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Silver Alert Canceled, Teen's SUV Found

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A statewide Silver Alert issued Friday for a missing teenager from Fishers, Indiana, was canceled Sunday after investigators found the girl's SUV submerged in about eight feet of water at Geist Reservoir in Fishers, which is just northeast of Indianapolis. Reports say a body was inside the vehicle, but positive identification had not yet been made.
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Police Add Motorcycle Patrol

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Portage Police have added a motorcycle to traffic patrol. Chief Troy Williams says the leased 2013 Harley Davidson will also be used in seat belt and aggressive driving enforcements. The motorcycle has radar and will also have technology that's in squad cars letting officers write electronic citations. Sgts John Ryan and Keith Hughes were named the first two members of the new unit.
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Vigil Held in Crown Point for Dogs

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A vigil was held in downtown Crown Point last night after two Siberian Huskies were fatally shot by Crown Point Police last week. Chief Pete Land says his officers did all they could to prevent the shooting after getting a call from a woman who said the dogs, described as “wolves”, dragged her cat to a nearby creek and were cornering her husband who was trying to get the cat. The Times today reports a local rescue group wants legislation to mandate police receive training on how to handle wild and companion animals, and that the family is awaiting the release of the police report. Published reports say police initially thought the dogs were coyotes.
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New Policy for Governor's Social Media

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence has a new policy regarding social media, and among other things it prohibits profanity, obscenity, nude images and other objectionable content, and violators may be banned from accessing the governor's Facebook, Twitter or YouTube accounts. The policy also directs visitors of the sites to refrain from discussing political views and philosophies, saying these online channels are meant to share information about the governor's programs and activities. The governor recently apologized after comments about gay marriage were deleted from his Facebook page a few weeks ago.
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Portage Schools Discuss Facebook Policy

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In Portage, school officials are discussing whether or not teachers should be allowed to "friend" students on Facebook. The topic came up after a member of the Portage Township School Board recently proposed changing school policy to allow teachers to set up classroom Facebook pages, which differs from a personal page in that readers would "like" the page instead of sending in "friend" requests. The Times reports the discussion prompted the superintendent to say the district should take a "strong position" against teachers friending students on their personal Facebook pages.
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Pilot Killed in NW Ind Plane Crash

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The FAA and NTSB are trying to determine what caused an ultra-light aircraft to crash in a La Porte County cornfield Sunday morning, killing the pilot. Police say 36-year-old Benjamin Hubbard of South Bend was found dead in the wreckage of his airplane, which was about a half-mile east of county road 600 east, south of Division Road. Deputies say the pilot who found the wreckage reported he and Hubbard both left the Niles, Michigan airport in separate aircraft at approximately 6:30 (CST) Sunday morning on their way to Plymouth. When his friend failed to arrive he left Plymouth and retraced his route. He remained in the air, circling the crash site until emergency responders arrived.
More information from La Porte County Sheriffs Police:
On Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7:03 am (CST), the La Porte County Regional Dispatch Center received a single 911 call from a resident who lived in the area of Division Road and County Road 600 East in reference to a possible plane crash. Deputies responded and the complainant reported that he believed a crop duster airplane had crashed. Deputies observed a crop duster in the area, still flying and because no wreckage or evidence of a plane crash could be found, they cleared the area.
At 1155 am (CST), the Dispatch Center received another 911 call from a pilot of an aircraft who reported that he had just located the wreckage of an ultra-light airplane in a field east of County Road 600 East, south of Division Road. Deputies arrived in the area and the pilot who had reported the discovery circled over the wreckage until it was located. Sheriff’s Deputies located the wreckage in a field located approximately 2,100 feet east of County Road 600 East, south of Division Road. The crashed plane was located 235 feet south of the roadway in a corn field that contained corn that was approximately six to ten feet in height. The wreckage could not been seen from the road.

