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Efforts Concerning Unemployment Benefits Continue

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Karen Tallian
Indiana State Representative Karen Tallian, of Portage, expressed her appreciation today to the Indiana General Assembly's Unemployment Oversight Committee on their decision to adopt a new policy concerning unemployment benefits. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development will begin accepting bids for providers of debit cards used for unemployment payments. Included in the Request for Proposals is a new provision requiring the availability of direct deposits, which Senator Tallian says she has long advocated for. Tallian says those who are out of job through no fault of their own should not have to jump through additional and unnecessary hoops. In-network ATM's for claimants to use for free transactions or to transfer funds for free are available in most major cities, but she says rural claimants are left with fewer fee-free options....

Read more: Efforts Concerning Unemployment Benefits Continue

 

Lake County Assessor Resigns

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A year long battle with cancer has taken its toll on Lake County Assessor, 77 year old Hank Adams, who resigned today from the office he was elected to in 2010, and will not seek re-election. A caucus of Republican precinct committeemen will take place within 30 days to find a replacement to fill the vacancy. ...

Read more: Lake County Assessor Resigns

 

LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week: Amanda Hanley

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amanda hanley
(Photo Courtesy of Laporte Police)
A 29 year old LaPorte woman wanted on a warrant from LaPorte Circuit Court for felony theft is this week's “Wanted Person of the Week”. LaPorte Police described Amanda Hanley as a white female, 5'4”, weighing 115 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on her immediate whereabouts is asked to call 911 and if you have any other information on Hanley, 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 PD Wanted Person of the Week: Amanda Hanley

 

LaPorte County Siren System Test Saturday

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A test of the LaPorte County warning siren system is scheduled this weekend. LaPorte County Emergency Management says the test will take place at 11am, Saturday, October 5th, with two, one-minute signals sounding, with one minute of silence between the signals. Authorities reports the siren tests will not take place in the event of severe weather Saturday morning in order to avoid confusion. In the event of a real emergency, a three-minute signal would sound, with a short period of silence between signals, repeated one or more times....

Read more: LaPorte County Siren System Test Saturday

 

Commissioners Make Changes to Health Insurance Plan

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Porter County Commissioners today approved changes to deductibles and co-pays in the county's health insurance plan. Starting January 1st, 2014, traditional plan deductibles go from 500 to one-thousand dollars while the high-deductible plan goes from one-thousand-250 to two-thousand dollars. Co-pays go from 90-10 to 80-20, which is anticipated to save around nine to twelve percent. County employees will now also be able to receive free care for injuries and acute illnesses at CareEXPRESS Urgent Care Center....

Read more: Commissioners Make Changes to Health Insurance Plan

 

Michigan City Man Charged in Death of a Child

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 22 year old Michigan City man has been charged with murder and two counts of felony battery in the death of a two-year old child. The Times reports Tommy Shannon Jr. was being held on unrelated charges in Vanderburgh County, when he was brought up to the LaPorte County Jail on Monday, where he is being held without bond. According to the article, Shannon is accused of intentionally killing the child by use of force in LaPorte on August 13th, at a residence located in the two-hundred east block of 7th Street. The child later died due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen at an area hospital. Shannon is the boyfriend of the child's mother, who may also be charged in this case....

Read more: Michigan City Man Charged in Death of a Child

 

Ribbon Cutting in Elkhart for New RV Company HQ

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence today joined executives from Drew Industries Incorporated for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new headquarters in Elkhart. The company, a manufacturer of a broad array of components for recreational vehicles, manufactured homes and other industries, announced plans in April to invest 12-point-seven-five million dollars relocate its headquarters from White Plains, New York, to Elkhart and expand its manufacturing operations in Goshen and Elkhart, creating up to 800 new jobs by 2017. As part of the project, the company installed new manufacturing and production lines. Drew Industries and it affiliates have over 44-hundred employees in Indiana, 42-hundred of which are located in Elkhart County. ...

