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Rail and Sewer Projects Coming to Burns Harbor Port

The Ports Commission of Indiana recently approved one-point-seven million dollars for new rail and sewer infrastructure for the 600 acre Burns Harbor port. The Times reports the project includes rehabilitating 25-hundred feet of rail, replacing one-thousand cross-ties and that workers will replace almost two-thousand feet of sewer pipe that runs under the freight and commuter rail lines. According to the article, the project was anticipated to begin after Labor Day, with the rail work expected to take around two-months and the sewer work about three-months.
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RailCats Playoff Bound, Attendance Up 5.4% from 2012

Gary Railcats
GARY, IN – For the first time since 2010, the Gary SouthShore RailCats have qualified for the American Association playoffs. With Saturday’s 7-4 victory over the El Paso Diablos, the RailCats clinched the wild card and finished their regular season with a record of 58-41.
2013 is the 18th straight season in which Manager Greg Tagert’s team did not have a losing season and the RailCats seventh playoff appearance in nine years under Tagert.
“We are very fortunate to have someone of Greg’s caliber to lead our organization on and off the field,” said RailCats President and General Manager Kevin Spudic, “One of the reasons he’s been here for so long; is that he understands the talent level in the league he’s managed in. Year-in and year-out, he’s able to find high quality players for our team.”
58 wins for the RailCats is tied for the most in franchise history, tying the record set in 2007 when the RailCats won the Northern League Championship over Calgary.
"The ballclub deserves a lot of credit as they really had to earn their playoff spot in a highly competitive American Association. Post-season baseball at the U.S. Steel Yard is also a great reward for the RailCats fans that showed tremendous support throughout the season" said Pete Laven, President of Salvi Sports Enterprises.
In 2013, 165,024 fans passed through the gates at U. S. Steel Yard; an increase of 5.4% over 2012.
“It’s been a strong mixture of the product on the field and the family friendly atmosphere we’ve created here at U. S. Steel Yard. We have done a great job getting out in the community with the RailCats Caravan in the off-season and creating promotions and entertainment that has made RailCats baseball an exciting and fun experience for everyone in the region,” said RailCats President and General Manager Kevin Spudic.
The increase in attendance caps off a banner year for the RailCats organization. In March of 2013, the RailCats proudly announced a new 10-year naming rights agreement with U. S. Steel keeping the home of the RailCats named U. S. Steel Yard through the 2022 season.
The RailCats open the 2013 American Association playoffs with a five-game series with Fargo-Moorhead on Wednesday night. It is the fifth time the Redhawks and RailCats will meet in post season play in franchise history. Fargo took each of the three most recent matchups when the teams were members of the Northern League. In 2005, the RailCats defeated Fargo in five games to win the Northern League Championship.
In the RailCats previous playoff appearance, 2010, the Redhawks took the series in three straight games on their way to the Northern League Championship.
The RailCats will begin their series on Wednesday in Fargo, below is game time information and the scheduled pitching matchups. As with all games during the 2013 season, you can listen to RailCats baseball on 89.1 FM The Lakeshore and RailCatsBaseball.com.
Wednesday, September 4 at Fargo 7:02 p.m, – Game 1 RHP Taylor Stanten vs. LHP Alain Quijano
Thursday, September 5 at Fargo 7:02 p.m. – Game 2 RHP Alex Caldera vs. RHP Stephen Hiscock
Friday, September 6 at Gary 7:10 p.m. – Game 3 RHP Brian Ernst vs. RHP Billy Spottiswood
Saturday, September 7 at Gary 6:10 p.m. (if necessary) – Game 4 LHP Jake Laber vs. RHP Morgan Coombs
Friday, September 8 at Gary 2:10 p.m. (if necessary) – Game 5 TBA vs. TBA
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Pelath on HIP Expansion

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City issued the following statement in response to Gov. Mike Pence’s announcement about the Healthy Indiana Plan:
“While I am pleased that we have temporarily settled the health care fears of Hoosiers covered under the Healthy Indiana Plan, we have not solved the problems that face more than 400,000 Hoosiers who still have no answer to their health care concerns apart from visits to their local emergency rooms.
“The stubbornness demonstrated by this administration on the Affordable Care Act would put a mule to shame, and for no reason at all. They continue to be unwilling and unable to do anything to seriously discuss a plan that will assure millions of Hoosier tax dollars return to our state to make health care affordable.
“So our money will continue to pay for affordable health care for our neighbors in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. We have no answers for the people of Indiana.
“No matter how you try to sugar coat it, our continued intransigence on the subject of affordable health care in Indiana is an embarrassment and a failure.”
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HIP Extension Approved Through at Least 12/31/14

The state's Healthy Indiana Plan received an extension today. The US Department of Health and Human Services has extended the program through at least December 31st, 2014. Indiana Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry says the waiver approval is welcomed news for Hoosiers currently enrolled in the Healthy Indiana Plan, which was implemented in 2008. The Indiana Hospital Association also expressed their pleasure over hearing the news, stating hospitals use the Healthy Indiana Plan as the model to expand coverage to as many as 400-thousand uninsured.
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Visclosky Talks Higher Education at IUN and St. Francis

visclosky and IUN Chancellor
First District Congressman Pete Visclosky attended a couple of events on the campuses of some northwest Indiana university's today with the topic being high education. Congressman Visclosky met with University of St. Francis President Sister M. Elise Kriss and Indiana University Northwest Chancellor William Lowe, getting their view points on the Higher Education Act, which was originally passed in 1965, and is up for re-authorization in this upcoming session of Congress. Chancellor Lowe expressed his concern for the procurement of Pell and Work Study grants. Congressman Visclosky also took time to applaud St. Francis for their higher education retooling opportunities to help graduates struggling to find work the ability to reshape their skill set.
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Weekend Rains a Welcome Sight

crop one
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.
crop two
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.
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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.
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South Split Project Begins

southsplit
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.
http://www.in.gov/indot/3154.htm
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Senator Coats Statement on Syria

senator-coats-sm
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.” 
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Popcorn Fest is Saturday

popcorn
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.  
http://www.valparaisoevents.com/popcorn%20festival/...
   

New Trucks for Union Fire

ladder
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]

tanker
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.
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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):
Manufacturer:
Ford Motor Company
SUMMARY:
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.
CONSEQUENCE:
If the lower bearing separates, the vehicle may experience a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.
REMEDY:
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.
NOTES:
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 www.safercar.gov.
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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. 
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'Zombie Run' in Portage

zombierun
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.
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