The pilot, who was the lone occupant of the single engine plane was found deceased. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was immediately contacted and they made contact with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The FAA currently has an investigator on scene and are awaiting NTSB investigators. The investigation has since been turned over to the FAA and NTSB.
Deputies have learned that the pilot who made the discovery had reported that he and the deceased had departed the Niles, Michigan airport at approximately 6:30 (CST) this morning, in route to Plymouth, Indiana where the two were going to meet. Both left in separate aircraft, he in a Cessna and his friend in his ultra-light. That pilot arrived in Plymouth and when his friend failed to arrive he departed Plymouth and retraced his route and discovered the wreckage of the ultra-light and called 911 via his cellular telephone. He remained in the air, circling the crash site until emergency responders arrived on scene.
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59 Year Old Journalist Dies After NW IN Mudathlon

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A local journalist passed away Saturday after completing the Northwest Indiana Mudathlon. Longtime journalist Rick Richards was pronounced dead after the three-mile obstacle course that took place at Gambler Family Farms, in the 200 block of South County Road. The Corner's Office reports, due to Richards history of heart issues, no autopsy will be conducted. Richards career included time at Lakeshore Public Television, the Michigan City News-Dispatch, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, and the Post Tribune.
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Duneland Sierra Club Urges No Build Option for Illiana

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The Duneland Group of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club has opposed the building of the proposed Illiana Corridor Toll Road, from I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana, and is urging NIRPC board members to vote for the no-build option. The group states that while the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan does have some good aspects, it also fails in many others. The group notes that building the Illiana would add more flooding and pollution into the Kankakee watershed, could foster Illinois' Peotone airport and casino development which conflicts with the regional priority of expanding the Gary/Chicago International Airport, associated new sprawl development would draw investment, residents, business, and jobs away from already developed urban areas creating more blight, and would foster more fossil fuel intensive transportation and land use which adds to global climate change.
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Fire Destroys Two-Story Outbuilding at Meyer's Castle

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Dyer fire
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
In Dyer, a fire destroyed a two-story outbuilding at the historical Meyer's Castle. The Times reports firefighters were called out sometime around 6:15 Friday evening and no injuries were reported. According to the article, the castle itself was not damaged and US 30, between Indianapolis Boulevard and Calumet Avenue, was closed while crews worked to extinguish the flames. No further information is available at this time.
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Lake County Sheriff Dedicates New Boat

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new boat
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Department)
On 7-19-13 Lake County Sheriff John Buncich dedicated a new vessel for use by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit. The vessel is described as a 2013 Silver Ships AM 800 Rigid-hull inflatable boat with a three sided pilot house. It is equipped with the latest marine electronics and side scan sonar. It is 28 feet long with a beam of 9.4 feet.
The vessel was obtained through a FEMA 2009 Port Security Grant. The Sheriff’s department provided a trade in of a 1995 Silver Ships 28 foot aluminum patrol boat valued at $20,920.00. The vessel that was traded was obsolete and outdate in its equipment and ability to effectively respond. The Port Security grant dollars provided were $219,149.00, bringing the total cost for the vessel at $240,068.00. Officers assigned to the Marine Unit will attend training in the use of the electronic sonar provided by the manufacturer.
Sheriff Buncich stated, “We are afforded an opportunity to respond to critical incidents on the water with this boat in an effort to save lives and provide effective response particularly with the use of state of the art equipment this boat has. It is especially important during this summer season. The boat was used to assist in response to a drowning victim just yesterday at Wahala Beach. We hope to continue to provide a safer boating and swimming environment through marine patrols and rescues. This boat will help us in that effort.”
“During these difficult economic times, we are thankful to the grant dollars that allowed us to make this purchase without the use of any additional county funding,” Sheriff Buncich added.
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US 24 Closure in Newton County Starts Monday

