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IN Republican State Chair Holcomb to Step Down on 7/9

INDIANAPOLIS (June 19, 2013) - Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb issued the following statement regarding upcoming leadership changes at The Indiana Republican Party:

"At today's State Committee meeting I announced a series of upcoming leadership changes at The Indiana Republican Party.  While there is never a perfect time for these types of transitions, I believe this year, being an off-election year, is the best time.  In addition, and most importantly, these changes will give Governor Mike Pence a wonderful opportunity to charge forward and write our Party's next chapter of success. 

"My final day as State Chairman will be July 9, 2013.

"For quite some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my professional career. With the support of Governor Mike Pence and the confidence that our State Party's debts are paid off, we have surpassed our recent fundraising goals, our staff is smaller and more efficient than ever and we've already completed our biggest technological upgrade in a decade, made now the right time.

"I've had the honor and rare opportunity to serve alongside the leadership of two Republican governors, legislative leaders second to none, the best Congressional delegation in the country and local leaders in all 92 counties in the state.  This service ranks as one of the best experiences of my life. I have enjoyed giving it my all and yet always realized I received so much more out of the endeavor than I ever invested in it.

"An announcement regarding my next assignment will come sooner rather than later."

In addition, Holcomb announced that Executive Director Justin Garrett will be moving on to the private sector effective tomorrow, June 20.

"On a Mitch Daniels for Governor campaign, in the Governor's office and as a member of our Indiana Republican Party staff, Justin has been an indispensible leader, colleague and friend.  Our gains in the past few years are in large part because of his dedication to the cause," Holcomb said.

Former Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will also step down from her role as National Committeewoman following our Summer Dinner on July 9th.

Under State Party rules, Vice Chair Sandi Huddleston, in her capacity as Acting Chairman upon Holcomb's resignation, will be charged with conducting the election for a new State Chair.  Vice Chair Huddleston will also step down at that time herself.


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Swimming Advisory Lifted at Indiana Dunes State Park

Officials report the waters of Indiana Dunes State Park are now open again. Those waters had been under a swimming advisory after officials were alerted by beach-goers who reported children coming out of the lake with what they described as a 'sticky substance' on them Monday afternoon. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and US Geological Survey both took samples Monday, and expect a report on their findings within a week. IDEM Spokesman Dan Goldblatt says the Coast Guard continues to investigate, but the substance, whatever it is, is not believed to have come from the shore or any stacks, and are also investigating the possibility if this incident is related to a glittery substance reported on vehicles and outdoor furniture in the 15-hundred block of Brown Avenue in Robertsdale earlier this month.
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Sentors Donnelly and Collins: 40 Hours is Full-Time

donnelly
Washington, D.C. — Today, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) took a two-pronged approach to addressing what is an increasing problem around the country: employers needing a better definition of and clarity on “full-time employee” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).   
Collins said, “The new health care law creates a perverse incentive for businesses to cut their employees’ hours so they are no longer considered ‘full time.’  If its definition of a full-time worker as someone who works only 30 hours a week is allowed to go into effect, millions of American workers could find their hours, and their earnings, reduced.  This simply doesn’t make sense.”
Donnelly said, “Most Hoosiers I know think forty hours is full time.  We need to change the definition of a ‘full-time employee’ in the Affordable Care Act to bring it in line with what most Americans have traditionally recognized as full time.  We also need to provide clarity to employers so they have the information they need to run their businesses and plan for the future.  Many employers have to make decisions because of this definition, and some have chosen to cut current part-time employees’ hours.  This leaves too many Indiana families struggling to make ends meet.  I’m pleased to join my friend, Senator Collins, in introducing both a legislative and administrative approach to addressing this problem.  These are straightforward, common sense improvements that would benefit both employers and employees.”
Beginning in 2014, employers with more than 50 full-time employees will be required to provide employees with a basic level of health insurance or potentially face a penalty.  Under the ACA, a full-time employee is defined as an individual who works an average of at least 30 hours per week.  This is inconsistent with what most Americans, think: full-time is a 40 hour work week.  Further, there is significant confusion among employers who are struggling to understand and comply with the new requirements. 
Offering a legislative approach to solving this issue, Senators Collins and Donnelly introduced the Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013, which would change the definition of “full time” in the ACA to 40 hours per week and the number of hours counted toward a “full-time equivalent” employee to 174 hours per month. 
As they work together on a bipartisan legislative solution to develop clear, workable guidelines necessary for American businesses and workers, Senators Collins and Donnelly simultaneously urged President Obama to provide transition relief for employers.  They co-authored a letter to the President strongly urging his Administration to work with the employer community to provide transition flexibility beyond January 1, 2014, free from the threat of penalty.
To read the full text of Sens. Collins and Donnelly’s letter to President Obama, click here.
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Ind School Supt Wants to Help Guidance Counselors

