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SR 312 Closed This Week in EC for Rail Crossing Repairs

Indot Logo color
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of State Road 312 at the railroad crossing in East Chicago between Huish Drive and Grasselli Street beginning Monday, August 19th through Friday, August 23rd. Crews will be repairing the railroad crossing.
A detour will take eastbound SR 312 traffic north on U.S. 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), east on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on SR 912 (Cline Ave), and back to SR 312. Westbound SR 312 traffic will be detoured north on SR 912 (Cline Ave), west on U.S. 12 (Columbus Dr), south on US 20 (Indianapolis Blvd), and back to SR 312.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, “like us” at and “follow us” at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.

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Detainee Awaiting Sentencing Dies of Natural Causes

Cook County Sheriff
A 64 year old Cook County detainee convicted of murder in December 2012 died of natural causes Friday at the jail.  Sheriff Thomas Dart reported on Saturday that Percy Banks, who was being held at the jail while awaiting sentencing for a 2007 murder, was found unresponsive in his cell Friday afternoon.

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IL Man Killed Sunday in Gary at Food Mart

A 28 year old man was killed Sunday at the Virginia Street Food Mart in Gary and the death has been ruled an apparent homicide.  The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Mihid Abutemeh, of Oak Lawn, Illinois, was pronounced dead just after 1pm, due to a gunshot wound to the chest.  Gary Police, Lake County Sheriff's Police, and the Lake County Coroner's Office are investigating.
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Gary Man Suspect in alleged Burglaries in Portage

portage pd
Police may have disrupted a string of thefts from inside parked vehicles occurring in the Portage area with the arrest of a Gary man. 

A 33-year old and an 18 year-old woman reported various items, including cell phones a checkbook and laptop computer, taken early Thursday morning from inside vehicles parked at their residences.   Portage Police received an eye-witness report of two black males attempting to gain entry into a neighbor's parked vehicle.  An officer en route to an unrelated call observed a subject matching the description of one of the subjects walking south bound on Swanson near the intersection of McCasland.  The subject was detained and found to be wanted in Lake County for a felony burglary charge. 
Police reports say the man identified as 20 year-old, Jirrell C. Dotson of the 300 block of Hayes Street in Gary, was arrested and transported to Porter Count Jail where he faces D Felony theft charges as well as the B Felony Lake County Warrant.  The other suspect reportedly remains at large and is described as male, black, 5'-8" to 5'-10" tall with thin build and wearing a blue or black "hoodie" and baggie pants.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Portage Police Department at (219) 762-3122.


Friday Night Crash Takes Life of Hammond Man

The identity of a man killed in single-car crash in Hammond Friday night has been released.  A press release from the Lake County Coroner's office says the man identified as 59 year-old, Dan Pirkowski of the 7400 block of Baring Parkway, suffered blunt force trauma when his car reportedly struck a pole. According to an article in the Times, the coroner received a call at 8:50 p.m. about an accident at 3300 Michigan Ave. in Hammond.  No other information is available at this time.    



Crown Point Bulldogs are World Champions!

Cal Ripken World series logo

The Crown Point Bulldogs are the reigning 2013 Cal Ripken World Series Champions.  During the championship game, Crown Point beat the Knights from Kingsbridge, New York by a score of 5 to 4 Friday night at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.  According to the Times, the Knights were among eight teams from around the country that made the trip to the Region to play in the tournament.  The host team, the Hammond Optimist Squad, lost to Crown Point in the semifinals.

The tournament is named for Calvin Edwin "Cal" Ripken, Jr. who is consideed to be one of the best major league shortstops and third basemen in baseball history.  According to WIkipedia, Ripken, who spent his entire major league career with the Baltimore Orioles, is perhaps best known for breaking Lou Gehrig's 56 year-old record for consecutive games played, a feat many thought impossible.  Cal Ripken, Jr. was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Read more about the big win at:

(photo from: )



