WB South Shore Train 14 Running 30-45 Minutes Late

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9:38am- Westbound South Shore Train 14 is running 30-45 minutes late due to higher than normal passenger boarding. Passengers should be at departing stations at scheduled departure time in case delays are shorter than expected.
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West South Shore Train 14 Running 20-30 Minutes Late

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9:10am- Westbound South Shore Train 14 is running 20-30 minutes late due to higher than normal passenger boarding. Passengers should be at departing stations at scheduled departure time in case delays are shorter than expected.
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National Public Health Week: Good Health Isn't Stationary

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INDIANAPOLIS—This week is National Public Health Week, an annual observance that highlights the contributions of public health systems and aims to educate the nation about what public health is and does. Today’s theme focuses on how public health efforts protect you while you're on the move.
“The increased use of seatbelts is a great example of a public health victory,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “For example, from 1981 to 2010, seatbelt use rose from 11 percent to about 85 percent and has saved thousands of lives.”
Having a comprehensive trauma care system is another way lives are saved. The number one killer of Hoosiers under the age of 45 is traumatic injury. More than 32,000 Hoosiers are hospitalized each year from injuries, which is the fifth most common killer of Hoosiers of all ages. The Indiana State Department of Health’s Trauma and Injury Prevention division is currently traveling around the state to provide guidance and education to the emergency medical service community about the importance of data collection and other aspects of trauma care. To learn more, visit
So, what can you do to protect yourself while on the move? Follow these safety tips:
·         Don’t text and drive. Not only is it illegal in Indiana, it can be deadly. Learn more at
·         Always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle or bicycle.
·         Be an alert pedestrian and be mindful at intersections.
·         Find out the proper vehicle restraint systems for your child depending on his or her weight, height and age. For example, infants and toddlers through age 2 should be placed in rear-facing child safety seats, while children ages 2 to 4 should be placed in forward-facing child safety seats.
·         Get involved with efforts to promote safe biking and walking to school. Learn about the Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership at
·         If possible, walk or bike to daily destinations, such as to work or the grocery store. Choosing biking or walking over driving is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your life. States with the highest levels of biking and walking also have the lowest levels of chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
·         Support complete streets policies. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users; pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street.
Where complete streets are in place, alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking are more attractive and safety is improved for all users. Being physically active promotes a healthy lifestyle and can decrease chronic diseases and obesity.
Health by Design is a coalition of partners throughout Indiana working to ensure that communities around the state have neighborhoods, public spaces and transportation infrastructure that promote physical activity and healthy living.
“Complete Streets policies are an excellent tool for improving transportation safety, accessibility and health for all Hoosiers, regardless of if they typically travel by foot, bike, bus or car,” said Kim Irwin, who coordinates Health by Design. “We commend the 10 Indiana communities who have already adopted Complete Streets policies and are excited to be working with many other cities and towns who plan to do so in the year ahead.”
To learn more about National Public Health Week, visit
For more information about Health by Design, visit
For more information about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit
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Huname Society Criticial of Bill to Legalize Captive Hunting

