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Whiting Elks Continue Christmas Day Tradition

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The holiday season is one of giving and that is what the Whiting Elks Lodge is doing this Christmas Day. As part of their annual tradition, they will host over 100 recruits from the Naval Station Great Lakes for Christmas dinner. Elks P.E.R. Helen Chapman says volunteers are needed and no amount of time is too small to donate. For more, listen at News Audio On Demand here on our website....

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Valparaiso City Council Says No to Gay Marriage Ban

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More and more municipalities are going on record as opposing a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana, and you can add Valparaiso to that list. The city council Monday night approved a resolution saying the primary purpose of Indiana's Constitution is to limit the power of government and protect citizens' rights. The vote was 5-0, with two council members, John Bowker and Jan Dick, absent. The Porter County Board of Commissioners also recently approved a similar resolution.
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr are among a dozen mayors from around Indiana who earlier this month announced their opposition to the proposed amendment.
Mayor Costas says the amendment is unnecessary as Indiana law already defines a marriage as between a woman and a man. He also said it would hinder opportunities for economic growth....

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NICTD: Power Outage Disrupts Some Service

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Officials say South Shore train service between Michigan City and South Bend was temporarily suspended this morning due to a NIPSCO power outage. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District reports service between Michigan City and Chicago was running on schedule.  No information on what caused the outage.
For updates: www.nictd.com

...

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Police Investigate Lake Station Home Invasion

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In Lake Station, two people were taken into custody pending further investigation in connection with an armed home invasion in the 26-hundred block of Clay Street early Sunday. Police say a man allegedly pointed a shotgun at the residents after forcing his way around 5:30 am. The suspect's vehicle was reportedly located in a mobile home community near 10th Avenue and Old Hobart Road in Lake Station about seven hours later....

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Highland Woman Wins Lucky Day Lotto

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The Illinois Lottery says a Highland, Indiana, woman won 100-thousand dollars in Lucky Day Lotto. Sharon Lazur bought her ticket for the December 14th midday drawing from Santori Liquors in Lansing. Lottery officials say Lazur, who is originally from the Czech Republic, plans to donate some of the money to a local food bank. [Photo provided]...

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Porter County Officer Performs CPR, Revives Baby

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A four-week old baby girl is going to be okay thanks to the actions of a Porter County Sheriff's Deputy – who wasn't originally scheduled to be working that night. Sgt. Jeremy Chavez responded to a 911 call of a baby not breathing just after midnight Saturday, when on his way he was flagged down by a driver who turned out to be the mother, who had decided to leave for the hospital. Officer Chavez, who'd never performed CPR on a baby and just received his annual CPR certification about a month ago, performed CPR on the infant right then and there until medics arrived. The child was born premature, officials say, and had been hospitalized until last Friday.  At last check, the baby, who was transferred to a South Bend hospital was doing well.  [Photos provided; From left, Diamond Earl holding her baby Chyna Earl; Porter County Sheriff's Police Sgt. Jeremy Chavez]
...

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Seasonal Job Openings at Valpo Parks for 2014

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Valpo Parks is hiring for several seasonal job openings to work with adult sports and adult enrichment programming offered through the department.  In addition there are opportunities to work at Rogers-Lakewood Park during the summer season.
·  Adult Soccer Officials -- May – August
·  Adult Softball Officials -- May – July, August – September
·  Ultimate Frisbee Staff (new position)      April – July
·  Adult Enrichment Staff:
1.       Tai Chi Instructor
2.       Fitness Instructor for
          a)      new mothers getting back in shape (SAINT program, pg. 18 of brochure)
          b)      running program (pg. 25)
· Lakewood Staff -- Memorial Day – Labor Day
Full job descriptions are available at www.valpoparks.org  under the “I Want to…” tab. Interested applicants can complete the online application, download a hard copy for completion or stop in to the Valpo Parks office to fill out the application. For more information, call Program Director Dan Lukes at 219.462.5144....

