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School Accountabilty Moves from DOE to Legislature

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The Indiana legislature will now be in charge of the caluculation of the state's school accountability grades. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long approved the move today, which affects 2012 through 2013 school year grades. The State Board of Education previously was in charge of the state's school accountabilty and have requested that nonpartisan legislative attorneys take over calculating the grades. ...

Read more: School Accountabilty Moves from DOE to Legislature

 

Multi-vehicle Crash Closes US-421 Near LaCrosse

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INDOT reports that US-421 remians closed between State Road 8 and State Road 10 in southwestern La Porte County due to a multi-vehicle crash that occurred shortly before 2p.m. Friday.  Reporteldy one of the vehicles involved was a semi grain hauler. La Porte County Sheriff's police are advising drivers to find alternate routes for about the next hour as US-421 will remianed closed while an accident investigation is underway....

Read more: Multi-vehicle Crash Closes US-421 Near LaCrosse

 

60 Days Community Service for Sex with Student

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A former Boone Grove Middle School janitor received 60 days of community service and nearly three-years probation today after pleading guilty to having sex with a 14 year old girl. 21 year old Kevin Abernathy II, of Valparaiso, was also ordered to complete sex offender treatment, pay the girl's counseling bill and avoid further contact with the girl, a student at the school while Abernathy worked there. Police report Abernathy approached the girl on Facebook and she snuck him in to her room on three separate occasions, late at night, between February and March. ...

Read more: 60 Days Community Service for Sex with Student

 

Big Backup Eastbound I-94 Due to Crash

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Big Backup Eastbound I-94 Due to Crash
A multi vehicle crash in the center lane of eastbound I-94 near mile marker 22 has caused the closure of two additional lanes as crews work on the scene.  Traffic tipsters are reporting all lanes eastbound I-94 are backing up at least five miles.  Drivers should expect solid congestion and long delays until the accident scene is cleared.

(photo:  courtesy of INDOT shows eastbound traffic backing up)
...

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Brief Lock Down at Bishop Noll in Hammond

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A Catholic High School in Hammond briefly went into lock down late this morning. Bishop Noll Institute officials say someone reported seeing a man believed to be holding a weapon outside the school and the school went into lock down immediately. Police reported no criminal act had transpired and the man never left the vicinity of his vehicle. ...

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Potential Victims Sought in Pharmacy Case

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The US Attorneys Office in the Western District of Michigan is seeking to identify potential victims in cases against pharmacists at the now-closed Kentwood Pharmacy, which serviced nursing homes, adult foster care homes, and other long-term care facilities throughout Michigan and northern Indiana. Federal prosecutors allege unused drugs returned to the pharmacy from nursing homes and adult foster homes were repackaged and resold. From about 2004 through November 2010, Kentwood Pharmacy operated retail pharmacies in Grand Rapids (formerly Eastgate Pharmacy), Shepard, Alma, and St. Louis, Michigan.  Federal court officials say to date, three pharmacists have pled guilty to misbranding prescription drugs during their employment at Kentwood Pharmacy and are scheduled to be sentenced next month November 13 and 14, 2013, before District Court Judge Janet T. Neff..
Additional information from the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan:
Individual patients may have received drugs from Kentwood Pharmacy as early as 2004, and continuing through 2010, which were misbranded or adulterated. Examples of such misbranded or adulterated drugs include mislabeled drugs, discolored drugs, or expired drugs. Persons who believe they may have been victims of this crime because they received or paid for drugs supplied by Kentwood Pharmacy between 2004 and November 2010, which were misbranded or adulterated are asked to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.
Potential victims may contact the Western District of Michigan U.S. Attorney’s Office by visiting the office’s website and accessing a form related to this case at: http://www.justice.gov/miw/programs/victimwitness.html    Alternatively, potential victims may call the office’s Victim Witness Unit at (616) 808-2034 and provide the information over the phone....

