Coats: Congress Should Work Together on Student Loan Rates

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Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) on Monday made the following statement regarding the doubling of interest rates on student loans that took effect Monday:
“A long-term fix to prevent an increase in student loan interest rates is vitally important for America’s young people,” Coats said. “I have supported a market-based proposal, similar to what President Obama has suggested, that would allow students to take advantage of low interest rates and provide long-term financial stability to the loan program. The Senate Majority Leader rejected this common-sense proposal in order to push for tax increases. This misguided plan would cost taxpayers more than $8 billion, yet would save students only $6 per month. Given the economic challenges already facing young Americans, I am hopeful that Senator Reid will work with the president and Republicans on a permanent solution that puts students ahead of politics.”
Beginning Monday, the interest rate on new subsidized Stafford student loans increased from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Approximately seven million college students will be affected by the rate hike.
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Children Twice as Likely to be Injured by Fireworks

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IDHS logo
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding Hoosiers that children ages 10-14 are twice as likely to be injured by fireworks.Two out of every five fireworks injuries are individuals under the age of 15.
“Fireworks are a part of many Independence Day celebrations, and we want Hoosiers to have a safe and happy holiday,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal, Jim Greeson. “However, caution should be used to prevent injuries, especially for children.”
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Even seemingly harmless fireworks can cause injuries. Sparklers, hand-held and ground fireworks (those that stay on the ground) alone accounted for 38 percent of the 8,600 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2010. Sparklers burn at about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 300 degrees hotter than the temperature at which glass melts. Glow sticks make an excellent alternative to sparklers, especially for young children, and can be purchased at most retail stores.

General fireworks safety
·         Only purchase and light 1.4G consumer fireworks. Examples include bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers.
·         Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
·         Do not alter any fireworks device or attempt to make your own fireworks.
·         Use a clear, open area and keep your audience a safe distance from the ignition site.
·         Light one firework item at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
·         Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks.
·         Have a fire extinguisher, hose, bucket of water or other water source nearby.
·         Be cautious when lighting fireworks when it is windy.
·         Never smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while handling fireworks.
·         Never aim, point, or throw fireworks at another person.
·         Use fireworks outdoors, never indoors.

Fireworks can be fun, as long as safety rules are followed. For more information about fireworks safety, visit
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Indiana DNR Investigates Fish Kill on Little Calumet River

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INDIANA DNR Conservation Officer
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a fish kill that occurred 6/30/13 on the Little Calumet River in Lake County, near Munster. Indiana Conservation Officers, along with the Lake County Haz-Mat team responded to a ¼ mile long area near Calumet Ave to find over 200 dead fish of varying size and species along the banks of the river. Water samples were collected for testing by IDEM to determine if pollutants were present in the river. Samples of the dead fish were also collected for analysis by DNR fisheries biologists. The multi-agency investigation is on-going at this time. Anyone with possible information about the fish kill is encouraged to contact Indiana Conservation Officer Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536.
(article provided)

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Michigan City Police Seek Public's Help

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Gerron Oshei 5-28-12
Oshei Gerron
On Saturday 6/29/13 at 1:45AM Officers from the Michigan City Police Dept patrol division heard gunshots in the area of Franklin St/ 11th St. Upon further investigation Officer Michael King found 22 year old Marques Cooper lying in 1000 block of Franklin St lying in the roadway. King approached Cooper and discovered he was suffering from a gunshot wound. Emergency Medical personnel were called and Cooper was transported to St Anthony’s Memorial Hospital. He was later flown to South Bend Memorial Hospital.
Detective Jillian Ashley was called and an investigation was immediately started. Detective Ashley worked through the weekend piecing the case together, gathering evidence, and executing search warrants. Search warrants were issued for a residence and two vehicles by the Honorable Richard Stalbrink, Judge LaPorte Superior Court #2. LaPorte County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Neary presented evidence to the Court with Detective Ashley testifying.
On 6/30/13 the Honorable Kathleen Lang, Judge LaPorte Superior Court #1 was presented with the facts and evidence collected through the weekend. Judge Lang issued an arrest warrant for Oshei Gerron charging him with Aggravated Battery as a Class B Felony and Battery as a Class C Felony.
Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Gerron is encouraged to call the police. Oshei Gerron should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about this case or any crime is asked to call the crime tip hotline at (219) 873-1488.
(photo provided by Michigan City Police Dept.)


