(Photo Courtesy of Valparaiso Police)
Police in Valparaiso are seeking the public's help to identify an armed robbery suspect. Police report they were called out to Valpo Quick Trip Convenience Store, in the 300 block of Lincolnway, at approximately 9:14pm on Monday night, and at this time, police believe it is likely that the same suspect also robbed the store on Friday, November 22nd. The suspect is described as a black male, 5'9” to 5'10”, wearing a black and red hooded sweatshirt, with a distinct diamond pattern on the sweatshirt. Anyone with any information regarding these robberies is asked to contact Valparaiso Police. ...
(Photo Courtesy of Indiana State Prison)
The Superintendent of the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City was recently re-certified as a Certified Corrections Executive by the American Correctional Association. William Wilson's re-certification required the completion of 100 continuing education contact hours and he became certified by qualifying for and successfully passing a comprehensive examination that test his knowledge as a Corrections Executive. Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon says Wilson's commitment to continuously up-date his skills epitomizes his professionalism in the corrections field and he continues to be an asset to the Indiana State Prison and the Indiana Department of Corrections. ...
Police in Merrillville recently wrapped up their 25 day mobilization of the 2013 Safe Family Travels Seatbelt/Impaired Driving enforcement campaign, which featured 16 seatbelt patrols and two impaired driving patrols. Merrillville Police report a total of 232 citations were issued, including 147 seatbelt tickets, one child restraint citation, three DUI arrests and ten miscellaneous Misdemeanor arrests. Sgt. Kurt Horvath says while the enforcement campaign maybe over in Merrillville, it is no excuse to not wear a seatbelt and officers will continue to enforce seatbelt laws as well as continue to look for impaired drivers....
The University of Notre Dame is re-filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a federal mandate that health insurance plans include birth control. ABC News reports Notre Dame filed a lawsuit in May of 2012, but the suit was considered premature, because the law had not gone into effect. Now the suit is being re-filed by the university, just before the law takes effect January 1st, and a week after the US Supreme Court agreed to consider two cases where businesses objected to covering birth control for religious reasons. Notre Dame says the federal mandate that all employees be covered for birth control violates the Catholic school's rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. ...
(Photo Courtesy of Munster Police)
Authorities are seeking the public's help in locating a missing 21 year old Downer's Grove man. Munster Police report Richard Spindler III, who requires daily medication, took his sister's 2013 Hyundai on November 15th, after an issue arose while in Munster, which was located two days later by the Grant Park Police Department along with Spindler's cell phone. Police report Spindler was not located after a search of the area and has no access to other vehicles the family owns. Spindler is described as a white male, 6'02”weighing 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a black winter jacket and workout pants. Spindler's father resides in Munster and police report possible sightings in Crown Point, Merrillville and Winfield....
(Photo Courtesy of INDOT)
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nine Span Bridge on Indianapolis Boulevard is scheduled to take place next week. INDOT reports Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, the Mayors of East Chicago and Hammond, local elected officials and INDOT will unveil a historic marker commemorating the old Nine Span bridge. INDOT Spokesperson Matt Deitchley recently told the Region News Team they are looking forward to getting folks on the new bridge, which will feature two-lanes in each direction.
The ribbon-cutting is scheduled to take place at 12:30pm, Monday, December 9th, and the new bridge is expected to be open to traffic later that same day. ...
Lake County Surveyor George Van Til today issued a statement saying he is resigning his position effective Thursday. According to the statement, Van Til says, “I believe that my political skills have often been a positive force for good yet, in the end, I let political campaigns intrude into the taxpayers work negatively and, ultimately, illegally. And for this, now, in declining health and regretting my errors, I need to leave.”
On Monday, Van Til agreed to plead guilty to six-counts of wire fraud, one-week before a trial was set to begin and a change of plea hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The 65-year-old, who's been Lake County's surveyor for more than twenty years, is accused of using county employees in his office to do campaign work. The plea deal would also require Van Til to pay restitution, and two obstruction of justice charges would be dropped. State law prohibits public officials convicted of felonies from holding office.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013
STATEMENT FROM GEORGE VAN TIL
LAKE COUNTY SURVEYOR
UPON SENDING LETTER OF RESIGNATION
DECEMBER 3, 2013
Forty four years ago, as a part-time college student, I walked into a Political Science Club meeting at Indiana University Northwest and while about the same time, I signed up to help as a Clerical Union Organizer at Bethlehem Steel where I was employed. I was just a struggling young father with an autistic son.
