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Police: Bones May Have Belonged to Homeless Person

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Authorities say initial findings are leading them to not suspect foul play in human bones found behind the Crossings at Hobart strip mall on the north side of US 30. Officials say the remains were initially discovered by someone riding their bike through the Friday evening, then Hobart Police conducted a daytime search Saturday and found additional bones near the same area, believed to belong to the same person. Investigators say it's possible that person was homeless, and living in the wooded area. A forensics expert at the University of Indianapolis is expected to take a closer look at the bones to try and determine when and how that person died. [Photo/Courtesy Hobart Police, Commander Jeremy Ogden]
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Baby Injured in Lightning Strike Upgraded

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A nine-month-old child rescued from fire when lightning struck a Gary home last week was reportedly upgraded to stable condition. The baby was taken to a Chicago hospital after crews responded to the one-thousand block of Jefferson Court early Thursday afternoon. A 45-year-old resident of the home found shielding the child from flames later died. Lightning also struck a billboard on the Borman Expressway in Gary minutes earlier, claiming the life of a 28-year-old Hobart man.
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Gary Unveils Historic Streetcar Line Marker

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(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation)
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The City of Gary and the Indiana Department of Transportation unveiled a historic marker on Friday to commemorate the city's historic streetcar rail line. The marker features an authentic photograph of streetcars rumbling down the bustling intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway, circa 1913, along with a brief history of the rail line, which first began operation in 1908 to transport thousands of workers to the mills....

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8 Year Old Shot by His Brother in Gary

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Police in Gary report an 8 year old child was shot by his 11 year old brother Thursday afternoon. Police report the children's mother sent the boys to the neighbor's, in the 200 block of Hanley Street, and while there, the 11 year old saw the gun which he thought was toy and fired it, striking his brother in the shoulder. The child has taken to the hospital for treatment and an investigation continues....

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National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Sunday

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The first day of Fall is tomorrow and while the thought of football or yard work may cross your mind, state health officials would also like you to consider celebrating National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The Indiana State Department of Health reports falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Indiana. In 2011, Hoosiers ages 65 and older suffered over 82-hundred falls that resulted in hospitalizations and there were 340 fatalities due to falls.
Five easy ways to prevent falls include:
·         Increase your physical activity. Exercises like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs that increase strength and improve balance also help.
·         See your eye doctor once every year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is critical to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
·         Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
·         Remove environmental hazards. Search your home for anything that could cause falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture.  Remove or modify these hazards.
·         Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing.
Thirty percent of adults age 65 and older who live in the community fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number increases to 50 percent for older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes.
Indiana is part of the Falls Free© Coalition, which includes several states and national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults.
For more information on injury prevention, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov. ...

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Man Convicted in Indiana to Chicago Gun Sale Case

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A 23 year old South Holland man was convicted on Friday of buying hundreds of guns at Indiana gun shows and illegally selling them in Chicago. David Lewisbey was convicted of dealing firearms without a federal license and two counts each of illegally transporting firearms across state lines and interstate travel to sell guns without a license. Lewisbey faces up to 35 years in prison and one-point-two-five million dollars in fines. The guns were purchased at gun shows in Crown Point, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and in LaPorte between January 2008 and September 2012. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10th. ...

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Vote for New Gary Airport Leader Ends in 3-3 Tie

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A motion to appoint an executive director to the Gary/Chicago International Airport ended in a three-three tie Friday during a special meeting. The motion was to appoint Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson's chief of staff, B.R. Lane, to the post immediately, as the current interim director Steve Landry is resigning and his last day is scheduled to be Monday. At question was whether Lane has enough aviation experience to be the airport's executive director, but Mayor Freeman-Wilson says Lane has been working closely with the airport in the last year and that the job now involves dealing with regulatory agencies, which she has prior experience in as the head of regulatory compliance with a major gaming company....

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Federal Funds for Local Airport Improvements

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First District Congressman Pete Visclosky announced on Friday the FAA has awarded federal funds to two northwest Indiana airports. The Griffith-Merillville Airport received almost 411-thousand dollars which will be used to continue the ongoing effort to extend its parallel taxiway. The Michigan City Municipal/Phillips Field Airport received almost 473-thousand dollars which will go towards replacing approximately one-point-five miles of perimeter fencing, supplanting shorter fences with a ten-foot wildlife fence, which is recommended in heavily forested areas to keep the wildlife off the runways. ...

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7 Year Sentence for Valpo Man in Child Porn Case

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A Valparaiso man who pleaded guilty to felony possession of child pornography was sentenced in US District Court to seven years in prison and ten years of supervised release. According to court documents, 33 year old Jeffrey Smith “friended” the victim on MySpace and asked the victim, who he knew to be 15 years old at the time, to send him sexually explicit photos of herself. Smith also transported the victim from Ohio to Indiana, with the intent that she engage in sexual activity. ...