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On Monday the Humane Society of the United States criticized the Indiana House Natural Resources Committee for seeking to legalize captive hunting operations. An amendment attached to Senate Bill 487 would allow privately-owned facilities to stock captive deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou in fenced enclosures so trophy-seekers can pay to shoot the semi-tame animals for guaranteed kills. The practice threatens the health of native wildlife populations, potentially costing state taxpayers millions of dollars in disease eradication and lost hunting license revenue. Captive hunts have been directly linked to the spread of chronic wasting disease – a fatal, incurable disease that affects deer, elk and other cervids.
A new study out of the University of Wisconsin has shown that CWD prions in the soil are just as infectious as those prions directly passed from an infected animal, providing further documentation of the risk to wildlife from captive hunts, which stock animals at unnaturally high densities, greatly increasing the risk of spreading diseases such as CWD.
“We are extremely disappointed that the House Natural Resources Committee would allow these abhorrent operations to open in the Hoosier state,” said Erin Huang, Indiana state director for The HSUS. “Captive hunts are nothing more than drive-thru shooting operations where anyone can kill a guaranteed trophy for the right price. We urge the House of Representatives to oppose this bill and reject this backward step toward legalizing this inhumane and appalling practice that threatens our wild deer herds.”
In 2005, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources issued an emergency rule banning captive hunts, but a lawsuit filed by captive hunt operators has stalled enforcement of the ban. Although no new operations have been allowed in the state since 2005, Indiana is notorious for captive hunts, largely due to the high-profile case of captive hunt operator Russ Bellar. Customers who visited Bellar’s facility testified and accused Bellar of drugging animals to make them easier to shoot, allowing animals to be illegally shot over bait and stating that animals were unloaded off trailers directly into shooting pens for easy kills.
The HSUS joined hunting groups, such as the Indiana Deer Hunters Association, in testifying against this amendment.
  • A 2010 statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. revealed that 80 percent of Indiana voters opposed captive hunts of large mammals such as deer and elk, and 81 percent supported a complete prohibition on captive hunts in the state.
  • Animals in captive hunts are stocked inside fenced enclosures, allowing ranches to often offer guaranteed trophies, “100 percent success” rates, and advertise "no kill, no pay" policies.
  • Captive hunts are generally reviled by the hunting community nationwide for violating the principle of fair chase. Hunting groups such as the Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club, which maintain trophy records for big game hunting, will not consider animals shot at captive hunts for inclusion on their record lists.
  • In 2005, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources passed administrative rules outlawing captive hunts. Operators of the captive hunts later filed a lawsuit in response that is still pending. A handful of captive hunt facilities continue to operate in Indiana under an injunction.
  • A deer recently tested positive for chronic wasting disease on a farm in Pennsylvania, which has sold 10 animals to captive deer farms in Indiana over the past three years – including the Jackson County facility.
  • Chronic Wasting Disease has now been found in 22 states. In 13 of the states the disease has been found in captive populations. CWD can cost taxpayers millions of dollars in response efforts – the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources alone has spent over $35 million since 2002 fighting the disease.
  • Although no studies show humans to currently be susceptible to CWD, research has shown that CWD is able to adapt outside of the species barrier, potentially placing public health at risk. 
  • At more than 1,000 commercial captive hunt operations in the United States, trophy hunters pay to shoot native and exotic mammals – from zebra to endangered scimitar-horned Oryx – confined in fenced enclosures.
  • Many of the animals on these ranches have become accustomed to humans, making them easy targets for shooters.

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Bridge Work on I-94 Between US 20 SR 49

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PORTER COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces continued lane closures for both northbound and southbound I-94, between U.S. 20 and State Road 49, beginning Monday, April 8th. The shoulders of I-94 in this area will also be closed. Lane restrictions will continue until the completion of this bridge rehabilitation project in late fall 2013.
An alternative route has been posted for drivers wishing to avoid potential travel delays. Eastbound I-94 traffic may take the U.S. 20 exit and travel east to State Road 49, then south to eastbound I-94. Westbound I-94 traffic may take the State Road 49 exit and travel north to U.S. 20, then west to westbound I-94.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and project updates like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Issue at Fire Scene Gets Lake Ridge FF Suspended

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Lake Ridge FF Suspended
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
An alleged incident between firefighters at a brush fire in Griffith Tuesday night has led to an internal investigation, and the suspension of one Lake Ridge firefighter. The Times reports Paul Channell walked from the scene, near Cline Avenue and Avenue H, back to the station, in the 35-hundred block of West 45th Avenue, almost over four-miles away, in full gear. According to published reports, Lake Ridge Fire Chief Pat Booth says Channell made a decision on his own to do something, and now it is under investigation, which will reportedly be conducted by the Assistant Chief.
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Dredging on IN Harbor and Ship Canal to Start This Week

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Dredging Map
Work on the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal Dredging and Disposal Project will begin again sometime this week, after work that began in November was halted after the canal froze over this winter. According to their website, almost 94-thousand cubic yards of sediment were removed adjacent to the Confined Disposal Facility, west of Indianapolis Boulevard, and along the west side of the Indiana Harbor turning basin in 2012. Published reports say about 300-thousand cubic yards are anticipated to be dredged this spring. The project is being done so the waterways can meet federal standards.  For more information visit
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Indiana Leaders Call for Bipartisan Immigration Solutions

