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Gary Legislative Phone Updates Continue

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Gary city officials with this reminder -- every Thursday at 5:00p.m -Region time- until April 25th Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson invites you to call in for a legislative update – and you can ask questions, too . Gary state lawmakers Representatives Charlie Brown and Vernon Smith and Senator Earline Rogers will also be on the calls as their schedules permit.    The call-in number is toll-free (866) 320-4709.  The call-in number will remain the same each week but the access code will go up by one number each week. For March 7 the access code will be 281996. [ Last week's access code was 281995. ]
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Gary Man Accused of Buying Child for Porn

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In Hammond Federal Court, two Gary residents have been indicted on charges related to the purchasing of a child to produce pornography. The U-S Attorney's Office announced the indictment against 39-year-old Christopher Bour and 24-year-old Natisha Hillard Wednesday. The charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Indiana State Police, and Gary and Michigan City Police Departments.
From the US Attorneys Office:  Christopher M. Bour, 39, and Natisha Hillard, 24, both of Gary, Indiana, were charged in a five count Indictment alleging buying/selling, production of and possession of child pornography.  Bour is charged with one count of purchase of a child for production of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography featuring a minor under the age of 12.  Hillard is charged with one count of sale of a child by a parent for production of child pornography and one count of permitting a child by a parent to participate in the production of child pornography.  These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police, the Gary Police Department and the Michigan City Police Department.  This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
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Lake Coroner Thanks Public for Help

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Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey is thanking everyone who offered information in helping to locate family members of unidentified decedents at their facility. The Coroner says they had eleven unidentified decedents in mid-September 2012, but through information provided, seven have been identified through DNA and all but one are now at rest and reunited with family members.  The oldest case dates back to 2007.
News Release: CROWN POINT -- Coroner Merrilee D. Frey is grateful to the general public for their help in locating family members and providing information to assist in identifying decedents. Coroner Frey states, “Sadly, as of September 15, 2012, we had a total of eleven unidentified decedents in our facility. Seven have now been identified through DNA, as our Forensic Anthropologist and I have worked closely together on these cases. They have been returned to their loved ones. The oldest case dates back to 2007. All but one are now at rest and reunited with family members. Thank you for responding to our call for assistance to the general public. I am committed to resolving all of our unidentified cases.”
Recently, the Coroner’s office asked the general public for assistance in helping to locate family members for Vincent Demus. Within twenty-four hours we brought closure for his family. The general public was also instrumental in helping the Coroner’s office identify Sherell Clark, who had been missing for several months, bringing closure to her family members. Additionally, the general public was crucial in the bringing closure to the family members of Amy Ellington, a thirty-nine year old female who had been missing for several months.
In early 2012, Derrien Picket was discovered in Lake Station. He had been missing for one year. George Deliopoulos, Meidco/Legal Death Investigator on this case and a twenty-three year veteran of the Coroner’s Office states, ”Our team of professionals worked closely with family members to provide DNA which ultimately led to positive identification of Mr. Picket. Dr. Nawrocki, our Forensic Anthropologist, worked closely with the Coroner, to help the Picket family put the final piece of the puzzle together regarding his death. Coroner Frey’s leadership motivates us to further investigate open cases to help hurting families. ”
“Coroner Frey states,”The generous help of the citizens of Northwest Indiana has allowed families closure regarding their missing loved ones. It is the mission of our office to serve and support our families with the tragic loss of their loved ones.”
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Police: Expired Plate Uncovers Mobile Meth Lab

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Troopers say routine traffic stops aren't so routine anymore. Indiana State Police say they found an alleged active mobile meth lab inside a 1999 Kia after pulling someone over for an expired license plate near State Road 26 in Lafayette. All three of the occupants, ages 33, 35 and 38, from Lafayette, were booked into the Tippecanoe County Jail.
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House Committee Considers Anti-Meth Bill

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It would not require you to have a prescription, but a measure meant to fight methamphetamine would put stricter limits on how much cold and allergy medicine you could buy in a single year in Indiana. An Indiana House committee Wednesday discussed a proposal approved by the state Senate in February that would permit the purchase of about an eight months supply, based on the current state law's monthly limit. Current Indiana law contains one-day and thirty-day limits. Senate Bill 496 also prohibits anyone convicted of certain meth-related crimes from possessing ephedrine/pseudoephedrine without a prescription for seven years.
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Burned Business Looking for Bride in Alaska