State Supreme Court Voids Region Twins Adoption

Despite an Indiana Supreme Court Ruling backing "a fit parent's constitutional rights," a  5-0 decision on Friday could result in the removal of ten year old twins from the only home they've ever known. 
According to the Times, when they were 18-months of age,  the twins were removed from their natural mother's home for unknown reasons by the Department of Child Services and placed with a foster family.  According to court records, their natural father is unknown and in 2008, the Jasper County child services office won county court approval to terminate the parental rights of the natural mother--a decision the mother appealed.  During the course of the appeal, the foster parents went ahead and formally adopted the twins, who according to the article, have been living with them for three years.  Two months after the adoption went through, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision to terminate the natural mother's parental rights.  The court found that DCS did not satisfactorily show that continuing the parent-child relationship would threaten the twins' well-being.  The high court has ordered a new adoption hearing be held in Jasper County where the natural mother can make her case as to why the twins belong with her.   The court also urges agencies, lawyers, judges and others involved in the adoption process to change their procedures so no Hoosier children are ever again put in a similar position.
Read more about this story at:

Back-to-School Checklist for Students with Asthma

American Lung Assoc. logo

As summer winds down, Northwest Indiana area families are preparing for the new school year. A new school environment can sometimes be difficult for children with asthma.

This back-to-school season, the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago features tips for families of children with asthma and stresses the importance of crafting a plan to properly manage asthma in a school environment.

“Before shopping for back-to-school supplies, parents of students with asthma should first consider their child’s health for the time that they spend under the supervision of school personnel and in the school environment,” said Meghan Miller, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago. “They should work closely with their healthcare provider and school personnel before the school year begins to put a plan in place for good asthma control in the classroom.”

Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood disorders in the nation, affecting an estimated seven million children under the age of 18; specifically 20,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) students are affected by asthma (5% of CPS student population). It is also one of the primary illness-related reasons that students miss school, accounting for more than 10 million lost school days each year.

Asthma is the third-leading cause of hospitalization for children under 15. In 2011, more than half of people with current asthma experienced at least one episode, or attack—with children 39 percent more likely than adults to have an asthma episode.

The onset of a new school year also marks the beginning of the cold and flu season. Influenza poses a special health risk to children with asthma, as these children often experience more severe symptoms. The American Lung Association strongly recommends that all children—especially those with asthma—be immunized against influenza.

In preparation for the school year ahead, the Lung Association in Greater Chicago urges parents who have children with asthma to complete the following checklist:

¨  Step 1 – Learn about asthma
Learning about asthma is easy. The American Lung Association has many free resources to help you and your child learn how to keep asthma in good control. Well controlled asthma is the key to helping your child stay healthy and active.
î  Visit to learn about asthma and asthma management. Be sure to watch the short animation What is Asthma? to learn what happens in the airways during an asthma episode.
î  Asthma Basics is a 50-minute online educational tool for people with asthma or anyone who provides care for someone living with asthma. It teaches how to recognize and manage asthma symptoms, how to identify and reduce triggers, how to create an asthma management plan and how to respond to a breathing emergency.
î  Visit Lungtropolis along with your 5-10 year old child. You’ll find action-packed games designed to help kids control their asthma—plus advice for parents.

¨  Step 2 – Talk to the school nurse
A visit or phone call to the school nurse should be your next step. Together, you and the school nurse, along with your child’s healthcare provider, can work to reduce asthma triggers and manage symptoms while in school.
î  Ask the school nurse to explain and provide all of the required forms you and your child’s healthcare provider need to sign and complete, including an asthma action plan.
î  All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow children to self-carry and use their asthma inhalers while at school. Each law is different; visit and click on your state to learn more.
î  Discuss your child’s asthma triggers and steps to reduce them in the classroom.
î  Ask about the school’s asthma emergency plan, and if coaches, teachers and staff are trained in how to recognize asthma symptoms and respond to a breathing emergency.

¨  Step 3 - Schedule Asthma Check-up
Each school year should begin with a visit to your child’s healthcare provider for an asthma check-up. This check-up is the best time to make sure your child is on the right amount of medicine for their asthma, to fill-out any forms required by the school and to create an asthma management plan as described in Step 4. Kids with asthma should visit their healthcare provider every three to six months, depending on how often your child is having symptoms.
The Lung Association website provides helpful hints on how to talk to your healthcare provider and make your medical visits more satisfying.

