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Low Number of Weapons Turned In at Gun Buyback

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City of Gary
The City of Gary held a gun buyback event on Saturday at six local churches but police report the turn in number was very low compared to previous events. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says a total of 29 weapons, 23 pistols and six rifles were turned in, despite an incentive from the city to give GED testing vouchers to the first 50 people. City Director of Communications Chelsea Whittington says even with the low turn out, anytime you get guns off the streets it is a victory.
Whittington says ten citizens signed up to receive the testing vouchers on Saturday and the city plans to continue using the GED testing voucher as an incentive with future gun buybacks, the next occurring by the first of the year. ...

Read more: Low Number of Weapons Turned In at Gun Buyback

 

NIRPC Releases Illiana Expressway Staff Analysis

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NIRPC today released a 55 page staff analysis on the Illiana Expressway to guide regional decision makers as they debate the proposal to include the project as an amendment in their 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. The report is mixed and does not take a stand on the project. Four NIRPC committees will take up the issue next month, the first of which is the Transportation Policy Committee on December 3rd, with the full NIRPC Commission voting on December 12th, and only the Transportation Policy Committee and Full Commission votes are binding on the inclusion of the Illiana Expressway into the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan. INDOT has requested both the Illiana Expressway and the widening on I-65, between US 30 and US 231, be included in the amendment. For a link to read the entire report, visit http://nirpc.org/illiana-expressway-project/public-agency-documents.aspx...

Read more: NIRPC Releases Illiana Expressway Staff Analysis

 

Hoosier Drivers Not Prepared for Winter WX Emergency

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According to a recent survey conducted by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, about 75 percent of Indiana respondents indicated they did not have a preparedness kit in their vehicle. Officials are encouraging Hoosiers to check their tire pressure and tread depth, the age of car batteries, anti-freeze levels and age, car heater and defroster operation, as well as windshield wipers and blades.
In addition to winter vehicle preparation, IDHS suggests creating and putting a winter weather preparedness kit in each vehicle in case of a weather-related emergency like an accident, car trouble or slide-offs. An emergency car kit is essential any time of year and should include the following items, with special emphasis this time of year on water, food and warmth:
·         At least two blankets or a sleeping bag;
·         Flashlight and extra batteries;
·         Booster (jumper) cables;
·         Emergency flares;
·         Extra clothing, including boots, hats and gloves;
·         Shovel
·         Bottled water and non-perishable foods like granola bars, raisins, nuts, peanut butter or cheese crackers;
·         First-aid kit and necessary medications;
·         Sand or non-clumping kitty litter for tire traction;
·         Cell phone and charger for vehicle use; and
·         Ice scraper and snow brush.
Erickson says drivers who become stranded should try to stay calm, call for help if possible and keep in mind the following precautions:
·         Unless there is a safe structure nearby, do not leave the car, since it is the best protection;
·         Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. An idling car only uses about one gallon of gas per hour;
·         Tie a brightly colored cloth to the car for rescuers to see;
·         Light a flare or turn on a flashlight to let others know you are stranded;
·         Make sure the exhaust pipe is free of any blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning; and
·         Keep hydrated by drinking water from your preparedness kit. Don’t eat snow, as it will lower body temperature.

During severe winter weather or if inclement weather is approaching, IDHS recommends staying home, if possible. If the trip is absolutely necessary, Erickson says it’s a good idea to let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival.
...

Read more: Hoosier Drivers Not Prepared for Winter WX Emergency

 

Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed

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Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed
Crews have reopened the right lane southbound I-65 as daytime road work has wrapped up for the day in the southbound direction.  In the photo, the orange barrels can be seen moved to the right hand shoulder.
The right lane restriction northbound I-65 remains near 45th Avenue with northbound lanes I-65 backing up a little before 61st Avenue. 
The right lane closure southbound I-65 at one time backed up traffic eastbound on the Borman (I-80/94) from Cline Avenue with all southbound lanes running below posted speeds from almost the Indiana Toll Road.
Speaking of the Toll Road, ITR Consessions Company,  the firm that operates the Indiana Toll Road, has issued a WInter Weather Ban from 6p.m. CST (7:00p.m. EST) Tuesday, November, 26, 2013 through 6:00p.m. CST (7:00p.m. EST) Wednesday, November 27, 2013 from Valparaiso through South bend West on the Indiana Toll Road.  The ban is in effect for all triples, and long-doubles including steel haulers, according to ITR.
(photo:  INDOT  http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/index.html )

 ...

Read more: Right Lane Restriction SB I-65 Removed

 

US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Kenneth King

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kenneth king
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 31 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for child molesting is this week's US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force “Fugitive of the Week.” Authorities report Kenneth Markie King has been known to reside throughout northwest Indiana, with ties to East Chicago, Gary, Lake Station and Indianapolis. King is described as a black male, six-feet tall, weighing 205 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on Kenneth Markie King and his whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous....