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Chicago Medical Supplier Moves to NW Indiana

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MAC Medical Supply Company has relocated warehouse and shipping operations from Tinley Park, Illinois, to Lake County in northwest Indiana, with plans to create up to 40 new jobs by 2016.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says the company is investing one-point-six-million-dollars to lease, renovate and equip a new facility at 92-hundred Calumet Avenue in Munster. Chief Executive Officer Millie Maddocks, who acquired the company in 2000, grew up in the Region and has been a resident of Munster for more than twenty years.
"MAC chose to move to Indiana because of lower property and payroll taxes, affordable warehouse and office space, a favorable corporate environment, a stable workforce and proximity to major highways," said Maddocks. "These factors combined save the company considerable overhead, allowing for a more competitive advantage in the company's marketplace."
"More than anything else, job growth depends on building a climate that is favorable for business," said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. "MAC Medical's move to the Hoosier State reminds us once again that Indiana's cost of doing business, fiscal stability and superior workforce have given us one of the best competitive advantages in the country. Indiana is open for business."

The facility, which became operational in August, will allow the company to expand its distribution operations. MAC Medical has already begun hiring warehouse, marketing, sales and office associates for its new Munster facility.
Founded in 2000, MAC Medical distributes primarily American-sourced medical supplies to health care purchasers and hospitals around the world, including customers through its contracts with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. It specializes in distributing a wide range of medical and surgical products such as sterile specimen containers, chemotherapy protection and safety devices, wound care supplies, surgical instrument care solutions, sterile lubricating gels and mortuary supplies.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered MAC Medical Supply Company, Inc. up to $250,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Munster supports the project.

"We are excited about MAC Medical's desire to relocate from Illinois to Munster," said Joseph Simonetto, president of the Munster Town Council. "The town council and redevelopment commission have worked very hard to make Munster a place where businesses want to locate and people want to live. It is wonderful to see a corporation like MAC Medical recognize Munster's adherence to a high standard of quality of life and wish to be a part of it. I am confident that MAC Medical will be a great asset to our community."
MAC Medical Supply Company is certified as a Women's Business Enterprise by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.
...

Read more: Chicago Medical Supplier Moves to NW Indiana

 

Indiana Reports First 2013 West Nile Death

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State health officials today announced the state’s first death in Indiana this year from West Nile virus. The Indiana Department of Health said privacy laws prevent them from saying what county the death occurred in. Twenty human cases have been reported in Indiana this year, three in Porter County, and one in Lake. In 2012, 77 human cases and eight deaths occurred in Indiana.
“Although we’re past the normal peak season for West Nile virus, which was in August and September,” said Jennifer House, DVM, Director of Zoonotic and Environmental Epidemiology at the Indiana State Department of Health, “there’s still a risk of becoming infected on warmer days when mosquitoes are biting, so Hoosiers should continue to take precautions.”
The state health department says West Nile virus usually causes West Nile fever, a milder form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other severe syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
Link to Indiana State Department of Health map: http://gis.in.gov/apps/ISDH/Arbo/
State health officials say the following steps will help protect from West Nile virus:
·         Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;
·         Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home;
·         Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting; and,
·         When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.
Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus are advised to see their health care provider. 
Additional information from the Indiana State Department of Health:
There is no vaccine and no cure for West Nile virus, Saint Louis encephalitis or Eastern equine encephalitis for humans. 
No mosquito samples have tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis or Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis in 2013.
For historical data on West Nile virus activity in Indiana, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at  http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/statsMaps/finalMapsData/index.html.
For more information about mosquito safety, visit the Indiana State Department of Health atwww.StateHealth.IN.gov . Follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1
 
[Image/Indiana State Department of Health]...

Read more: Indiana Reports First 2013 West Nile Death

 

Callouts for Community Cleanups in Gary, EC

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In Gary,  the 5x5x5 Project is moving on to the Glen Park area for the final Gary community clean-up before winter.  City officials say the cleanup has been moved from this Saturday, October 19 to November. Organizations or individuals interested in helping should call the Gary Mayor’s Office for information.
In East Chicago, there's a callout for volunteers for a community wide effort to revitalize the city. This Tuesday, October 22nd, residents will be picking up, cleaning up and painting in an area of Main and Broadway to 139th Street, as the beginning of The Harbor Project ultimately meant to extend throughout the city. Participants are asked to meet at the corner of Main and Broadway at 10:00 a.m.. The event will begin with announcements from  Mayor Anthony Copeland.  Refreshments will be provided.

...

