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Coroner Confirms Identity of Teen

Peyton Rickhof
Downstate, the Hamilton County Coroner's Office reports the body found inside an SUV submerged in eight-feet of water northeast of Indianapolis is that of an 18-year-old Fishers teenager missing since Thursday. A Silver Alert was issued Friday for Peyton Riekhof. The alert was canceled Sunday after her SUV was discovered in Geist  Reservoir. Coroners officials say cause of death was drowning. 
[Photo Provided/Fishers Police Dept]

Work Beginning Soon at City Hall

laporte city hall WinCE
A century-old building in Northwest Indiana is about to have some work done. Renovations scheduled to begin next month at La Porte City Hall will largely involve the installation of new heating and air-conditioning and electrical systems. Some exterior work is planned, including new concrete steps at the entrance, repainting trim and addressing some loose bricks.
[Photo/City of La Porte]

Volunteers Sought for Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana is searching for additional volunteer drivers. Two training sessions are scheduled for August 13, and August 15, 2013.. Each day, volunteers assist in the delivery of more than 1,600 meals throughout Lake County.  The duties of a Meal Delivery Volunteer include:
·    Driving your own vehicle and delivering meals during the lunch hour.
·    A route within your own community.
·    Flexible monthly scheduling.
·    Each delivery requires about 1 ½ hours.
“In addition to individuals, many area organizations and businesses participate in our corporate volunteer program,” said Joan Vith, Volunteer Manager. Vith says volunteers are needed for all routes throughout Lake County.   “However, at the moment, we are particularly in need in the Griffith, Munster and Merrillville areas,” she said.   Interested and prospective volunteers are invited to attend a Volunteer Orientation and Training Session at the Meals on Wheels Conference Room, 8446 Virginia Street in Merrillville.  One-hour sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 13 at 10:30 a.m., and again on Thursday, August 15 at 1:30 p.m. To register for training, or for more information on individual or corporate volunteering opportunities, contact Vith at (219)-756-3663, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Gary Mayor Discusses Education Reform

image001 WinCE
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says a recent meeting with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on education reform confirmed the importance of partnerships between local schools and city governments. Freeman-Wilson was in Washington DC for a meeting of the Mayors' Education Reform Task Force formed a few months ago and co-chaired by the National League of Cities. The mayor says one of the key components in the revitalization of Gary is the improvement of their schools.
News release:
[Gary, IN] –Recently, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Pruittjoined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, other mayors and school superintendents in Washington, DC, to discuss partnership opportunities between cities and the U.S. Department of Education to foster effective approaches to education reform.
Participating city leaders are part of a new Mayors’ Education Reform Task Force co-chaired by National League of Cities (NLC) First Vice President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, MN, and NLC Second Vice President Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT.  Mayors Coleman and Becker formed the task force in March 2013 to explore how cities can and should be involved in local education reform efforts.
“Our meeting with Secretary Duncan further confirms that we are taking the right steps locally to strengthen the relationship between our school system and city government,” said Freeman-Wilson. “One of the key components in the revitalization of Gary is the improvement of our schools.”
During the meeting, task force members highlighted the growing commitment by municipal officials across the country to promoting educational achievement.
“Mayors and elected officials can bring together all the stakeholders in the education conversation in their cities,” said Mayor Coleman.  “The perspectives from mayors of cities large to small are valuable to local and national policymakers.  I’m glad we had an opportunity to talk with the Secretary and his staff about the role mayors can play in education transformation.”
Local leaders shared examples of city-school partnerships they have formed in their communities in areas such as school improvement, early learning, afterschool programming, and post-secondary success. 
“It is pivotal for a meeting of the minds between these entities because it will take the strategic planning and implementation of educators and the government alike to change the course of education,” said Pruitt. “Effective and effective partnerships work – we’ve had an awesome example of such in the Gary Community Schools that started with a single email. Through technology and some willing workers, one of our schools received a donation of 4,000 books. If we continue the courageous conversations I believe students will experience even brighter futures. I applaud Secretary Duncan for his efforts.”
The meeting with Secretary Duncan provided mayors with an opportunity to discuss how lessons learned at the city level can inform federal education policy.  Among the key issues of concern identified by the task force are:
  • Finding a “third way” in education reform that balances a commitment to accountability with a spirit of collaboration among school administrators, teachers, and cities;
  • Transforming schools into centers of community that support parent engagement and provide wraparound services to children and families;
  • Building on successful “cradle-to-career” models to develop a strong educational pipeline;
  • Securing adequate and equitable funding for local education initiatives; and
  • Promoting college access and completion.

