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INDOT to Drivers this Weekend: Plan Ahead

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The Indiana Department of Transportation is alerting holiday weekend travelers of the potential for changing road conditions due to different weather conditions expected in the Region.
INDOT's Matt Deitchly says that the Region is experiencing some rain this afternoon and with the snow that is already out there is melting, "and there is a serious risk of high water conditions throughout Northwest Indiana."  Deitchly is encouraging drivers to plan ahead and if you do see high water on the roadways, "obviously never drive through that it could be a very dangerous situation because you don't know how deep that water is."
The INDOT spokesman also says the department stays current with changing conditions monitoring different forecasts prepared just for INDOT.  He adds, "if it looks like were getting to that time where the temperature is dropping,  we'll have trucks on the road patrolling just watching to see where things are icing up."   Once the road begins icing up the crews will get right to work on that salt.
Freezing road surfaces are not drivers only concern as the National Weather Service Dense fog advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. CST Friday.  The latest forecast for Saturday is calling for freezing rain possible in the morning with snow and sleet possibly mixing with freezing rain Saturday afternoon, with temperatures near 34 degrees.
For the latest major road conditions in Northwest Indiana log onto:  http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/index.html...

Read more: INDOT to Drivers this Weekend: Plan Ahead

 

WB Borman Backing up Due to Crash near Chase St.

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12-20-13  WB Borman car in ditch
Traffic westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) is currently backed up from before the Broadway exit due to a two vehicle crash near Chase St. A traffic tipster reporting a vehicle landed in the right hand ditch and another vehicle was stopped on the left hand shoulder. Drivers should be alert to stopping traffic and delays westbound on I-80/94.
Along with a dense fog advisory in effect until 7p.m. CST for the Region, the Indiana Department of Transportation is warning drivers to be on the lookout for high water now as well, and potentially slick conditions later this weekend due to changing weather patterns being forecasted.

During this afternoons commute drivers are being advised to allow extra driving time, to increase the distance between them and other vehicles and to be sure they are driving with their vehicles headlights on.
(photo/INDOT)...

Read more: WB Borman Backing up Due to Crash near Chase St.

 

Trooper Scott Patrick Memorial Marker to be Unveiled

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Trooper Patrick
A memorial marker is being 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 Trooper 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 will be unveiled Saturday night in a ceremony beginning at 8 pm (Sat Dec 21) that will include special guest speakers, Indiana State Police Honor Guard and the Scott Patrick family. 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 at the Lowell Post say these efforts were enhanced with the assistance of Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh and INDOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Alderman. Gary Police and Fire will set a traffic pattern southbound on Grant Street to close the right lane for overflow parking and divert south traffic into the left lane. ...

Read more: Trooper Scott Patrick Memorial Marker to be Unveiled

 

Indiana Unemployment Rate Drops in November

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana gained 25,300 private sector jobs in November, the largest one-month increase in The Hoosier State on record. All employment sectors saw significant growth, with the exception of the leisure and hospitality sector, which was unchanged for the month. Employment sectors experiencing the largest increases in hiring over the month were Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+6,800), Construction (+5,400), Manufacturing (+4,800), and Professional and Business services (+4,700). Indiana was responsible for nearly 13 percent of the nation’s private sector job growth in November.
Indiana’s unemployment rate declined in November as well, dropping 0.2 percent to 7.3 percent, lower than all neighboring states. Fewer Hoosiers are now unemployed (232,400), than in November of 2008 (240,600).
"Today's job numbers are welcome news to every Hoosier and are a testament to the hard working people of our state and the businesses that power Indiana's economy every day", said Governor Mike Pence. "The continued downward trend in unemployment and the significant growth in private sector jobs demonstrate that Indiana's economy is strong and growing stronger every day," said Governor Mike Pence.
“November was a historic month of job growth in Indiana,” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “It is encouraging that fewer Hoosiers are unemployed than in November of 2008, and the unemployment rate has dropped by more than a percentage point over the past few months. However, we need to keep the ball moving by strengthening Indiana’s pro-growth climate.”
Sanders also noted claims for unemployment insurance continue to be at their lowest levels since 2000. [News Release/Graphs Indiana Dept of Wokrforce Development]...

Read more: Indiana Unemployment Rate Drops in November

 

Governor Pence Seeks Tax Break for Hoosiers

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence continued detailing his 2014 legislative proposals, focusing on Hoosier families and communities during remarks at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Wayne Thursday. Pence's plan, which he calls his 2014 Roadmap, calls for vouchers for a pre-K program for low-income families, a state tax credit for any individual or family who adopts a child, and increasing the income tax exemption for Hoosiers, including dependent children, in Indiana's tax code. Pence says Indiana's average individual exemption is one-thousand dollars, compared to an average of nearly three-thousand dollars in other states. [Photo/courtesy Governor's office]...

