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Legislation Introduced to Protect Farmer's Personal Info

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Washington, D.C. – Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today introduced the Farmer Identity Protection Act, legislation that would protect farmers and ranchers by prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from disclosing their private and confidential information to the public.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the personal and private information of many livestock and poultry owners from across the nation, including Hoosier farmers. Sensitive information including names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the farmers and ranchers, their spouses, and employees on these farms or ranches was made available to the public.
Donnelly said, “I am proud to join Senator Grassley in introducing legislation that would protect livestock and poultry farmers from having their personal information released by the EPA.  It is unacceptable that earlier this year, the EPA released the personal contact information of over 80,000 livestock and poultry owners from across the nation, including many from Indiana.  This blatant violation of privacy must not happen again, which is why I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this common sense legislation.”
Grassley said, “Transparency is good for accountability, but putting the personal information of tens of thousands of farmers in the hands of environmental activists makes no sense.  It’s par for the course at the EPA, and by the looks of the agency’s response, they aren’t going to end this reckless behavior.  It’s time for Congress to step in and fix the problem.”
While the EPA has attempted to correct the error, this bill would provide clear protections moving forward for farmers and ranchers across the country.  It would limit the EPA to disclosing information about farming operations only when all personally identifiable information is removed to prevent the identification of farmers and ranchers and their families and employees.
Senators Donnelly and Grassley offered similar legislative language as an amendment during floor debate on the farm bill; however, the Senate did not vote on the amendment.

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Six People Displaced after Fire in East Chicago

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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
The Red Cross is assisting a family of six after a fire late this morning in East Chicago. Chief Inspector Henry Ventura says they received the call at 11am, and the fire, in the 49-hundred block of Tod Avenue, was extinguished within the hour. Ventura says the fire began on the top of the roof of a garage, and spread, causing damage to two adjacent homes. No injuries were reported and the cause remains under investigation.
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7 Mile Backup Westbound on the Borman

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Backed up to Burr St.  07-23-13
Looking west on I-80/94, traffic is backed up due to crash that has the two letf lanes closed near Calumet Avenue
A crash has the two left lanes closed westbound I-80/94 near Calumet Avenue.  Traffic is backed up from Burr Street until Calumet Avenue.  Wreckers are on the scene and the lanes should be cleared away soon.  Drivers can still expect 10-15 minute delays.

(photo from INDOT)
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Fire at ArcelorMittal Extinguished, No Injuries Reported

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A fire reported at ArcelorMittal around 1:15 this afternoon has been extinguished. An ArcelorMittal spokesperson issued a statement saying the fire, which occurred at a coal bunker servicing ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor's coke battery operation, has been put out and there were no injuries as a result of the incident. ArcelorMittal reports they are currently evaluating the damages and potential impact on their coke battery operations, which they anticipate to be minor.
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Michigan City Police Add New Subject to Top Ten List

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Dustin Bush
(Photo Courtesy of the Michigan City PD)
The Michigan City Police Department today announced the 308th arrest since the inception of their “Ten Most Wanted List” in 2004. Police report on Monday that Kwasi Mitchell II was arrested without incident in the 34-hundred block of Salem Court. Mitchell was being sought for a number of felony charges, including theft, carrying a handgun without a permit, and dealing drugs.
Michigan City Police have replaced Mitchell on their Top Ten List with 19 year old Dustin Bush who is wanted on a felony charge of dealing a controlled substance. Bush is described as a white male, 5'10”, weighing 135 pounds, and was last known to reside in the 49-hundred block of Clover Lane. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dustin Bush, or any of the subjects listed on the Michigan City Police Department's Top Ten List, is asked to contact police at (219) 873-1488 and callers can remain anonymous. 
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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week Kyle Craft

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Kyle Craft
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Dept)
A 22 year old man currently wanted through LaPorte Circuit Court for revocation of suspended sentence for an original charge of sexual misconduct with a minor is the LaPorte Police Department's wanted person of the week. Authorities report Kyle Craft is described as a white male, 5'11”, weighing 220 pounds, with red hair and green eyes. Anyone with information on the immediate whereabouts of Kyle Craft is asked to call either 911, the LaPorte Police at 219-362-9446, or LaPorte County Metro Operations at 219-325-9022, and you can remain anonymous.
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Pence Travels to Aspen for GOP Govs Summer Meeting