“In this global economy, cities and towns depend on an educated workforce and schools are depending us. We need to work together to ensure that our children graduate high school ready for postsecondary education and career success,” said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, Mayor of Avondale, AZ.  “As city leaders, we have an important message that must be heard and we must be at the table in guiding federal and local education reform policies.”
In addition to Freeman-Wilson and Pruitt, participants in the meeting included: Mayor Edna Branch Jackson of Savannah, Georgia; Mayor Dwight Jones of Richmond, Virginia; Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, Connecticut; Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison, Wisconsin; Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District Superintendent Rick Miller; and New York City Deputy Chief Academic Officer Josh Thomases.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
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Michigan City Company Expanding

dwyer WinCE
A company headquartered in Michigan City is expanding its operations in La Porte County. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says Dwyer Instruments plans to lease and equip an eleven-thousand square-foot facility at Kingsbury Industrial Park. The new plant, expected to be fully operational by September, will allow the company to start manufacturing sensor products for the fire pump, industrial and chemical industries. Founded in 1931, Dwyer manufactures control and instrumentation products for the HVAC , chemical, food, oil and gas and pollution control industries. State officials say the expansion will create up to fifty new jobs by 2016.
"Indiana is a state that works for manufacturing, with a carefully crafted business environment that stands out in the Midwest and across the country," said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "Companies like Dwyer recognize that our low-tax, pro-growth policies, including the recent enactment of the largest tax cut in state history, make Indiana ripe for business achievement."
Dwyer currently has 740 associates globally, which includes approximately 530 employees in Indiana, and will begin hiring assembly, instrument builders and technicians in October. Interested applicants can learn more at .
"Indiana continues to lower taxes, while other states we were considering for this expansion are raising taxes," said Jim Goldschmidt, director of manufacturing of Dwyer. "With its low taxes, Indiana showed that it was committed to creating the business environment we need to grow our business and hire more people. Purdue North Central has been a great resource in supplying engineering and technical personnel to support the manufacturing needs."
More than half of all goods produced by the company are specialty items designed and manufactured specifically to client specifications. Dwyer has Indiana locations in Kingsburg, Wakarusa, Wolcott and Michigan City, along with additional operations in Anaheim, Calif., Grandview, Mo., Fergus Falls, Minn., Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Australia.


Death Investigation in Gary

The Lake County Coroners office this morning reports they were dispatched to 1 North Buffington Harbor in Gary where they say 63-year-old Maria Delis of Bloomingdale, Illinois, was pronounced dead at 4 am. Officials say the woman sustained no injury and the manner of death was pending. Gary Police are investigating.

Gary Man Fatally Shot

A 19-year-old Gary man was shot and killed Monday night in the city. The Lake County Coroners office says they were dispatched to East 7th Avenue and Connecticut Street where Marquise Stokes was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 last night of gunshot wounds. Gary Police and Lake County Police Department CSI are investigating.

Ride Inspected After Report of Injury

A ride at the Porter County Fair was said to have been inspected and found not to have malfunctioned after police say a 15-year-old Hobart boy was reportedly injured while riding it Saturday night. A news release issued by Porter County Sheriffs Police says witnesses reported the boy hit his head somehow on the “Starship” ride while it was in motion. Additional information on the teen's condition was not available.