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There's a bride-to-be in Alaska who doesn't know her wedding dress is gone. That's one of the stories to come out of a devastating fire that consumed a number of businesses housed in a century-old two-story brick building Monday in downtown Valparaiso, at Lincolnway and Michigan.  Anita's Alterations was one of those businesses – after being there 22 years, the owner Anita Hall tells us their customer contact information and the back ups were all lost -- and they're trying to reach everyone, including a bride-to-be who's thousands of miles away:
"Before Christmas I had a young woman bring in a beautiful bride's gown and she was leaving to go to Alaska for several months, would not be back until March for her wedding and left it with me in my care,  to alter and have ready for her when she got back. I do not have that young woman's name or family member's name of any sort. If anybody would know of someone that was coming back in March to get married from Alaska, we certainly would love to be able to get a hold of her and figure out what we could do to help her. "
Hall also tells us she's gotten a call from customers offering to donate wedding gowns:
"There have been one or two people that have called that have said that they have had things altered by me in the past years and have held on to them and if people are in need of a special wedding gown, in this case for instance, they would happy to offer this gown to them."
Hall says she's asking all her customers to call her regular business number to get in touch with her -- 219-477-5307.  She also says they are planning to be opening again.
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Donnelly says Military Suicides Has to Stop

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Washington, D.C. — Senator Joe Donnelly conducted a conference call with members of the Indiana media today to discuss military and veteran suicide prevention efforts.  Last year, more combat troops committed suicide (349) than were killed in combat in Afghanistan (229), and 43% of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who took their own life did not seek treatment beforehand.  The Reserve and National Guard force has also seen a rise in suicides. 
“This has to stop,” said Donnelly.  “Our fighting men and women bear an incredible burden on our behalf.  I’m focused on doing everything I can to ensure that every servicemember and veteran has the resources they need and knows where to go if they need help.”
Donnelly has highlighted the issue repeatedly in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings and plans to make the mental health care of our military men and women a top priority while serving on the committee.  To seek help, servicemembers, veterans, or anyone struggling with mental health issues can call 800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day.
A fact sheet on the issue is available here.
 
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Video of Senator Donnelly raising the issue of military and veteran suicides in the Senate Armed Services Committee:
 Senator Hagel Confirmation Hearing (January 30, 2013)
SD—http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4372575
 
Sequestration Hearing (February 21, 2013)
HD— https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/Donnelly/021213_DONNELLY_1_FTP.M2T
SD— https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/Donnelly/021213_DONNELLY_1_FTP.MPG
 
DoD Civilian Leadership Confirmation Hearing (February 28, 2013)
HD— https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/Donnelly/030513_DONNELLY_1_FTP.M2T
SD— https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/Donnelly/030513_DONNELLY_1_FTP.MPG
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Two Gary Residents Indicted on Child Porn Charges

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The U.S. Attorney's Office in Hammond announced a five-count indictment was returned on Wednesday against two Gary residents charged with the buying/selling, production of and possession of child pornography. 39 year old Christopher Bour faces several charges, including one-count of purchase of a child for production of child pornography, while 24 year old Natisha Hillard is charged with one-count of sale of a child by a parent for production of child pornography and one count of permitting a child by a parent to participate in the production of child pornography. Both individuals were charged as the result of an investigation by the FBI, Indiana State Police, Gary Police, and the Michigan City Police Departments.
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Whiting Dress Shop Fire in January May Have Been Set

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Whiting fire
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A January fire in Whiting that destroyed a dress shop and several apartments inside the 100 year old building, at the corner of 119th and Sheridan Streets, may have been set. The Times reports the State Fire Marshals Office ruled the cause of the blaze points to an incendiary, as evidence found indicates an ignitable liquid had been poured on the floor of the dress shop prior to the fire. Published reports say the case has been forwarded to local law enforcement, and that the cause of the fire will be considered undetermined unless other evidence can be obtained.
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Lake Co Coroner Grateful for Info Identifying Decedents

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Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey is thanking everyone who offered information in helping to locate family members of unidentified decedents at their facility. The Coroner issued a press released today saying they had 11 unidentified decedents in mid-September, but through information provided, all but one are now at rest and reunited with family members, which she says could not have been possible without the generous help of the people of northwest Indiana.
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Large Cocaine Bust in Michigan City

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Michigan City Police announced today that the arrest of two men last week has dealt a significant blow to the distribution of cocaine in the area. Police report an investigation into large quantities of cocaine being distributed lead to the arrest of a 31 year old Elkart man and a 32 year old Gary man, in the area of 6th and Wabash Streets. Authorities say during the arrests they recovered a kilogram of cocaine, which they say equates to over two-pounds of the drug, with a street value of over 100-thousand dollars, and that additional narcotics were later recovered during the execution of a search warrant in the 23-hundred block of Crest Road in Gary, and an investigation is ongoing.
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Construction Jobs Info Sessions in MC Next Week

