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Public Meeting 4/16 for Valpo PD CALEA Accreditation

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Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment to achieve accreditation on next week and members of the community are invited to offer their comments at a public information session. The assessment will be administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., which requires agencies to comply with state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operation, and support services, and while this will take place between April 14th through the 17th, the public is invited out at 6pm, on April 16th, at the Valparaiso Police Department, or by calling (219) 476-7955, between the hours of 1pm-3pm.  Telephone comments will be limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA's standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Valparaiso
Police Department by contacting Sergeant Michael McLinn.
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April is National STD Awareness Month

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April is National STD Awareness Month
INDIANAPOLIS—Nearly 20 million new sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), costing Americans $16 billion. April is National STD Awareness Month and the Indiana State Department of Health encourages Hoosiers to discuss prevention and know the risks.
STD Awareness Month provides an opportunity for individuals, doctors, and community-based organizations to discuss prevention and testing for STDs, especially when it comes to Indiana’s youth. Half of all new sexually transmitted infections that occur each year are among youths.
“Education and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases is a high priority for Indiana,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “STDs are responsible for several health problems like infertility and low birth weight. Testing and treatment are key, but prevention is best. I encourage parents and health care providers to have the conversation about prevalence and prevention now.”
Sexually transmitted diseases can be spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Having an STD can make you more likely to get HIV. Sexually-transmitted diseases can be passed to the baby before, during or after birth. An STD like syphilis can cross the placenta and infect the baby. Pregnant women with an STD could experience:
·         premature labor or rupture of the membranes
·         Stillbirth
·         Low birth weight
·         Preterm birth
 
Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission.
In Indiana, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are of particular concern. Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in Indiana and the United States. It is most often found in the 15-24 year old population, with 1-in-50 Indiana residents ages 15-19 infected. Most people affected with Chlamydia do not have symptoms. In 2011, there were 27,801 cases of Chlamydia reported in Indiana.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported bacterial STD in Indiana and the United States, and is most often found in 15-24 year old population. In 2011, there were 6,569 cases of gonorrhea reported in Indiana and 1-in-250 Indiana residents ages 15-19 were infected. The complications of untreated Chlamydia and gonorrhea include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Syphilis can cause long term complications if not adequately treated and often symptoms may not been seen in the primary stage. Syphilis must be diagnosed through a blood test. In 2011, there were 173 cases of primary and secondary syphilis reported in Indiana, and 9-in-100,000 Indiana residents ages 20-24 have syphilis.
Most STDs can be treated however there are a variety of methods to prevent STDs. Effective ways to protect yourself and your partner from STD risk include abstinence, mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner, using latex condoms and vaccination, especially against hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Knowing your STD status is a critical step to stopping STD transmission. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.
To learn more about STD Awareness Month, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/default.htm.
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New Budget May Cost Region More for Road Improvements

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Region residents may have to start shelling out more money if they want northwest Indiana road conditions to improve. The measure is part of the 2014-2015 budget, and according to published reports Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, and Porter Counties do not assess either the vehicle excise or wheel tax, which would be required as part of House Bill 1001. Proponents of the bill say it is only fair that local governments get as much revenue as possible from local sources before asking for additional funding. The Times reports State Representative Chuck Moseley, of Portage, says it seems the state is holding tax payers money hostage until they agree to pay even more. The legislation now heads to a House-Senate conference committee.
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First Reading of Lake County Income Tax Passes 4-3

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The Lake County Council on Tuesday voted four to three to approve a one-point-five percent assessment on the personal income of all county residents. Published reports say the more than 90-million dollars expected to be raised would be shared around the county to primarily benefit suburban property owners, and build local government budgets. A public forum is expected to be held before a second vote on the matter, which could happen at Council's next scheduled meeting on May 14th.
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Read more: First Reading of Lake County Income Tax Passes 4-3

 

Bosma Scheduled to Return to State House Today

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Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma is scheduled to return to the State House today after contracting an infection in his knee that he had replaced last summer. According to the House Communication Director, the Speaker will preside over the session, in part, and rest his knee in his office as need be. The infection required him to have surgery last week on Tuesday.
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Voucher Study Defeated by Part Line Vote in Senate