That was the beginning of my public political involvement in our area. It quickly led to my election to the first of two terms on the Highland Town Board in 1971 at the age of 24 and on to working on the staff of the Indiana House of Representatives; the U.S. Senate; the North Township Trustee; the County Sheriff’s Department, and much, much more.
I involved myself in literally dozens of voluntary civic, charitable and environmental groups and causes, unmatched by any political leader, while later I was elected by a caucus to serve on the Lake County Council followed by my election in 1992 to the first of six (6) terms as Lake County Surveyor.
These 40 plus years, by most accounts, were good, honest public service. At virtually every step along the way I left positive projects and programs for the people in my wake. From the wonderful Gazebo, in Highland’s Main Square decades ago to continuous improvements in the County Surveyor’s office as recent as a very productive meeting last week. Making a positive impact through public service has always been my goal, my career, and the reality of my service. Few will try to dispute this except for naysayers and political old-timers who never liked my reform agenda. BUT, now this all ends. I’m finished. It’s done. I am resigning my position as Lake County Surveyor effective December 5, 2013.
I think that I have given valuable public service, but I’m certainly not indispensable. I know that I have served with integrity, but I’ve made significant mistakes. I believe that my political skills have often been a positive force for good yet, in the end, I let political campaigns intrude into the taxpayers work negatively and, ultimately, illegally. And for this, now, in declining health and regretting my errors, I need to leave.
I now know I stayed too long. I have been involved in more than 66 elections. I’ve run and won, myself, 17 times, and for those honors I will always be grateful to the good voters of our area. Also, I’ve played a significant role in dozens of other people’s campaigns for public office, most of them good. I did it honorably and honestly until, in the end, tired, sick and uncertain, I did it wrong.
I know that the people’s employees and the people’s resources are for the people’s business. And for decades that’s the way I rolled in spite of literally countless examples from others who showed no respect for this model. Throughout four decades I’ve seen many abuses of political campaigning by public employees and, while it was always my goal and desire not to cross that line, towards the end I definitely did, and I think that much of this came from staying too long and taking things for granted.
I’ve always argued that long service in the same public office can be very beneficial to the taxpayers. I believe I proved that, with the expertise and institutional knowledge that I built up through the years that is valuable in an office like County Surveyor.
But now I’ve come to acknowledge that long service in the same office can be detrimental and I believe that I am an example of the problems that can be caused by this. During the last third or so of my tenure, without really realizing it, I developed a sense that it was “my office” and “my staff”, and sometimes, especially in political situations, I approached it as such, on occasion asking employees to work for me, not the public. This was something that, that in retrospect gradually developed. I knew better, but as the years went by, as my enthusiasm for politics waned, as campaigns became more onerous, as my age climbed, as my health declined and as my comfort in the office increased, I gained a sense of entitlement that was wrong, and led to my wrong doing and my downfall.
So with these problems that I caused myself plus the lies of some who saw opportunities in my mistakes, along with the discoveries by the federal government which are outlined in my plea agreement, combined with my rapidly declining health, I now must leave the office I’ve served in and loved. It is terribly difficult for me, but the right thing to do.
My mistakes have cost me the end of my career, my stature, my good reputation, my livelihood, my savings and the respect of many, in spite of whatever public good I’ve produced. The Van Til family and name have been respected here in Lake County for more than 100 years and though I mostly added to that, in the end I did not uphold it as I should have. This is heartbreaking to me and my family and friends. It should have not turned out this way. I am sorry and I apologize to those who’ve expressed faith in me for so long and to the taxpayers of Lake County that I let down.
I ask those who believed in me for forgiveness. I apologize to the public for not staying the course. And so I say good-bye and God bless, and ask if you should run into my dear son, who was always so proud of me, if you can find it in your heart, please tell him that that his dad was a good and decent man who tried to do the right thing, and most often did, loving the practice of Public Service, and loving Lake County and the people of it....