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INDOT Announces Job Fair in Rensselaer

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The Indiana Department of Transportation has announced a job fair for seasonal Winter program workers at a job fair next week. Potential employees are advised to attend the event scheduled for Thursday, October 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CST), at the INDOT Rensselaer Subdistrict (1130 E. Maple, Rensselaer, IN). INDOT says successful hires will work as seasonal INDOT maintenance crew staff, and as plow drivers during snow events this winter. Positions are available based out of Rensselaer, Winamac, and Monticello.
Applicants Must Have
• Valid CDL
• High School Diploma or equivalent
• Ability to pass a drug test successfully
INDOT says priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance at  http://www.in.gov/spd/2334.htm under the Job Bank ID #586315....

Read more: INDOT Announces Job Fair in Rensselaer

 

Weekend Closures on Cline Avenue Ramps

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Starting this evening in Hammond (Fri Oct 18), the Indiana Department of Transportation says both the south and northbound Cline Avenue ramps to westbound I-80/94 will be closed through this Monday morning (Oct 21) for repaving. INDOT says it's part of a larger project involving the Borman Expressway between Cline Avenue and the Illinois state line. Drivers wishing to travel from Cline Avenue to westbound I-80/94 will be detoured east on 80/94 to the northbound Broadway (SR 53) exit, then back on I-80/94 westbound.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For road closure info and news from INDOT, you're invited to like them at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov . The LaPorte District toll free number is 1-855-GO-INDOT....

Read more: Weekend Closures on Cline Avenue Ramps

   

Traffic Advisories for Munster, Porter County

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Police are issuing traffic advisories for a couple of race events happening in the Region this weekend. In Munster, police say Calumet Avenue will be closed between Superior and Treadway for about a half-hour starting at 8am Saturday October 19th for the inaugural Monster Dash 5k Walk/Run. White Oak, Indianapolis Boulevard, and in Lansing, Wentworth Avenue, are suggested alternates.

On Sunday October 20, Porter County Sheriffs Police say part of US 12 will be closed near the Dunes South Shore station for the Hero Half Marathon and 10K, benefiting Lighthouse Foundation, PATH, Team Red, White and Blue, and NICK-Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids. Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says the event begins at Indiana Dunes State Park, coming out onto US 12, near State Road 49, and heading toward Beverly Shores, getting onto the Calumet Trail.  Sgt. LaFlower says anticipate delays in the area as US 12 will be shut down from Waverly Road to Kemil Road from at least 7:50 am until about 9 am.  That stretch represents the first four miles of the race.

...

Read more: Traffic Advisories for Munster, Porter County

   

Sheraton Demolition Could Begin in November

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The city of Gary is moving closer to saying goodbye to the old Sheraton Hotel on Broadway. Gary's Redevelopment Commission this week took seven bids under advisement from contractors seeking to tear down the long-vacant building in the heart of downtown next to City Hall. The 135-room hotel closed in the mid-80s. In September, demolition contractors from around the country Tuesday toured the empty insides of the 14-story building. The city hopes teardown can begin in November and be complete by the end of the year, with plans to put a park in its place. [Photo/City of Gary]...

Read more: Sheraton Demolition Could Begin in November

   

Family Found Dead in Merrillville Had Just Moved In

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Media assembled outside a Merrillville home Thursday where a family of four was found dead Wednesday evening

Police in Merrillville say a family of four believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning had just moved into the home on West 70th Avenue this past Saturday, and may have died that night. Their bodies were found Wednesday evening when police went to conduct a wellness check after family members had not heard from them for days. Officers say power to the rental house had not yet been turned on, and a gas generator, said to have been purchased that day, was located in the attached garage with power cords connected to various electronics in the home. Merrillville Police Detective Commander Jeff Rice  says all exterior doors and windows were closed. The official cause of death has not yet been released.  The Lake County Coroners office says 41-year-old Micheal Nichols, 38-year-old Kennetha Purnell, 13-year-old Matthew Nichols and 11-year-old Morgan Nichols were pronounced dead shortly after 7-o'clock Wednesday night.... [Photo/Karl Berner, Radio One Communications]

Read more: Family Found Dead in Merrillville Had Just Moved In

   

Interview: Amanda Morrone Talks ASPCA's Mega-Match-A-Thon

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Are you looking for that perfect match for your family? Why not consider adopting a new four-legged friend at the ASPCA's Mega-Match-A-Thon this weekend? Amanda Morrone, Event Coordinator with Humane Society Calumet Area, Inc. spoke with Annie Fox on their event this weekend. Check out Annie's full interview at Region News On Demand or stop by Paws Resale Shoppe (8149 Kennedy Ave in Highland) Friday through Sunday between 10am-6pm for more information on finding your next family member.

