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Merrillville High School Recognized as Model School by ICLE

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The International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), an organization led by nationally recognized speaker and expert in education, Dr. Willard Daggett, has announced that Merrillville High School has been identified as a Model School for its annual Model School Conference this summer.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION (ICLE)
Since 1991, Dr. Willard R. (Bill) Daggett and the International Center for Leadership in Education have partnered with thousands of schools and school districts on sustainable whole school reform. Lessons learned from successful schools show that effective and sustained school improvement begins with creating a shared vision of the need for change; progresses to forming a consensus vision of learning and learners based on rigor, relevance, and relationships; and continues with translating beliefs about education into broad-based, but focused and measurable goals and actions.
The International Center’s work is based on the premise that students are living in a world that is changing dramatically and the education system needs to adapt to those changes in order to prepare students for the world in which they will live and work.
Common elements of Model Schools are:
 Embrace a Common Vision and Goals – Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships for ALL Students
 Inform Decisions Through Data Systems
 Empower Leadership Teams to Take Action and Innovate
 Clarify Student Learning Expectations
 Adopt Effective Instructional Practices
 Address Organizational Structures
 Monitor Student Progress/Improve Support Systems
 Refine Process on an Ongoing Basis
ABOUT MERRILLVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
Association with ICLE began five years ago when Merrillville High School was selected among a group of four Northwest Indiana area high schools to receive a five year, $5 million federal grant. Under the leadership of Mrs. Lorri Covaciu, Merrillville High School Associate Principal and Project Manager for the Small Learning Communities Grant, Merrillville High School staff attended, participated and were trained in many of the educational practices endorsed by ICLE that have become an integral part of the Merrillville High School program (Rigor-Relevance-Relationship; Quadrant D real world application of instructional content; freshman mentoring and partnerships with Model Schools like Brockton High School in Massachusetts).
The effects of these programs and instructional practices have contributed to the achievements of Merrillville High School having received an “A” grade from the State of Indiana (the only large minority-majority high school to do so) and boasting a 90% graduation rate. Merrillville High School implementation of best practices related to a “Success is Our Only Option” philosophy have included a Rigor-Relevance-Relationship framework; trimester scheduling; and innovative diversity programs including its highly recognized S.T.A.N.D. (Socially Together and Naturally Diverse) club which are reflected in “The Merrillville Advantage”.
This summer Merrillville High School will be presenting at the annual Model Schools Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, from June 30 to July 3, as one of ICLE's Model Schools.
Dr. Tony Lux, Superintendent, has stated, “Recognition of Merrillville High School as an ICLE Model School is a tribute to the school’s administrative leadership and the incredible effort of staff, students and parents to accept the challenges to meet academic success. As with the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) award, these recognitions reflect a systemic belief embraced by the entire school community, from School Board members through the entire staff, as to what is possible for all students when there is relentless support and high expectations.”...

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American Discovery Trail Now Connects with NW Indiana

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AmericanDiscoveryTrailLogo
An announcement was made last week that will re-route the 68-hundred mile American Discovery Trail to include Northwest Indiana and the South Chicago Suburban region. Non-motorized Transportation Planner with NIRPC, Mitch Barlogo says it is still a huge mystery as to how and why our region was not included when the trail was laid out in the early 1990's, but says now that it is established the trail will enter the region from Cincinnati into southern Crown Point using lightly traveled, well maintained roadways.
The American Discovery Trail itself stretches from Delaware to California, and diverts into a northern and southern route in Cincinnati, Ohio, and reconnects in Denver, Colorado. To hear more of the interview, click News Audio On Demand, and for a link to view the map, visit http://nirpc.org/greenways-blueways/g-b-map.aspx.
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Local Jackpot Win Claimed

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lottery
[Photo provided]
The Cash 5 jackpot hit in Michigan City last week has been claimed by a northwest Indiana father-of-three. Daymond Quick of Chesterton, an electrician in a steel mill, and his wife Mary Beth, who's a nurse, say they know exactly what they'll do with the nearly 149-thousand dollar financial boost. Their 18-year-old daughter got accepted at Columbia College for journalism, but after learning what it would cost, they say they had to tell her she couldn't go – until the lottery win. In addition to their Columbia-bound senior, the Quicks also have a 16-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, and the whole family planned to do a little celebratory shopping over the weekend. Quick purchased his winning Cash 5 ticket at a Speedway on Franklin in Michigan City.
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'Every 15 Minutes' at Hobart HS