Read more: Governor Pence Seeks Tax Break for Hoosiers

 

Board Says Talks Can Begin on New Air Show Site

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In Lake County, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors has given the okay to begin negotiations with Fair Oaks Farms over a contract to hold the South Shore Air Show there in 2014. For over a decade, the air show has been along the shores of Lake Michigan at Gary's Marquette Park. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr was among those who spoke against the plan to move the show about fifty miles south to Newton County.  The proposal still has to come back before the visitor's authority for final approval. ...

Read more: Board Says Talks Can Begin on New Air Show Site

 

Homicide in East Chicago

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In East Chicago, police are investigating a homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 40-year-old James Currie of East Chicago died from multiple gunshot wounds in the 35-hundred block of Block Avenue early today (Fri Dec 20) . The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 6-o'clock this morning. No other information was available on the fatal shooting at this time....

Read more: Homicide in East Chicago

 

Valpo Schools Supt Retiring in August

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Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Mike Berta has announced his retirement effective August 6th. The 64-year-old Berta is leaving after two years, after coming out of retirement to fill the post. Berta retired from Portage Township Schools in June 2012, and less than two months later he was asked to join Valparaiso....

Read more: Valpo Schools Supt Retiring in August

 

Illinois Gov Quinn Wants $10 Minimum Wage

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is renewing his call for an increase in the state minimum wage. The current minimum wage of $8.25 an hour in Illinois has been in place since 2010. Quinn would like to see it raised to at least ten-dollars an hour saying no one should work 40 hours a week and still be living in poverty.  Opponents argue such an increase would be hard on businesses, especially small businesses already struggling to make payroll each month. Quinn says increasing the wage would be good for the Illinois economy.  Indiana's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, same as the federal minimum....

Read more: Illinois Gov Quinn Wants $10 Minimum Wage

 

Man Found Guilty in Molestation Trial

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A jury in Porter County deliberated about three hours Thursday night before finding a 39-year-old Portage man guilty of nine felony counts in connection with accusations of molesting four boys. Sentencing for Christopher Truman was scheduled for February 25th. Defense attorney Larry Rogers critical of the evidence presented was quoted in final arguments as telling the jury the case “ought to scare” everyone in the courtroom. Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said molestation is a crime of a private nature and one that can lack physical evidence....

Read more: Man Found Guilty in Molestation Trial

 

Nine Charged in Insurance Investigation

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Nine people, including eight from the Region, are accused in an indictment that is said to allege car crashes were staged in northwest Indiana and Illinois for insurance money. Four of the individuals are from Michigan City, two are from Calumet City, one is from Valparaiso and one person is from Grand Prairie, Texas. The US Attorneys Office in Hammond says all nine have been charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and mail fraud after an investigation by the United States Postal Service -Office of the Inspector General and FBI. The alleged fraud reportedly occurred between December 2005 and July 2009....

Read more: Nine Charged in Insurance Investigation

   

Food Drive to Collect Soup Begins in January

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Food Bank of NW Indiana
A food drive designed to collect cans of low-sodium soup for children and seniors begins next month. During a recent Region News Makers interview, Northwest Indiana Food Bank Executive Director Arleen Peterson says they will be holding their first ever “Souper Bowl” food drive from January 6th through February 14th.
The Food Bank is looking to hopefully have schools sign on as donation sites as well as local businesses and organizations. If you are interested in becoming a collection site, please contact Victor Ortiz at 219-980-1777 ext. 307 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The Food Bank does ask if it’s at all possible for participants to pick up the collection boxes from the Food Bank. This helps save on fuel costs.
To hear more of interview with Peterson, visit http://regionnewsteam.com/...

Read more: Food Drive to Collect Soup Begins in January

   

NW Indiana Home Sales Down From Oct to Nov

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The numbers of homes sold in northwest Indiana were up slightly from this time a year ago, but home sales from October to November were down. The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports sales of single family units in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton Counties combined rose one-point-nine percent from November 2012 to November 2013, with the median selling price up one-point-two percent. Units sold between October to November fell 16-point-five percent, with the median selling price over that period dropping three-point-four percent. Even though the increase was small, it still marks 29 consecutive months of growth in year-over-year comparisons. ...