Read more: US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Kenneth King

 

Man Charged After Pulling a Gun and Pointing It at His Wife

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john wall
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 48 year old man from the Hebron-area was taken into custody on Monday, after being released from a hospital for an evaluation, on charges he allegedly pointed a gun at his wife and fired it while both in a barn on their property. The Times reports John Wall confronted his wife around 1:30am on Saturday, inquiring about who she had talked with on her phone, and then threw her to the ground and took her phone. According to the article, about 40 minutes later, the wife heard noises outside and went out to the barn to investigate when she was allegedly shoved inside and kept from leaving by her husband. The woman reportedly informed police Wall pulled a gun from his coat and pointed it at her, and then fired a shot in an unknown direction before pointing the gun at himself, grabbing his wife's hands and asking her to shoot him. ...

Read more: Man Charged After Pulling a Gun and Pointing It at His Wife

 

Daytime Road Work Backing-up Both Directions I-65

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11-26-13  NB I-65 backing up at 61st
Drivers can expect possible backups and delays traveling both directions of I-65 in the Gary corridor.  INDOT is reporting that the right lane of both northbound and southbound I-65 is restricted near Ridge Road for daytime road work.  INDOT traffic cam (photo above) is showing the right lane restriction on the northbound side close to 53rd Avenue with traffic backing up from before 61st Avenue. 

11-26-13  SB I-65 backup
(INDOT traffic cam view shows traffic backing up southbound I-65 due to the right lane being restricted near 45th Avenue for daytime road work)


The southbound right lane I-65 is closed near 45th Avenue as seen in the above photo.  Drivers should expect delays both directions I-65 especially southbound I-65 coming from the Borman ( I-80/94) with traffic backing onto the right lanes eastbound 80/94. 
Traffic tipsters are reporting bigger backups perhaps due to more drivers on area roads who are getting a head start on the holiday or simply expediting their travel plans due to the lake effect snow being predicted to begin later Tuesday evening into Wednesday.
(photos:  INDOT  http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/index.html )...

Read more: Daytime Road Work Backing-up Both Directions I-65

 

Ford Escape SUV Recall Due to Oil and Fuel Leaks

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Over 160-thousand Ford Escape SUV's are being recalled worldwide. ABC News reports the small Ford Escape SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned in 2012. This time two recalls involve fixing oil and fuel leaks that could cause engine fires. 13 fires have been reported but Ford says nobody has been injured. Dealers will inspect and fix any impacted Escapes beginning in January. ...

Read more: Ford Escape SUV Recall Due to Oil and Fuel Leaks

 

Investigation Continues into Portage Bait Shop Robbery

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portage pd
In Portage, police are seeking the public's assistance as they continue their investigation into an armed robbery at a business Sunday morning in the 62-hundred block of US 20. Portage Police report the suspect allegedly entered Quick Step Outdoors bait shop around 10am, used a knife from the store's counter to threatened the owner and left with an undisclosed amount of money. Police report the suspect is described as a white male, 5'10” with a heavy build, in his mid 30's, wearing a blue coat and a blue winter cap. Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station reportedly shows the suspect driving a large white SUV, with an Indiana handicapped license plate from White County. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Portage Police. ...

Read more: Investigation Continues into Portage Bait Shop Robbery

 

Poachers Caught Hunting Illegally in National Lakeshore

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national park service
Officials say two men were apprehended hunting illegally in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in separate incidents this month. On Friday November 15th, National Park Service rangers say they located a Buchanan, Michigan man hunting in a tree stand approximately 75 yards inside the park boundary near Mount Baldy in Michigan City. The next day, a ranger on patrol in the Pinhook Bog area of the park discovered a Valparaiso man allegedly standing in an illegal tree stand about 150 yards inside the park boundary in possession of hunting gear. Hunting within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is prohibited under federal law and both men are facing charges. Violators are also subject to the seizure and forfeiture of all equipment, including firearms and vehicles.
Additional information from the National Park Service:
Hunters may not pursue, dress out, or transport legally wounded or killed animals that end up within park boundaries unless they are accompanied by a park ranger. Hunters should call 1-800-ParkTip to report any such incidents and to request assistance. Legally taken animals may not be stored overnight anywhere in the park, including campgrounds, parking lots, or any other visitor facilities. All park roads are closed to the transportation of lawfully taken wildlife, unless specifically approved in writing by a park ranger. Individuals hunting near the park boundary are reminded to be familiar with the location of the park and to confirm that the area they are hunting in is not inside the boundary.
The National Park Service welcomes the public’s assistance in helping to protect the park’s wildlife. Illegal or suspicious hunting activity can be reported to the 1-800-ParkTip line 24 hours a day seven days a week. Reporting parties do not have to identify themselves and all reports are kept confidential.  For more information click http://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm...

