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Fatality on I-94

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Indiana State Police have been at the scene of an accident involving a fatality on westbound Interstate 94 in Portage this morning. It happened around 4 am near State Road 249.
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Ambulance Patients Warned of Data Theft

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Officials say as many as 860 people who used Valparaiso's ambulance service early last year may have had personal information stolen and letters have gone out alerting them. A statement from the city says there's no evidence any of the city's patients were affected, but the fire department has been notified that a former employee of Advanced Data Processing, the company that handles billing for Valparaiso's ambulance service, has pleaded guilty after being accused of illegally accessing patient data to try to file false federal income tax returns. Officials say those who could be affected used Valparaiso’s ambulance service between January first and June 21st of 2012.
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Pipeline Work to Begin

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The US Army Corps of Engineers has given the go ahead for work to begin on the first portion of a new oil pipeline that would travel through Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties. Enbridge Energy wants to replace and upsize their existing Line 6B in northwest Indiana. The line originates in Griffith. Today's Times reports federal officials have approved work to begin on a section between LaPorte and the Indiana-Michigan state line.
http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/enbridge-gets-ok-to-move-forward-with-pipeline/article_e444edbc-cea4-57e9-b774-6cf8c806bb7d.html
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Hammond PD Announce Checkpoint

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The Hammond Police Department will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint this weekend as part of the statewide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" traffic safety campaign.  Motorists stopped during the checkpoint will be asked to provide their drivers license and registration and assuming there are no issues drivers should be stopped briefly.  Funding for this traffic safety campaign come from NHTSA through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
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First Responders to Train at Port

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The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will be hosting Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 1 first responders in a drill today [Wednesday August 28]  designed to test readiness for a potential attack on Northwest Indiana through the port. Operation Safe Harbor will take place between 8am and 4pm and Schererville Fire Chief Joe Kruzan says it's likely increased helicopter and boating activity will be noticeable to the public. Numerous emergency response vehicles will also be on the roadways in and around the port. Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 1 includes participants from Lake, Porter, La Porte, Newton and Jasper counties’ emergency services, partnered with many entities from the private sector.The drill has been designed to test and train agencies in proper communication and notification, scene security, safe flight and boating operations, decontamination, and use of special teams. Last May a similar exercise was conducted at Gary/Chicago International Airport.
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Longtime Local Art Gallery Closing

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A longtime local art gallery is closing as the owners retire. Dennis and Patricia Miller opened The Artists' Den on Jefferson Street in Valparaiso in 1972. The business, featuring art from local and international artists, as well as custom-framing, sits inside a historic early-1900's building just a block away from the Valparaiso Public Library. The store is scheduled to close September 7th.
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More Time Needed on School Safety

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A Lake County state lawmaker says two meetings to study school safety this summer are not enough.  Tomorrow [Thursday], the School Safety Interim Study Committee will hold the first of those two sessions. Hammond State Representative Linda Lawson says identification of students and adults with potential mental health needs and teacher and staff training are issues that need to be thoroughly reviewed. Lawson, a former longtime police officer, says she disagreed with a proposal last session to place an armed person in every school building, individuals who may not necessarily have been members of law enforcement.
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Possible Merlin Nesting 'Unprecedented'

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Merlins, a small falcon species that normally nests in Canada, may have set up shop in northern Indiana. Brad Bumgardner, president of the Indiana Audubon Society, says it's “unprecedented,” adding there is no breeding anywhere within 150 to 200 miles of Pokagon State Park, where the birds were identified last week. Bumgardner is also park interpreter at Indiana Dunes State Park and worked previously at Pokagon. Bumgardner says they tend to follow shore birds and are seen often at the Dunes in the winter, but never in the summertime. A nest site has not been confirmed, but if one is, it would be a first for the state. “It would be the first nesting record of merlins in Indiana,” said John Castrale, a DNR biologist specializing in raptors. “It’s kind of a big deal.” Bumgardner said the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas notes only three or four merlin nesting sites in the lower peninsula of Michigan.
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Gary Man Gets 30 Years for Voluntary Manslaughter

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William Key III
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Sentencing is scheduled for September 23rd for a Gary man who pleaded guilty today to a 2010 fatal shooting. The Times reports William Key III (the third) accepted a plea agreement and will serve a total of 30 years for voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Vincent Wren Jr. and wounding another man during a confrontation in the 48-hundred block of Maryland Place in gary on December 12th, 2010. According to the article, Key received 29 years for fatal shooting and one-year for criminal recklessness, for two incidents that followed while he was still armed, which were shooting at a man who would not let him into his home, and firing at a man who refused to let him in his car.
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Appraisal In for Gary/Chicago Airport, Interim Dir Resigns

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A first-draft appraisal of the Gary/Chicago International Airport was made available on Monday, the same day the bid deadline for potential investors was due. Published reports say the airport's tangible assets are worth 288 million dollars, while its intangible assets make it worth about twice that. An appraisal of 700 acres, 600 of airport property and 100 acres owned by the city of Gary, is thought to be a major piece in getting investors to bid on the airport and manage it.
In related Gary airport news, Interim Director Steven Landry announced today that he will resign next month, September 23rd, due to personal reasons.
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Pence to Visit Lake and LaPorte Counties Wednesday