¨  Step 4 - Develop an Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a written worksheet created by your healthcare provider and tailored to your child’s needs. The plan includes a list of their asthma triggers and symptoms, the names of their medicines and how much medicine to take when needed. The plan also explains the steps to take to manage an asthma episode and a breathing emergency. An asthma action plan should always be on file in the school nurse’s office and easily accessible to anyone who may need to help your child use their inhaler.

¨  Step 5 – Get a Flu Shot
On average, one out of five Americans suffers from influenza (flu) every year. Respiratory infections such as the flu are one of the most common asthma triggers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination. The best way to protect your family from the flu is for everyone to get vaccinated.

For additional information on asthma and children, including a downloadable version of this checklist with even more details, visit or call 1-800-LUNG-USA.

About the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit


Blast Furance Goes Down at ArcelorMittal in EC

No injuries were reported after a blast furnace went out at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago.  The Times reports the company is doing planned maintenance repairs earlier than scheduled in light of the outage and that repairs are already taking place.  According to the article, once the repairs are made, normal operations will resume and that shipments and customer demand are not anticipated to be impacted.
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ISP: Changes to Indiana's Methamphetamine Law

Indiana State Police logo
Troopers working from the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Section want Hoosiers to be aware of changes to the Indiana criminal code as it relates to methamphetamine. For most law abiding citizens the law will have little if any effect on their day to day lives. For people who have been convicted of engaging in activities related to the illegal manufacturing and use of methamphetamine, the changes to the law can lead to their arrest if violated. Officers want people to pay close attention to Indiana criminal code 35-48-4-14.5(h).  It states, in part, that a person convicted of one of the listed criminal offenses is prohibited from possessing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine within seven years of the person's sentence. They can obtain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine if dispensed under a prescription.
** AS OF JULY 1st 2013 **
Indiana law regarding the Sale and Control of Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine: 
A person may not purchase and a pharmacy may not sell to one individual: more than
(1) 3.6 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, or both, on one day; 
(2) 7.2 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, or both, in a 30 day period; or, 
(3) 61.2 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, or both, in a 365 day period. 
(I.C 35-48-4-14.7(d) and (e)) 
Prohibits a person convicted of one or any of the following charges: 
(1) Dealing in methamphetamine, 
(2) Possession of more than ten grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or 
(3) Possession of anhydrous ammonia or ammonia solution with intent to 
manufacture methamphetamine, 
Troopers Want to Make the Public Aware of Changes to Indiana’s Methamphetamine Law
(4) Possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors with the intent to 
manufacture a controlled substance, 
(5) Unlawful sale of a precursor; 
from possessing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine within seven years of the person's sentence, unless dispensed under a prescription. 
It is illegal for a person to sell, transfer, distribute, or furnish a chemical reagent or precursor to another person with knowledge or the intent that the recipient will use the chemical reagent or precursors to manufacture a controlled substance. 
(I.C. 35-48-4-14.5(g)) 
Citizens are encouraged to call their local law enforcement agencies with any information about the possession, distribution, or manufacturing of methamphetamine. Information can also be reported anonymously by calling the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Tip Line at 1-800-453-4756.

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Lake Co Sheriff Dept Partnering with Gary PD

Erik Gill
(Photos Courtesy of the Lake Co Sheriff's Office)

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich announced today that he is in partnership with the Gary Police Department to address the street violence occurring there due to gangs and drugs.  The Sheriff's Department Tactical Officers served a narcotics search warrant in the 15-hundred block of Pierce Street in Gary on Wednesday morning and arrested 48 year old Erik Gill Sr. on two-counts of dealing a controlled substance and maintain a common nuisance.  They also raided a residence in the four-thousand block of Jackson Street in Gary, and while no one was home at the time, authorities seized two A-K 47 assault rifles, a double-barrel sawed off shotgun, nine pounds of marijuana, almost 40 grams of crack cocaine and 66 grams of powder cocaine.
drugs 1  

Sheriff Buncich says they need the public's help to make a bigger impact to cleanup the neighborhoods, and ask citizens to contact their hotline number 1-800-750-2746, and assures potential tipsters that there is no call I-D associated with the hotline and all callers can remain anonymous.
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Traffic Advisory Issued for Weekend Events in LaPorte