...

Read more: Interview: Amanda Morrone Talks ASPCA's Mega-Match-A-Thon

   

CMAP Policy Committee Votes in Favor of Illiana

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Chicago planners took another vote today on the Illiana Expressway. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's policy committee voted in favor of including the proposed 47-mile tollway, linking I-65 in south Lake County to I-55 in Illinois, in their long-term Go To 2040 development plan for Chicagoland, an important step in getting federal funding for the estimated one-point-three—billion-dollar project. C-MAP board members voted ten-to-four against it last week.
The Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit transportation advocacy group, is opposed to it. Supporters of the project say the highway would reduce congestion on other highways in the area.
In Northwest Indiana, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has has votes scheduled in December on whether or not to include the project in its 2040 plan. ...

Read more: CMAP Policy Committee Votes in Favor of Illiana

   

Free Heart Screenings for Student Athletes in LaPorte

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IU LaPorte Hospital
October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month and in light of the recent death of 17 year old Jake West, a LaPorte High School football player who collapsed during practice and died from a genetic heart defect, IU LaPorte Hospital is offering free heart screenings to student athletes at no cost. Registration is required for the screenings, which are being offered on a limited basis, from 4pm to 8pm on Tuesday, October 22nd and again on Thursday, October 24th, and from 8am to 12pm on November 2nd. ...

Read more: Free Heart Screenings for Student Athletes in LaPorte

   

Over 4,000 Walleyes Released at Pine Lake, LaPorte

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The DNR has stocked LaPorte's Pine Lake with over four-thousand walleye advanced fingerlings. The walleye, which were reared by inmates at Terre Haute's Federal Correctional Complex, were stocked on October 8th and are expected to reach legal size for fisherman to keep in two or three years. Fisheries biologists will evaluate the success of the walleye stocking as well as as any impact to the other fish populations. ...

Read more: Over 4,000 Walleyes Released at Pine Lake, LaPorte

   

Valpo Man Named Outstanding Tree Steward

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(Photo Courtesy of the City of Valparaiso)
A Valparaiso man has been named “Outstanding Tree Steward for Indiana” by the Indiana Urban Forest Council. Jim Beversdorf was recently presented with the award in Indianapolis during the Council's annual conference. Over the last three years, Beversdorf, a former timber farmer from Wisconsin, has volunteered his expertise to the city of Valparaiso, serving on the city's Tree Advisory Committee and initiating the city's Neighbors Against Bad Bugs tree tagging efforts to raise awareness of the emerald ash borer. Mayor Jon Costas says, “we’re grateful to Jim for his time and talent in caring for our city’s urban forest. We thank him for his contribution to our community and congratulate him on this well deserved state recognition.” Beversdorf recently planted 65 oak trees around the perimeter of Valparaiso's Immanuel Lutheran Church, which will benefit the community for decades to come....

Read more: Valpo Man Named Outstanding Tree Steward

   

Porter County Community Foundation Grants Awarded

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12 local nonprofit organizations in Porter County were recently awarded more than 87-thousand dollars in Community Fund grants. Barb Young, President of the Porter County Community Foundation, says this was all made possible, “by the generosity of the remarkable individuals and businesses that choose to help make a difference in our community.” Last year, the Foundation reports they were able to provide more than one-point-eight million dollars in grants and scholarships.
Recipients of the second round of 2013 Community Fund grants are: Dunes Learning Center, Family Concern Counseling, First Contact, Gabriel's Horn, Hebron Volunteer Fire Department, Housing Opportunities, Independent Cat Society, Memorial Opera House Foundation, Portage Resale Shop, Porter County Parks and Recreation Department, Porter County PACT and Valparaiso Family YMCA.
The Porter County Community Foundation inspires giving and engages our community to improve lives in Porter County now and forever.  To learn more or to make a donation to any of the Foundation’s charitable funds, visit online at www.portercountyfoundation.org....

Read more: Porter County Community Foundation Grants Awarded

   

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