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Homemade Explosive Devices Damage Mailboxes

Five mailboxes in the Valparaiso area were either destroyed or damaged by homemade explosive devices early Sunday morning. The Porter County Sheriff's Office says the incidents were first reported just before 3am, and there were no injuries associated with the incidents, which took place in the 16-hundred block of Tippecanoe Court, the three-thousand block of Arran Quay Terrace, the two-thousand block of Carlisle Lane, the 24-hundred block of Honeleee Court, and in the 17-hundred block of Potato Creek Court.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Danielle Jackson

(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 30 year old man wanted in Porter County Court on a felony charge of dealing cocaine is the U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, Fugitive of the Week. Danielle Jackson is described as a black male, 6”00”, weighing 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Jackson was last known to reside in the 12-hundred block of East 51st Place in Gary and is also believed to frequent the area of Miller Beach in Gary. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Danielle Jackson is asked to contact investigators.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Danielle Lammar Jackson may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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Harvey Toddler Among 3 Killed in ATV Crash

In downstate Clay County, Indiana Conservation Officers say three people, an adult female and two small children, including a one year boy from Harvey, Illinois, are dead after an off-road vehicle crash Sunday evening. The local sheriffs office received reports of an off-road vehicle being operated in a reckless manner before the vehicle struck a concrete culvert wall adjacent to a roadway east of Indiana 59 near Center Point, and the vehicle caught fire. Officials say a third passenger, a two-year-old boy also from Harvey, was listed in stable condition at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis. The adult female operator of the vehicle was air lifted to an Indianapolis hospital where she later died. Officers say preliminary investigative conclusions indicate excessive speed and alcohol may be contributing factors.  Authorities say an Indianapolis man fishing nearby observed the accident and pulled the driver and surviving child from the burning wreckage. The Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement says there have been 140 ATV accidents so far this year, claiming 12 lives and injuring 163.
Here are names of the victims as released by Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement today:
Xavier Rawls, 2 year old male, Harvey- Illinois, listed in stable condition at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis. (Passenger)
Jaylen Rawls, 1 year old male, Harvey-Illinois, deceased (Passenger)
Nevaeh Dempsey, 2 year old female, Indianapolis, deceased (Passenger)
Andrea Allen, 22 year old female, Indianapolis, deceased (Operator)

Vehicle information:
1996 Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV/ single seat four wheeler

One Dead, Four Hurt in East Chicago Shootings

One man is dead and four others wounded after shootings in East Chicago. Police Chief Mark Becker says the first occurred Saturday night in the 39-hundred block of Drummond, where police believe three men, ages 21, 22, and 24 from East Chicago, Chicago and Gary were shot . About two-and-a-half hours later, early Sunday, Chief Becker says officers responded to the 38-hundred block of Euclid, where officials say 34-year-old Glenn Patterson, also known as Glenn Spates, of East Chicago was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say a second shooting victim, a 34-year-old East Chicago man, was located in the 39-hundred block of Drummond and investigators believe both were shot at Patterson's residence. It's not known if the two shooting incidents are related.
East Chicago Chief of Police Mark J. Becker released the following information:
On August 3, 2013 at 11:15pm officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 3900 block of Drummond.  It was determined that multiple rounds had been fired and two gunshot victims were located at that scene.  They are identified as Ronnie Riley, a black male, age 21 of East Chicago and Robert Billington, age 22, of Chicago, Illinois. The victims were treated at St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago. Riley sustained a gunshot wounds to his stomach and is being treated. Billington was treated and released for a “graze” type wound.
Shortly thereafter, a 3rd gunshot victim was located at Methodist Hospital in Gary, Indiana.  This victim has been identified Austin Earl Williams, age 24, of Gary, Indiana.  Williams was shot multiple times, to include a wound to his leg.  Williams was transported to Gary by an associate(s). Investigators were initially told conflicting stories, but now believe that Williams was shot in the 3900 block of Drummond as well and then transported to Gary. 
Detectives have a person of interest that they are pursuing in connection with this shooting.  There is no further information available at this time.
On August 4, 2013 at 1:45am officers responded to reports of a shooting and found Glenn Patterson, also known as Glenn Spates, a black male, age 34 and an East Chicago resident, shot in the face and the elbow in the 3800 block of Euclid. Investigation also located another shooting victim in the 3900 block of Drummond.  That victim has been identified as Geray C. Campbell, age 34, an East Chicago resident who was shot in the hand and the hip. 
Investigators believe that both men were shot inside Patterson’s residence by unknown individuals. Campbell successfully escaped the attack, but not without being shot.
Anyone with information regarding these events is requested to contact Detective Maurice Phillips at (219) 391-8306 or they may contact our tip line at (219) 391-8500.