Indiana State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she wants to enhance school counseling. Speaking to an audience of school counselors this week, Ritz introduced the idea of having thirteen Department of Education Outreach Coordinators in nine regions across the state work with counselors on how to better help students better succeed after high school. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Indiana's student to counselor ratio is eighth worst in the nation, at 539-to-one. The Indiana Youth Institute has brought experts to Indy yesterday and today for a Postsecondary Counseling Institute. The institute said 90-percent of counselors responding to a survey of theirs said they didn't know all the information needed to help students succeed
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More Work Ahead on 133rd in Cedar Lake

In Cedar Lake, a public hearing is coming up next month as town officials prepare for additional work along 133rd Avenue. Town Manager Ian Nicolini says financing essentially will cover two different projects.  "The second phase of 133rd Avenue," Nicolini said, "which is on the west side, will pay for the water main extension of that project.  The remainder of the project is paid for with federal funds.  On the east side of 133rd Avenue, we're paying for a reconstruction locally with TIF dollars as part of this financing."   For more about the project visit News Audio on Demand. Nicolini said the public hearing is July 8.
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Graduation Cat Caps IU Grad's Cake

grad cat cap WinCE
A graduation cat capped this IU grad's cake...22-year-old Laura Gambrel of Zionsville graduated from Indiana University last month.... and her mom ordered her a cake that featured a photo of her photo in the icing, and she requested that a cap be drawn on the top of picture. Someone, however, apparently accidentally wrote down “cat”, and that's what drawn in icing on top of Laura's head. The mom says they all got a good laugh out of it – including the bake staff – and she asked them not to scrape it off.
[Photo/ABC News Blogs/courtesy Laura Gambrel]
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New Report on Asian Carp

carpstudy
A new report out by the US Geological Survey says Asian carp don't need as much room to spawn as scientists thought. USGS Hydrologist Elizabeth Murphy says findings indicate that two species of Asian carp—silver and bighead carp—may be able to spawn in more Great Lakes tributaries than previously estimated.  Murphy says it's hoped that the information can help resource managers implement control measures and potentially prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes. Hear more of our interview online at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3618&from=rss_home
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Some Indiana Toll Road Rates Going Up

Some motorists will be paying more to drive the Indiana Toll Road soon. On July first, the a typical passenger car paying cash to travel the entire 157 miles between Illinois and Ohio will pay nine-dollars-seventy-cents, thirty-cents more than the July 2012 rate. Drivers who use an E-ZPass-compatible transponder for electronic tolling will continue to pay four-dollars-65-cents for the same trip and will not see an increase. Those rates are frozen through 2016, and ITR Concession Company says those are the same rates that have been in effect since 1985. A typical five-axle semi truck traveling one state line to the other will pay a-dollar-thirty-cents more, up to a total of $38-dollars-70-cents. ITR Concession says passenger cars, trucks and motorcycles wishing to avoid the rate increase may still purchase an E-ZPass transponder for ten-dollars.
For more info, visit www.ezpassin.com
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Sheen Reportedly Reached Michigan City

coast guard great lakes
The US Coast Guard is among the agencies investigating the sheen seen on Lake Michigan at a Region beach on Monday, causing authorities to order swimmers out of the water. National Lakeshore officials say all Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches remain under an advisory until it's determined what it was. The Coast Guard says about 3 p.m. Monday, a communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City was notified that people were coming out the water with an oily substance on them at Porter Beach.
The station directed the reporting source to contact the National Response Center, and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago dispatched a response boat to the area, and officials say pollution investigators found no visible sheen. Authorities say a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was diverted from a training mission to conduct an overflight of the area from the Port of Indiana to Michigan City, and found no evidence of sheen. They report they did see a few pollen blooms, and that just after 4 p.m., Station Michigan City received a report that the sheen had reached Michigan City.  The U.S. Geological Survey has taken water samples, and the results are pending. The Coast Guard also says their investigators are also reviewing a surveillance video provided by the Port of Indiana and have not noticed any signs of pollution.
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Group Wants Statue to Stay

Our Lady statue
A group calling themselves “Save Our Lady” is prepared to go to court... and appeal to Rome if necessary... to prevent the relocation of The Marian Wayside Shrine on US 41. The 15-foot hand-carved marble statue of the Virgin Mary, from Italy, has been in place along the highway in St. John for nearly sixty years, having been placed there, the group says, so the statue could be seen by all faiths during their travels....Route 41 used to be a main north-south highway connecting the upper midwest to the southern states, all the way to Florida. Yellow caution tape has been placed around the statue, also called the Great Lady, as St. John the Evangelist Parish is making preparations to move the statue about a half-mile away to parish grounds, and place another statue of the Virgin Mary, called Our Lady of the New Millennium, 33-feet tall and made of metal, at the US 41 location. On the Save Our Lady Facebook page, the group says they have civil lawyers working on an emergency injunction and a Catholic priest who specializes in Canon law who is prepared to work within the Catholic legal system all the way to Rome.
[Photo/Save Our Lady]
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Group Wants Statue to Stay