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosier faith, law enforcement and business leaders came together Wednesday to speak about the importance of immigrants to the state’s economy and the urgency of immigration reform for Indiana’s diverse communities — days after a federal court blocked key provisions of Indiana’s tough immigration law.
With members of Congress home for the Easter recess — and with the introduction of immigration reform legislation possible later this month — Indiana faith, law enforcement and business leaders highlighted the need for immigration solutions nationally and called on their representatives in Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform. They also spoke with attendees about the importance of mobilizing to push for a just and responsible immigration solution as the debate moves forward in Congress.
This event was one of many recess events nationwide organized by Bibles, Badges, and Business for Immigration Reform, a network that is bringing together faith, law enforcement and business leaders to advocate for broad, bipartisan reform in 2013.
The following quotes can be attributed to Wednesday’s event participants:
David Drury, Chief of Staff, The Wesleyan Church:
“In 2008, The Wesleyan Church voted to approve an extensive Immigration Position Statement, saying, ‘We oppose and condemn all unjust and harsh laws, policies and measures directed against immigrants among us ... We will act as advocates for just and humane policies for all people.’ This event was a practical part of that loving, biblical value of justice for the foreigner.”
Mike Murphy, Senior Vice President, Hirons and Company:
“The recent Federal Court decision striking down Indiana’s immigration law as unconstitutional reinforces that fact that we must Convince Congress to act swiftly to update and reform our country’s outdated immigration laws. Immigrants must once again be considered our nation’s strength, not a liability.”
Megan Ritter, Director of Public Policy, Indiana Farm Bureau:
“Immigration reform is critical for Hoosier farmers who rely on a non-domestic workforce to ensure our crops and livestock continue to be a pillar of Indiana’s economy.”
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):
“Disciples, leaders and governing bodies have for years called upon our political leaders to move beyond an immigration system that demonizes our neighbors, divides us against one another, and devastates children by tearing apart their families. As Christians committed to the scriptural call to welcome the stranger and to promote the wholeness and well-being of families and communities, we welcome an opportunity to achieve immigration reform that is both just and compassionate.”
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Victim Found in Munster Ditch has Been Identified

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Lake County Coroner Merrilee D. Frey states that in less than twenty-four hours, the unidentified white male, with the varying tattoos has been successfully identified.  The family had been searching for their loved one, Fabian Castaneda, for an extended period of time.  Coroner Frey states, “It is our mission to always serve families with compassion.  Our Lake County Coroner’s office works diligently to bring closure to family members. We are extremely grateful to our local media for their assistance in this very sad situation.”  
The Coroner’s office responded to a call at the location of Hawthorn and Ridge Road in Munster, at the river bank where the victim was discovered, Sunday, March 31st.
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Griffith and Gary Police seek Person of Interest

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Police have released photos of a man who is wanted in connection with the abduction and murder of an elderly Griffith businesswoman, who was found shot to death inside her vehicle in a Gary casino parking lot early Friday morning.  Published reports say, 76 year-old Mary Austgen of St. John, was abducted from a business her family owns in the 800 block of East Main Street, around 5:40 pm last Thursday and was later discover dead, shortly after 2:00 am Friday in the passenger seat of her SUV, with a shotgun wound in her abdomen.
Police are hoping that someone will come forward and identify the male suspect shown in security photos walking into the business.  According to an article in the Times, the man is seen holding a black backpack, wearing a black Harley-Davidson hat with an orange flame and black sunglasses.  Griffith police detectives stress the man is not being called the killer, but only a person of interest, who was seen leaving the business with the victim.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Griffith Police Department's anonymous tip line at (219) 922-3085. People also can call Gary police Detective Lorenzo Davis at (219) 881-4738 or the department's anonymous tip line at (866) 274-6347.
Read more about this story at:
Griffith Abdusction suspect  2
Police are asking the public to help identify this person of interest
Griffith Abdusction suspect  1
(photos courtesy of the Times of Northwest Indiana )
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Six Foot Fence Ends Early Morning Police Chase