Boy Rescued at Mt Baldy Improving

woessner update 0722 WinCE
A six-year-old Sterling, Illinois, boy buried under eleven-feet of sand for more than three hours at a giant sand dune in northwest Indiana earlier this month continues to improve.  The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital issued a statement Monday saying Nathan Woessner was in good condition and can now leave his room to visit the playroom. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore officials say Mount Baldy in Michigan City s closed indefinitely as they try to determine why a hole opened up in the sand July 12 and look to see if there any other similar dangers at the park.
[Pictured: Nathan Woessner with his father Greg. Photo/provided]

18 Year Old Dies After Shooting in Hammond

Hammond PD
A 18 year old man was shot and killed this afternoon in Hammond. Police Chief Brian Miller says dispatch received the call at approximately 4pm, in the 14-hundred Sherman Street, concerning the teen that was shot in the torso. Chief Miller says the man, whose name has not been released, was taken to St. Margaret's Hospital where he later passed away, and that at this time, there is no motive for the shooting, and the suspect is still at large. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Hammond Police Department, at (219) 853-6490.
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Teleperformance Americall Now Hiring!

city of hobart
The City of Hobart today (Monday) announced Teleperformance Americall will hire 300 to 400 employees in the next 30 to 60 days after two new contracts were signed with new clients. As a result the company is looking to hire both full and part-time positions, and the jobs will be 95-percent inbound customer service/sales. The Mayor's Office reports a press conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 2:30, at Americall, located in the 19-hundred block of Northwind Parkway. For more information on the hiring, visit
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Traffic Restrictions Tuesday in Hebron for Asphalt Paving

Motorists in Hebron will have to deal with some traffic restrictions starting tomorrow (Tuesday). The Porter County Highway Department reports asphalt paving will take place on County Roads 400 West and 375 West between County Road 750 South and State Route 8, and County Road 750 South, between County Roads 440 West and 375 West until Thursday, between the hours of 6am through 4:30pm. Traffic will be restricted to local residents only.
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Busy Weekend for Coast Guard on Lake Michigan

Coast Guard 9th District
It seems boaters failed to heed the warning given Friday by the Coast Guard, advising caution of approaching foul weather on Lake Michigan, as crews responded to over ten cases of mariners in distress this weekend. A Michigan City Coast Guard boat crew rescued two people aboard a 16-foot vessel that capsized Friday night. In total, the Coast Guard's 9th District this weekend on Lake Michigan rescued four people and assisted 13, with two deaths were reported.
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IN Dems on Gov Playing Politics with Hoosier Health Care

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody released the following statement about Gov. Pence playing politics with Hoosier health care by releasing misleading data to scare Hoosiers about health care costs.
"Over the weekend, it became clear that Gov. Pence will stop at nothing to oppose President Obama's plan to provide affordable health care to millions of Americans. The Indiana Department of Insurance released misleading data as a political scare tactic to grandstand against improved health care and increased health coverage for Hoosiers.
"Instead of working to make sure this historic health insurance reform provides better benefits and lowers costs, these Republicans chose yet again to turn back the clock on middle class families. Gov. Pence is playing politics by refusing to expand coverage that would help 400,000 Hoosiers receive the care they need. At the same time, he’s taking a pass on 30,000 potential new jobs that could be created through expanded health coverage in our state.
"Make no mistake, Republicans’ real goal is to return to the days of letting seniors pay more for prescription drugs, forcing kids off of their parents insurance plans before they turn 26, and denying people coverage because of a pre-existing condition. It’s time they stop playing partisan games and start working on legislation that will actually help working Americans. That’s what we call Hoosier common sense."
Forbes: "Proof Of Politics: Indiana Fudges Truth On Health Exchange Rates To Make Obamacare Look Bad"
Washington Post: " Indiana says health plan costs will spike to $570. That’s not the full story."
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Custodian Charged with Sex with Minor

Kevin Abernathy II
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 21 year old custodian at Boone Grove Middle School is accused of having sex with a female juvenile student on at least two occasions. The Times reports Kevin Abernathy II, of Valparaiso, is charged with felony sexual misconduct with a minor. According to the article, after meeting the girl at a bonfire a year earlier, Abernathy reached out to the girl on Facebook, and after the girl's mother would not allow the relationship due to the age difference, the girl agreed to sneak him into her bedroom on three occasions during the late night hours between February and March.
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Bond Ave Closure/Restriction in Valpo Through Friday