Our Lady statue
A group calling themselves “Save Our Lady” is prepared to go to court... and appeal to Rome if necessary... to prevent the relocation of The Marian Wayside Shrine on US 41. The 15-foot hand-carved marble statue of the Virgin Mary, from Italy, has been in place along the highway in St. John for nearly sixty years, having been placed there, the group says, so the statue could be seen by all faiths during their travels....Route 41 used to be a main north-south highway connecting the upper midwest to the southern states, all the way to Florida. Yellow caution tape has been placed around the statue, also called the Great Lady, as St. John the Evangelist Parish is making preparations to move the statue about a half-mile away to parish grounds, and place another statue of the Virgin Mary, called Our Lady of the New Millennium, 33-feet tall and made of metal, at the US 41 location. On the Save Our Lady Facebook page, the group says they have civil lawyers working on an emergency injunction and a Catholic priest who specializes in Canon law who is prepared to work within the Catholic legal system all the way to Rome.
[Photo/Save Our Lady]
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2013 Tax Sale Payment Plan

The May tax deadline has come and gone and preparation for conducting a Tax Sale begins. Tax payers who have not paid taxes due from May 10, 2012 or before may find themselves subject to tax sale on October 29, 2013 at 10:00am, said Treasurer Mike Bucko.
SRI of Indianapolis is conducting the tax sale for the county and will notify taxpayers via Certified Mail in August of 2013 followed by a 1st Class Tax Sale notice mailed in early October, of 2013 for those who have not responded to the certified mailing. A non-refundable fee of $100.00 that covers advertising costs and SRI’s fees will be applied to each certified taxpayer.
You may be eligible to be placed on a tax sale payment plan which provides an extended time period to pay but all delinquent taxes and all penalties are collected. This is not an alternative to the annual payment method but you may be eligible said Bucko
Taxpayers on a payment plan WILL remain on the tax sale list and be advertised three consecutive times beginning in September. Once certified the only way to prevent being advertised is to pay the amount owed in full prior to the dead line for advertising.
If you are in the payment plan and have made your down payment and all monthly payments on or before the 10th of each month due up to and including October 10, 2013 without fail you may be removed from the tax sale list October 28, 2013. Late payments are not allowed and will void the agreement
You may call the Treasurer’s Office at 219-465-3470 for an appointment Monday – Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm except holidays with the Treasurer or his Chief Deputy Treasurer at 155 Indiana Ave. Suite 209, Valparaiso, IN.
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GNIAR Reports 23rd Month of Consecutive Growth

Home sales in the region continue on their upward trend, with the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reporting the 23rd consecutive month of growth. CEO Peter Novak, Jr. says they expect to see numbers continue this way for the foreseeable future as demand for local appointments between their members has increased, reflecting a higher demand for buyers, which is clearly up compared to the same time frame in years past.
Lake County home sales increased 34-point-eight percent from May 2012 to May 2013, while home sales in Porter County increase 19-point-two percent during that same time frame. Home sales for Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties combined increased 29-point-six percent from the same time a year ago.
Novak says pent-up demand, and local property tax caps here in Northwest Indiana are factors for the increases, but first and foremost, it is the low-interest rates that are driving up demand.
For more information click News Audio On Demand.
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Elderly Mishawaka Woman Drowns, Appears Accidental

Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating drowning death of elderly Mishawaka woman. Authorities report they received a call of a body in a private pond in the one-thousand block of Park Place, around 7:30 Monday morning, and upon arrival located the body of 89 year old Christel Moryl in a retention pond outside of her assisted living community. Mishawaka Police report it appears the death was an accidental drowning. Moryl was known to suffer from dementia and was last seen by her caregiver sometime around midnight.
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Portage Officer Breaks Hand During Struggle to Arrest Subject

portage pd
A Portage Police officer suffered a broken left hand attempting to arrest a man Monday evening at his home in the 21-hundred block of Gina Street. Portage Police report they were dispatched on a call of a child being struck, and after arriving learned that 34 year old Kevin Budgin had allegedly gotten into an altercation with his finance and their 15 year old daughter as the result of Budgin drinking that day. Police report during questioning, Budgin became angry and allegedly lunged at Master Patrolman Bryan Slatton with closed fists and a struggle ensued to place him under arrest until he was Tasered, which resulted in Slatton getting his hand broken. Budgin was charged with seven criminal charges, including two-counts of felony battery and one-count of felony resisting law enforcement. Police report Budgin's blood-alcohol content after a breath sample was .211....
   