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A proposed change to House Bill 1003, that would call for an interim study committee to examine the impact of the voucher program on funding for public education, was rejected along party lines by the Senate on Tuesday, 34 to 15.. State Senator Tim Skinner, of Terre Haute, who proposed the study, says his aim was to determine what effects the program on every child's ability to obtain a high-quality education. Skinner says a total of around nine-thousand vouchers have been given away in the last couple of years, at the expense of over one-million public school students, and questioned the priority of supporting funding public schools.
Skinner also expressed concerns over the potential costs of expanding the voucher program, saying the General Assembly needs to scrutinize the fiscal impact to protect taxpayer investment.
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Kelly Wins Illinois Second Congressional District Seat

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Former Illinois State Representative, Robin Kelly captured the second congressional district seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr. in Tuesday special election, easily defeating her closest competitor, Republican Paul McKinley. The 56 year old Matteson Democrat, who vowed to fight for gun control legislation during the campaign echoed the message again after her victory.
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Read more: Kelly Wins Illinois Second Congressional District Seat

 

Woman in Portage Ignores Alleged Police Impersonator

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portage pd
Police in Portage say a woman did the right thing by not stopping for a man in a dark-colored SUV with flashing read and blue lights, who was motioning for her to pull over. Portage Police say the incident occurred at approximately 3:20 Monday afternoon, in the area of Dombey Road and Central Avenue. The woman reported to police the lights were inside the vehicle, driven by a white male, and appeared to be coming from a mobile phone application, and after ignoring the man, she stated the vehicle turned around, and she notified police after reaching her destination. Police say Indiana law prohibits officers from writing a ticket or making an arrest if not in uniform or in a marked car, but doesn't prohibit the officer from pulling you over to give a verbal warning. If you believe you are being pulled over by a police impersonator, call 9-1-1, and if unable to call 9-1-1, wave out the window to acknowledge the officer, drive to a well lit location and stop, and then be ready to explain your concerns as to why you did not stop.
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Governor Pence Signs Child Labor Laws Bill

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Today, Governor Mike Pence signed the child labor laws bill, SB 153, which would exempt a child who is employed or works as a youth athletic program referee, umpire, or official from the state's child labor law.   Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senators on the bill.  Burkart wanted to work as a soccer referee a year ago, but couldn't because Indiana Soccer officials stopped using 12- and 13-year olds once they learned that hiring them would be illegal.
Gov signs Child Labor Laws Bill
Pence was joined by thirteen-year-old Matthew Burkart, of Newburgh, who worked with State Senator Vaneta Becker (R) and State Representatives Suzanne Crouch (R), Ron Bacon (R), Gail Riecken (D) and Martin Carbaugh (R) on the bill.
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RailCats Caravan to Invade Northwest Indiana

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Now that spring and baseball have finally arrived, the anticipation for RailCats baseball season is building throughout Northwest Indiana. In order to further excite the fan base for Opening Day on May 16, the RailCats will be coming out into the community on the first-ever RailCats Caravan!
 
The Caravan will be driven in a limousine bus from Southlake Limousine Service and will make four stops at locations throughout the Region. On Friday, April 26, the Caravan will stop to play at Jak’s Warehouse in Schererville from 6-8 p.m. On Saturday, April 27, the RailCats will be at Fuel Fitness in Cedar Lake from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and then at Catch 22 in Merrillville from 6-7 p.m. On Sunday, April 28, the final stop on the Caravan will be at Fuel Fitness in Crown Point from 12-1 p.m.
 
Members of the RailCats Caravan include RailCats manager Greg Tagert and players Cristian Guerrero, Mike Massaro and Craig Maddox. Of course, mascots Rusty and Rascal will be there to join in the fun as well. The RailCats crew will be interacting with fans, signing autographs and spreading the word about the upcoming season.
 