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Michigan City officials, in partnership with NIPSCO and the Indiana Plan for Equal Employment, will host two public information sessions aimed at helping northwest Indiana residents get connected with careers in the construction and building trades industry.
Attendees will learn more about construction jobs needed for NIPSCO’s upcoming environmental improvement project at the Michigan City Generating Station intended to improve local air quality. The $250 million investment involves constructing and installing an emissions-control system known as a scrubber. Construction for the multi-year project began earlier this year and is expected to continue through 2016.
A similar partnership was forged between NIPSCO and the City of Gary in 2012, when the utility was preparing for the first phase of environmental upgrades at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, Ind.
“Civic-corporate partnerships such as this not only benefit the local economy, they help strengthen our community and workforce, said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer.
“The upcoming construction project at the Michigan City Generating Station is not only a plus for the environment, it’s an investment in northwest Indiana’s long-term economic success,” said Mike Hooper, vice president of major projects for NIPSCO. “Once the Michigan City project is complete, NIPSCO will have among the cleanest coal fleets in the state and will have created hundreds of local jobs along the way.”
Applicant requirements:
  • Must be 18 years old
  • High School diploma/GED
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Reliable transportation
  • Mandatory drug screen
About Indiana Plan for Equal Employment:The Indiana Plan’s mission is to help minorities and women gain entry into the building trades by offering comprehensive training and assistance in finding employment opportunities. Visit www.IndianaPlan.org for more information.

WHEN:Session 1: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. CT
Session 2: Wednesday March 13, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Michigan City – City Hall
100 East Michigan Boulevard, Michigan City, IN 46360
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Authorities Searching for Man Suspect of Domestic Battery

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Blake Springsteen
(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Authorities in Cook County are searching for a 22 year old Homewood man suspected of severely beating his 46 year old mother Monday. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports Blake Springsteen is a white male, approximately six-feet tall, weighing 240-pounds, and Sheriff Thomas Dart asks that you do not approach Springsteen, but does say anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to please contact the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Authorities report Springsteen is suspected of beating his mother in unincorporated Homewood, then he reportedly bound her, put her in the trunk of a car and drove to Crete, where he is accused of stabbing her multiple times, and leaving her in a ditch in the nine-hundred block of Columbia Street.
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Snow Removal Parking Restrictions

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Some communities in the region are enforcing snow removal parking restrictions after Tuesday's storm. Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer declared that tomorrow, effective at 8am, traffic regulations regarding parking will begin. Police in St. John are reminding motorists that street parking is prohibited when there is snow in order to aid the clearing of streets and will be issued to vehicles in violation. Gary Police are urging residents to follow the posted signs about not parking on snow routes when accumulation is more than two inches or you could end up spending around 200-dollars to get your car back.
Michigan City Parking Restrictions:
Effective at 8:00 a.m., on Thursday, March 7, 2013.
(1) No vehicle shall be parked on a designated “snow route.”
(2) On even numbered days, no parking shall be permitted on that side of the street with even numbered addresses from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
(3) On odd numbered days, no parking shall be permitted on that side of the street with odd numbered addresses from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
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NWS Preliminary Snowfall Totals for NW Indiana

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Preliminary snowfall totals from the National Weather Service for northwest Indiana show Valparaiso received the most snow from Tuesday's winter storm, with ten-and-a-half inches on the ground. Porter and Wheatfield also received ten or more inches of snow, Lake Village got nine-and-a-half inches, while Crown Point, Portage, Rensselaer, and St.John all had at least nine inches of snow.
NORTHWEST INDIANA SNOW
LOCATION (COUNTY): FALL(INCHES)
VALPARAISO (PORTER)..........................10.5
PORTER 1S (PORTER)...........................10.4
(W9OPR)WHEATFIELD 1ENE (JASPER)..............10.0
LAKE VILLAGE (NEWTON).........................9.5
CROWN POINT (LAKE)............................9.0
ST. JOHN (LAKE)...............................9.0
PORTAGE 1ESE (PORTER).........................9.0
RENSSELAER (JASPER)...........................9.0
VALPARAISO 2N (PORTER)........................8.8
VALPARAISO 1NE (PORTER).......................8.7
VALPARAISO 1ENE (PORTER)......................8.5
VALPARAISO 5NNE (PORTER)......................8.2
VALPARAISO 5NNE (PORTER)......................8.2
WHEATFIELD 3S (JASPER)........................8.0
DE MOTTE 1NNW (JASPER)........................8.0
DE MOTTE 1SSW (JASPER)........................8.0
VALPARAISO 1NNW (PORTER)......................8.0
DYER 1WNW (LAKE)..............................7.8
HEBRON 4NE (PORTER)...........................7.7
SCHERERVILLE 2WSW (LAKE)......................7.6
LAKES OF THE FOUR SEASONS 2NNE (PORTER).......7.6
CROWN POINT 2WSW (LAKE).......................7.5
VALPARAISO 1SE (PORTER).......................7.5
CHESTERTON 1ENE (PORTER)......................7.2
LOWELL (LAKE).................................7.2
DE MOTTE 4SW (JASPER).........................7.0
(W9MAL)MERRILLVILLE 2NNW (LAKE)...............7.0
LAKES OF THE FOUR SEASONS (PORTER)............7.0
MOROCCO (NEWTON)..............................7.0
SCHERERVILLE (LAKE)...........................6.6
DE MOTTE 6S (JASPER)..........................6.5
CROWN POINT 1N (LAKE).........................6.5
HIGHLAND (LAKE)...............................6.3
MOUNT AYR 2NNE (NEWTON).......................6.2
(WV90)HOBART 1ENE (LAKE)......................6.0
REMINGTON (JASPER)............................5.8
VALPARAISO 4SW (PORTER).......................5.7
BROOK 4W (NEWTON).............................5.5
VALPARAISO 6WSW (PORTER)......................5.5
REMINGTON (JASPER)............................5.5
KENTLAND 1NNW (NEWTON)........................5.0
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Read more: NWS Preliminary Snowfall Totals for NW Indiana

