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Hunger Goes Beyond the Holiday Season in Indiana

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A cut in federal food assistance benefits last month means about $36 less a month in food stamp benefits and that difference is leading to longer lines at area food pantries.  
 
Tim Keane, of Second Harvest Foodbank says the reduction is an issue in particular for people who are struggling, " because their resources are stretched just as much as everyone else's,"  
 
Keane said hunger in Indiana is widespread, with one in six adults and one in four children considered "food insecure," not certain whether they'll have enough food for regular meals everyday.  
 
While some experts claim the economic recovery started more than a year ago, Keane said the increasing number of clients at their food pantries paints a different picture. "There may be more folks that now have found it difficult to find employment that will pay them a living wage," he said. "So, we see folks that maybe used to be our donors, are now are in line as clients receiving service." 
 
During the holiday season, helping others is top of mind for many people. But Kean said he's more worried about what happens to needy families after the first of the year. "January, February, March, where the weather is typically the worst, utility costs are typically the highest and resources may be more scarce than they've ever been," he said.
 
 
Keane believes local, state and federal leaders need to take a closer look at the reasons some people are struggling now more than ever, and develop long-term solutions.
 
 
For more information about hunger in Indiana and how you can help visit: http://www.curehunger.org...

Read more: Hunger Goes Beyond the Holiday Season in Indiana

 

East Chicago Woman Dies as Result of Monday Crash

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An East Chicago woman died on Wednesday due to injuries sustained in a three-vehicle crash Monday afternoon at the intersection of State Road 49 and County Road 600 North. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports 75 year old Patricia Dahlin was conscious after the crash and spoke to medical personnel at the scene, with the only visible injury being a dislocated left elbow. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says a brain injury led to her death as a result of the crash.
According to the crash report Patricia Dahlin was a passenger in the vehicle driven by 79 year old Carl Dahlin who was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the hospital. Authorities say the driver of one of the vehicles involved reported she watched the Dahlin vehicle cross from the east to the median on County Road 600 North, but the rear of the vehicle was not completely out of the roadway and she did not have enough time to avoid it and struck the driver's rear side. The third vehicle was stopped in the median, waiting for southbound traffic on State Road 49 to clear, when the previously mentioned impact caused her vehicle to be struck....

Read more: East Chicago Woman Dies as Result of Monday Crash

 

Most Common Orthopedic Surgery May Not Help at All

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Most common orthopedic surgery may not help at all according to the findings of a new study.  ABC News reports minimally invasive surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee is performed some 700-thousand times each year in this country but researchers in Finland found, after one year, there was no difference in pain. The scientists staged fake surgeries in real operating rooms and compared the results to legitimate surgeries. After one year there was no difference in knee pain after exercise and no difference in the number of patients who needed more surgeries for the same problem. If the results hold up some experts take it to mean a four billion dollar elective surgery industry is unnecessary. ...

Read more: Most Common Orthopedic Surgery May Not Help at All

 

SNAP Benefit Delivery Dates to Change in January

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FSSA
More than 926-thousand Hoosiers from approximately 418-thousand households across Indiana have been informed of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, changes that will impact them starting in January. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Spokesperson Marni Lemons says a change of date on which all SNAP recipients receive their benefits begins January 1st but the amount received will not change. Lemons says 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. 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. Starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
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
S
T, U or V
W, X, Y or Z
Old deposit date
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th 
10th
New deposit date
5th
7th
9th
11th
13th
15th
17th
19th
21st
23rd

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

Lemons says the changes are a result of Senate Enrolled Act 530, which was past earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly. To hear more, click News Audio On Demand and for a link for more information on the date changes, visit http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/4832.htm...

Read more: SNAP Benefit Delivery Dates to Change in January

 

Hobart Teen Accused of Making Death Threats

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porter co sheriff dept
A 15 year old Hobart boy could face a misdemeanor charge of intimidation after threatening to kill a Facebook user and his family. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports they were informed of the alleged death threat on Tuesday and report the issue stemmed from the teen becoming upset of a comment about his bad grammar and the user using racist slang. The Sheriff's Office reports the Hobart teen informed them, while he did post a photo of a gun and also threatened to blow up the user's house, he had no intention of committing those actions, as he has no access to a gun and the photo was found online. Authorities say the incident has been referred to the juvenile probation department for review. ...