The storm sewer construction phase of the Bond Avenue road closure in Valparaiso has been completed and work has now started on curb and roadway construction. Officials report Bond Avenue, between Madison and Campbell Streets, will be restricted to only the north lane outside of working hours, which are between 7am-5pm, and that this lane will be one-way access for westbound traffic only as no eastbound traffic will be permitted. Campbell Street to Grove Street to Elmhurst Street to Bond Avenue will serve as the official detour until work is scheduled to be completed this Friday at 5pm.
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Valpo's Economic Development Director Moves On

Matt Muprhy, the current Economic Development Director for the City of Valparaiso

Matt Murphy will leave his position as Economic Development Director for the City of Valparaiso effective July 31st, according to an announcement made Monday afternoon by Mayor Jon Costas who said that Murphy will continue to contribute to the economic development of the city, but as a business owner.

The Mayor told Region News that Murphy made a big impact for the growth of the city, "Matt has served the city so well in helping us grow and build our business infrastructure."  The mayor added that Murphy, "came out of the private sector and now this is a wonderful opportunity (for Murphy) to grow a local business that he purchased from his father-in-law."  Beginning in August Murphy will lead Jifco Products Inc., a family-owned CNC precision Machine Shop located on Brown Street in Valparaiso.

While Mayor Costas expressed the city's appreciation for Murphy's contributions as the City's director of development, who joined the city in 2007, he said the city is grateful that Murphy "will remain in our city, leading a positive employer and continuing to serve on our Board of Works and Safety" in a volunteer capacity, said Costas.

According to a press release from the mayor's office, Murphy has been instrumental in assisting companies to expand and remain in Valparaiso, including the expansion of North Coast Distributing, UGN Inc. and Task Force Tips, as well as bringing in new companies, such as Paul Wirth, Inc. and AM Stabilizers.

As far as filling the position the mayor said, "it's a very important position, very close advisor to me in many ways so we're going to simply take our time and consider all sectors.  We're going to make sure we that we're able to find somebody that cna take the batton and take the city to new heights."


(photo from  and )



Berry Unanimously Elected Indiana GOP State Chair

Tim Berry Named Rep part chair
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Republican Party)
INDIANAPOLIS (July 22, 2013) - Today, during a meeting of The Indiana Republican Party State Committee, Tim Berry of Fort Wayne was elected unanimously as state chairman.  In addition, the committee unanimously elected Marsha Coats to serve as national committeewoman.
Governor Mike Pence, who spoke prior to the vote, said, "Tim Berry will be an outstanding Republican State Chairman and Marsha Coats will represent our State with distinction on the Republican National Committee."
Berry added, "I am excited about the opportunities before us to broaden our base of support around the State of Indiana.  In the past several years we have had great success but now it is incumbent upon us to not become complacent.  We must strive each and every day to continue building upon our great foundation for the betterment of every Hoosier."
Berry immediately appointed Misty Dees Hollis of Richmond as interim vice chair and Kyle Robertson of Indianapolis as executive director.  Pursuant to state party rules, following the resignation of Vice Chair Sandi Huddleston, which took place after the votes, there must be a ten day waiting period until a vote to replace her is called. 
"I look forward to hitting the ground running alongside Misty, Marsha and Kyle," added Berry.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Douglas Williams

douglas williams
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals, Great Lakes Task Force)
A 28 year old man wanted for attempted murder and attempted burglary resulting in serious bodily injury in Lake County Court is this week's U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force, Fugitive of the Week. Douglas Williams is described as a black male, 6'01”, weighing 190-pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and is last known to reside in the 21-hundred block of Shelburne Street, in Indianapolis.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Douglas Williams 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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Valpo Police to Introduce Coffee with a Cop on July 26th

Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department is introducing a new national community program called Coffee with a Cop.
It's a simple concept. Police and community members come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee. Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department's work in Valparaiso neighborhoods. In over 100 cities and towns in 24 states, Coffee with a Cop has done wonders for community trust, police legitimacy and partnership building.
Valparaiso Police will host their first Coffee with a Cop on Friday July 26th at two locations in the city. The first event is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Viking Chili Bowl on US 30 and the second event is schedule from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m at Suzies' Café, located on Southpoint Dr. 
Valparaiso Police Officers, including Chief Michael Brickner will be at both events on Friday morning. Community members are encouraged to attend one of the two events.
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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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