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Hope For the Holidays Feeds over 2,170 People

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Food Bank of NW Indiana
Gary, IN— The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, NIPSCO, and Jelly Pancake House partnered together this month to provide Hope for the Holidays to those in need in our communities. Through a special breakfast held on Dec. 6th at the Merrillville Jelly’s restaurant the program raised over $21,000, $20,000 from a special donation from NIPSCO. The money was used to purchase food to be distributed at giveaways on Dec. 14th and Dec. 21st in Valparaiso and Merrillvile respectively. NIPSCO also sent volunteers to assist at both distributions.

Between the two giveaways the Food Bank was able to distribute food to over 670 people. Since these individuals will share this food with their families, the Hope for the Holidays program was actually able to feed over 2,170 people.

“We’re very happy we were able to feed so many families in need this holiday season,” said Arleen Peterson, Food Bank Executive Director. “There are so many people going without in our communities, and it’s so wonderful to see companies like NIPSCO and Jelly’s stepping up to make sure those folks can also have a happy holiday.”
Any food that was left over from the two distributions was used at the Pantry on the Go distribution on Dec. 23rd.

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is located in Gary and supplies food to almost 100 pantries and soup kitchens in Lake and Porter Counties. In addition to distributing food to their member agencies the Food Bank also runs the BackPack, Kid’s Café, Food Rescue and Pantry on the Go programs and offers pantry referrals. Last year the Food Bank distributed over 5.1 million pounds of food, and served over 5,000 individuals a week. ...

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Work Continues to Let Blind Woman Keep Her Home

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Work continues to allow an elderly blind woman in Cedar Lake keep her longtime home after the small plot of land ended up on a county tax sale list and was sold out from under her for 43-dollars. During a recent Region News Makers interview Cedar Lake Town Council President Randy Niemeyer says town council members took action earlier this month directing the town attorney to look into trying to buy the property where 67-year-old Dolores Pittman has lived for over a half-century, then allowing her to stay there through possibly a life-estate agreement.
Pittman's family bought the house decades ago, and was paying rent on the land, and when a church group that used to own the land divested itself of the property and property tax bills for the parcel began mounting up. To hear more our Region News Makers interview with Cedra Lake Town Council President Niemeyer, visit http://regionnewsteam.com/...

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Season's Greetings from Governor Mike Pence

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Gov Mike Pence
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and that is especially true in the Hoosier State. Ever since my youth, Christmas in Indiana has been magical to me, and it still is. It is a time of the year when my present pays special tribute to my past. I cannot come to a Christmas Eve without spending some time thinking of my Dad, gone now 25 years, or my grandparents, whose loving arms and twinkling eyes still light my memories.
Every family has their own traditions, but for the Pences, it will mean church and dinner on Christmas Eve with Karen’s side of the family and Christmas morning opening presents around the tree at the Governor’s Residence with our three college-age kids.
During this special time, we do well to remember that many across our state face this season with heartache. Some have lost a job, some have been out of work for a long time, some have lost a loved one, and others have a son or daughter serving our country in a distant land. For all  of them,  I pray they find hope, comfort and joy in this blessed season. And as we enjoy our families, let’s find ways to share our blessings by being generous with our treasure and time. Let’s make an extra effort to support local charities as they provide for the needs of the most vulnerable within our communities. And let’s remember to personally reach out to that neighbor who needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement. It may be just the gift someone needs most.
On behalf of our family, I wish you and yours a truly memorable holiday season. Merry Christmas, Indiana.
Governor Mike Pence...

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Proposed P3 Airport Terms to be Made Public on 1/13

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Preliminary approval was given today by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority Board to move forward with the public meeting of ordinances surrounding the proposed privatization terms. Tim Toughy, spokesperson for the public-private partnership committee says the proposed terms will be made public on January 13th, with an opportunity for public comment through January 27th. A public hearing will also take place on January 27th and the board may choose to vote on the matter that day.
The proposed terms were negotiated by the Ad Hoc committee with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., of Virginia, and include an investment of 25 million dollars in the first three years and a minimum 30 percent goal for local workforce participation as well as performance incentives for revenue growth, including profit sharing with the airport and the City of Gary. ...