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A South Haven man remains in custody at Porter County Jail following a police chase that started with a car chase and ended on foot early Wednesday morning in Portage. Police reports say the motorized part of the chase reached a high rate of speed along Central Avenue and Airport Road before stopped sticks were used on Lute Road, slowing the chase which eventually ended when the suspect repotedly drove into the backyard of a home in the 3200 block of Roswell Drive, where he bailed from his vehicle and ran into a six foot chain link fence.  
According to published reports, the chase began around 1 am Wednesday when an officer saw the suspect allegedly run a red light on Central Avenue. Police say Kleckner was transported to the Porter County Jail where is is being held with no bond due to being out on bond.
Accoding to the Times, the suspect, identified as 27 year-old Daniel Kleckner of the 700 block of Heritage Road, faces two counts of resisting law enforcement, driving while suspended, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash. According to published reports, the chase began around 1 am Wednesday when an officer saw the suspect allegedly run a red light on Central Avenue. Police say Kleckner is being held in jail with no bond due to being out on bond.
Read the complete story at:
Daniel K. Kleckner
(photo provided by Portage Police Department)
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Police Say Merrillville Shooting Was a Gang Initiation

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At a press conference this afternoon, Joseph Petruch, Merrillville Police Chief says the motive is still unclear in the shooting death that took that life of 14 year-old Depree Mims last Wednesday night in his Merrillville home located in the 7500 block of Marshall Street.   According to Chief Petruch, Mrs. Mims says she and her children were gathered in their living room watching a movie when she asked Depree to get one of the children a blanket.  When the the boy stood up several gunshots were fired from outside at the house.  One of those bullets entered the home through the front bay window and struck the boy in the head, according to Petruch.  
The chief did say they do have information that the shooting was a gang initiation and that a member of the gang had been previously robbed and believed this individual lived at the Marshall Street address, where the shooting occurred.  However, police say everyone they've spoken to about Depree, says he was a well mannered and respectful young boy who stayed away from trouble.
It was last Friday that police received information on a possible suspect involved in the shooting.  Published reports say this information led to the apprehension of 18 year-old Kevin brown of Merrillville, 21 year-old Joshua Addison and 22 year-old Anthony Addison, both of Gary and a 16 year-old Merrillville boy.  Chief Petruch says all four suspects were charged through the Lake County Prosecutor's Office with murder and Criminal Gang Activity and are currently being housed at the Lake County Jail.
The investigation continues and anyone with any further information is urged to contact the Merrillville Police Dept at 219-769-3531....

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National Public Health Week: A Safe, Healthy Workplace

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indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—Good health and a safe work environment are essential components of productivity, job satisfaction and overall quality of life for employees. In recent years, workplaces have recognized this and have taken steps to improve workplace settings. As National Public Health Week continues, employers are encouraged to institute workplace wellness programs, as well as ensure adequate safety gear and training are provided to staff.
Research from the American Public Health Association shows that investing in workplace wellness programs made positive impacts on workers' health and pocketbooks. Such wellness efforts also help employers contain health care costs. The cost of obesity among full-time employees tops $73 billion, which includes the total value of lost productivity and medical costs.
“I’ve seen firsthand the dramatic impact effective workplace wellness programs can have on employee morale and job satisfaction, as well as on healthcare expenses,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Employers don’t need to spend a ton of money on activities, every bit of encouragement helps. There are lots of ways to incentivize employees toward good health in the workplace that are little to no cost. The results are well worth the time and effort.”
Employers can request a free copy of the Indiana Healthy Worksites Toolkit for Small Businesses from the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative website or download it directly at The toolkit provides several suggestions for increasing the number of opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity in the workplace.
“Employers who invest in occupational safety and health benefit from increased employee morale, worker productivity and reduced workplace injuries and illnesses, as well as lower insurance premiums,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Sean Keefer.
According to the National Safety County, deaths from unintentional work injuries dropped 90 percent from 1933 to 1997. However, workers still get injured on the job. According to the Indiana Department of Labor, Indiana reported 122 fatal occupational injuries in 2011. Nationally, nearly 5,000 workers died in the United States due to an injury on the job in 2011. That same year, fatal work injuries also rose among workers ages 20-24 by 18 percent.
“Proactively addressing workplace safety and health is not only the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense,” said Keefer.
Employers can do many things to improve safety. One is to understand and follow all workplace safety regulations and best practices. Employers can educate employees about workplace safety regulations and train employees to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings and if applicable, have safety training available in multiple languages. Employers should strive to create a work environment in which employees feel comfortable reporting unsafe working conditions or workplace abuse.
Additional suggestions for creating a safe and healthy workplace include:
·        Provide the required equipment to keep workers safe, such as respiratory gear and hard hats.
·        Hold subcontractors accountable for implementing safety standards and trainings.
·        Have mechanisms in place for recognizing and addressing the potential for workplace violence.
·        Practice fire safety drills and prepare your workplace for an unexpected emergency or disaster.
·        Post hand-washing reminders, provide healthy foods at meetings and celebrations, and organizing workplace walking groups. If you provide employer-based health insurance, consider certain financial incentives that can improve health, such as incentivizing employees to quit using tobacco.
Importantly, make your support for investments in workplace health and safety known. Talk to leadership about inviting local policymakers and others to a community roundtable to discuss injury prevention and wellness in the workplace and follow up with specific actions. 
To learn more about National Public Health Week, visit
For more information about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit
For more information about learning how to ensure workplace health and safety, visit the Indiana Department of Labor’s website at
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Marijuana and Over $56,000 Found During Traffic Stop