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Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be traveling to Aspen, Colorado, today to join other governors as part of the Republican Governors Association Summer Meeting. The Governor is scheduled to attend panels regarding workforce development and job creation, as well as international economic relations. The Governor is expected to return to the Hoosier state late this Friday afternoon.
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LaPorte Man Scammed Out of $2,500

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LaPorte PD
Authorities are warning of a scam circulating after a 63 year old LaPorte man was swindled out of 25-hundred dollars. LaPorte Police report the victim received a phone call, on or about July 17th, from a man claiming to be a US Drug Enforcement Agent, who told the victim a warrant had been issued for his arrest for the purchase of drugs illegally over the internet, but that the charges would be dropped if the victim wired 25-hundred dollars to New York via Western Union. Police say the victim, who admitted to purchasing drugs over the internet several years ago became nervous, and wired the money. Police advise that if you receive a similar call do not comply.
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Area Fire Crews Assisting in Fire at ArcelorMittal

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A fire at the ArcelorMittal coke plant in Burns Harbor prompted the fire department there to seek outside help this afternoon. Dispatch made the call for assistance sometime around 1:15 this afternoon, and second alarm was struck not too long after that. No further information is available at this time.
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Forecasters Warn of Rip Currents, 'Rogue Waves'

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The National Weather Service is warning Region residents that unseasonably large waves are likely this afternoon through Wednesday morning along the northwest Indiana and Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. Forecasters anticipate dangerous swimming conditions and life-threatening rip currents. Meteorologists say strong northerly winds blowing down the full length of the lake and cooler air moving over the warmer lake waters will result in unusually large waves for summer, ten feet or higher, that could inundate vulnerable locations along the shore, including a few spots on the Chicago lakefront bike path.  The National Weather Service is warning people that occasional "rogue waves" could reach up to fifteen-feet and potentially sweep someone out into the lake.
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Grant Approved for New York Ave Cleanup

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Hammond
The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has approved a 200-thousand dollar matching grant for demolition and cleanup work along the 25-hundred block of New York Avenue on the north side of Hammond. RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna said private developers and Calumet College of St. Joseph have expressed interest in building housing and dormitories in this area if vacant buildings are removed. City officials say tearing down the old vacant Amoco Oil Company Research and Development Laboratory will create about 18-million dollars in development opportunities.
The grant comes under the RDA’s Challenge Grant program, which offers awards of up to $200,000 for local projects of regional significance. Other Challenge Grant recipients include the City of Gary and the Town of Pines.   The RDA says the grant will supplement $800,000 from Hammond for the work.
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Man Says Teen Fatally Shot Was Trying to Rob Him

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Police in Gary say a 40-year-old man and 17-year-old juvenile are being questioned as investigators try to sort out what happened last night that resulted in a fatal shooting. Corporal Gabrielle King says the man told police he was walking when he was approached by two individuals, one of them armed with a gun, who were trying to rob him in the 700 block of Connecticut Street. Police say the man said he was able to grab the gun, and as they began to struggle one of the teenagers was fatally shot. The Lake County Coroners office says 19-year-old Marquise Stokes was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 10-o'clock last night from gunshot wounds. Corporal King says anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Lorenzo Davis at 219-881-7300, ext 3016.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has formed an anti-violence task force that is scheduled to meet this afternoon   (1pm)
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Lake Station Considers Limiting Yard Sales

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In Lake Station, city officials are considering curbing how many rummage sales residents could hold in a year. There's a proposal on the table to limit them to three. Residents would also be able to participate in two community-wide sales a year. At a recent work session, council members also talked about restricting or eliminating for-profit clothing collection containers in the city.
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Two-Day Closure of State Road 10