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Crashes Cause Road Restrictions in Porter County

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Two separate crashes involving extractions have kept Porter County Sheriff's Police busy this afternoon and as a result traffic restrictions were put in place. Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says a three-vehicle crash involving two passenger vehicles and a semi took place on County Road 600 North and State Road 49. Sgt. LaFlower reports northbound traffic on State Road 49 was restricted to one-lane and County Road 600 North traffic is not being allowed to cross State Road 49. No major injuries are being reported.
Meanwhile US 6, between Mander Drive and County Road 350 East in Jackson Township, will be closed until around 6:30pm tonight for crash cleanup after a westbound vehicle crossed the center line for unknown reasons and struck an eastbound semi head-on. Sgt. LaFlower says a 49 year old Wanatah woman had to extricated from her vehicle as a result of the crash, while her 69 year old female passenger also reported an injury. The semi driver was not injured in the crash....

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Head-on Crash Closes Portion of US-6 in Porter County

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Traffic-Alert
US-HWY 6 is closed between Mander Rd. and CR-350 E. due to a head-on crash between a semi and another vehicle. Porter County Sheriff's police say drivers should avoid the area for at least the next couple hours. 
 
Drivers need to avoid US Highway 6 east of Calumet Avenue in Jackson Township this afternoon. Shortly after 2:00 pm CST emergency crews responded to a report of a semi vs another vehicle in a head-on crash on US HWY 6 in Jackson Township.  
 
Sgt. Larry La Flower of the Porter County Sheriff's Department says at least one extrication was performed and a life flight helicopter was landing in the area. Sgt. La Flower is urges drivers to stay out of the area as the accident scene will be active for some time. Reportedly semi hauling a steel coil lost its load and is leaking diesel fuel as a result Hazmat crews are enroute to the scene. as a result of the crash, US- HW 6 is closed between Mander Dr. and CR-350 E. in Jackson Township.
 
Also, another crash is being reported in Porter County at State Rd. 49 and County Rd.600 N north of Valparaiso. Drivers need to be alert to arriving emergency vehicles.


...

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Gold Coin Dropped in Red Kettle in Cedar Lake

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December 23, 2013 (Chicago) – One 1-ounce 1993 fine gold $50 coin, valued at approximately $1,300, was dropped into a Salvation Army Red Kettle on Friday, December 20, at a Strack and Van Til in Cedar Lake (9605 Lincoln Plaza). Gold coins found in Salvation Army Red Kettles have become a much-anticipated holiday tradition of giving in Chicagoland and northwest Indiana.
In the continuing economic downturn, more and more people are turning to The Salvation Army for help. The Salvation Army in Munster, which includes Cedar Lake, has seen a marked increase in the number of families, individuals and seniors requesting emergency aid for food, largely due to decreases in federal assistance benefits. Food assistance is one of the primary uses for Red Kettle donations, along with emergency rent and utility assistance, after-school programs for youth and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Each holiday season, The Salvation Army in Lake County serves more than 11,000 people, provides more than 2,500 food baskets, 8,000 toys and more than 4,000 articles of clothing.