The state has been grappling with a 100 billion dollar pension crisis. At one point the governor withheld lawmakers' paychecks until they reached a deal. However that move was deemed unconstitutional. The latest agreement, reached by state leadership calls for a raising of the retirement age, adding a 401(k)-style option, reducing employee contributions, and changing the cost of living increases. Labor unions are calling the deal unconstitutional, and are threatening a lawsuit if it passes. A full vote could come as soon as today. ...
By an 18-to-8 vote, NIRPC's Transportation Policy Committee today approved a proposal to include the Illiana Expressway and the I-65 expansion projects in their 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. A lengthy public comment period was held after a committee overview of the two proposals, with some speaking in favor the projects, saying benefits would include reduced truck traffic on local roads, construction jobs and it has statewide bipartisan support. Many of those in attendance came out against the projects citing a bigger need for local redevelopment, the creation of more permanent jobs and financial feasibility of the project overall.
With the passage of the proposal, a full NIRPC Board vote will now take place on Thursday, December 12th. If the full board approves the projects, INDOT can wrap up their Tier Two study, then take the project to the Federal Highway Administration who will then make their decision....
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw begin loading more than 1,200 Christmas trees onto the ship in its home port of Cheboygan, Mich., Nov. 25, 2013. The Mackinaw, serving as this year's Christmas Ship, will arrive in Chicago Dec. 6, where the trees will be unloaded to community organizations, designated by the Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, and distributed to families. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Courtney Marker)
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Courtney Marker)
The Mackinaw, serving as this year's Christmas Ship, will help re-enact a tradition dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s when the Rouse Simmons delivered trees to the people of Chicago for more than 30 years. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class John Filippone)
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw finish loading more than 1,200 Christmas trees onto the ship's fantail in Cheboygan, Mich., Nov. 25, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Courtney Marker)...
A longtime Region newsman is leaving The Times Media Company to become president of Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. Managing Editor Paul Mullaney is a 1977 graduate of Noll, and his new job becomes effective January 6th. The 54-year-old Mullaney has been with The Times for 23 years. [Photo/Times]...
“When preparing your 2013 individual tax return at the end of the year, simply total those purchases, take seven percent, and that’s your use tax. This does, of course, require you to either keep records of your online or catalog purchases or to rely upon your retailer to maintain a list for you (and many online retailers do that).” Last year, 28,853 taxpayers in Indiana reported use tax on their individual tax return, amounting to more than $1.9 million. Each year, more than 3.1 million individual income-tax returns are filed in Indiana. Indiana has required Hoosiers to pay use tax on their Indiana income tax return since 1969. For more information about Indiana’s use tax, here's a link to the department’s use tax liability frequently asked questions: http://www.in.gov/dor/4710.htm#use...
Superintendent Berta says they are targeting having the electronic report cards sent out shortly after the end of the second grading period on January 16th. For more information, Superintendent Berta says to contact your child's school or stop by the meeting which will be held Wednesday at 6pm in the Cafeteria of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, in the 16-hundred Roosevelt Road. ...
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is scheduled to join Hoosiers in Pulaski County tomorrow. The Governor's Office reports Pence will be giving the keynote address at a luncheon of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce in Winamac at 12 EST. Prior to his stop in Pulaski County, the Governor is also scheduled to ring the bell for the Salvation Army's Red kettle campaign at 11am EST at a Rochester Kroger and later that afternoon, at 2:15 EST, Pence is scheduled to make a jobs announcement at Adkev, in Monticello. ...
No injuries were reported after a residential fire this afternoon near County Road 835 South and County Road 500 West in Hebron. Hebron fire officials report they were called out just before 12:30pm and spent around three-and-a-half hours at the scene. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and the family was displaced due to the fire....
- Passengers Call Police on Erratic Driver
- Authorities Look to Reunite Victims with Stolen Property
- Van Til Agrees to Plead Guilty
- Cost of 12 Days of Christmas Up 7.7% from 2012
- Update: Police Investigate Gary Homicides
- CR 500 W Closed Between SR 8 and CR 900 S for Fire
- Patrick Lyp Named to Valpo Leadership Team
- Valparaiso Roundabout All Open
- Ind Dept of Revenue Names New Chief Financial Ofcr
- Valparaiso Police Warn of New Phone Scam
Page 4 of 291