US 35 Bridge North of Knox Closed Starting Thursday

Indot Logo color
STARKE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of the U.S. 35 bridge over the CSX railway, just south of U.S. 30 beginning Thursday, June 20th through the end of November 2013. Crews are replacing the bridge.
Drivers wishing to travel north on U.S. 35 will be detoured west on SR 8, north on SR 39, east on U.S. 30, and back to U.S. 35. Drivers wishing to travel south on U.S. 35 will be detoured west on U.S. 30, south on SR 39, east on SR 8, and back to U.S. 35.
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 www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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World Sickle Cell Day Tomorrow: Know Your Status!

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects thousands of people every day and is the most common genetic blood disorder. Wednesday, June 19, is World Sickle Cell Day. First recognized by the United Nations in 2008 as a public health concern, World Sickle Cell Day is celebrated annually to create awareness about the disease. 
Sickle cell disease is a disorder in which the red blood cells in the body become hard, sticky and sickle-shaped, looking like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
SCD is a genetic condition that is present at birth. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent. People with SCD start to have signs of the disease during the first year of life, usually around two months of age. Symptoms and complications of SCD are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.
In Indiana, there are approximately 1,000 individuals living with SCD and approximately 1,000 babies are born every year with sickle cell trait (SCT). People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have SCT. People with SCT can pass the trait on to their children. Symptoms from SCT are usually not as severe as symptoms of SCD.
“Every adult and child should know their sickle cell status,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “In rare cases, people with sickle cell trait might experience complications, such as having severe pain, trouble with low oxygen levels in the air, high altitudes and/or dehydration. It’s important to know if you have the trait so you can be educated and aware of these possible complications.”
The Indiana State Department of Health Sickle Cell Program works with community partners around the state to bring awareness and educate the public on SCT and SCD.  It also provides education, resources and support for families that are affected by SCD. Currently, the only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
The Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative will be holding their Annual Sickle Cell 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, June 22 at 8 a.m. For event details and to register, visit www.themartincenter.org.
For more information, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov or follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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Coast Guard Also Investigating Reported Sheen

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard is investigating a sheen Tuesday that was reported in southern Lake Michigan one day earlier.
About 3 p.m. Monday, a communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., was notified that people were coming out the water with an oily substance on them at Porter Beach, Ind.
The station directed the reporting source to contact the National Response Center.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago dispatched a response boat to the area, and pollution investigators found no visible sheen.
A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., was diverted from a training mission to conduct an overflight of the area from the Port of Indiana to Michigan City, Ind., and found no evidence of sheen. They did see a few pollen blooms.
The U.S. Geological Survey has taken water samples, and the results are pending.
Just after 4 p.m., Station Michigan City received a report that the sheen had reached Michigan City.
MSU Chicago is currently on scene investigating, and they have found no sign of sheen. Coast Guard investigators are also reviewing a surveillance video provided by the Port of Indiana and have not noticed any signs of pollution.
The cause of the sheen remains under investigation, and the Coast Guard is working diligently alongside partner agencies to determine any causative factors to see if there is anything that can be done to prevent similar occurrences.
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SR 2 SW of Westville to be Closed on Thusday

Indot Logo color
PORTER/LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the one day closure of State Road 2 for two culvert replacements, about two miles southwest of U.S. 6, on Thursday, June 20th. Local traffic may use State Road 2 up to each point of closure, from the east and the west.
Drivers wishing to travel west on SR 2 will be detoured west on U.S. 6, south on SR 49, and back to SR 2. Drivers wishing to travel east on SR 2 will be detoured north on SR 49, east on U.S. 6, and back to SR 2.
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 www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
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Beach Sheen Not From 'Shore or Stacks'

State officials say preliminary tests of a shiny substance on Lake Michigan that prompted the evacuation of Porter Beach Monday afternoon suggest it might be a few different things.  Indiana Department of Environmental Management Spokesman Dan Goldblatt says they're hoping to know a little more by the end of the week.  The state also continues to investigate a glittery substance reported on vehicles and outdoor furniture in the 15-hundred block of Brown Avenue in Robertsdale early this month, around June 4. Goldblatt says the substance in north Hammond was very localized, and its origin remains unknown. They are awaiting some other test results, but Goldblatt says they were not able to get a very large sample Until officials determine what was in the water, a swimming advisory is in effect til further notice for all Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches. National Lakeshore Supervisory Park Ranger and Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says whatever it was seems to have dissipated quite a bit.
You can hear our interviews with Goldblatt and Rowe at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
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