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WGU Indiana offers Nursing Scholarships

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WGU Indiana has announced it will award up to $30,000 in new “Go Further in Nursing” scholarships available to nurses who are seeking bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Scholarships will be awarded at $2,000 each, and to be eligible, applicants must be registered nurses newly enrolling in one of WGU Indiana’s nursing degree programs.
“It’s an exciting time to be a nurse in Indiana,” said Kimberly Harper, Executive Director of the Indiana Center for Nursing. “As we continue to advance the profession and the quality of care provided by nurses in Indiana, many healthcare entities are increasingly requiring registered nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree. WGU Indiana’s new scholarship is well-timed to help Indiana nurses further their careers during a critical time for the profession of nursing.”
WGU’s innovative, competency-based education model, which earned the university a spot in Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2013, measures learning rather than the time a student spends in a classroom seat. Students earn their degrees by demonstrating mastery of subject matter, completing coursework online at any time convenient to their lives. Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, competency-based education allows students to take advantage of prior learning and experience to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. In addition, tuition at WGU Indiana has remained at a flat rate of about $6,000 per year since the school’s inception in 2010.
Last year, Mary Carney, a nurse at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, Indianapolis, and the first in her family to go to college, graduated from WGU Indiana’s MS Nursing-Education degree program. “I started my BSN in 1981, but life got in the way,” Carney said. “When my husband lost his job, I needed to return to work full time. With four children and working the night shift, money and my job were obstacles. On my 55th birthday, I realized it was now or never. Since then, I completed both my BSN and MSN at WGU Indiana.”

“Our hope is that more nurses will see this scholarship as the right opportunity to go back to school, complete the next steps in their degrees and go further in their careers—like Mary did,” WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber said. “The time is now.”
The deadline to apply for a WGU Indiana Go Further in Nursing Scholarships is September 1, 2013. All applicants must first be admitted to WGU Indiana. For more on the new scholarship, visit, or call 877-214-7014.  To learn more about all of WGU Indiana’s degree programs, visit
(article provided)

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Valparaiso’s Strongbow Inn Changing Owners

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After more than 70 years, Valparaiso’s Strongbow Inn will have owners outside of founder Bess Thrun’s family. Proprietors Russ and Nancy Adams announced that Strongbow is being sold to the Luke Company. The sale is expected to close on September 1, but transition will take place on July 8, 2013.
Russ Adams reflected on the Inn’s family history in a meeting with staff today to announce the sale, saying “this is the end of an era and a very bittersweet time for Nancy and me.” Adams said the opportunity presented itself and with current economic conditions and increased competition for food and expendable dollars, they made the decision to move on. “Sometimes when a door unexpectedly opens, you have to see what’s on the other side,” Adams said, adding that he and Nancy had considered selling before but had always held on. “This time the timing was right and we feel very good about the Luke Company’s commitment to continuing the legacy of quality food and service that Strongbow has been known for all these years,” he said. “It had to be the right people.”
Strongbow Turkey Farm was started in the 1930’s by Dr. Walter and Bess Thrun (Russ Adams’ grandparents) and named for the Pottawattamie Indian chief who lived on the land with his tribe in the 1800’s. In 1940  Bess Thrun opened the Strongbow Turkey Inn on US Hwy 30 in Valparaiso with 28 seats. Known for the turkey the Thruns raised on the farm across the highway the first menu included hot and cold turkey and the now-famous Strongbow Turkey Pie. Over the years Strongbow has grown to not only a sizeable restaurant but also includes banquet facilities that accommodate up to 500 people. Strongbow currently employs 130 people.
Adams said that he is proud of what Strongbow has meant to his family – with his mother Chuggie and father Chuck running the business from 1951-1993 when Russ and Nancy took over. “We know that Strongbows helped put Valpo on the map,” he said. “Who could have known that a roadside turkey restaurant with live turkeys across the street would become the icon that it is today.”
Finally Adams said, “Most of all, Nancy and I want to thank our parents, our children, our amazing employees, and most of all our loyal customers. It is hard to say good bye, but we say it with pride for our heritage and legacy, and with humility and gratitude for all that Strongbow has given to us.”
The Luke Company is a family owned and operated company based in Hobart, Indiana that was founded in 1967 by Ralph Luke.  It is owned by Tom Collins Sr., Tom Collins Jr., and Ryan Richardson and has grown to include 25 C-Stores, the $5 Carwash and County Line Orchard.  The Luke organization currently employs approximately 400 associates
“Our family has been patrons of this storied establishment for over 3 decades.  What kept us coming back each year as customers is what also drew our interest in being the next owners of Strongbow Inn.” said Tom Collins Jr.  He added, “The long family history, strong brand, solid reputation and delicious food are vital to the past and future success of this famous restaurant.”  
“As new owners our family is excited to work with and learn from the current staff and Adams family to insure that the many traditions that have been built from generation to generation continue on into the next chapter of the Strongbow Inn”, said Ryan Richardson.
What has made this transition possible is that both families recognized the core value of the Strongbow Inn which is best said in the words of Caroline “Chuggie” Adams , “The Strongbow tradition stands for beautiful food, good times, celebrating family traditions, and memories for everyone to cherish.  The Luke family will work closely with the Adams Family, current staff and loyal customers to see that these values are carried on for decades to come.
(article and logo provided)