Read more: NW Indiana Home Sales Down From Oct to Nov

   

Hit and Run Accident at LaPorte CVS

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Authorities in LaPorte are seeking help from the public to locate a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident at CVS. LaPorte Police report they were dispatched to the 14-hundred block of Lincolnway just before 12:30am today and, according to the victim and witnesses, an older, dark-colored Ford truck pulled into the parking lot, backed up and struck a concrete pillar, then pulled forward and backed up again, striking the victim's truck and causing damage to the rear passenger side of the vehicle. Police report the suspect truck then left the parking lot heading north. Anyone with any information regarding this hit-and-run incident is asked to contact LaPorte Police....

Read more: Hit and Run Accident at LaPorte CVS

   

Wake for Local Pearl Harbor Survivor on Sunday

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A Pearl Harbor survivor from Hammond passed away on Wednesday at the age of 94. John Latko was a marine aboard the USS Virginia and gained popularity in a picture showing him in a boat pulling another man out of the water with the USS Virginia burning in the background. Latko was involved with the local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, as well as the armed forces memorial in Munster. A wake has been scheduled for Sunday, at Burns Kish Funeral Home in Hammond, from 2 to 7pm. ...

Read more: Wake for Local Pearl Harbor Survivor on Sunday

   

Man Charged with Recent Burglaries in Portage

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Portage police announced today that a 34 year old man was arrested on Monday and charged with two-counts of felony burglary for a December 3rd burglary on Joseph Street. Police report the homeowner foiled Michael Oelling's attempt to burglarize the home and provided officers a license plate number of the suspect vehicle. Police say they were able to identify Oelling as the suspect in a burglary on Fallen Timbers Avenue in Portage and items stolen from that burglary were recovered. Chief Troy Williams he wants the community to know they make every effort to keep residents safe and informed and wants to assure the community they have and will continue to address any and all issues as swiftly as possible. ...

Read more: Man Charged with Recent Burglaries in Portage

   

Rolled Over Semi Blocks Traffic at Indiana Toll Road

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(Photo Courtesy of Indiana State Police Lowell Post)
A 55 year old Wisconsin man was cited for going too fast for conditions after he lost control of his semi while negotiating the curve portion of the entrance ramp of I-80/94 onto the eastbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports just after 10am today the semi, loaded with over 30-thousand pounds of Sodium Hydroxide Solution, jack-knifed and rolled onto the driver's side blocking all eastbound lanes of the Toll Road until just before noon when one lane was reopened. Authorities say all lanes were reopened just before 2pm. The semi/tanker was totaled as a result of the rollover, but no load was lost and the driver was not injured....

Read more: Rolled Over Semi Blocks Traffic at Indiana Toll Road

   

LaPorte Police Seek Help to Located Wanted Man

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(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
Police in LaPorte are seeking the public's help to locate a 25 year old man wanted on a warrant for failure to appear on the felony charge of criminal recklessness. LaPorte Police report Samar Peoples is described as a black male, 5'5”, weighing 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, with multiple tattoos on both arms and hands.
If you know his immediate whereabouts, call 911. If you have any other information on Peoples, please contact the La Porte Police Department at 362-9446, or La Porte Metro Operations at 325-9022. You can remain anonymous....

Read more: LaPorte Police Seek Help to Located Wanted Man

   

Elderly Man Stabbed at Michigan City Outlet Mall

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In Michigan City, police say two subjects were arrested on preliminary charges after a 70 year old man was stabbed multiple times in the parking lot of Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets on Wednesday. Michigan City Police report the elderly man and his wife were sitting in their vehicle when they were approached by a man who demanded the woman's purse. The 70 year old then got out of the vehicle and a struggle ensued, resulting in the elderly man being stabbed, who is now in serious condition. At last check a 43 year old man, who claimed to be homeless, was being held for robbery and aggravated battery and a 29 year old Michigan City woman was arrested for possession of stolen property after police allege she had some of the stolen property. The incident marks the third robbery at the outlet mall in the last month. ...

Read more: Elderly Man Stabbed at Michigan City Outlet Mall

   

Griffith Officers Catch Burglars in the Act

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Griffith Police say two 19-year-old men from Gary and Chesterton have been charged with burglary after an incident around noon Monday – and police say they have recovered property that will likely be associated with burglaries that have occurred recently in neighboring towns. Police were investigating after someone rang a resident's door continuously, then left quickly upon hearing someone inside say they'd be there shortly. Police say they located two individuals in a car parked in the 900 block of Wheeler, who allegedly advised they were there to visit a friend, but appeared nervous. Police say inside the car was a large screen tv, a gaming system and jewelry box, and further investigation revealed a burglary had taken place.
“Arrests like this show that the citizens of Griffith and the Griffith Police Department are working in unison,” said Chief Greg Mance, “to send a strong message that crime will not be tolerated in our community. “...

Read more: Griffith Officers Catch Burglars in the Act

   

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