Read more: Hobart Teen Accused of Making Death Threats

 

Indiana Dunes Tourism Earns DMAP Reaccreditation

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Indiana Dunes Tourism Logo Color copy
Indiana Dunes Tourism announced today they have earned re-accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International's accreditation program. Promotions Director Ken Kosky says Indiana Dunes Tourism was first accredited in 2009 and the accreditation period lasts for four years. To become accredited, a destination marketing organization like Indiana Dunes Tourism must successfully comply with 58 mandatory and 30 voluntary standards in areas that include governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research. Kosky says the re-accreditation is a testament to management and the overall job they are doing to promote the destination. Indiana Dunes Tourism is one of only 172 destination marketing organizations in the world to achieve this distinction....

Read more: Indiana Dunes Tourism Earns DMAP Reaccreditation

 

Beta Steel Explosion Settlement Reached

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A settlement has been reached regarding a January 2010 plant explosion in Portage that resulted in the death of a Griffith man and severe injuries to a Valparaiso man. Of the eight-point-two million dollar settlement, three-point-four million, minus attorney fees, will go to the survivors of Michael Kies. Stephen Kinlaw, who was left disabled after the explosion at the former Beta Steel plant, will receive the balance, minus attorney fees. According to the settlement, operators had knowledge or should have known of a previous furnace explosion and modifications made increased the probability of another such incident taking place. The two men were repairing a leak on the roof of the furnace when the explosion occurred....

Read more: Beta Steel Explosion Settlement Reached

 

Curbing Celebratory Gun Fire This New Year's Eve

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The East Chicago STOP Team and Region STOP Team will increase patrols this holiday season to curb “celebratory gun fire” associated with New Years Eve. East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker says since September of this year, his department has teamed up with “ShotSpotter”, a California based company that uses advanced technology to quickly identify gunshots and then, literally within seconds, direct officers to the location of where those firearms are being shot....

Read more: Curbing Celebratory Gun Fire This New Year's Eve

 

UPS: Delays Result of Bad WX, Surge in Online Shopping

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UPS is spending the day delivering packages that were supposed to arrive on Christmas. ABC News reports across the country there will be a lot of this as the delivery service makes good on Christmas delays that resulted from bad weather and an unexpected surge in online shopping. Other customers took to Facebook and Twitter where one called UPS the "Grinch of Christmas." FedEx said few of the nearly 300 million packages it handled this season were delayed and customers could pick them up at counters....

Read more: UPS: Delays Result of Bad WX, Surge in Online Shopping

 

Hundreds Gather for Christmas Day Meal in Gary

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More than six-hundred people gathered for a Christmas Day meal in Gary Wednesday, and Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon Smith was among those serving. More than seventy volunteers helped put together the Annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner led by Dr. Smith in honor of his mother, the Reverend Julia Smith, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and Patricia Tillotson, former educator in the Gary School System. Dr. Smith says the event is primarily for residents of Gary, Merrillville, Griffith, New Chicago, Lake Station, and Hobart, but anyone from Lake County or anywhere else is welcome. In particular, Dr. Smith says it's meant for those who are poor and hungry, senior citizens, and others, who will be away from family and friends, to attend. The dinner was held at the Ivy Tech Gary campus. Dr. Smith says dinner's popularity has grown dramatically since the first one was held in 1987. Representative Smith hosts the dinner with Joyce Washington-Price, Dwight Pointer, Dwight Williams, and Robin Bernal. ...

Read more: Hundreds Gather for Christmas Day Meal in Gary

 

Flags at Half-Staff in Illinois to Honor Slain Officer

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Flags are at half-staff in Illinois in memory of an off-duty Cook County Sheriff's officer killed last Friday. Authorities say 50-year-old investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada was shot to death trying to stop two people from robbing his daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint as they carried food from a car outside a family Christmas party at a VFW Hall in west suburban Bellwood. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has ordered flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise today through sunset this Saturday. Before joining the police force, Estrada was a Marine who served in Desert Storm. Two 22-year-old men face multiple charges including first-degree murder in the officer's death....

Read more: Flags at Half-Staff in Illinois to Honor Slain Officer

   

Highland Crews Respond to Two Fires

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Highland fire officials are trying to determine the cause of two fires. Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer says a fire at an apartment building on Farmer Drive just off 45th Street left two families displaced during Christmas. Crews also responded to a fire at Sophia's House of Pancakes at Indianapolis Boulevard and Hart Road around 5:30 pm Christmas eve to put out a kitchen fire that reportedly caused significant damage inside. Officials say the restaurant had already closed for the holiday during the time of the fire. Several area departments assisted Highland. No reports of any injuries.  ...