“This is a unique opportunity for us to take the RailCats out into the community and connect with our passionate fans,” said RailCats President/General Manager Kevin Spudic. “This will be a lot of fun for the fans to see the players and our manager up-close and personal and have the chance to interact in a different setting.”
 
Opening Day is approaching and single game tickets are on sale now. Fans may purchase tickets online at www.railcatsbaseball.com or by calling the box office at 219-882-2255.  
 
RailCats Caravan
April 26—Jak’s Warehouse, Schererville, 6-8 p.m.
April 27—Fuel Fitness, Cedar Lake, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
                Catch 22, Merrillville, 6-7 p.m.
April 28—Fuel Fitness, Crown Point, 12-1 p.m.
Gary Railcats
( http://www.railcatsbaseball.com)
(Article provided by Matt Friedman, Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Gary Southshore  Railcats)
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Gary Mayor Observes National Day of Service

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Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined more than 800 mayors across the country for the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, a nationwide bipartisan effort to highlight the impact of national service in tackling city problems.

“In the face of budget cuts, volunteerism and community service are ways that we fill major voids within our city,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson.  “AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps participants have a positive and lasting impact, making our cities better places to live.  As Mayor, it is my honor to salute them today for all they continue to do in our community.”

More than 60 volunteers hailing from a variety of non-profit organizations (United Way, RSVP, Catholic Charities, Sojourner Truth House, The NWI Arc, NWI Adult Guardianship Services, and One Accord Global) packed the council chambers at City Hall. Volunteer coordinators from each of the organizations shared brief remarks about the important work volunteers perform every day. Freeman-Wilson then read a proclamation and proclaimed it National Service Recognition Day in the City of Gary. 

The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is was conceived of by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as a way to recognize the positive impact of national service in cities, to thank those who serve; and to encourage citizens to give back to their communities.  The day is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the National League of Cities, and Cities of Service.

“Mayors are leaders who get things done, responding every day to needs in their cities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  “I commend Mayor [NAME] for joining in this important effort to recognize the impact of national service.  We are proud to work hand-in-hand with mayors and other local partners to improve lives and strengthen communities through national service.”

As the federal agency for service and volunteering, CNCS annually engages more than five million citizens in service at more than 70,000 locations in 8,500 cities across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs.  National service participants address the most pressing challenges facing our cities and nation, from educating students for the jobs of the 21st century and supporting veterans and military families to preserving the environment and helping communities recover from natural disasters.

Across the country, mayors are participating in a variety of activities, including visiting national service programs, hosting roundtables at City Hall, issuing proclamations, and communicating about national service through social media.  By shining the spotlight on the impact of service and thanking those who serve, mayors hope to inspire more residents to get involved in their communities.
Hear Region News Team reporter Karl Berner, talk with some of the recognitiion recipients available at News Audio On Demand at:  http://www.regionnewsteam.com    

For more information on the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, including background and a list of participating mayors, visit www.nationalservice.gov/mayorsforservice.
Gary Mayor
(photo provided by the mayor's office)
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Food Recall Expanded, E coli Cases Reported in Indiana

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Food items that were distributed in Indiana are being voluntarily recalled by Rich Products Corporation, following a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 0121(E. coli). Two cases have been reported in Indiana.

Most of the recalled items, including mini frozen pizzas, mozzarella bites and mini quesadillas, among others, are under the brand names Farm Rich® and Market Day®. The recall covers all products produced at the company's Waycross, GA, plant with "Best by" dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.

Hoosiers are encouraged to check their freezers for these items, which have a shelf life of about 18 months. Customers who have purchased these items or have questions should contact Rich Products Corporation consumer relations at (888) 220-5955 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday or visit the company website at www.farmrich.com.

Symptoms of E. coli 0121 include mild to severe diarrhea, often bloody, and abdominal cramps. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within five to seven days, certain individuals can develop a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause the kidneys to fail. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. 
Contact your health care provider if you or a family member has symptoms of E. coli 0121.

