We're getting word this morning (approx. 750am) that westbound US 30 is closed at the Porter County Airport near Valparaiso due to a three-car crash. No other information is available at this hour....
(Photo Courtesy of the Salvation Army of Lake County)
Last week, the Salvation Army of Lake County reported red kettle donations were down by 32 percent compared to this same time a year ago, today they announced NIPSCO, along with their partners at Helping Hands, donated five-thousand dollars to help needy families throughout Lake County. The iconic red kettles have been on the streets and at shopping centers since November 8th, with the goal of raising 940-thousand dollars to fund the emergency and social services provided during the holiday season and throughout the year.
To make a donation by mail, please send to
- The Salvation Army Lake County, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321, 219-838-1328
For more information on how to volunteer, please contact The Salvation Army closest to you:
- East Chicago, 513 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312, 219-398-2939
- Gary-Merrillville, 4800 Harrison, Gary, IN 46408, 219-887-6588
- Hammond-Munster, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321
Every winter the hazards of driving in the snow and icy conditions are noted, but not often is walking on snow and ice addressed. The Snow and Ice Management Association, or SIMA, the North American trade association representing snow removal professionals, has put together safety tips to help prevent you from falling while walking on snow and ice, which they say accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries that can have an impact on your quality of life.
SIMA, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has some tips on safe winter walking.
- TIP #1: Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear should place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom.
- TIP #2: Accessorize to see and be seen. Wear sunglasses so that you can see in the reflective light of the snow. Also, wear a bright coat or scarf so that drivers can easily see you.
- TIP #3: Plan ahead. While walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of looking down, look up and see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards.
- TIP #4: Make sure you can hear. While seeing the environment is important, you also want to be sure you can hear approaching traffic and other noises. Avoid listening to music or engaging in conversation that may prevent you from hearing oncoming traffic or snow removal equipment.
- TIP #5: Anticipate ice. Be weary of thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement (black ice). Often ice will appear in the morning, in shady spots or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night.
- TIP #6: Walk steps slowly. When walking down steps, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step.
- TIP #7: Enter a building carefully. When you get to your destination such as school, work, shopping center, etc., be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice.
- TIP #8: Be careful when you shift your weight. When stepping off a curb or getting into a car, be careful since shifting your weight may cause an imbalance and result in a fall.
- TIP #9: Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry, but may be a bad idea if there is snow and ice on the ground. A shortcut path may be treacherous because it is likely to be located where snow and ice removal is not possible.
- TIP #10: Look up. Be careful about what you walk under. Injuries also can result from falling snow/ice as it blows, melts, or breaks away from awnings, buildings, etc.
(Photo Courtesy of Senator Donnelly's Office)
Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly held a conference call with Indiana media to discuss the progress seen in Indiana's auto manufacturing industry since the auto rescue five-years ago. Senator Donnelly says in early 2008, the state's automotive employment was at about 102-thousand workers and by June 2009, that number had dropped by 30-thousand due to the economic downturn. Donnelly says since the assistance was given to automakers there has been a rebirth in auto manufacturing in Indiana with over 100-thousand employees. Donnelly, who supported the auto bailout, says Chrysler has since invested almost two-billion dollars in Indiana, General Motors has added almost half a billion dollars and Honda, Subaru and Toyota continue to grow and invest in Indiana as well.
Last week, Senator Donnelly visited seven auto manufacturing facilities around Indiana to recognize the hard work of Hoosiers. He visited GM plants in Fort Wayne, Marion, and Bedford, visited a Toyota plant in Princeton, a Honda plant in Greensburg, a Subaru plant in Lafayette, and a Chrysler plant in Kokomo....
The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from midnight until 10am CST Wednesday. Officials report total snow accumulation of around two to four inches can be expected and may result in treacherous traveling conditions for the Wednesday morning rush hour. ...