Read more: Ribbon Cutting in Elkhart for New RV Company HQ

 

Pence to Attend Land O' Frost Groundbreaking

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A groundbreaking ceremony takes place tomorrow afternoon in Munster for the new corporate headquarters for Land O' Frost, the nation's second-largest seller of pre-sliced, pre-packaged lunchmeats. The company announced plans last December to invest six-point-four million dollars to relocate its corporate headquarters from Lansing, Illinois, to a three-acre campus in Munster, creating up to 50 new jobs by 2014. Indiana Governor Mike Pence will join company executives at 2:15pm for the groundbreaking and construction on the 27-thousand square-foot facility is scheduled to begin this month and be operational in 2014.
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Read more: Pence to Attend Land O' Frost Groundbreaking

 

Public Meeting on Proposal for New PD in Highland

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Residents in Highland are encouraged to attend a community meeting next week to receive public input on a proposal to construct a new police station. Highland Police Commander George Georgeff says the current police station was built in 1969 and since then they have out-grown the space as the police department has doubled in size.
Commander Georgeff says it is important residents attend because the proposal would be a big project for the town and would be an expense that residents would have to bear on their taxes, so they want residents to know their money would be well spent.
The site for the proposed new police station would be just west of the current police department/town hall, on Cottage Grove Avenue, off Ridge Road. The meeting takes place Monday, October 9th, at 7pm in the Highland Town Hall. Commander Georgeff says presentations will given and residents will be able to have any concerns addressed. ...

Read more: Public Meeting on Proposal for New PD in Highland

 

US Mail Delivery Continues; Other Shutdown Info

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What's open, what's not, who goes to work and who doesn't... during this partial federal government shutdown?  Some quick answers...
The military's active-duty military personnel stay on duty, Congress did pass, and the President signed legislation making sure military paychecks go out on time.
The federal courts are open, thanks to Congressional funding, for the next ten days... and air traffic controllers are at their positions, directing flights into and of out of the nation's airports.
The US mail will keep getting delivered.  The US Postal Service doesn't get tax dollars for day-to-day operations (but it is still controlled by Congress).
Due to the Federal Government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. However, because the information this site provides is necessary to protect life and property, meteorologists say the National Weather Service Chicago website, for instance, that shows the forecast, along with watches and warnings, will be updated and maintained during the Federal Government shutdown.   See the message here: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/
National parks are closed, like Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, where Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe told us campers at Dunewood Campground would be given 48-hours to vacate in the event of a shutdown.
The Indiana DNR is getting the word out today that Indiana’s 24 state parks – including Indiana Dunes State Park here in the Region – and eight reservoir properties remain open for business as usual. The Indiana DNR says there is an Indiana state park or reservoir property within a one-hour drive of every Hoosier. October is actually one of the most popular camping months of the year, with autumn- and Halloween-themed events happening at many properties. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is closed during the shutdown. ...

Read more: US Mail Delivery Continues; Other Shutdown Info

 

Indiana State Parks Are Open in the Shutdown

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Although national parks and national wildlife refuges are closed because of the federal government shutdown, Indiana’s 24 state parks – including Indiana Dunes State Park here in the Region – and eight reservoir properties around the state remain open for business as usual. The Indiana DNR says there is an Indiana state park or reservoir property within a one-hour drive of every Hoosier. October is actually one of the most popular camping months of the year, with Autumn- and Halloween-themed events happening at many properties.
“October has become like the busy month of July for our parks and reservoirs,” said Ginger Murphy of the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “If weekends are full at your favorite state park or reservoir, camping on weekdays during your fall break is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.”
Information on state parks and reservoirs is at stateparks.IN.gov. Information on programs and special events is at InterpretiveServices.IN.gov
Information on all DNR properties, all of which remain open during the federal government shutdown, is at dnr.IN.gov/5280.htm . Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is closed during the shutdown.  [Image/Indiana Dunes State Park]

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Read more: Indiana State Parks Are Open in the Shutdown

   

Emergency Responders Honored in Annual Service

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DSC 0024
Munster police Lt. Edward Strbjak, foreground, was among representatives of area first-responders who attended a 13th annual Mass of Thanksgiving Honoring Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer Sept. 27.
Emergency responders in the Region were honored during the annual Franciscan St. Margaret Health Observance. The program takes place during alternating years at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond.
DSC 0033
The Rev. Theodore Mens St. Mary Church pastor and Griffith Police Department chaplain, praised the officers during the Mass homily.

The Rev. Mens noted how responders tend to the problems of those they serve while sometimes dealing with personal issues, that must be put aside. “In my experiences with the police,” Mens said, “they always respect the dignity of the person; they are polite and simply point out the wrong someone has done. Emergency services providers are servants, protectors of the people – they have love for people as they try to keep them safe. We thank them and pray our society will continue to be served by our wonderful police and fire personnel.” The program is sponsored by the hospitals’ Mission and Spiritual Care Department. [Provided]...