For a full list of recalled items, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_025_2013_Expanded/index.asp.
ISDH logo
(http://www.in.gov)
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Crown Point Orthodontist Sentenced in Health Care Fraud

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Dr. Michael David Goodwin, 63, an orthodontist who practiced in Amarillo, Texas, and Crown Point, Indiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 50 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,810,960 in restitution, following his guilty plea in December 2012 to one count of health care fraud related to the Texas Medicaid program. In addition, Goodwin must forfeit $1,558,911, which are the gross proceeds traceable to his offense, as well as more than $244,000 the government seized in May and July 2011 from his JP Morgan Chase accounts. Judge Robinson ordered that he surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 29, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

According to documents filed in the case, from January 2008 through March 2011, Goodwin devised a scheme to defraud the Texas Medicaid program by billing the program at least $2,626,125 for services he claimed he provided, when in fact, as he well knew, some of the services were not medically necessary, or dental assistants provided those services when no dentist or orthodontist was present to supervise, and even when present, did not directly supervise or provide any services.

Goodwin practiced orthodontic dentistry approximately two weeks each month at Goodwin Orthodontics in Amarillo and approximately two weeks each month at his Indiana office. In order to maximize the number of Medicaid patients seen, on numerous occasions, Goodwin had his employees schedule more than 100 patients per day and intentionally schedule large numbers of Medicaid patients for days when Goodwin was scheduled to be out of town. To accommodate the large volume of patients, Goodwin directed dental assistants to perform impermissible acts, including comprehensive examinations, diagnoses and treatment planning for Medicaid patients when he knew that only licensed dentists were permitted to perform those acts.

Goodwin devised a generic treatment guideline for dental assistants to follow in treating Medicaid beneficiaries that included dental assistants making treatment decisions at most appointments, without Goodwin examining the patients; confirming or revising the diagnoses; or confirming or revising the treatment plans. Goodwin also caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulent state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services that had been impermissibly delegated to and performed by dental assistants.

In April 2009, Goodwin hired substitute general dentists to create the appearance of direct supervision of dental assistants when he was away from the office. These substitute dentists were not enrolled Medicaid orthodontic providers. These substitutes did not provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries, did not directly supervise the dental assistants who provided the services, and were not always present in the office for orthodontic procedures. Again, Goodwin caused his billing staff to falsely and fraudulently state on Medicaid claims that he was the performing provider for all services performed when he was out of town and dental assistants provided those services when a substitute dentist was present to supervise, but did not directly supervise or provide any services.

Goodwin also instructed his dental assistants to falsely and fraudulently indicate in the patient records that an “adjustment” was performed on every visit, except for the initial consult, when no such adjustment had been provided and when he knew this violated Medicaid Rules.

The case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Office of the Texas Attorney General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sally Helmer were in charge of the prosecution, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Kozub handled the forfeiture.
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Semi Brakes to Avoid Collision and Spills Load on I-80/94

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A semi driver lost part of his load this afternoon when he braked to avoid another semi causing all travel lanes west bound on I-80 just west of Burr
Street to be closed.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Brian White revealed that at approximately 1:28p.m., a 2006 Volvo semi pulling a covered flat bed, driven by Philip Johnson, 50 of
Haviland, Ohio, was west bound on I-80 in the left center lane when another semi pulled out in front of him from the right center lane.  This caused Johnson to brake
sharply which caused his load of 46,641 pounds of aluminum sheeting to shift and slide forward.  Johnson’s load came loose and approximately ¼ of the aluminum was
strewn across all west bound travel lanes. 

Johnson was not injured and no other vehicles hit the aluminum.  Traffic was able to get by on both shoulders until approximately 2:30 p.m. when the three left lanes
were reopened.   All lanes were reopened at 3:00 p.m.  The semi was owned by J. Trans Incorporated out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Johnson was cited for an expired medical card.