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Human Bones Discovered in Hobart

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Not much is known at this time about the discovery human bones found on Friday in Hobart. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports an investigative team was dispatched just before 5:30pm to the 21-hundred block of East 79th Avenue in reference to the human bones being found. An investigation is being conducted by the Coroner's Office, Hobart Police and Lake County Police....

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Walk to End Alzheimer's in Merrillville

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Walk to End Alzheimers
A movement to reclaim the future for millions takes place Sunday in Merrillville with the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's Association Communications Director Leah Shattuck says the Merrillville walk has expanded to become the third biggested in the state, which in 2012 raised nearly 115-thousand dollars, an incease of 20 percent from 2011. About 120-thousand Hoosiers are affected by Alzheimer's, a number that continues to rise. Shattuck says the funds raised at these events go towards education, research and to help families with services.
The Merrillville Walk to End Alzheimer's is Sunday, at Hidden Lake Park, registration begins at 12:30pm, or you can sign up online at http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk/IN-GreaterIndiana?fr_id=3350&pg=entry. Opening ceremonies start at 1:30pm, with the walk beginning at 2pm. Shattuck says people with dogs are encouraged to bring them out too. To hear more of our interview, click News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/....

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Make Appointments Now to View Merrillville Flood Maps

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The Merrillville Stormwater Utility is inviting property owners and potiential businesses to view the final draft of the Stormwater Utility Master Plan Inundation Maps. The maps contain flooding information on areas inundated after rain events, identify locations that require future attention and show flood storage areas that can be used for future detention. To view the map, you must schedule an appointment, by contacting the Merrillville Stormwater Utility, where you can then provide input and make suggestions. Appointments can be scheduled now through the next 30 days....

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NIPSCO Charity Ride for the Red Cross

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Over 30 NIPSCO employees, family members and friends will take part in a 165 mile charity mototcycle ride tomorrow to benefit the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is NIPSCO's 2013 charity of choice and the goal is to raise 100-thousand dollars, in addition to volunteering, blood donations and participating in emergency preparedness training. The race begins at their Merrillville headquarters at 8:45am and from there they will travel to Valparaiso, and on to Plymouth and LaPorte before returning to Merrillville by 3pm. ...

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Lightning Causes Football Game to Change Venues

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A game between two of the region's undefeated high school football teams has had a change of venue. The game, between Andrean and Hobart, was originally scheduled to be held at Father Eckert field at Andrean High School. The game will now be played at Hobart High School at 7 pm tonight. A story in the Times says lightning from a passing thunderstorm struck one of the light towers at Father Eckert Field which knocked out the lighting to the whole stadium....

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Wheatfield's Sandhill Crane Festival and Car Show

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Wheatfield's Sandhill Crane Festival and Car Show is tomorrow...an event named after the large, well-known birds who make their way through the Region... specifically the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area... in very large numbers... during their fall migration.
The Indiana DNR says more than ten-thousand sandhill cranes stop during fall migration, for the next few months, generally starting in late September....

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Former Teacher Files Lawsuit Against Hammond Schools

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A former Morton High School teacher and basketball coach has filed a lawsuit against School City of Hammond. According to the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in U-S District Court in Hammond, Benjamin Chinn claims he was improperly fired. Chinn had been accused of sexual misconduct with a student, but was found not guilty this summer. Chinn, who now resides in Indianapolis, had been suspended without pay and moved to Arizona, and claims the board mailed an August notice that his contract would not be renewed to an address where they knew he no longer lived, when they indeed knew where he lived and had even sent mail to the right address. Chinn also claims he was informed he would receive back pay if found not guilty, but has yet to see any money, and that the district's actions have now made it hard to find another job. ...

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Valparaiso University Gets Solar Research Grant

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Valparaiso University is getting a two-point-three million dollar U-S Department of Energy grant to fund cutting-edge solar research.  First District Congressman Pete Visclosky says the funds will assist College of Engineering faculty and students in developing a unique electrochemical cell that produces magnesium using solar-thermal energy, which could potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions and electricity consumption associated with current metals manufacturing.  
“I am proud of Valparaiso University for being at the forefront of innovation in energy research,” Congressman Visclosky said. “It is my hope that their advancements in cutting-edge solar technologies will promote the use of American renewable energy for generations to come.”  
“With this funding from the Department of Energy, Valpo faculty and students will push forward the energy science frontier by exploring new methods for using solar energy,” Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., said. “The research conducted at the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility will provide new, more efficient energy sources for creating commodities, positively impacting both the local and the national economies.”
For more information on ARPA-E and its innovative project portfolio, please visit http://www.arpa-e.energy.gov/...