Read more: Highland Crews Respond to Two Fires

   

Portage PD to Accept Officer Applications in January

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Applications to be a probationary patrol officer with the Portage Police Department will be available for a limited time next month starting January 6th. Chief Troy Williams says those interested can pick up an application packet at the police station beginning on that date.
Here is information recently posted by Chief Williams:
The Portage Police Department will be handing out applications for Probationary Patrol Officers beginning January 6th, 2014. I expect us to have openings to fill. The Portage Police Department is a proactive, innovative and respected Law Enforcement Agency with Divisions in Patrol, Detective, Training and Admin. We have Officers that specialize in SWAT, K9, Accident Reconstruction, Firearms Instructors, Field Training Officers, Hostage Negotiation, Emergency Vehicle Operations and we have assignments in the Porter County Drug Task Force, School Resource Officer, US Marshalls Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, and District 1 Task Force. If you are interested in becoming a Police Officer or know someone that is have the applicant come by the department and pick one up. The list is normally good for one year once completed. I'm hoping to hand out at least 200 applications to find the very best, dedicated, and service-oriented candidates out there. If you have any questions, just ask. Chief Troy Williams...

Read more: Portage PD to Accept Officer Applications in January

   

State Senator Plans to File 'Merry Christmas' Bill

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jim smith senator indiana
State Senator Jim Smith
An Indiana State Senator says he wants Hoosiers to be able to recognize Christmas in the classroom again. Charlestown Republican Jim Smith says he's filing legislation in the upcoming session of the General Assembly to protect public schools and teachers from being sued over Christmas activity. Smith says Christmas is under attack "in a way that no other cultural traditions are," and his "Merry Christmas" bill would allow Christmas traditions like putting up a Christmas tree as long as teachers recognize at least one other holiday celebration, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The Indiana legislative session reconvenes January 6th....

Read more: State Senator Plans to File 'Merry Christmas' Bill

   

New Lake County Surveyor to be Chosen Jan 4

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Lake County Democrats are scheduled to caucus Saturday January 4th to name a new Lake County surveyor. After more than four-decades working in politics in the Region, former surveyor George Van Til resigned from office early this month, the same day he entered a formal guilty plea in Hammond Federal Court to six counts of wire fraud after being accused of using county employees to do campaign work for him. State law prohibits public officials convicted of felonies from holding office....

Read more: New Lake County Surveyor to be Chosen Jan 4

   

Caucus Chooses New Clerk-Treasurer

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A caucus of Republican precinct committee members this week selected Stephanie Kuziela to replace Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski effective the first of the year. After a quarter century of service to the town, Polakowski is resigning effective December 31st due to health reasons. Polakowski has been Clerk-Treasurer since 1988. Polakowski's term runs through the end of 2015. Kuziela is administrative assistant to the town manager, and has been helping to fill-in for Polakowski. ...

Read more: Caucus Chooses New Clerk-Treasurer

   

Highland Council Against Air Show Move

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Elected officials from another Lake County community have voiced displeasure over moving the South Shore Air Show out of the county, about fifty-miles south. The Highland Town Council this week voted unanimously to voice their disapproval over a plan to move the show from the shores of Lake Michigan in Gary, where the event has been held for more than a decade, to Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County this summer. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr from Hammond has also been critical of the proposal....

Read more: Highland Council Against Air Show Move

   

Homicide Suspect Extradited

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Officials say a man whose parents were found dead in their Lowell-area home in October has been returned to northwest Indiana. Authorities say 34-year-old Thomas Snow has been extradited from Minnesota to Newton County on an armed robbery charge. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says he is preparing to file charges in Lake County court against Snow in connection with the homicide deaths of 68-year-old retired Hammond schoolteacher Clifford Snow and his wife, 66-year-old Joyce Snow. ...

Read more: Homicide Suspect Extradited

   

Celebrate the New Year with a First Day Hike

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Indiana DNR
Family-friendly, guided hikes are scheduled to take place on January 1st at Indiana's state parks and reservoirs as part of a national program called “First Day Hikes”. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with America's State Parks, report First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2014 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends. In northwest Indiana, an event will be held starting at 10am, at Indiana Dunes State Park at the nature center, where a moderate to rugged hike through the high dunes, including Mt. Tom, is scheduled. The event will conclude with a fire and refreshments. For more information on First Day events across Indiana, visit http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/files/sp-first_day_hikes.pdf...

Read more: Celebrate the New Year with a First Day Hike

   

New Scam Targeting Target Data Breach

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Target customers reeling from a data breach contend with a new scam. ABC News reports Target says scam artists are trying to take advantage of the data breach that exposed tens of millions of credit and debit card accounts. They masquerade as Target's corporate offices and send sham messages to affected customers, hoping to steal from them again. The retailer says it will post all official communications on its corporate website.
Meanwhile JP Morgan Chase is putting charge limits on cards that were used at Target stores during the massive security breach. The bank is raising those daily limits to a thousand dollars in purchases and 250 dollars from ATMs. ...

Read more: New Scam Targeting Target Data Breach

   

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