Read more: Poachers Caught Hunting Illegally in National Lakeshore

 

Extra Police Patrols in Valpo for Thanksgiving Holiday

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Valpo PD
Police in Valparaiso will be working extra patrols tomorrow night and throughout Thanksgiving weekend as part of the “Safe Family Travels” enforcement blitz. Officers will be searching for aggressive driving, speeding motorists, seat violations and impaired drivers. Valparaiso Police report the night before Thanksgiving has become a popular night for consuming alcohol, so they are encouraging everyone who does drink to please drink responsibly. Motorists are also encouraged to report impaired drivers from their cell phone when they observe erratic driving....

Read more: Extra Police Patrols in Valpo for Thanksgiving Holiday

   

Winter Weather Ban Issued for Indiana Toll Road

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Traffic-Advisory
ITR Concessions Company has issued a Winter Weather Ban in effect Tuesday, November 26, 2013 beginning at 07:00 pm EST through Wednesday, November 27, 2013 07:00 pm EST from Valparaiso through South Bend West on the Indiana Toll Road. This ban is in effect for all triples, and long-doubles including steel haulers.

...

Read more: Winter Weather Ban Issued for Indiana Toll Road

   

Gov Pence Accepts State Auditor's Resignation

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dwayne sawyer
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced that he has accepted Dwayne Sawyer’s resignation as State Auditor, effective next month. In his letter of resignation, Sawyer said he was leaving due to “family and personal concerns.” In August, Sawyer, former town council president for Brownsburg, Indiana, was named auditor to finish Tim Berry's term, which runs through 2014. Sawyer was the first black Republican to hold statewide office in Indiana. Berry left after being elected chair of the State Republican Party.
“I have accepted Dwayne Sawyer’s resignation as Auditor of State effective December 15, 2013.  His reason for resigning had to do with personal and family circumstances, and I respect his decision to step aside. Hoosiers can be assured that Mr. Sawyer’s resignation had nothing to do with his fiduciary responsibilities for the state or his execution of his duties as Auditor. This office will always be grateful for Mr. Sawyer’s service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Sawyer stated in his letter of resignation, “Due to family and personal concerns, I have come to the conclusion that it will be in the best interests of my family and the people of Indiana whom I have been honored to serve that I resign from the office of Indiana auditor of state.”...

Read more: Gov Pence Accepts State Auditor's Resignation

   

Driver's Ed for Valpo's Newest Roundabout

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5 Points Roundabout Rendering
[Image/courtesy City of Valparaiso]
Valparaiso residents who might be a little uneasy about taking a spin through the city's newest and most high-profile roundabout –Five Points at Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads– the city wants to help. Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers' family runs a local driving school, Excel Driving School in Valparaiso, that he says is offering some free training for adult motorists next month as a public service to the community.  "The student will come to the office and spend about a half hour doing some paperwork, signing some releases and watching the video on how to drive a roundabout, and then a professional driving instructor will meet them in a driver-ed car, " Summers said, taking the motorist through the roundabout at Cumberland Crossing then the new one that's opening at Vale Park on the north side of the city.
A ten-minute video on driving a roundabout is also available at the city's website: http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1244...

Read more: Driver's Ed for Valpo's Newest Roundabout

   

Indiana State Police Urge Motorists to Buckle Up

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Indiana State Police want you to buckle up, not just for Thanksgiving travel, for for whenever and wherever you travel.  "It's the best way to protect yourself against injury in a crash as well as your loved ones, " said Indiana State Police Trooper Glen Fifield. Trooper Fifield says it's also important that parents have a properly-installed child safety or booster seat, and for more information you can visit www.childseat.in.gov for a list of locations and a toll-free number to speak with experts about proper installation.  
You'll be seeing officers taking part in high-visibility patrols as we're entering the holiday season. In an effort to make the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday travel period safer, the Indiana State Police are joining approximately 250 other law enforcement agencies statewide in participating in the annual Safe Family Travel campaign which began Friday, November 8th and runs through Sunday, December 1.  The Indiana State Police will be conducting enforcement efforts including sobriety check points and saturation patrols targeting impaired drivers and unrestrained motorists.
Officials say in 2012, alcohol-impaired driving in Indiana was linked to 150 fatalities (increase from 140 fatalities in 2011) and 2,112 injuries. Alcohol-impaired collisions were less than 3 percent of all Indiana crashes, but accounted for 20.3 percent of Indiana 779 traffic fatalities in 2012.   Indiana State Police also say roughly six out of ten fatalities in alcohol-impaired collisions were the impaired driver from 2008 to 2012. Approximately 80 percent of serious fatal and incapacitating injuries from alcohol-impaired collisions occurring during the 2008-2012 period were suffered by impaired drivers and their passengers.