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INDOT says a two-day closure of State Road 10 in Starke and Marshall Counties, between State Road 23 and State Road 17 is scheduled to begin Wednesday July 24 and continue through the end of the day Thursday July 25.  Crews will perform a chip seal and fog seal operation to preserve the road surface. The project is dependent on dry weather and may be delayed if conditions aren’t ideal.
The Indiana Department of Transportation says drivers wishing to travel eastbound on SR 10 will be detoured north on SR 23, east on SR 8, south on SR 17, and back to SR 10. Drivers wishing to travel westbound on SR 10 will be detoured north on SR 17, west on SR 8, south on SR 23, and back to SR 10.
The chip-seal process consists of distributing a liquid asphalt emulsion on the roadway and covering the liquid asphalt with crushed stone to provide a new wearing surface. Chip-sealing extends the life of a roadway by protecting it from moisture, ultra-violet degradation, and any other damaging exposures.
Drivers  are advised by INDOT to exercise caution during these projects as loose stone will be present on the roadway during the initial cure of the asphalt and can damage windshields and paint on vehicles that may be following each other too closely. Officials say when travelling on a recently chip-sealed road to slow down and allow additional space between vehicles.
The fog seal is being applied on top of the chip-seal work. The fog seal is a light application of asphalt material that can lock in loose stone and help with dust problems. It also makes the road black, which makes pavement markings more visible.
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ISP Plans Checkpoint in Porter County

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Porter County- The Lowell District of the Indiana State Police will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint during the late evening hours in Porter County on Friday, July 26, 2013. Drivers that encounter a check point will be required to produce a valid license and registration. Motorists that are not impaired can expect only short delays of 2-3 minutes while passing through the checkpoint. If all information is correct and there is no other reason to be detained, they will be released. After the check point, troopers will conduct roving saturation patrols, aggressively seeking impaired drivers throughout the district.

Troopers encourage all motorists to call 911 or the closest Indiana State Police Post when they observe another motorist that may be impaired. Be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel.

The Indiana State Police are committed to traffic safety and will continue to conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints to apprehend impaired drivers and to deter others from dinking and driving.
[Information from Indiana State Police]
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Coroner Confirms Identity of Teen

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Peyton Rickhof
Downstate, the Hamilton County Coroner's Office reports the body found inside an SUV submerged in eight-feet of water northeast of Indianapolis is that of an 18-year-old Fishers teenager missing since Thursday. A Silver Alert was issued Friday for Peyton Riekhof. The alert was canceled Sunday after her SUV was discovered in Geist  Reservoir. Coroners officials say cause of death was drowning. 
[Photo Provided/Fishers Police Dept]
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Work Beginning Soon at City Hall

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A century-old building in Northwest Indiana is about to have some work done. Renovations scheduled to begin next month at La Porte City Hall will largely involve the installation of new heating and air-conditioning and electrical systems. Some exterior work is planned, including new concrete steps at the entrance, repainting trim and addressing some loose bricks.
[Photo/City of La Porte]
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Volunteers Sought for Meals on Wheels

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Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana is searching for additional volunteer drivers. Two training sessions are scheduled for August 13, and August 15, 2013.. Each day, volunteers assist in the delivery of more than 1,600 meals throughout Lake County.  The duties of a Meal Delivery Volunteer include:
·    Driving your own vehicle and delivering meals during the lunch hour.
·    A route within your own community.
·    Flexible monthly scheduling.
·    Each delivery requires about 1 ½ hours.
“In addition to individuals, many area organizations and businesses participate in our corporate volunteer program,” said Joan Vith, Volunteer Manager. Vith says volunteers are needed for all routes throughout Lake County.   “However, at the moment, we are particularly in need in the Griffith, Munster and Merrillville areas,” she said.   Interested and prospective volunteers are invited to attend a Volunteer Orientation and Training Session at the Meals on Wheels Conference Room, 8446 Virginia Street in Merrillville.  One-hour sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 13 at 10:30 a.m., and again on Thursday, August 15 at 1:30 p.m. To register for training, or for more information on individual or corporate volunteering opportunities, contact Vith at (219)-756-3663, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Gary Mayor Discusses Education Reform