"Donations to red kettles in Lake County Indiana are down by 30 percent compared to this time last year, so a donation as significant as this gold coin really does go a long way toward helping us meet our goal and we're so grateful to our anonymous Secret Santa," said Lt. Betsy Clark of The Salvation Army Hammond-Munster Corps. "This year we had one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we're trying our best to make up for lost time so that we don't have to make any cuts to the critical social services we provide to people in need all year long."
The philanthropic tradition of dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles actually began right here and dates back more than 25 years, when the first gold coin was deposited in McHenry County. Since then, The Salvation Army has received more than 400 gold coins of every type and description from anonymous donors.
The familiar Red Kettles will disappear from the streets on December 24, with a few remaining until January 4. However, the Red Kettle campaign will continue through January 31, 2014. The iconic red kettles and its bell ringers are the heart and soul of the Christmas season and are an integral part of The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. The Salvation Army receives nearly 70 percent of its yearly donations during the campaign. The funds are used not only to support Christmas programs and services, but to help The Salvation Army serve neighbors in need throughout the entire year. Funds raised will stay in the Lake County community.

For those wishing to donate at their computers, virtual Red Kettles are available on-line. Donors can host a virtual Red Kettle, or sponsor a Red Kettle team, by going to The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division web site at www.salarmychicago.org. Visitors to the site can register individually, as a group, or a business by completing a simple registration form.

To make a donation by mail, please send to:
The Salvation Army, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321
call 219-838-0380
or visit www.salarmyhammond,org




...

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Extra Alarm Industrial Fire in Chicago Heights

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1 breaking-news
Crews are on the scene of an extra alarm industrial fire at the Trialco Plant in Chicago Heights, which has caused the closure of US 30, between State Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. No further information is available at this time. ...

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Flossmoor Teen Facing an Adult Charge of Murder

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The death of a 25-year-old Flossmoor man authorities allege was fatally stabbed by his 15-year-old brother early Friday, marks the first homicide in the south-suburban community in more than thirty years, police say. The suspect, Michael Tigue, is facing an adult charge of murder in the death of Steven Tigue, and is scheduled to appear in court again tomorrow. At the bond hearing Saturday, prosecutors said the teen planned an attack on his older brother because he'd been the victim of bullying. ...

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Peoples Bank to Acquire First Federal Savings Loan

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Munster-based Peoples Bank has signed an agreement to acquire First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Hammond. First Federal is headquartered on Rimbach Street in downtown Hammond and has a branch on Cline Avenue in Highland. NorthWest Indiana Bancorp, the holding company for Peoples, says Peoples will acquire the assets and liabilities of First Federal in a voluntary merger, pending regulatory approval.
“Peoples Bank is taking a significant step in expanding our community banking franchise and furthering our strategic goals through consolidation,” said David A. Bochnowski, chairman and chief executive officer of Peoples and the Bancorp. “The merging of our two organizations offers opportunities to create operating, investment and managerial synergies while offering First Federal customers a broader menu of traditional and electronic banking products to meet their needs now and in the future,” he added.
John Freyek, president and chief executive officer of First Federal, views the merger as the means to bring together two community banks that share a similar history of local decisionmaking, great customer service and commitment to the communities they serve. “Our goal this past year has been to explore possible relationships that would be meaningful to our customers, employees and the community,” said Freyek. “We’re excited to partner with Peoples and provide our customers access to a full range of deposit, lending and wealth management product and service options while preserving our community banking roots.”...

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Memorial Marker Unveiled for Fallen Trooper

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Scott Patrick Memorial
A memorial marker has been placed at the location where Indiana State Police Trooper Scott Patrick of Wheatfield was killed in the line of duty in Gary ten years ago. Police say Patrick was responding to help a stranded motorist at the Grant Street exit of the Borman Expressway on December 22nd, three days before Christmas 2003, when he was fatally shot. The marker was unveiled on a rainy, wet Saturday night this past weekend in a ceremony that included special guest speakers, Indiana State Police Honor Guard and the Scott Patrick family.
patrick2

Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith filed a naming resolution which was passed by both chambers of the Indiana legislature and resulted in the declaration dated January 13, 2013. Indiana State Police say these efforts were enhanced with the assistance of Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh and INDOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Alderman.   [Left to right: Lieutenant Jerry Williams (Lowell District Commander), Melissa Patrick (widow), Isaac Scott Patrick (son) and Jamie Patrick (brother)/photos Indiana State Police]
The ceremony included the Indiana State Police Honor Guard, the Lake County Pipes and Drums, Indiana State Police Chaplain Coffee, Senior Trooper Geoff Gruber (who was first on scene and wounded Darryl Jeter who was convicted of Scott’s death), Melissa Patrick (Scott’s widow), Isaac Scott Patrick (nine year-old son of Scott) and Jamie Patrick (Scott’s brother).  Patrick's widow was pregnant when he was fatally shot.  The ceremony also marked the tenth anniversary of Trooper Patrick's death.  In 2006, State Road 10 between Wheatfield and DeMotte in Jasper County was dedicated as the Trooper Scott A. Patrick Memorial Highway in his honor.
Darryl Jeter of Chicago was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 after being found guilty of murder in Trooper Patrick's death....

Read more: Memorial Marker Unveiled for Fallen Trooper

   

Ind License Branches Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

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The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles says license branches will be closed on Tuesday, December 24th and Wednesday, December 25th in observance of the Christmas holiday. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Thursday, December 26th.  In addition, license branches will be closed on Wednesday, January 1st in observance of New Year's Day. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Thursday, January 2nd....

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Gold Coin Dropped in Porter County Red Kettle

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The first gold coin of the Christmas season for the Porter County Salvation Army has been found in a red kettle at the Strack and Van Til on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, during the morning to afternoon shift Saturday December 21. The coin has an image of the knight St. George, and was accompanied by a Christmas card with Santa Claus on front, signed "The Bright Metal Society", and identifying the gift as an 1883 Queen Victoria gold coin. Also inside the card was a special holiday message that read
card2a
"Three Wise Men
Came & one
Brought Gold...
Far Away Land
When Times were
old.
Sought for a
Mother & her
Child, Holiest
King – yet
Infant Mild...
Two Thousand Years
Have come & fled,
Still to the Manger
We are led.
Plowshares were
taken from a sword.
Bright Metal once again serves our Lord..."
Additional information from The Salvation Army of Porter County:
THE SALVATION ARMY OF PORTER COUNTY 2013 Christmas Season Red Kettle Campaign is at $121,805.93 (as of Thursday, 12/19) 81.2% of goal (150,000) in Porter County, which is our major fund-raising event for the Army each year and one of the world’s oldest philanthropic campaigns.  The monies raised over these days (excluding Sundays) will be used to assist those in need in Porter County for Christmas and throughout the 2014 fiscal year.  The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene with our overall Campaign Goal this year at $280, 000 (to date we are at $220,914.25 or 78.9%).  We plan to raise $150,000 through our Red Kettle Drive and $130,000 ( we are at $99,108.32 or 76.2%) through our mail appeal drive to serve needy families, youth & seniors in our Porter County communities throughout the year.  The Red Kettle Campaign is into the final week for Red Kettle Bell Ringing.  Please know that our Mail Appeal Drive continues to accept donations thru to January 30, 2014 for this annual campaign.
      We invite you to be part of this event to help spread the word about raising funds for The Salvation Army of Porter County to assist those in need.  Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who rung the bell; fed people on Thanksgiving Day; collected, sorted, wrapped and distributed gifts at The Salvation Army of Porter County Corps Community Center and local Nursing Homes.   “The Salvation Army has brought spiritual light and love along with food, clothing and gifts to over 433 families, 819 senior citizens and 722 children which were served this Christmas Season so that the real meaning is not forgotten.  We minister to the needy in Jesus name without discrimination.”  
      Other Christmas events held by the Army include the Angel Tree Food, Clothing & Toy Assistance, Collection and Distribution, Adopt-a-Family Assistance, Christmas Nursing Home/Shut-in Senior Gift Distribution, Christmas Food Distribution and Youth & Family Christmas Parties, Christmas and New Year Worship Services along with our daily help with food, rent/mortgage, utility, medicine, employment and transportation assistance.Thank you and may God richly bless Porter County, Indiana....

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