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A lot of emergency vehicles at Hobart High School today as part of a two-day exercise to illustrate the impact distracted driving and driving under the influence has on friends, families and the community. English teacher and theater director Cathy Nelson says the drill not only features mock crash scenes, along with a fly-in by the Lake County Sheriffs Helicopter, but also grim reminders all day. "Every 15 minutes, the students over the PA will hear the beginning strains of the song 'Hell's Bells' by AC/DC, the grim reaper will walk in, place a black rose on the desk of a student, that student will get up, and get on a gurney pushed in by our EMT students and be covered with a sheet, and then a police officer will step up and read that student's obituary," Nelson said. That student will then return to their classes later in 'death' makeup, dressed in black, and not communicating the rest of the day.  Participating students include those in theater, EMT and law enforcement classes. Hobart Police Public Information Officer Lt. Jack Grennes says it's a very involved exercise with a very serious message, "to get kids to realize the dangers of drinking and driving and also texting".   Tuesday will feature a memorial service and a visit from Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter.
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Toddler Hurt in ATV Accident

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Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an ATV accident in White County that resulted in the amputation of all five toes from a toddler's foot. Authorities say Friday night the one-year-old was a passenger on an all-terrain vehicle being driven in their backyard by his eight-year-old brother. Officers say the toddler wasn't wearing shoes and his sock became entangled in the vehicle's chain, pulling his foot into the gear. The case remains under investigation.
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Hamlet Woman Killed in Crash

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The La Porte County Coroner says a 20-year-old Hamlet woman was killed when her vehicle went off the end of the road of County Road 800 South where it connects with Range Road near Kingsford Heights in dense fog overnight. Emergency responders got a 911 call from a passerby shortly after 1 am, and Coroner John Sullivan says the victim, 20-year-old Amanda Lovins, had to be extricated her from the late model Ford Explorer and was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma.  Sullivan says Lovins was southbound on Range Road and failed to stop at the t-intersection with 800 South in very dense "pea-soup type fog, one or two car length visibility at the time, and also unfortunately alcohol played a factor in this accident also," Sullivan said, stating her blood alcohol level was allegedly over three-and-half-times the legal limit at .283.    US 6 is closed for railroad bridge repair in the Kingsford Heights region, so Range Road and 800 South is a short cut through the area.  We're told there were also a number of accident calls, minor accidents and slideoffs overnight across the area, also including Starke, Pulaski, Porter Counties, in the dense fog.
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Valpo PD Investigate Grabbing Incident

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Valparaiso Police are investigating a reported incident of a 14 yr old female subject being grabbed by a male subject just before 9-o'clock Saturday night in the area of Eisenhower Avenue and Worthington Drive. Police say the girl was walking alone on the sidewalk, when a male subject leaning against a tree grabbed her shirt and said "come here". Police say the female victim pushed the subject away and ran from the area. The male subject was described as white, in his early 20's wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a "DC" emblem on the front of the sweatshirt.
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Purdue and IU FB Game Will Still Happen

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The Big Ten Conference has announced its football realignments, which places Purdue and Indiana in different divisions. The cross-division games will include one protected matchup on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue. All schools in the East Division are in the eastern time zone and all schools in the West Division are in the central time zone with the exception of Purdue. The alignments are set to begin in 2014.
The changes were unanimously recommended by conference directors of athletics and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. The new division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division.  Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule.
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Lake Tax Vote Delayed

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A vote on a one-and-a-half percent local income tax didn't happen Friday after the Lake County Council said they failed to provide the proper advance notice. The vote was originally expected for May, then was moved up when a bill popped up downstate that would have directed the county how to spend the tax revenues, then late last week legislators decided not to go that route. The county council is still scheduled to meet May 14 for their regular meeting. Meanwhile, a bill lifting the Lake County property tax levy freeze heads to the Governor's desk. The county's been living with the freeze since 2007 for failing to pass a local income tax. Lake is the only Indiana county without one.
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Jackson Wrongful Death Suit to Trial

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A wrongful death lawsuit brought by Michael Jackson's mother goes to trial today in a Los Angeles courtroom. Authorities say the pop star and Gary native died nearly four years ago of a fatal combination of sedatives and the anesthetic propofol. .Catherine Jackson is seeking billions of dollars from concert promoter AEG Live.  ABC News legal analyst Royal Oakes says in the opening, "lawyers for the Jackson family will claim A-E-G hired Dr. Murray, promised to pay them a massive sum of 150-thousand dollars a month and in return pressured him to make sure Michael was concert-ready even if it meant risking the singer's life."
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County Government Study in Bill

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One of nearly a-hundred bills Indiana Governor Pence has already signed calls for state lawmakers to study the possibility of changing the structure of county government, placing all executive powers in a single county executive rather than having a board of commissioners... and also placing all legislative and fiscal powers with the county council, as is already the case in Lake and St. Joseph Counties.
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Hearing for Murder Suspect

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Another hearing is this Friday in Lake County court for an Alsip, Illinois, man accused of killing Griffith businesswoman Mary Austgen. Police have charged 57-year-old Ralph Martinez with murder, robbery and criminal confinement in the kidnapping and shooting death of the 76-year-old St. John resident, who was found in a Gary casino parking garage in March. A preliminary not guilty plea was entered last Friday. Police have said a motive has not yet been determined, and they continue to investigate.
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Mushroom Hunters Lost Then Found