Indiana State Police ask everyone to help make the Thanksgiving Holiday travel period safe by observing the following safety rules:

 If you are planning to travel make sure you are well rested, a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver
 Avoid tailgating; remember the two-second rule
 Make sure everyone is buckled up
 Put down the electronic devices and drive
 DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
 MOVE OVER - SLOW DOWN for emergency and highway service vehicles...

Read more: Indiana State Police Urge Motorists to Buckle Up

   

Portage to Offer Auto-Calls for Emergencies and More

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In Portage, the city has approved offering a new auto-call system that'll get the word out to residents via phone, text, and email. The messaging is expected to be operational next month. There will be no cost to use it, and residents who don't want it can opt out. The system can be used to send emergency info like severe weather warnings or a broken water line notification to information like a change in garbage pickup, and residents will be able to choose what they want to be notified about....

Read more: Portage to Offer Auto-Calls for Emergencies and More

   

South Shore to St John by 2023?

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Region commuters could be catching the South Shore train in south Lake County by 2023 – within about a decade – according to a preliminary report. The first phase of the West Lake extension would stop in St. John, with an eye toward Lowell later. The investment plan being discussed by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District also looks at enhancements to the current line, like replacing cars, and improvements to stations here in the Region.  In other NICTD news, members of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Executive Board have voted to ban e-cigarettes on all trains. Smoking is already prohibited on all trains along the South Shore line. ...

Read more: South Shore to St John by 2023?

   

Lake Effect Expected to Impact the Region

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snow
[Image/Chicago National Weather Service]
A lake effect snow event is expected to impact the Region just as holiday travelers may be taking to major highways for Thanksgiving travel. Forecasters with the National Weather Service says lake effect snow is likely especially the further east you go in Northwest Indiana, into Porter and especially La Porte County, including the Indiana Toll Road and Interstate 94, starting tonight and continuing through Wednesday.   Currently we have Lake Effect Snow Watches posted tonight through Wednesday for Porter and Starke Counties, with a Lake Effect Snow Warning for La Porte County tonight through Wednesday.
Chicago National Weather Service:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/    
Northern Indiana National Weather Service:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/...

Read more: Lake Effect Expected to Impact the Region

   

Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole

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In Lake County court, a Gary man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of a Griffith woman in April 2011. Last month, a jury convicted 40-year-old Robert Lewis the third of charges that included murder and murder during the perpetration of criminal deviate conduct. Authorities say 37-year-old Jennifer Kocsis, a former teacher in Hammond and Whiting, agreed to give Lewis a ride from a restaurant. Her body was found by schoolchildren the next morning behind the former Riley Elementary School building at 43rd and Ohio Street in Gary. ...

Read more: Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole

   

Numerous Spin-outs and Crashes Due to Icy Roads

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Late Monday afternoon rush hour drivers encountered icing road conditions all across northwest Indiana as area temperatures dipped below freezing. 
Dozens of traffic tipsters reported extremely hazardous conditions and spin-outs, including one eastbound on the Indiana Toll Rd. at the Broadway exit, which was moved to the left shoulder.
Icy roads may have contributed to a crash involving a semi and three other vehicles affecting the northbound lanes of Cline Avenue at the US 20/5th Avenue exit.  Emergency crews responded to a rollover wreck on US-231 at Montgomery Street just east of the intersection.
 
Shortly before 6:30p.m. CST reportedly a semi jackknifed blocking the left lane northbound I-65 just south of the US 231 Crown Point exit. 

Around the same time a traffic tipster reported that southbound State Road 49 was at a standstill just south of US Highway 6 and that traffic was moving about 20 mph.
A traveler from Virginia driving northbound on I-65 reported in on the Northwest Indiana Traffic Tip Hotline (219-405-7743) that she first encountered icy conditions just south of Winimac in the Fair Oaks area where she reportedly saw a police car in the ditch.  About the same time another driver reported that I-65 in the same area was nothing but a sheet of ice.
A public service worker on the way to her police job called in to say that the Broadway overpass over I-94 was a sheet of ice in the Gary area and that it took her 10 minutes to make it over it and she said cars attempting to cross were spinning out with no traction.
INDOT has dispatched their entire fleet of trucks to salt all the major expressways and area roads.  Drivers are being urged to stay off of area roads as travel is extremely hazardous, if not impossible in some areas....

Read more: Numerous Spin-outs and Crashes Due to Icy Roads

   

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