The La Porte Police Department is issuing a traffic safety advisory in relation to several events in La Porte this weekend.
- The weekend kicks off with the Mayor's Fitness Friday walk/ run/bike event. This weekly event is on Friday evening, August 16th, beginning at 5:15 p.m. 
Motorists are asked drive with awareness of runners & walkers on the route, which begins at Michigan Av./ Maple Av. (near the YMCA), and continues south on Michigan Av. to Beechwood Golf Course and back.
- On Saturday, August 17th, the 2nd annual Taste of La Porte will take place at the Chamber of Commerce Square & Historic Train Depot in the 400 Blk. of Michigan Av. The event is 3 p.m - 9 p.m.
Motorists should be aware of increased pedestrian traffic and some traffic/ parking congestion in the surrounding area.
- Also on Saturday is the annual La Porte County Blues Fest at the Dennis F. Smith Ampitheater in Fox Park. The event, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #54 and SDY promotions begins at 12 p.m. and runs until 11 p.m.
Motorists should be aware of increased pedestrian traffic and some traffic/ parking congestion in this area as well.
To assist with traffic safety and ease of parking, a free shuttle will be available to transport patrons between the Taste of La Porte and the Bluesfest.

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Two More Heroin Arrests Made in LaPorte

Benjamin Heiman
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)
Amber Malstaff


The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office today report the 6th and 7th arrest made in the last two weeks involving heroin.  31 year old Benjamin Heiman was arrested at his home, in the three-hundred block of Niles Street in LaPorte, without incident on an outstanding warrant for two felony counts of dealing heroin.  The Sheriff's Office reports this afternoon LaPorte Police, assisted by the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit, took 29 year old Amber Malstaff into custody, on an outstanding warrant for felony possession of heroin, after a traffic stop was initiated in LaPorte. Malstaff is being held without bond and authorities report additional arrests are anticipated.
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EC Traffic Stop Leads to Seizure of Drugs and $12,000

East Chicago PD
Chief Mark J. Becker, East Chicago, Indiana Police Department today released the following information:
On August 15, 2013 at approximately 5:50pm, a vehicle occupied Timothy Pearson,
34 years of age and Kevin Rhodes, 40 years of age, was curbed by an officer assigned to the department’s recently established “STOP Team”.  The officer had been patrolling the area of Guthrie and Deodar Streets, East Chicago, Indiana when he recognized Pearson to be in the vehicle.  The officer had prior knowledge of the existence of an arrest warrant was on file for Pearson and proceeded to curb the vehicle.
Pearson’s arrest warrant was based on a recent traffic stop made earlier this week, again initiated by a STOP Team officer, who at that time had found him to be in possession of marijuana.  Rhodes was also found to have outstanding arrest warrants on file with East Chicago Police as well as with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Both Pearson and Rhodes are residents of East Chicago.
At the time of the traffic stop last night, as the officer approached the vehicle, he observed a clear plastic bag containing a green leaf like substance, consistent in appearance with that of marijuana, to be sitting on top of the gear shift control.  Both suspects were taken into custody.
As a result of the investigation, STOP Team officers executed a search warrant at 4016 Grand.  As the officers approached the residence, they noted a strong smell of marijuana, which was detectable from standing outside the residence.
Upon entry into the residence, Adrian Paynes, female, 34 years of age, was found to be present. The ensuing search found approximately 11 pounds of marijuana, two loaded hand guns, over $12,000 in US Currency and several television sets that are suspected to have been stolen from locations yet unknown.  Paynes was taken into custody and is facing related charges.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has joined in the investigation.  A decision will be made in the near future as to perhaps seeking federal charges.
Chief Becker commended the actions of all involved, from those involved in the traffic stops, to the detectives who executed the search warrant.  Becker also stated his gratitude for the assistance provided by the ATF, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.
Additionally, Chief Becker noted that recently area law enforcement agencies have had several discussions as to how to deal with increased murders, gang presence and other types of violent crime.  Those discussions are continuing and new initiatives will soon appear.  Although new ideas and methods are welcome, as is evidenced in this investigation, increasing traffic enforcement is a very basic and effective manner to help reduce the violence the Region has faced.  As of July 1, 2013 the East Chicago Police Department has already exceeded the total traffic stops made for all of 2012.
Research has proven that one of the simplest ways to reduce crime is to stop those who drive poorly. People who commit serious crimes oftentimes make for poor drivers. If we remain aggressive and stop would be criminals for minor traffic issues, we will positively impact our crime rate.  The STOP Team is one such initiative that the department has deployed in furtherance of increasing a very visible police presence in the city.
The STOP Team is an aggressive patrol based initiative that the department initiated in April of this year. Those assigned to the unit are expected to deal with any and all public safety issues that may arise.  Those issues range from dealing with speeding in school zones to dealing with those who would opt to use locations in East Chicago to distribute illegal drugs.   
Through July, over the course of just 3 ½ months, the team has executed nearly 800 traffic stops, made 137 arrests and continue efforts to reach out to the community to gain their trust and assistance in addressing matters such as that described in this release.  The activities of this team coupled with the diligence of all of our officers and support personnel, are very much responsible for the 18% reduction in violent crime during the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012.