Additional information from FSSA:
The HIP members impacted are those between 100-200 percent of the federal poverty level who will no longer qualify for the Healthy Indiana Plan due to lower eligibility standards set forth in the Healthy Indiana Plan waiver authorized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new discontinuation date for these HIP members is April 30, 2014. FSSA Secretary Debra Minott requested this temporary extension in early November.
“We have a responsibility to assist Healthy Indiana Plan enrollees during this transition period,” said Minott. “The fact of the matter is the health plans HIP members were told would be available starting in October have proven difficult to access due to the federal marketplace’s well-documented technical issues. This extension provides additional time for these Hoosiers to remain on their HIP plans while they complete their enrollment and gain coverage through the marketplace.”
Governor Mike Pence announced in September that CMS had agreed to allow Indiana a one-year extension to continue to offer the innovative, consumer-driven Healthy Indiana Plan through 2014. During the discussions leading up to the extension, Pence administration officials and CMS officials mutually agreed that, in order to avoid duplication of efforts to cover individuals over 100 percent of the federal poverty level, HIP should focus exclusively on those Hoosiers who are beneath this income threshold. Individuals below the poverty line are not eligible for premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. The federal government’s position was that those over the federal poverty line could be covered under new subsidized federal policies through Obamacare. As a result of this agreement, approximately 20,000 more low-income Hoosiers will have health coverage in 2014. Indiana currently serves roughly 35,000 Hoosiers through HIP.
In early November, Secretary Minott expressed concerns to CMS about the technical difficulties HIP members may be facing in trying to obtain federal health exchange plans by January 1. Because of these technical issues, FSSA and CMS agreed to allow these HIP members more time to transition to other health coverage. This agreement is necessary because the State of Indiana cannot unilaterally change the terms of a CMS demonstration project waiver.
The decision to extend HIP benefits while members roll onto federal plans could cost the state up to $11 million, which will be paid from the Healthy Indiana Plan trust fund.
“We still urge these Hoosiers to take action now to enroll in a health plan that will cover them in 2014,” added Minott. “The federal marketplace will require an application and payment long before the end of April. Also, the plans available on the marketplace all have annual deductibles which will start in January. It will help Hoosiers in the long run if they begin paying on their annual marketplace plan deductibles sooner rather than later.”
FSSA is reaching out by mail to all the HIP members expected to transition off HIP letting them know about the temporary extension and transitioning to the federal marketplace, and is encouraging them to call the Healthy Indiana Plan at 1-877-GET-HIP9 for help.
For more on a Christmas to Remember, listen to our full interview with Union President Murchek On Demand here on our website....
Listed below are the students who received perfect scores (the student's teacher's name is in parentheses after student's name)
3rd grade – Math
Liam Combs (Aaron Crague)
Lyndsey Kobza (Christine Paluch)
4th grade – Math
Breanna Carlson (Julie Miller)
Hannah Fields 2nd year in row with a perfect score (Vicki Miller)
Hunter Kneifel (Julie Miller)
Parker Kneifel 2nd year in a row with a perfect score (Julie Miller)
Kaitlyn Reasoner (Julie Miller)
Bram Arnett (Mary Riffer)
4th grade – E/LA [English/Language Arts]
Maya Vickrey (Patti Howe)
5th grade - Math
Valerie Churchill (Randy Roberts)
5th grade – Social Studies
Jennifer Cahillane (Janine Krieger)
(3rd year in a row with a perfect score)
6th grade – E/LA [English/Language Arts]
Washington Twp. Middle School
Matthew Sears (Christie Campbell)...
In Chesterton, after a quarter century of service to the town, longtime Clerk Treasurer Gayle Polakowski is resigning effective the end of this year, due to health reasons. Polakowski has been Clerk-Treasurer for Chesterton since 1988. A caucus will be called for Republican precinct committeemen in town to choose Polakowski's replacement. Her term runs through the end of 2015. ...
Here is the news release with details:
INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2013) -- The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is informing the more than 926,000 SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in Indiana about important changes that will impact them starting in January. The changes are the result of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 530, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013, and will change the dates recipients will receive their monthly benefits beginning with a one month transition in January 2014.