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Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says a recent meeting with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on education reform confirmed the importance of partnerships between local schools and city governments. Freeman-Wilson was in Washington DC for a meeting of the Mayors' Education Reform Task Force formed a few months ago and co-chaired by the National League of Cities. The mayor says one of the key components in the revitalization of Gary is the improvement of their schools.
News release:
[Gary, IN] –Recently, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Pruittjoined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, other mayors and school superintendents in Washington, DC, to discuss partnership opportunities between cities and the U.S. Department of Education to foster effective approaches to education reform.
Participating city leaders are part of a new Mayors’ Education Reform Task Force co-chaired by National League of Cities (NLC) First Vice President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, MN, and NLC Second Vice President Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT.  Mayors Coleman and Becker formed the task force in March 2013 to explore how cities can and should be involved in local education reform efforts.
“Our meeting with Secretary Duncan further confirms that we are taking the right steps locally to strengthen the relationship between our school system and city government,” said Freeman-Wilson. “One of the key components in the revitalization of Gary is the improvement of our schools.”
During the meeting, task force members highlighted the growing commitment by municipal officials across the country to promoting educational achievement.
“Mayors and elected officials can bring together all the stakeholders in the education conversation in their cities,” said Mayor Coleman.  “The perspectives from mayors of cities large to small are valuable to local and national policymakers.  I’m glad we had an opportunity to talk with the Secretary and his staff about the role mayors can play in education transformation.”
Local leaders shared examples of city-school partnerships they have formed in their communities in areas such as school improvement, early learning, afterschool programming, and post-secondary success. 
“It is pivotal for a meeting of the minds between these entities because it will take the strategic planning and implementation of educators and the government alike to change the course of education,” said Pruitt. “Effective and effective partnerships work – we’ve had an awesome example of such in the Gary Community Schools that started with a single email. Through technology and some willing workers, one of our schools received a donation of 4,000 books. If we continue the courageous conversations I believe students will experience even brighter futures. I applaud Secretary Duncan for his efforts.”
The meeting with Secretary Duncan provided mayors with an opportunity to discuss how lessons learned at the city level can inform federal education policy.  Among the key issues of concern identified by the task force are:
  • Finding a “third way” in education reform that balances a commitment to accountability with a spirit of collaboration among school administrators, teachers, and cities;
  • Transforming schools into centers of community that support parent engagement and provide wraparound services to children and families;
  • Building on successful “cradle-to-career” models to develop a strong educational pipeline;
  • Securing adequate and equitable funding for local education initiatives; and
  • Promoting college access and completion.

“In this global economy, cities and towns depend on an educated workforce and schools are depending us. We need to work together to ensure that our children graduate high school ready for postsecondary education and career success,” said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, Mayor of Avondale, AZ.  “As city leaders, we have an important message that must be heard and we must be at the table in guiding federal and local education reform policies.”
In addition to Freeman-Wilson and Pruitt, participants in the meeting included: Mayor Edna Branch Jackson of Savannah, Georgia; Mayor Dwight Jones of Richmond, Virginia; Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, Connecticut; Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison, Wisconsin; Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District Superintendent Rick Miller; and New York City Deputy Chief Academic Officer Josh Thomases.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
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Michigan City Company Expanding

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A company headquartered in Michigan City is expanding its operations in La Porte County. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says Dwyer Instruments plans to lease and equip an eleven-thousand square-foot facility at Kingsbury Industrial Park. The new plant, expected to be fully operational by September, will allow the company to start manufacturing sensor products for the fire pump, industrial and chemical industries. Founded in 1931, Dwyer manufactures control and instrumentation products for the HVAC , chemical, food, oil and gas and pollution control industries. State officials say the expansion will create up to fifty new jobs by 2016.
"Indiana is a state that works for manufacturing, with a carefully crafted business environment that stands out in the Midwest and across the country," said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "Companies like Dwyer recognize that our low-tax, pro-growth policies, including the recent enactment of the largest tax cut in state history, make Indiana ripe for business achievement."
Dwyer currently has 740 associates globally, which includes approximately 530 employees in Indiana, and will begin hiring assembly, instrument builders and technicians in October. Interested applicants can learn more at www.dwyer-inst.com/career_index.cfm .
"Indiana continues to lower taxes, while other states we were considering for this expansion are raising taxes," said Jim Goldschmidt, director of manufacturing of Dwyer. "With its low taxes, Indiana showed that it was committed to creating the business environment we need to grow our business and hire more people. Purdue North Central has been a great resource in supplying engineering and technical personnel to support the manufacturing needs."
More than half of all goods produced by the company are specialty items designed and manufactured specifically to client specifications. Dwyer has Indiana locations in Kingsburg, Wakarusa, Wolcott and Michigan City, along with additional operations in Anaheim, Calif., Grandview, Mo., Fergus Falls, Minn., Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Australia.
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