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3 Region Students Complete Visclosky Internship

Visclosky and Ashley Mason
Ashley Mason of Purdue University Calumet with Congressman Pete Visclosky

Three students from Northwest Indiana have completed a summer internship at Indiana 1st District Congressman Pete J. Visclosky's Merrillville District Office.  

According to a press release from the congressman's office those students are, Ashley Mason of Lowell, a college student entering her senior year at Purdue University Calumet, Cassidy Schwartz of Munster, a high school student entering her senior year at Munster High School and Sofia Grimsgard of Valparaiso, a high student entering her junior year at Valparaiso High School.

Mason majors in journalism with a minor in political science.  She is a graduate of Lowell Senior High School, class of 2010. According to the release She intends to seek a graduate degree in political science following graduation at Purdue University Calumet.

“I appreciate Ashley’s work in my Merrillville office this summer,” Congressman Visclosky said.  “Her dedication to public service is commendable and I hope that her experience in our office will serve her well in graduate school.”

Schwartz is co-president of the Munster branch of Child Rights and You (CRY) nonprofit organization.  She is also an active member of the National Honor Society and Speech and Debate Team at Munster High.  She plans on pursuing a degree in cognitive neuroscience with a minor in Spanish when she attends college next year.

“I appreciate Cassidy’s willingness to take on the responsibility of serving as an intern in my Congressional office.” Congressman Visclosky said. “Throughout her internship, Cassidy’s attitude and high standards proved to be assets to my office. As someone who has dedicated their life to public service, I know these attributes will serve her well in the future.”

Grimsgard is an active member of the Valparaiso High School Student Council, French and Spanish Clubs, as well as the Speech and Debate Team.  She plans on pursuing a degree in political science and/or communications in college.  “Congressman Visclosky defines the term hardworking, so interning for him during this summer has been an absolute pleasure,” said Grimsgard.  “Also, working with the casework staff to serve the constituents of the First Congressional District has been an amazing experience.”

“I appreciate Sofia’s commitment to public service through her participation in my office’s internship program,” said Congressman Visclosky. “Sofia proved to be a valuable asset in our day to day operation and I’m thankful that at her young age she had the willingness to serve in this capacity.  I wish her continued success in all of her future endeavors and I am confident that she will be successful in her academic and professional pursuits.”
Congressman Visclosky offers internships in his district and Washington, D.C. offices throughout the year. 

Intern applicants must be enrolled in high school or college, be eligible to receive school or service organization credit, and are encouraged to have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Visit:
Visclosky and Cassidy Schwartz
Cassidy Schwartz of Munster High School with Congressman Pete Visclosky

Visclosky and Sofia Grimsgard
Sofia Grimsgard of Valparaiso High School with Congressman Pete Visclosky

(photos provided by Congressman Pete Viscosky's office)