The amount of recipients’ SNAP benefits is NOT changing – but the day on which benefits are applied to their Hoosier Works EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards will change.
Payment dates for SNAP depend on the first letter of the client’s last name, and benefits have previously been made to clients during the first 10 days of each month. SEA 530 dictates that, starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
However, to phase in the change, in the month of January 2014 only, SNAP clients will receive half of their benefits on their current date and the other half on their new date.
FSSA has developed a website to explain the date change at www.SNAP.IN.gov .There is also a chart (see below) showing clients’ current date and future date, based upon the first letter of their last name. In addition, on the website clients can gain a clearer picture of exactly how SEA 530 will impact them and their families by typing in their last names to determine their exact payment dates.
Having distribution days spread throughout the month will mean fewer shoppers on any of those days, making shopping easier for SNAP clients and for all food shoppers. Additionally, spreading distribution days will also ease the burden on grocery stores and other food sellers, as well, as those merchants can spread demand throughout the month.
This chart and the example below demonstrate the distribution of benefits for SNAP clients and how they will change:
First letter of SNAP recipient’s last name
|A or B
||C or D
||E, F or G
||H or I
||J, K or L
||M or N
||O, P, Q or R
||T, U or V
||W, X, Y or Z
|Old deposit date
|New deposit date
Here, for example, are dates for a client with the last name “Smith:”
December 2013 benefits - issued December 8, 2013
January 2014 benefits – half issued January 8, 2014 and half issued January 19, 2014
February 2014 benefits – issued on new date of February 19, 2014
In addition to the website, www.SNAP.IN.gov , FSSA has undertaken several different communications to inform SNAP clients of this important change. Those include:
- FSSA has assembled – and been sharing information with – a team that includes the Indiana Association of United Ways, Indiana 211, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (a group representing food pantries around the state), the Indiana Retail Council, the Indiana Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores and various individual retailers.
- These organizations and retailers have begun posting and sharing information about the changes in their various locations.
- Each SNAP recipient has received at least two mailings announcing the change.
- FSSA has launched a statewide advertising campaign including radio advertising as well as ads on and inside city buses.
- FSSA has created two videos to be used as public service announcements and to raise awareness of this important change in social media.
- SNAP clients will receive a voice recording alerting them to this change, via telephone, sometime between December 14 and December 16.
More information about SNAP is available at http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm ...
We're getting word this morning (approx. 750am) that westbound US 30 is closed at the Porter County Airport near Valparaiso due to a three-car crash. No other information is available at this hour....
More information at energizingindiana.com
Swinger says another easy way to save money is to seek out the “energy vampires” in your house, also referred to as standby power. "We're talking about a cell phone charger that's plugged into the wall, but no phone is plugged in at the other end," Swinger said. "Or another small appliance that you might keep plugged in, that doesn't really need to be plugged in, but it is using energy to some degree. " He also says most Indiana natural gas and electric utilities offer budget billing programs, which all customers to pay specific amounts each month.
Thanks to generous support by the City of Hammond and Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr., development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex, announced originally in 2011, is commencing.
The complex (above photo) will be developed in phases. The $5+ million first phase features construction of artificial surface soccer, baseball and softball fields. Subsequent development calls for the addition of six tennis courts; walking path; and a plaza area to include restrooms, concessions/refreshments area, press box, athletic training facility and service/storage/utility buildings.
Development of the athletics complex is part of a wide-ranging partnership between Purdue Calumet and the City of Hammond. While the City takes the lead in funding the complex, Purdue Calumet is directing its support toward city and regional economic development and cultural initiatives. Those initiatives include emerging commercialization and manufacturing centers, as well as engaging with the downtown Towle Theater to advance performing arts and ethnic activities.
Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park,” McDermott said. “Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”
Plans call for the soccer, baseball and softball fields to be completed by next August for use by Purdue Calumet teams during the fall season of the 2014-15 intercollegiate athletics year. Further planning has yet to be finalized.