Read more: Emergency Responders Honored in Annual Service

   

State's First Underwater Preserve Dedicated in NW Ind

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jd marshall
The state's first underwater nature preserve -- a one-hundred acre shipwreck area, six-hundred feet offshore of Indiana Dunes State Park in Lake Michigan -- was dedicated Monday morning. The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot wooden commercial vessel built for the lumber trade then converted to a sand barge, capsized in a storm in June 1911, killing four crew members. Seven survived.  The preserve will be marked by buoys to protect the remains of the ship and keep boats from dropping anchor there. The Marshall's huge cast-iron propeller is at the park, and other artifacts are on display at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center. [Photo/Indiana Natural Resources Commission]...

Read more: State's First Underwater Preserve Dedicated in NW Ind

   

Unclaimed $1 Million Lottery Prize About to Expire

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lotte4ry
Do you remember what you were doing April 10 of this year? If you were in southern Indiana six months ago and purchased a Powerball ticket, you might want to drag out your spring jacket and check the pockets.
A one-million dollar Powerball prize won in the Hoosier state in the April 10 drawing is about to expire. The ticket was purchased at Circle K at 3830 Hamburg Pike in Jeffersonville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.
The ticket matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball number, in the Wednesday, April 10 drawing.
Additional information from the Hoosier Lottery:
The winning numbers in the April 10 drawing were: 1-36-40-52-53 PB:20.
Hoosier Lottery officials say the ticket holder has until 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Oct. 7 to present the winning ticket to Hoosier Lottery officials at Hoosier Lottery headquarters at 1302 North Meridian Street in Indianapolis. The ticket holder is advised to sign the back immediately and contact Hoosier Lottery customer service.
Powerball prizes must be claimed in the state in which they were purchased. Powerball tickets purchased in Indiana expire 180 days from the date of the drawing. Profits from the sale of Powerball in Indiana stay in Indiana....

Read more: Unclaimed $1 Million Lottery Prize About to Expire

   

Gary Chief of Staff Named Interim Airport Director

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BR Lane Headshot
BR Lane
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says her Chief of Staff BR Lane takes on a new job as interim director of the Gary/Chicago International Airport starting today, following a unanimous vote by the airport board Monday naming Lane to that position. The board deadlocked on Lane's nomination, on a tie 3-to-3 vote, a week and a half ago. City Attorney/Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Leverett will assume the role of Acting Chief of Staff for the City of Gary.
Lane submitted the following statement regarding her appointment:
"I am both humbled and honored to accept this appointment and recognize the magnitude and importance of the duties that I have inherited. I thank the Board and the Mayor for having the vision and confidence in me to lead an entity, which I know will have a tremendous impact on this region’s growth and economic development. Just as in my role as Chief of Staff, I am here to serve. I will represent the best interests of the citizens of Gary, NWI, the State of Indiana and all other stakeholders of the airport. I look forward to working with the board and staff to ensure that projects such as the P3 exploration and runway expansion move forward until a permanent director is identified."
Mayor Freeman-Wilson also issued a statement on Monday's vote:
“I commend and thank the board for selecting Ms. Lane as Interim Director. As I previously stated, I have full confidence in her ability to perform all job duties, while moving all current projects at the airport forward. She has already had a seat at the table as we work to complete the runway and forge a P3 partnership, so her transition into the role of Interim Director makes sense and should be a smooth one.”...

Read more: Gary Chief of Staff Named Interim Airport Director

   

New Lake County Local Income Tax Taking Effect

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It's October, and Indiana state revenue officials say Lake County residents working in Indiana should expect to see the new Lake County local income tax withheld from their paychecks starting this month, when it goes into effect. Lake was the last of Indiana's 92 counties to adopt a county tax.  "It is possible that a Lake County resident works in another Indiana county, and the employer is currently withholding county tax for that county (at the nonresident rate)," according to a fact sheet from the Indiana Department of Revenue. "The withholding agent should start withholding Lake County tax at the resident rate beginning in October of 2013. "
We have a link to a document with more information from the Indiana Department of Revenue specifically concerning the Lake County local income tax as well as a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Lake County local option income tax here:   http://www.in.gov/dor/files/lake-county-loit-faqs.pdf

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Read more: New Lake County Local Income Tax Taking Effect

   

Jury Selection Starts in Death of Former Teacher

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kocsis
Jennifer Kocsis
In Lake County, jury selection has started in the trial of a Gary man charged in the death of a Griffith woman. In April 2011, authorities say 37-year-old Jennifer Kocsis, a former music and special education teacher in Hammond and Whiting, is believed to have offered the suspect, 40-year-old Robert Lewis the third, a ride from a local restaurant. Her body was found by schoolchildren the next morning behind the former Riley Elementary School building at 43rd and Ohio Street in Gary. Officials say she suffered blunt force trauma....