Powerball Continues to Climb

No one matched all six numbers in Saturday's estimated $300 million Powerball drawing, driving the jackpot to an estimated $400 million for Wednesday's mid-week drawing. Powerball has been rolling without a jackpot winner since June 26.
More info from Hoosier Lottery:
Hoosier Lottery retailers have sold a record 38 Powerball jackpot winning tickets over the years. That's more than any other state - and 11 more wins than the next closest state, Missouri.
With the recent addition of California to the game, Powerball is now played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Profits from the sale of Powerball tickets in Indiana stay in Indiana.
The most recent Powerball jackpot hit in Indiana was $74 million in Merrillville in April 2011.
Top Powerball jackpots won in Indiana:
$314.3 milion in Richmond 2007
$295 million in Richmond 1998
$221 million in Clarksville 2011
$165 million in Lawrenceburg 2009
Ticketholders should always check their numbers carefully after every draw because thousands of players win prizes in Indiana every single draw.  Hoosiers interested in organizing or participating in an office or work pool can print a Powerball Pool Form at  The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play. Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.

Vera Bradley Expanding Indiana Operations

An Indiana company well-known in the Region and around the country for its purses has unveiled major growth plans for its existing operations in northeast Indiana. Vera Bradley plans to expand its design and distribution centers in Fort Wayne, creating 128 new jobs by 2017. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, the company was founded 31 years ago by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller who were inspired to start the company when they noticed a lack of feminine-looking luggage while waiting at an airport terminal. Vera Bradley is available at 79 Vera Bradley retail stores and 14 outlet stores across the country.
"As I travel across this great Hoosier state, I witness daily the endless possibilities that can result from a terrific idea," said Governor Mike Pence. "A great idea by two entrepreneurs led to the global success story of Vera Bradley. I'm proud that because of Indiana's low tax, pro-growth business climate, the company has been able to grow at an incredible rate right here at home, further proving that Indiana is a state that works for business."
The homegrown-Indiana company will invest approximately $26.6 million to expand and equip its current 40,000 square-foot design center by 149,000 square feet and expand its distribution center by 10,000 square feet. Both facilities are located on Stonebridge Road off the Lafayette Center Road exit on Interstate 69 and are expected to be operational next year.
"We are proud to invest in our home-state," said Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, chief creative officer and co-founder. "Our design center expansion will bring nearly all of our northeast Indiana employees together on one campus."
This is Vera Bradley's second major expansion in northeast Indiana in less than two years. In 2011, the company announced plans to invest $22.5 million to expand its Roanoke distribution center to 420,000 square feet, adding 124 new jobs.

Indiana Unveils Giant Popcorn Ball

popcorn ball
Indiana State Fair officials say the largest popcorn ball ever created now rests at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis.  Unveiled Saturday in the Ball State Agriculture/Horticulture Building, the edible oddity checked in at 6,510 lbs., topping the old record by 1,450 lbs.
The official weight was captured by the Indiana State Police Motor Pool and already includes a margin of error of 196 lbs., which means the ball could actually weigh more than 6,700 lbs.  Transportation officials used four industry standard roll-off scales to weigh the considerable confection, which has an 8-foot diameter and a 24’ 9” circumference. A video of the unveiling can be seen at
“We learned a lot during this long process.  It’s fun to see the finished product and it’s great to be a world record holder,” State Fair Education Specialist Stephanie DeCamp said.  “We couldn’t have done it without our partners, Snax in Pax, Pop Weaver and Indiana’s Family of Farmers.”
Developed as a way to help celebrate the fair’s Year of Popcorn theme, the popcorn ball took 75 people 329 hours to build.  It began in June when workers at the Snax in Pax Popcorn Company in Topeka, Ind., began making and tamping the popcorn into a specially created wooden form.  After reaching 2,700 lbs., the ball was then transported to the State Fairgrounds where State Fair staff, board members and volunteer groups packed on another 3,800 lbs. of hot, gooey popcorn.
In the end, the record-breaking ball required:  
·        977 lbs. of popped popcorn
·        1,113 lbs. of mushroom shaped popcorn kernels
·        5,534 lbs. of a caramel-like syrup consisting of water, sugar and corn syrup (to hold it together)
The ball will remain on display through the end of the fair, Aug. 18.  Indiana’s Family of Farmers will then deconstruct the ball and use it as feed for livestock.
[Photo/Indiana State Fair]