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GOODLAND, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of U.S. 24, a half mile east of SR 55, in Goodland beginning Monday, July 22nd through August 15th. Crews will be replacing a culvert.
Drivers wishing to travel east on U.S. 24 will be detour north on SR 55, east on SR 16, south on U.S. 231, and back to U.S. 24. Drivers wishing to travel west on U.S. 24 will be detoured north on U.S. 231, west on SR 16, south on SR 55, and back to U.S. 24.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us 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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Benefit Ride for Anna Orlando on July 21st

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A benefit ride for Anna Orlando will be held on July 21 at Leroy’s Hot Stuff, 333 West US Hwy 20 in Porter. The event begins with a breakfast buffet at 10 a.m. for $6/person. The ride begins with the first bike out at 11 a.m. and the last bike in at 4 p.m. Cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple and includes lunch. Though you must be 21 to attend, you don’t need to have a bike to enjoy the day. Entertainment will be offered all day, compliments of Tommy Thompson Band, Train Wreck, Ron Buffington, and Christina Mayes. The event will take place rain or shine and will also include a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.
This benefit will raise funds to help fund cancer treatment for Anna (Sandy) Orlando who is bravely battling advanced cervical cancer. For updates on the event and Orlando’s journey, visit giveforward.com and search “Anna’s Healing Hearts,” where you may also give directly to the fund. The event is graciously organized by Joanne Spicketts-Cooper and Mary Chavez on behalf of the Anna and Philip Orlando family.
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Human Trafficker Arrested Following Missing Person Tip

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NealPriceMug
(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Dept)
A 24 year old Olympia Fields, Illinois, man is in custody on human traffic charges following a missing person tip. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports that, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Sheriff's VICE Unit arrested Neal Price without incident Wednesday night after an investigation discovered internet advertisements for prostitution regarding a missing female juvenile, who was with Price at the time of his arrest. Price is charged with promoting juvenile prostitution, promoting prostitution, possession of a firearm and ammunition without a valid Firearm Owner Identification Card.
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Hobart Man Sencenced in Death of Jada Justice

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A Hobart man accused in connection with the death of a two-year-old girl whose body was found burned and encased in concrete in a La Porte County swamp four years ago was sentenced to forty-years in prison in Lake County court on Friday. Timothy Tkachik pleaded guilty in 2010 to neglect. Co-defendant and former girlfriend Engelica Castillo was found guilty of murdering Jada Justice and is serving a 65-year prison term. Police say the child was beaten to death while the couple was babysitting her. A judge dismissed neglect charges against the child's mother last month.
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Statewide Silver Alert Issued for Missing Fishers, IN Teen

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Peyton Rickhof
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana State Police)
A statewide Silver Alert has been issued regarding the disappearance of a 18 year old Fishers, Indiana, woman who is believed to be in danger. Indiana State Police report Peyton Rickhof was last seen wearing a pink tank top and black yoga pants on Thursday, July 18th, in Fishers, located approximately 15 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The missing teen is described as a white female, 5'08”, weighing 140 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes, and is believed to be driving a black 2006, Mercury Mariner SUV, with Indiana license plate number SGC-405. Authorities say Rickhof may be disoriented and require medical assistance. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Peyton Rickhof is asked to contact the Fishers Police Department at (317) 773-1282.
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Elderly Hammond Man Gets 10 Years for Child Pornography

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An elderly Hammond man on Thursday was sentenced to ten-years in prison and ten-years of supervised release after pleading guilty to felony possession of child pornography. According to court documents, almost 95-hundred images and almost 250 videos were found in 71 year old Jon Zondor's possession, who was also ordered to pay 500-dollars in restitution to two victims. The resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the FBI.
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Couple Sentenced for Illegal Dispencing of Pills and Tax Evasion

