2012.
77.7% of 6th grade students passed their ELA and 84.0% passed Math, compared to 78.7% for ELA and 83.0% for Math in 2012.  79.2% of 5th grade students passed their ELA and 87.0% passed Math, compared to 78.4% for ELA and 86.2% for Math in 2012.
84.3% of 4th grade students passed their ELA and 83.5% passed Math, compared to 82.4% for ELA and 79.1% for Math in 2012.  Finally, 85.2% of 3rd grade students passed their ELA and 80.1% passed Math, compared to 86.2% for ELA and 79.6% for Math in 2012.
Science content on the 2013 ISTEP + was based on new science standards adopted in 2010.   The Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education will consider Science cut scores in the coming weeks.  The release of Science scores is anticipated in late October.
School and corporation level data can be found here  Disaggregated data will be released in the coming days....

Frataccia Named District 1 Superintendent of the Year

The Superintendent of Portage Township Schools has been named the 2014 Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents “Superintendent of the Year” for District One. Dr. E. Ric Frataccia has served as Portage Township School Corporation superintendent since 2012, he formerly served as the district's assistant superintendent. Portage Township School Corporation is the largest and most diverse school system in Porter County, and with nearly 60-percent of its children qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, the district has earned a state rating of exemplary, or “A” for the past three years. Under Frataccia's leadership, the district has implemented significant changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment practices, which have helped to fuel growth in student achievement. His ability to work with teachers and teacher's unions has helped ensure sufficient classroom resources and the best possible learning environments for both teachers and students. ...

Indiana Household Incomes Less Than Other States

Indiana household incomes are less than the national median according to new Census Bureau figures. In 2012, the Indiana median household income was just over 46-thousand dollars, while the national median household income in 2012 was just over 51-thousand dollars. The Indy Star reports Indiana's median household incomes have been lagging behind the national average since 2000, a decline that is the fourth largest in the nation, according to the Indiana Community Action Association. ...

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Region News Team
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