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Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is scheduled make several stops in the Region tomorrow. Governor Pence will first take a tour and lead an educational roundtable at Purdue University North Central, starting at 9:30am. Then Governor will then be traveling to Michigan City City Hall for an 11am ceremony to honor the first responders who assisted in the rescue of Nathan Woessner, the 6 year old Sterling, Illinois boy, who was trapped in a sand dune at Mt. Baldy for over three-hours on July 12th. Governor Pence will then wrap up his trip by offering remarks at the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of realtors annual meeting in Merrillville at 1:30pm.
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Downtown LaPorte Recognized as an IMS Community

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Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann today was in LaPorte for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to designate the downtown LaPorte Main Street Association as an Indiana Main Street Community. Ellsperman says they were very pleased to now include LaPorte among the over one-hundred Main Street communities across the state. Ellespermann says Main Streets are the life-blood of our communities, and commended LaPorte for their focus on the Indiana Main Street Initiative, which she called a key way Indiana supports local communities in their efforts to revitalize, restore and develop their downtown areas.
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Hobart Man Missing Since Monday Found Dead

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A missing 68 year old man with a diminished mental capacity and numerous health issues has been found dead this afternoon. The Times reports the body of Edward Morillon was found in a wooded area off 69th Avenue and that a cause of death is pending. Morillon was last seen Monday afternoon in the 38-hundred block of East 69th Avenue, near the intersection of 69th Avenue and Colorado Street.
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Murder Charge Against Michigan Man for Fatal Shooting

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A 24 year old Holland, Michigan man has been charged with murder in the death of a Gary man last month.  Isaiah Hughes is accused of shooting Benjamin Fullilove multiple times on July 13th, in the 21-hundred block of Carolina Street, during an altercation at a party at the home of Fullilove's girlfriend, that according to court documents. Fullilove later died from his injuries six days later.
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Gary Train Station Assessment Meeting Postponed

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An assessment of the downtown South Shore station at 4th and Broadway, in Gary, scheduled for tonight has been postponed until next week. No reason was given for the assessment's postponement, which was being conducted by the Active Transportation Alliance, in partnership with the Gary Rotary Club, to evaluate the station itself, taking note of the conditions of passenger facilities and other amenities, as how accessible the station is for riders arriving on foot and by bicycle.
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IL Man Arrested After Threatening Officers in Gary

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A Naperville, Illinois man faces charges of making terrorist threats, carjacking, criminal confinement and criminal recklessness after an incident this morning in the three-thousand block of Grant Street in Gary. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says an officer working security outside a building at that location was approached by a man, just before 3am, carrying a machete and a brief case with what he claimed held a bomb. After the man, later identified as Paul DeGerald, failed to stop and drop the weapon at the officer's request, so he was tasered, but pulled the cords out of his torso and broke them. The suspect then ran off and entered a semi and took off in the direction of the officer, who was joined by his partner, allegedly attempting to run over them. Corp. King says officers fired shots at the truck and the owner of the truck, who was sleeping at the time, awoke and pulled the emergency brake, stopping the semi. Police say DeGerald then started fighting with the owner of the semi, before exiting the vehicle, only to be tasered a second time, and again, he reportedly pulled out the taser cords and broke them, and after a brief struggle with the officers, was placed under arrest and taken to an area hospital.
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Hobart PD Searching for Missing Man with Health Issues

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Police in Hobart are asking anyone with information regarding the disappearance of man with a diminished mental capacity and numerous health issues to contact them immediately. Search efforts took place today for 68 year old Edward Morillon who was last seen Monday afternoon in the 38-hundred block of East 69th Avenue, near the intersection of 69th Avenue and Colorado Street. Morillon, who was last seen wearing a black shirt with white writing, black shoes and black pants, is described as Hispanic, 5'9”, weighing 160 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and a gray goatee.
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Judge Declares Mistrial in Gary Murder Case

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A judge declared a mistrial Monday after the jury was deadlocked in the case of a 26 year old Gary man charged with murder. Jamal Lawshea was accused in the shooting death of 29 year old Latarus Foster, also of Gary, in the 33-hundred block of Maryland Street in Gary, on September 2nd, 2012 and had pleaded not guilty to the charge
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INDOT: Good WX Helping Construction Run Smoothly

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Good weather is being named a factor in construction projects moving along smoothly in the region this summer. INDOT Spokesman Matt Deitchley says the two bridge rehabilitation projects on I-94 are on schedule to be done by the end of the year. Another major project running on schedule is the new Nine-Span Bridge project in Lake County, where Deitchley says the beams are already set and they anticipate doing some bridge deck pouring in the next week or two.
Deitchley says while it may seem like there is more construction in the Region than usual, there isn't, just more taking place in major thorough-fares, which is why INDOT continues to stress patience when traveling through a construction zone and reminds motorists to slow down.
For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, 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.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Extreme Heat Alert for South Shore

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The operators of the South Shore commuter rail line have announced an Extreme Heat Alert in effect from 12 noon until 8:01 pm today [Tue Aug 27 2013]. Riders may experience delays of 10-20 minutes. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District [NICTD] says it is necessary to operate their trains at reduced speeds under these conditions.
www.nictd.com
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