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Valpo PD
A traffic stop by Valparaiso Police, working High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Patrols, along I-94 near Chesterton on Tuesday netted drugs and over 56-thousand dollars in U-S currency. Valparaiso Police report a vehicle was stopped for speeding on I-94, near State Road 49, and after some inconsistencies in regards their travels, a Chesterton K-9 unit was called in, and alerted officers of drugs in vehicle. Marijuana, along with the large sum of cash were discovered hidden inside a pillow, and the occupants, two Michigan men, were arrested, charged , and taken to the Porter County Jail.
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Valpo PD Investigating Infant Death

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Valpo PD
In Valparaiso, police are investigating the death of an infant. Valparaiso Police report they, along with the Valparaiso Fire Department, were dispatched just before 11:30 in the morning Tuesday to the 29-hundred block of Winchester Drive for a seven-week old infant not breathing. Upon arrival, authorities say the infant was immediately transported to Porter Regional Hospital, and shortly after arriving, the infant was pronounced dead. Police report at the time of death, the infant displayed no obvious signs of death.
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Fugitive Charged with Rape/Child Molesting Apprehended

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A man named “fugitive of the week” by the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force has been apprehended. Deputy U-S Marshal Timothy Craigin says Edgar Rodriguez, who was charged last week in Lake Superior Court with rape, child molesting, and criminal confinement, has been apprehended in Plainfield, Illinois, and will be held at the DuPage County Jail, until he can extradited back to Indiana.
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Senate Approves Bill to Let 1st Responders Help Crisis Victims

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Senator Vaneta Becker
On Tuesday,  the full Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) to enhance the authority and ability of medical personnel to treat patients in crisis situations, such as a major disaster. House Bill 1111 cleared the Senate by a 49-0 vote.
The bill outlines qualifications for medical personnel practicing tactical emergency medicine, which means care provided in the field instead of a hospital – usually in a crisis environment. Becker said she believes this will help first responders save more lives.
“Learning from last year’s violence in Newtown as well as recent natural disasters across the country, we’ve discovered medical emergency personnel are sometimes prohibited from dealing with victims due to unstable or violent situations,” Becker said. “This bill will provide them the training and authority needed to begin treating victims right away, which can often mean the difference between life and death.”
HB 1111 now goes to the governor for final consideration.
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Helping Veterans Serve as EMS Providers Signed into Law

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A bill that allows veterans who received emergency medical service training, instruction or experience while serving in the military, to obtain a license and perform in a similar role as an emergency service provider has been signed into law. Governor Mike Pence says, “Senate Bill 290 is good Hoosier common sense that honors the brave men and women who served our nation and sacrificed to protect freedom.” The law becomes effective on July 1st.
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Retirement Plan Flexibility Law for Teachers Sign by Pence

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A new law begins on July 1st that gives teachers more flexibility with their retirement plans. House Bill 15-60, coauthored by Portage State Representative Chuck Moseley, says if a school corporation makes changes to a retirement account for employees, than those affected can look for other plans. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence on Monday.
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Tuesday Brush Fire in Griffith

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The Griffith Volunteer Fire Department reportedly worked into the nighttime hours to snuff out a brush fire in the 900 block of Avenue H. Fire crews were called out after 6pm Tuesday, for the fire, which according to tipsters could be seen from a few miles away. No further information is available at this time.
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