64 Affected by Data Breach

State officials say an Indiana welfare security breach affected 64 clients. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) says the results of a review of documents potentially involved showed sixteen clients' full Social Security numbers were shared and another 48 clients had various other types of personal information disclosed not including their full Social Security numbers. Authorities say the vendor company responsible for the computer programming error, RCR Technologies, has agreed to pay for credit monitoring for affected individuals and will be contacting them directly. When the error was discovered, the agency notified more than 187-thousand potentially impacted clients that correspondence sent to them might have also been shared with other clients.
“We are comforted to know definitively now that, as we suspected, very few clients had any of their personal information shared,” said Debra Minott, secretary of the FSSA. “Still, if one client’s information is unnecessarily disclosed, that’s one too many. We have received assurances from RCR that the appropriate steps have been taken to correct the original programming error and prevent anything like this from happening again. We will continue to scrutinize their performance very closely.”
FSSA will notify all of the clients of the findings of the report. It will send a letter to clients whose information was breached to let them know they will receive credit monitoring through RCR. FSSA will also send a letter to the vast majority of clients who were determined not to have been impacted by the breach to reassure them their information was not disclosed to anyone else. Lastly, FSSA will send letters to its clients who RCR identified as receiving other clients’ information with specific instructions on how to return the materials to FSSA if they are still in possession of it.
State officials say Indiana Governor Mike Pence and FSSA have directed RCR to put a corrective action plan in place that includes additional design and code reviews as well as increased performance testing.

Job Fairs in Michigan City

Kohl’s Department Stores is hosting job fairs that started this past Saturday and continue through Wednesday August 7 to fill about 125 part-time positions for a new store scheduled to open in Michigan City in September.   Available positions for the new store include register operators, department associates, customer service associates, early morning freight unloaders and evening ad set associates. The job fairs are at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.  For more info visit .

Critics Voice Concern Over Farm Bill Amendment

Critics say an amendment introduced to the Federal Farm Bill by Iowa Representative Steve King could undermine state efforts to improve animal welfare, and if approved, could mean the end of Indiana's puppy mill law and efforts to protect farm animals in the Hoosier state and around the country.  Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, says animal welfare and health has an impact on food safety, and he believes the amendment could hamper future efforts by Indiana to pass farm animal welfare laws. Representative King has said he believes the wide variety of animal protection laws restricts commerce and creates obstacles for farm producers to widely sell their products.  Pacelle says King's amendment could nullify hard-won rights in 34 states.

Brisk Sales Prompt Jackpot Jump

Today's (Sat Aug 3) estimated Powerball jackpot increased from $290 milllion to $300 million as players flocked to stores nationwide to purchase tickets ahead of Saturday night's drawing.  Hoosier Lottery retailers have sold a record 38 Powerball jackpot winning tickets over the years, more than any other state - and 11 more wins than the next closest state, Missouri.   With the recent addition of California to the game, Powerball is now played in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.   The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play. Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.
From the Hoosier Lottery: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to Police and Firefighters' Pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. The remainder of Lottery income is contributed to the State and helps reduce excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.