“The development of a truly viable outdoor complex for our expanded athletics program is one of several components that, when ultimately combined, will produce a stronger, richer and more appealing Purdue University Calumet,” Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “It is exciting to be able to take this next step of development, thanks to the support and vision of Mayor McDermott and our corporate partners.”
McDermott views the athletics complex as another mutually beneficial opportunity to advance Hammond. “This complex is the latest in a series of improvements and investments in which Purdue Calumet and the city have collaborated for the betterment of Hammond,” the mayor said. “The pending commercialization and manufacturing centers also offer great potential, as does the relationship established with the Towle Theater. Working together, we can achieve even more!”
In addition to university men’s and women’s soccer squads beginning play at Dowling Park next fall, baseball and softball teams also likely will play a limited number of games before competing in a full schedule during spring 2015. All athletic facilities will be available for use by the city when Purdue Calumet activity is not scheduled.
“The mission of Purdue University Calumet athletics is to guide and support our students in their quest to achieve academic, athletic and social excellence,” Purdue Calumet Athletics Director Rick Costello said. “The Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex will enable us to continue to recruit outstanding student athletes. Quite simply, new athletic facilities will allow our athletics program to compete for excellence now and in the future.”
Dowling Park is located in Hammond’s Hessville section, one mile southeast of campus, east of Kennedy Avenue and just north of Interstate 80/94. Purdue Calumet fields 12 varsity sports programs.
In addition to men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and softball, Peregrines teams compete in men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and men’s golf.
Comments of . . . Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex Corporate Partners
(Purdue University Calumet alumnus and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center immediately following the ground breaking of Purdue University Calumet's outdoor athletics complex in Hammond/Dowling Park in the Hessville neighbor of Hammond, on Monday, December 9, 2013)
“Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park. Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”
Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. Mayor, City of Hammond
“Fifth Third Bank is proud to expand its ongoing partnership with Purdue University Calumet to include sponsorship of the Peregrines’ softball field. This is a great evolution of our work together, and we look forward to seeing it come to life by hosting students, athletes and residents of Northwest Indiana.”
Craig Pratt Market Executive, Fifth Third Bank of Northwest Indiana
“Community Hospital and Purdue University Calumet have had a strong partnership for many years. We are proud to expand the relationship and help support the new outdoor sports facility serving student athletes in our region.”
Donald P. Fesko, FACHE Chief Executive Officer, Community Hospital
“Albert’s Diamond Jewelers and the entire Halpern family are excited and honored to be part of the beginning of what we know will be an incredibly beneficial addition to Purdue Calumet and our entire community. As the adage goes, diamonds last forever; we’re proud to be part of a bigger diamond here today and an even bigger piece of forever.”
Josh Halpern President & Co-Owner, Albert’s Diamond Jewelers
“PepsiCo is honored to be the exclusive beverage partner for Purdue University Calumet. We are thrilled to be a part of the groundbreaking events for the new Dowling Park and look forward to engaging in many more student and athletic initiatives in the upcoming years.”
Kevin Desmond, Sr. Sales Manager, PepsiCo Foodservice
“The Times is proud to support this unique partnership between Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond. It is a testimony of how varying parts of our government can work together for the good of all. I am pleased to salute Purdue Calumet, Mayor McDermott and the City of Hammond for setting an example of productive cooperation.”
Chris White Publisher, The Times Media Company
(photos: courtesy of Jay Stevens)
In perhaps the shortest ever bridge dedication of its kind, hastened by a below freezing temperature and even colder wind chills, the new Indianapolis Avenue bridge that links Hammond with East Chicago, was dedicated Monday afternoon.
Jim Pinkerton, Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation Northwest District started the dedication promptly at 12:30 p.m. introducing the line-up of guests including Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, Representative Ed Soliday. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond City Council members and other local officials.