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Indiana Jobless Rate Drops in August

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The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says Indiana's unemployment rate for August dropped to eight-point-one-percent, from eight-point-four in July, the largest one-month decrease since January 2011.   The state added over six-thousand jobs in manufacturing, private education and health services, but the private sector as a whole decreased by 29-hundred jobs as losses in the trade, transportation and utilities, and construction sectors offset gains.
"The significant decrease in Indiana's unemployment rate in August is definitely encouraging, but the fact is too many Hoosiers are still unemployed," said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. "This underscores the need to bring unemployed individuals into WorkOne following their fourth week of receiving benefits. It is vital we get folks on the path to reemployment as soon as possible."
Sanders also noted initial claims for unemployment insurance this year are still at their lowest levels since 2000.
Employment by Sector
Sectors showing gains in August include: Manufacturing (3,000), Private Educational & Health Services (3,000), and Financial Activities (900). The Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-4,900), Construction (-1,900), Professional and Business Services (-1,800), and Leisure and Hospitality (-300) sectors showed declines. Total non-farm employment increased in August (6,500).
NOTE: Private sector jobs were revised downward (-4,200) for July by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The September 2013 Employment Report will be released on Tuesday, October 22, 2013....

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Three Escape Early Morning House Fire in Portage

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Fire officials say a family of three in Portage was very fortunate to have escaped a house fire in the 28-hundred block of Oakwood around 5:30 this morning.  Portage Assistant Fire Chief Joe Calhoun says it was determined there were no working smoke detectors inside the house - family members, he says, awoke to the smell of smoke. "They went to the front of the house and found some very heavy fire in the front area of the house and were able to escape safely, however upon our investigation we did find that there were no working smoke detectors in the home," Calhoun said. "It's fortunate they were able to make it out and weren't overcome by the smoke in their sleep." There were no injuries reported. The cause is not yet known.  South Haven fire assisted at the scene....

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Forum President Leaving to Join Trade Association

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The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest Indiana Forum is leaving to become vice president of the Indiana Energy Association out of Indianapolis. Mark Maassel  has been at the helm of the forum for the past three years. Maassel, returning to the utility sector, is a former president of NIPSCO.  
Carey Lykins, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group and Chairman of the Indiana Energy Association (IEA) Board of Directors, has announced the selection of Maassel to assume the position of Vice President of the energy trade association on October 16, 2013. The association’s Board of Directors selected Maassel in its September 12 meeting following a year-long search to fill the position.
Maassel has served as President and CEO of the regional business membership organization, Northwest Indiana Forum, for the last three years. Prior to that, Maassel held the title of President of Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) from October 2004 to January 2008 and in that capacity served as a member of the board of the association. Prior to serving as President, Maassel held various senior level positions with NIPSCO. In addition to his work with the Forum and NIPSCO, he served as Of Counsel for the law firm of Krieg DeVault.

IEA President Ed Simcox said that “Mark is ideally suited to help lead the public policy efforts of the association. Mark not only has executive experience with a large utility, but he also brings the perspective of a civil engineer and lawyer to the complex issues facing the energy industry.”
Maassel earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota and holds a Juris Doctorate with High Honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in both Indiana and Illinois. He and his wife, Chris, live in Valparaiso.
His prior leadership roles in the energy industry include membership on the Gas Technology Institute Board of Directors, Edison Electric Institute Board of Directors and participation on various American Gas Association committees.
Among his many civic endeavors in northwest Indiana, he has served as the Chair of the 2008 United Way of Porter County Campaign, Chair of the Porter County Community Foundation, Chair of Ivy Tech Foundation, President of the Crisis Center Board of Directors, Board Member of the Calumet College of St. Joseph and Board President of the Valparaiso Community Schools Board of Education. He was also selected for the inaugural class of the Northwest Indiana Business Hall of Fame in 2008 and received a Sagamore of the Wabash award from Governor Mitch Daniels.
Lykins praised Maassel for his years of effective service within the energy industry. “Mark is extremely knowledgeable of all of the issues affecting the utility industry today,” said Lykins. “He will be called upon to work with Ed Simcox and the member companies to navigate the rapidly changing world of energy delivery.”
The Indiana Energy Association is a trade association that represents Indiana’s investor-owned electric utilities and local distribution gas companies before the Indiana General Assembly, state administrative agencies, and works with other allied and constituent groups that address policy issues affecting the electric and gas utility industries in the State of Indiana.  [Photo/provided]...

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