Indiana Files Brief in Prayer Case

Zoeller  Greg tweet bigger
An amicus, or friend-of-the-court brief, co-authored by Indiana and Texas and joined by 21 other states asks the Supreme Court to overturn a US Court of Appeals ruling that prohibited legislative prayer at the start of a town council meeting in a town in New York. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says they're asking the high court to craft an unambiguous ruling that prayer is permitted before legislative bodies without requiring legislative leaders to screen prayers for sectarian references.
More from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office:
“When the United States Supreme Court considers major constitutional issues facing our nation, it is essential that the states make their legal position known to the Court. We ask the Supreme Court to provide clarity so that uncertainty will not hinder the authority of our state Legislatures to make decisions,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. The Office of the Attorney General represents the State of Indiana before the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts.
Friday's amicus brief notes that because various federal appeals courts have reached conflicting conclusions about the Supreme Court precedent on legislative prayer from 30 years ago, Marsh v. Chambers (1983), government officials at all levels typically are faced with costly litigation whether they decide to permit legislative prayer or not. The brief argues that if the Supreme Court issued a clear standard upholding the long tradition of legislative prayer as not violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, then it would enable governments to make informed decisions when such situations arise. On page 13, the brief states:
“The Court should reject the assumption that the content of private citizens’ prayers before legislative assemblies is attributable exclusively to the government.  Such prayers, rather are expressions of private belief made in service to an elected body of citizens. Those present may participate or not, but each citizen’s mode of rendering this particular service to a governmental body may rightfully be accommodated.”
Drafted by Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher, the amicus brief filed today recounts the Indiana Attorney General’s defense of the Indiana House of Representatives in a 2005 lawsuit that challenged the practice of legislative prayer prior to sessions of the House.  A federal district court had issued an injunction against House prayer, but that ruling later was overturned by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and legislative prayer prior to Indiana House sessions is currently permitted by the court.
Groups of states that are not litigants in a lawsuit routinely file amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court to make their legal positions known to the Court.  Indiana routinely authors or co-authors amicus briefs that other states join -- and routinely joins briefs that other states author -- in support of the sovereignty of state government and separation of powers.
It is anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court will schedule oral argument in the Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway  case sometime during its coming term which begins in October.  In addition to Indiana and Texas, the amicus brief filed Friday was signed by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Serbian Fast Food Restaurant Proposed

A historic building at 22 Washington Street in downtown Valparaiso right across from the county courthouse could become home to a Serbian fast food restaurant. The owner of Stan's Painting and Decorating in Hobart along with his architect are scheduled to present their plans to the city's Site Review Committee meeting this Tuesday.

Two Teens Charged in Tire Vandalism

Michigan City Police say two juvenile girls, age 16 and 17, were arrested this week in connection with a spree of damage to tires about a month ago. Police say each girl was was charged with fifteen counts of criminal mischief. Overnight on July 8th, officers were dispatched to the area of Main, Phillips, and Tremont Streets in Michigan City on a report of vandalism.

Fire in Lake Station

In Lake Station, crews responded to a fire at an empty house in the 32-hundred block of 34th Street on the west side of the city. The structure was reportedly engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 9-o'clock Friday night. Reports say fire crews last month were called out to the same house, which is abandoned, the property owned by the city.

Cedar Lake Moving Ahead on Road Work

A third of the road miles in Cedar Lake reportedly need work, and the town has approved a paving program to get to those in most need of repair. A group of residents recently came before the town council to express concern over condition of the roadways.

Plea Agreement Filed for Former Library Dir

The former director of the East Chicago Public Library has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to one count of filing a false federal income tax return. Court documents say in exchange, prosecutors will not press charges against his wife for any federal tax violations for tax years 2009 and 2010. Manuel Montalvo was accused of claiming more than 23-thousand dollars in unreimbursed business expenses, when the library had already reimbursed him for his costs, and falsely claiming more than 17-thousand dollars in medical expenses. He faces up to three years in prison according to the plea agreement.

Legacy Fields Dedicated

Local officials applauded Legacy Fields in Crown Point at this week's dedication of the second-phase of the city-owned Sportsplex that they envision becoming a major tourist destination. The complex consists of three adult-league softball fields. The site is already set to be featured in the 2014 Girls National Softball Association Fast Pitch World Series. The next phase will include an indoor sports facility.

Valpo Man Claims Insanity for Attepted Child Molestation

Wayne Han II
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 36 year old Valparaiso man charged with two-felony counts of attempted child molesting is claiming insanity. The Times reports Wayne Han II's attorney presented the notice on his behalf today in court, and that a hearing to review results of the evaluations will be held on September 27th. Han allegedly held a handgun to the head of a 13 year old girl, during the early morning hours of November 29th, and demanded sexual acts, while staying with the girl's mother at the time of the incident.
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Valpo PD Asking Residents to Inform Them of NNO Events

Residents in many communities in the region this coming Tuesday will be getting together with their local law enforcement agencies for “National Night Out”, in an effort to promote community-police partnerships and get to know one another. During a recent Region News maker interview, Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner stated the event is one of their favorite nights of the year and the Valparaiso portion of the event will take placefrom 6:30 to 9pm.
The Valparaiso Police Department is asking neighborhoods to plan an event during the above date and time. If you are planning an event please contact Sgt. Michael Grennes at 462-2135 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to schedule your event. Officers from the Bicycle Unit, K-9 Unit, Detective Bureau and Patrol Officers will be visiting events during the night. We would like to visit your event.
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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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