Lt. Governor Ellspermann (above photo) was the first to address the assembled crowd of construction and steel workers, local government officials and media, saying "the project demonstrates great cooperation between INDOT, local officials and economic development officials." Ellspermann said the new bridge meets two needs, "safety and efficiency" but also by improving the bridge's elevation over the switch yard, will facilitate future expansion in the area.
(photo: L to R; East Chicago mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, Indiana Lt. governor Sue Ellspermann and 4th District Represenative Ed Soliday)
Before introducing the two mayors to speak Pinkerton unveiled two memorial plaques (above photo) that will be placed on each side of the bridge.
Mayor McDermott (above photo) went on to thank INDOT, the contractors working on the project to finish the bridge ahead of schedule thereby less inconveniencing businesses that depend on the traffic flowing between the two cities. Acknowledging the project was "pushed" along by Governor Pence's office, the mayor of East Chicago and himself McDermott said, " we make great things happen in a short amount of time."
East Chicago Mayor (above photo with Mayor McDermott) spoke next said "...this bridge represents the...glue that combines the two cities together." Mayor Copeland said that he and Mayor McDermott are, "...stand here united as mayors saying that we know the economic costs that could have been suffered." Copeland symbolically said that crossing over the bridge will reunite the two communities that were severed while the work was being done, "...our communities will always stand as one and this bridge is a testament to that."
Just before the actual ribbon cutting, 4th District Representative Ed Soliday (above photo) praised the cooperation of the state saying, "...we've been able to get over $400 million more dollars this year to do projects just like this." Representative Soliday said that infrastructure is, "the key to our economy, key to great communities like East Chicago and Hammond."
(above photo: the ribbon cutting of the new nine span bridge in Hammond on Monday, December 9, 2013)
According to INDOT, the 1200 foot long new Nine Span Bridge was completed ahead of scheduled and opens to traffic today. The expedited reconnection of this link between the cities of Hammond and East Chicago is vital, as the Nine Span Bridge is one of the busiest north-south routes in the region. More than 20,000 vehicles a day use the bridge.
The original Nine Span Bridge, constructed in the mid-1930s, was one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Portions from the iconic structure were saved and stored for future use on a trail project or other low traffic thoroughfare, if a community is interested in the next ten years.
Dunnet Bay Construction of Glendale Heights, Illinois was awarded the $18 million contract for both the bridge's demolition and the building of the new span..
For Nine Span Bridge demolition and construction pictures, videos, and more visit INDOT’s social media channels at http://www.YouTube.com/IndianaDOT, www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest, and www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can listen to the entire bridge dedication ceremony by selecting the News Audio On Demand link at: http://www.regionnewsteam.com
(photos/provided by Jay Stevens)
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office; Above:
Shawn Sobolewski. Below: Brandon Montano)
A total of five suspects have now been charged for their alleged involvement in two separate robberies and burglaries that occurred in LaPorte County in mid-May and July. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office announced today 34 year old Shawn Sobolewski, 20 year old Brandon Montano, 18 year old Jonathan Surber and 16 year old Bryan Parish, all from Michigan City, are charged in the May 17th burglary and robbery in the 56-hundred West block of County Road 300 North. Authorities report Parish will be charged as an adult, and along with Montano, also faces a charge of criminal confinement
(Above: Jonathan Surber. Below: Bryan Parish)
Meanwhile Sobolewski, Montano, Surber and 18 year old Jeremy Montano, are charged in the July 4th robbery and burglary that occurred in the ten-thousand West block of County Road 200 South near Westville. Authorities in each burglary, the victim was confined and robbed.
(Above: Jeremy Montano)...
- P3 Deal Terms Presented to Gary Airport
- Two Abandoned Horses Adopted Together
- IL Senator Kirk Recovering from Gall Bladder Surgery
- New Leaked Documents Reveal NSA Spying on Gamers
- US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Michael Saunders
- Pence Announces Cost-Saving Measures
- Gary Councilman Charged with Failure to File Tax Returns
- Wanted Subject Arrested in LaPorte
- Region School Joins Ind Challenge of Obamacare
- US 6 Closed Sun Evening After Gas Main Break
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