   

LaPorte Co Sheriff's Office Investigating 1981 Cold Case

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LaPorte Co Sheriff Dept
A 1981 cold case regarding the unsolved homicide of a then 31 year old LaPorte woman is being re-examined. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports preserved evidence has been resubmitted to the Indiana State Police Crime Lab, with the hope that modern DNA technology can assist in identifying a potential suspect in the death of Juanita Boyd, who was found strangled and stabbed in the trunk of her vehicle, in a field just off Forrester Road, a half-mile north of the Indiana Toll Road on February 28th, 1981. Boyd was last seen alive February 22nd, 1981, at Snyder's Corner Tavern, which had been located at the intersection of 1st and J Street, in LaPorte. Anyone with potential information about this unsolved death, is asked to contact the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau.
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Gary Police Investigate Robbery, Attack

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In Gary, police say a 58-year-old man was robbed and attacked in his home in the 19-hundred block of Central Drive Monday night. Gary Police Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says there was a knock on the door around 10:45, and possibly five men, armed with weapons and wearing masks, rushed inside when the door opened, demanding money and jewelry. Police say the man was struck before the men left, and the victim was treated at an area hospital.  Police urge residents who hear someone knocking, especially at that time of night, someone you don't know, to call police and not open the door. 
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Storm Delays Griffith Legislation

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A committee hearing scheduled for today regarding Griffith's attempt to leave Calumet Township was canceled due to the snowstorm preventing travel to Indianapolis, according to the Times. Town officials are hoping it'll be rescheduled for next week. The measure has moved to the Senate after being approved by the Indiana House last month. The town says they send significantly more in tax dollars to the township than they get back. The measure would allow voters in town to hold a referendum and vote on whether or not to leave the township.
Here's more at nwi.com:
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/griffith/time-has-come-to-leave-calumet-twp-griffith-says/article_d42580f3-58b7-59be-97e4-b4e713073291.html
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Indiana State Police Busy During Storm

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isplogo
Indiana State Police Lowell Post responded to more that 130 crashes and slide-offs from yesterday afternoon thru 7-o'clock this morning. Seven accidents involved injuries all described as NON-life threatening. Troopers have also gone out on numerous calls to assist motorists in the winter storm and its aftermath. Police urge all Region drivers to slow down in general, and also move over for emergency vehicles, use headlights even during daylight, and allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Specifics:
Since yesterday afternoon until 8 a.m. this morning troopers working investigated 63 property damage crashes, 7 personal injury crashes (non-life threatening), 61 slide-offs and numerous assisting motorists calls.
Safety tips from The Indiana State Police:
It is important to remember to:
 Drive according to road conditions:
 Allow extra time to get to your destination.
 Clear all windows of ice and snow and remove snow from hood, roof and headlights and tail lights.
 Beware of bridges, underpasses, overpasses and intersections where ice tends to form first.
 Don’t use cruise control on slick roads.
 Avoid abrupt stops and starts, slow down gradually and keep wheels turning to avoid losing traction.
 Use headlights even during daylight hours
 Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
 Decrease your speed according to the road conditions
 Make sure you have a charged cell phone in your vehicle AND NEVER TEXT WHILE DRIVING.
 MOVE OVER AND/OR SLOW DOWN FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES.
For Indiana road conditions call 1- 800-261-7623, or visit the Indiana Department of Transportation website at www.trafficwise.in.gov. Please do not call dispatch centers for road conditions.
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Storm Delays Some Garbage/Recycling Svc

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A snow-related announcement from the city of Valparaiso this morning (Wednesday March 6 2013)  – Garbage and Recycling service in the City of Valparaiso will be delayed one day. This applies to all Wednesday and Thursday pickups. Republic Services is running on schedule today for their customers in both Porter & Laporte Counties. All roads must be plowed at least 10 feet wide in order for their trucks to be able to service customers.
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