Read more: Jury Selection Starts in Death of Former Teacher

   

Human Remains Identified as Missing Teenager

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Aurora-Shoemaker-jpg
The Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office has determined that skeletal remains discovered in rural Warsaw, Indiana, Sunday evening are those of an 18-year-old girl who went missing over a year ago. Authorities say Aurora Shoemaker, who was from the nearby Suburban Acres Mobile Home Park, disappeared August 16th, 2012. Official determination on the remains was conducted by Stephen P. Nawrocki, Ph.D., DABFA, Board Certified Forensic Anthropologist with the University of Indianapolis and Dr. Craig Nelson, DDS, Forensic Dentist with the Allen County Coroner’s Office.
Kosciusko County Coroner Michael Wilson also said the investigation into the cause of the teenager's death is still on-going with autopsy results estimated to be completed on Friday. Wilson said that the scene was processed by Nawrocki along with officers from the Kosciusko County Major Crimes Task Force which consist of members from the Warsaw, Winona Lake, Syracuse Police Departments, Indiana State Police and the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department....

Read more: Human Remains Identified as Missing Teenager

   

Local Impact of Federal Government Shutdown

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How will the government shutdown affect you here in the Region?  It might not be obvious at first, but if you've got business with the federal government, there's a good chance you will notice. Many agency websites will go down, call centers won't open. Thousands of government workers who handle applications will be ordered to stay home. And no one who reports for work will be paid until or unless Congress appropriates money for their agencies' operations. 
National Parks are also closed, and that includes Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore here in northwest Indiana.  National Lakeshore Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe told us earlier a government shutdown would impact them in a number of ways. "All our visitor facilities, all our services, like the Dunewood Campground, our beach areas, our trails, would all close," Rowe said. "and visitors would not be allowed to use them.  Folks who are in the Dunewood Campground would be given 48 hours to vacate, so the National Park would not be available to the public."  Rowe says the length of the shutdown itself would determine how long it would take to reopen facilities and services. 
Region homebuyers are expected to face delays in the face of the government shutdown as paperwork goes on hold, with lenders being unable to verify certain information with the federal government, like Social Security numbers. Meanwhile, investors in the US have been calling their advisors about the impact of the federal government shutdown....

Read more: Local Impact of Federal Government Shutdown

   

DNR: Drivers be alert to seasonal increase in deer

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Indiana DNR
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, this is the time of year deer are the most active in Northwest Indiana and the rest of the state.  Drivers need to be extra extra cautious because as the days shorten, the chances of encountering deer on region roads goes up significantly.
Chad Stewart, Deer Biologist with the DNR says, "historically about 40% percent of deer/vehicle collissions in Indiana occurr between October and December."  Stewart says the reason for the jump in instances is "strictly due because they're (deer) are a lot more active this time of year."
Indiana Crash Facts, an annual report compiled by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Center for Criminal Justice Research and the IUPUI School of Public & Environmental Affairs, reported 15,205 deer-related collisions in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.
"With the number of deer and the number of vehicles out there, deer-vehicle accidents will happen," Stewart said. "The best thing drivers can do is to take measures to keep them to a minimum.”
Knowing the following information and practicing defensive driving will help reduce your chances of becoming a deer-vehicle collision statistic:
Deer are most active between sunset and sunrise.
Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one, another is likely nearby.
Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic; scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.
Exercise extreme caution along woodlot edges, at hills, or blind turns.
Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer but hit something else.
Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs warning of deer crossings and may want to steer clear of gimmicks sold to keep deer away.
"Deer crossing signs have proved effective, but motorists tend to get acclimated to such signs, and their efficiency can be reduced over time," Stewart said. "Fancy whistles or reflectors can be placed on your car to scare deer away, but truth be told, they are not proven to be effective."
Stewart said that even when practicing safe driving, sometimes hitting a deer is inevitable. Caution is also the best approach after the fact.
"If you hit a deer, remain calm," he said. "Do not approach the deer unless you are sure it has expired. Despite their gentle nature, their hooves are sharp and powerful, and can be extremely dangerous."
Stewart said that, like cars and people, deer can be found anywhere, so drivers should be on the lookout no matter where they are....

Read more: DNR: Drivers be alert to seasonal increase in deer

   

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