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Indiana Conservation Officers remind anyone who enters a wooded area to let someone know where you're going and when you'll be returning after getting a call of two lost mushroom hunters at Pedestal Rock Nature Preserve in Waveland Sunday. The two, from Illinois, were in a remote area near Shades State Park and couldn't find their way back to their vehicle. Conservation officers were able to use their in-car computer to plot their GPS coordinates on a map from the 911 call from their cell phone, and the two were located, safe, within about a half-hour.
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Illinois May Raise Speed Limit

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In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn says he’ll have to take a close look at legislation raising the speed limit on Illinois highways. The Illinois Senate voted last week to increase the speed limit on interstate highways and tollways from 65 miles per hout to 70. Illiinois Governor Quinn won’t say whether he supports the idea, adding it will need careful review. Opponents say motorists already drive too far over the speed limit, and that measure would result in people driving even faster. The bill still faces a vote in the Illinois House.
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Jackpot Hit in Cayuga

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A ten-million dollar Hoosier Lotto ticket purchased about an hour southwest of Lafayette matched all six numbers in Saturday night's drawing. The ticket was sold at The Falcon Mart on State Road 234 in Cayuga, which is in Vermillion County, on the Indiana Illinois border. Wednesday's jackpot is $1 million. No player nationwide matched all six numbers in Powerball or Mega Millions this weekend. Tuesday's estimated Mega Millions jackpot is $114 million. Wednesday's estimated Powerball jackpot is $165 million.
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2013 Legislative Session Ends

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Well depending on which side of the aisle your on, the end of the 2013 legislative session was either a success or utter failure. House Bill 10-01 passed the Senate early this morning, and according to Senate President Pro-Tem, Republican David Long, the budget is “homerun” for Hoosiers, saying it is an honest balanced budget for two years that provides the most K through 12 funding ever, pays down the debt, provides the biggest tax cut in state history, and funds roads and infrastructure. Meanwhile Democrats like Scott Pelath of Michigan City says opportunities to help the middle class were squandered, as issues like the 8.7 percent unemployment rate and a median household income which is four-thousand dollars behind the rest of the nation does nothing to benefit middle class Hoosiers. As for the five-percent tax cut, Pelath says giving the middle class a dollar back a week two years down the road won't do much to help Hoosier families. He also blasted the Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate for not restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to public schools, but instead, are giving considerable more money to schools in wealthy communities, shortchanging those in less affluent communities.
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Read more: 2013 Legislative Session Ends

   

8 years in Prison for Merrillville Man in Fatal Shooting

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Angel garcia
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 19 year old Merrillville man was sentenced to eight-years in prison for killing a 39 year old Gary man. The Times reports Angel Garcia was 17 when he shot Bryan McCoy multiple times inside of McCoy's home, in the 600 block of East 48th Avenue after a verbal dispute turned physical. According to the article, a plea agreement reduced the charges, which included murder, to reckless homicide.
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Lansing Shooting Suspects Arrested in Hobart After Chase

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Three suspects in a Lansing, Illinois, shooting incident on Friday are in custody after a pursuit led them into Hobart. The Times reports Lansing Police responded to a report of gunshots, about 2:15am, in the 25-hundred block of Ridge Road. The suspected vehicle fled the scene into Indiana, where their vehicle ran over stop sticks at 37th Avenue in Hobart, and eventually stopped at 39th Avenue, where the suspects fled, but were later captured. No injuries were reported, and at last check the names of the three suspects had yet to be released.
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Read more: Lansing Shooting Suspects Arrested in Hobart After Chase

   

New Law to Improve Ethics in Vehicle Dealer Services Signed

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Wyss SEA 537
A bill sponsored in the state House by Valparaiso State Representative Ed Soliday to improve ethics in vehicle dealer services was signed into law on Friday. Senate Enrolled Act 537 is authored by State Senator Tom Wyss, of Fort Wayne, and creates a Dealer Services Division within the Secretary of State's Office to enforce regulations regarding licensed vehicle dealers, while also providing guidelines on criminal penalties for unfair practices and violations against vehicle dealing rules.
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Bill to Protect Hoosier Homeowners Heads to Governor

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SEnator Doug Eckerty
Legislation to protect Hoosier homeowners now moves to the Governor's desk for final consideration. Senate Bill 152 essentially shifts the burden of proof from the homeowner to the county or township assessor that makes the initial assessment, according it author, State Senator Doug Eckerty, of Yorktown. Senator Eckerty says from there that assessor must substantiate his proof with the Property tax Assessment Board of Appeals to verify that the values of homes and properties are not overestimated, meaning fewer homeowners will have to appeal their assessment year after year.
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Read more: Bill to Protect Hoosier Homeowners Heads to Governor

   

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