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A husband and wife were sentenced Thursday in US District Court in Hammond after pleading guilty in January to tax evasion between 2005 and 2008, and for illegally dispensing millions of pills containing amphetamine-based controlled substances to patients at their facilities in Northwest Indiana and south suburban Chicago. 57 year old Doctor Rakesh Anand will begin serving his two-year sentence on August 30th, while his wife was ordered to begin her 30-day sentence on September 3rd. The couple was also ordered to pay over 745-thousand dollars in restitution to the IRS from the nearly five-point-two million that was seized from them and ordered forfeited. In addition to that, the couple remains civilly liable to the IRS for any and all back taxes and a civil fraud penalty of up to 75-percent of the underpayment, plus interest.
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March to End Violence in Hammond at Noon July 20th

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Demonstrators will be marching in Hammond tomorrow, July 20th, as part of the Justice for Trayvon: 100 City Vigil. The Times reports members of area churches, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition plan to march at noon, starting on Douglas Street, near the Hammond Federal Courthouse. According to the article, supporters of the march say while the not guilty verdict in case of George Zimmerman initiated these marches, violence in local communities across the state and the nation effects everyone and is reason enough to demonstrate against.
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Gary Kicks Off New Redevelopment Initiative

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Mayor of Gary, Karen Freeman-Wilson at Friday's press conference to announce the City's partnership with the EPA, HUD, DOT for Sustainable Communities Redevelopment Initiative
Leaders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Transportation today joined Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Indiana, to announce a new redevelopment initiative to revitalize four city neighborhoods. They are the Horace Mann, Downtown/Emerson, Aetna and Miller neighborhoods on the city’s north side. 

“I am pleased to announce that the City of Gary has been selected for a $350,000 U.S. EPA grant to establish a revolving loan fund that will be used to clean up contamination at brownfield sites in Northside neighborhoods,” said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. “The work we are starting here today -- through the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities -- will be good for the environment, good for the economy and good for Gary.”
The federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, EPA, HUD and DOT, along with other federal and state agencies, will work with the city and private foundations to identify additional resources needed for the Gary Northside Redevelopment Project to move forward.
“The interest that all of these federal agencies have taken in the city of Gary is both exciting and humbling,” said Mayor Freeman-Wilson. “We will continue to work with these entities as they look to invest in various neighborhoods throughout the city, ultimately leading to the rejuvenation of Gary’s economy.”
“Eighteen months ago, HUD convened a meeting of eight Federal Agencies to align our resources and join state and regional partners in a super effort to identify available resources and innovative strategies to support Mayor Freeman-Wilson and the development of sustainable solutions for Gary and Northwest Indiana,” said Antonio R. Riley, HUD Regional Administrator. “Today, we join together to continue the progress of that first meeting and many that followed in helping Gary achieve the future it deserves -- this shows the progress that can be made when a region and partners from all sectors act as one.”
“I appreciate Mayor Freeman-Wilson’s vision in initiating this project, and her constant efforts to leverage every available resource to improve the quality of life for Gary’s citizens,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky. “This collaborative project between the city of Gary and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities will strengthen not only Gary but all of Northwest Indiana. I look forward to the progress of the Gary Northside Redevelopment Project, and I anticipate working with her and our agency partners to turn this vision into reality.”
Today’s federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities event in Gary included a tour of the Horace Mann, Downtown/Emerson, Aetna and Miller neighborhoods and discussions on transportation, housing and neighborhood stabilization, environment and brownfields, and public health.
For more information on the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities:  http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov/
More information on EPA’s brownfields program:  http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/
(photo provided by Jay Stevens & Radio One Communications, article provided)
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SWAP Cleans Up Abandoned Homes in Dolton, IL

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Dolton3after
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A program that uses offenders sentenced to manual labor helped cleanup a dozen abandoned homes Thursday morning in Dolton, Illinois. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports approximately 20 offenders with the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program, or SWAP, picked up garbage, whacked weeds and mowed grass, transforming the lawns in front of homes located on East 140th Place, East 141st Place and East 142nd Place. The SWAP crews provide municipalities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations with free labor, and runs seven-days a week.
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