Assisting:  Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Trooper Tim Grayson and Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers
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Early AM Crash on I-94 Sends Two to the Hospital

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An early morning crash, this morning, sent two people to local hospitals.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Lawrence McFarrin revealed that a 2009 Mitsubishi, driven by Alfonso Luna Junior, 26 of Michigan City, was east bound on I-94 near the 27 mile marker (this is one mile east of the Chesterton exit), when Luna began changing lanes from the middle to the left lane. Luna’s Mitsubishi struck the right rear of a 2005 Dodge Caravan, driven by Victor Lopez, 53 of Valparaiso. This caused Luna to lose control and hit the concrete median barrier. The Mitsubishi then ricocheted off the barrier while spinning out of control back into the eastbound travel lanes. Luna’s vehicle then hit a 2006 GMC Denali, driven by James Golden, 27 of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was in the middle lane.
The Mitsubishi came to a stop partially in the right lane. Due to the collisions, Luna’s lights were not working and the Mitsubishi was struck in the rear by a 2001 Chevrolet, driven by Tina Mulinaro, 49 of Valparaiso.
Luna was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Michigan City with complaint of back pain. Mulinaro was taken to Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso with complaint of body pain and possible broken ribs. Golden complained of pain to his left knee and refused medical treatment. Lopez was not injured.
Alcohol or drugs were not considered a factor.   Luna was cited for Following too Closely and Mulinaro was cited for False/Fictitious Registration.
AM Crash on I94 04-09-13
Luna's vehicle. 
(Photo and article provided by Indiana State Police, Lowell post)
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All Lanes Westbound I-80/94 have been Reopened

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An earlier accident that caused a semi to loose its load of sheet metal on westbound on the Borman (I-80/94) ner Cline Avenue has been cleared away.  The three center lanes that were previously closed, have been reopened.  Drivers can still expect heavier volume as they travel westbound on I-80/94.
Traffic-Alert
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Big Backup on Westbound Borman (I-80/94)

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A crash has the 3 center lanes of westbound I-80/94 closed near Cline Ave (SR-912).  Traffic is backed up to just before Broadway.  Drivers should expect long delays as you travel westbound on I-80/94 near mile 5.9.   Traffic tipsters are also reporting heavy traffic eastbound n 80/94, due to the gaper's delays.
 
backup WB Borman  04-09-13
The backup on westbound Borman (I-80/94) as seen from the INDOT traffic cam at Broadway.
(photo from INDOT)
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Proposed Land Based Gaming Would Be Statewide

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If land based gaming comes to the Hoosier State, it will be done statewide, that according to comments made Monday by Indiana Gaming Commission Executive Director Ernest Yelton. Yelton made the comments during a meeting of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, and stated it is not fair to assume that one of Gary's two licenses would be in jeopardy as a result. According to the Times, Yelton also spoke on Senate Bill 528, saying it appears a new version ends a proposed threat in lost revenue, as the bill originally would have replaced gaming boats' admission tax with a gross receipt tax and given casinos a tax break for free play they offer as promotions.
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Tallian: Budget Last Place to Address Expanding Medicaid

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Senate Democrats on Monday offered 18 amendments to House Bill 1001, in areas of education, infrastructure, and health care, as part of the next budget. State Senator Karen Tallian, of Portage, says four recommendations included expanding Medicaid for Indiana, two of which were rejected, and another, that was suggested be part of Senate Bill 551, which at the time was in House, and then later on Monday it was announced that bill would not be heard in the House, making the budget the last place to address the issue.
Tallian says cost of expanding Medicaid for Indiana is fully paid for by the federal government, covers 400-thousand Hoosiers, and would result in 30-thousand jobs projected would be created. Governor Pence is currently seeking federal approval to implement the Healthy Indiana Plan, instead of the Affordable Care Act, but Tallian says several provisions are in direct conflict with it.
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Hammond Hutaree Member Sues Over 2010 Raids

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Published reports say a Hammond man, and a member of the Hutaree militia group based out of Michigan, along with another member, are suing three FBI agents and a state trooper, saying their constitutional rights were violated in a 2010 raid on their homes. Thomas Piatek, of Hammond, and a Manchester man reportedly filed the federal lawsuit last month, and are seeking at least 25-thousand dollars in damages for each for the lawsuit's 16 counts. The pair were part of group of Hutaree Militia members accused of plotting to kill law enforcement with guns and bombs, but the case was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence.
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