Martin Charged with Attempted Murder in Standoff

A 45 year old man who shot at officers and barricaded himself inside his home for nine-hours Wednesday has been charged today with six counts of felony attempted murder, seven counts of felony criminal recklessness and one felony count of aggravated battery. Court documents report Eric Martin, of Porter County's Jackson Township, fired multiple shots from inside the home, located in the three-hundred block of East 1050 North.  On Thursday, a search warrant of the residence was executed and investigators found all the exterior doors had been barricaded from inside and discovered seven spent shell casings, as well as seven locations where the bullets exited the living area of the home.  The incident began after officers went to the residence to question Martin about a complaint of battery by Martin against his father, who also resides at the same residence, and who advised officers his son had punched him, gouged his eyes and cut his neck with a knife.
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Seven Killed in Three Vehicle Crash on I-65

jasper co crash 1
(Photos Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post)

jasper co crash 2
Seven people, three adults and four children, were killed a fiery three-vehicle crash just before 10pm Thursday night on I-65 near the DeMotte/Roselawn exit.  Indiana State Police Lowell Post report a preliminary investigation revealed a semi pulling a box trailer driven by 55 year old Howard Stratton of Grand Rapids, Michigan, rear-ended a stationary Jeep Cherokee that was stopped in traffic due to a backup caused by an approaching work zone.  The impact ignited a fire which engulfed the Jeep, along with the cab and part of the trailer of the semi that struck the Jeep, and part of a trailer from a semi in front of the Jeep.  Authorities say the Jeep was taken to the Keener Fire Department to make an extrication, where a total of seven bodies were discovered.  Four of the deceased were from Merrillville, while the other three, which included the driver, were from Atlanta, Georgia.  Stratton was hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries, and the driver of the other semi was not injured.  An investigation continues. 
The names of the deceased are being released with permission from Jasper County Coroner Andy Boersman. 
- Amado Mangual, 49,  Merrillville, IN
- Lindsey Williams, 27, Merrillville, IN
- Yazmin Goldman, 5, Merrillville, IN
- Arielle Goldman, 3,  Merrillville, IN
- Jamin Osborne, 5,    Atlanta, GA
- Jasmin Osborne, 7,  Atlanta, GA 
- Yvette Williams, 35,  Atlanta, GA
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Fair Numbers Up in the Region

Now that they're all wrapped up, here's a look-back at fair attendance numbers in the Region....Lake County attendance reportedly topped last year's numbers by more than 12-thousand, for a total of nearly 222-thousand fairgoers for 2013.  In Porter County, Fair Manager Kevin Hannon says overall this year's event beat last year's numbers on many levels, including carnival, midway vendors and grandstand.  Hannon reports an estimated 120-thousand through the gates this year, on par with last year, and gate receipts up 15-percent over 2012.  In La Porte County, attendance numbers were said to be a few percentage points higher than last year.  

Purdue Professor Invents RoboDesk

Alexander Lo, a researcher in the Purdue Center for Paralysis Research, uses an iPad on the RoboDesk. The RoboDesk is an assistive technology being developed at Purdue University to help people with disabilities use iPads and other mobile devices more easily. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Hoping to foster independence and improve quality of life for the disabled, a Purdue professor has invented “RoboDesk”.  The device is a motorized wheelchair tray that makes it easier to position and remove a tablet or other mobile device without being limited by a table or moving in and out of the chair.  Associate Professor of Engineering Practice Brad Duerstock says it could also be used as a writing surface or meal tray, and allows the user to get through doorways.   

Brad Duerstock, a Purdue University associate professor of engineering practice in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering, is developing the technology and other assistance technologies in the Purdue Institute for Accessible Science. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
Duerstock says he hopes to get RoboDesk licensed and manufactured within the next three years.  He also says he hopes the device encourages more people with disabilities to pursue higher education. 


Woman Located 12 Hours After Crash

In northern Indiana, a woman involved in a crash yesterday afternoon was found late last night, several hours later.   Indiana State Police received a phone call from a distraught husband who wanted to report his wife as missing.  Less than two hours later troopers found the woman still trapped in her car after crashing into a wooded area in northeastern Elkhart County. 
State police initiated a ping service through AT&T in an attempt to locate her cell phone, and after a foot search troopers located the woman in her green 1997 Chevrolet Trail Blazer, which was nearly unnoticeable in a wooded area approximately 30 feet off the road and down an embankment. The woman had been trapped in her SUV since she crashed around 1 p.m. Thursday nearly twelve hours earlier.
She was extricated from her SUV  and transported for lacerations and trauma to her head and face. Police located her cell phone in her pocket and believe she was unable to use it due to her injuries.
It's not known why she drove off the road. The crash investigation is ongoing.

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