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Griffith Police Seek Public's Help to find Suspects

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Male suspect seen on security video entering the Wlagreens at 1225 E. Ridge Rd. on June 24th.
Female suspect
Female suspect being sought in armed robbery that occurred on June 29th at the Walgreens at 407 W. Glen Park Ave.
Griffith police are asking for the public's help in identifying a male and female suspect involved in two separate armed robberies that occurred last week at two Griffith area Walgreens stores. Published reports say around 9:30 p.m. on June 24th, a white male wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt reportedly flashed a handgun and robbed the pharmacy. Dispatched advised of a white vehicle, possibly a Chevrolet Cavalier, with white rims that fled southbound on Colfax St, according to reports. Then shortly before 7 p.m. on June 29th officers were dispatched to the Walgreens on Glen Park Avenue where staff told police a white female wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, baseball cap and bandanna displayed a note and a black semi automatic pistol in her waistband demanding Hydrocodone and Xanax (zan-ax). In both instances information was gathered from staff and witnesses with officers checking the area for suspects and vehicles but nothing has been found.  Police also the suspects could have also been involved in a similar robbery happened in Highland.
Anyone with information about the suspects are asked to contact the Griffith Police Dept.(219) 924-7503 or, Highland Police Dept. (219) 838-3184.
(photos provided by GPD)...

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Gary Animal Control Releases 2013 Contingency Plan

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City of Gary
In mid-June, a petition was launched on suggesting that the City of Gary’s Animal Control facility and services be transferred to Lake County Animal Control (LCAC). In light of the claims raised by concerned citizens, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson issued a statement and shared that a contingency plan for the facility would be released on July 1.
“As promised, we are releasing the plan that outlines immediate next steps for our Animal Control Division,” said Freeman-Wilson. “I am pleased with the solutions that have been brought forth and look forward to working with community organizations to garner even more support.”
Gary Animal Control Plan 2013
The following is a plan for the Gary Animal Control to enhance the conditions at the current facility located at 625 W. 9th Place, Gary, IN. The outdated structure presents challenges of disease management and at times, impacts the care that these animals need and deserve. Currently, the structure has a quarantine area that can receive a limited number of animals. The immediate plan will allow flexibility to enhance the operation of the animal control facility while continuing to maintain animals in a humane manner.
The Animal Control Division is an enforcement agency with a staff that includes one supervisor, three field officers, one kennel technician, and one civilian clerk. All are fully trained with proper certifications to handle animals and operate the facility.
Outlined below are the immediate steps that will be taken to address the housing situation for animals admitted to the Gary Animal Control facility.
Identify a 2nd Facility: 6800 East 7th Avenue
The Animal Control team has identified the Northwest Indiana Humane Society as a facility that is equipped to receive animals within a day’s notice. Located at 6800 E. 7th Ave., it is a prime location in Gary’s Miller area. The Gary Police Department is currently negotiating a lease agreement for this location to serve as a second animal control building. The building has approximately 2,000 sq. feet of space and was previously utilized as an animal control hospital.
The final terms of the lease are expected to be completed the first week of July 2013. Once both parties reach an agreement, the Gary Police Department plans to occupy the space immediately and start admitting animals. The facility will be used as a quarantine area during repairs to the 625 W. 9th Ave. site as well as a place for animals to dwell after becoming property of the City of Gary.
Renovate Current Facility at 625 W. 9th Avenue
Once the second facility is operational, Gary Animal Control will continue enhancing the 625 W. 9th Ave. The process to secure quotes and implement repairs should take approximately 90 days with a target completion date of September 30, 2013. Having the alternate facility allows flexibility to daily operations and for repairs and upgrades to be made.
Funding for the Project
The Gary Police Department has identified the account to pay for leasing the facility at 6800 East 7th Avenue. The rent for the facility is being negotiated at $500.00 a month, and the police department will be responsible for paying all utilities. Should the facility need any type of immediate repairs or materials to enhance operations, the Gary Police Department has identified their Building Repair Materials account to cover the costs. The repairs to the facility at 625 W. 9th Ave. will also be supported by the Building Repair Materials account.
The one year lease for the 2nd facility will be paid from account #43720, Lease/Purchase. In addition, efforts are underway to establish a non-reverting building and veterinary fund to receive donations from community groups to support the growth and enhancement of the Animal Control Division.
Network for Adoption
The Gary Animal Control has an established relationship with fifteen animal rescue groups at the present time for the purpose of fostering and placing animals in suitable homes. Volunteer coordinators are working with the Gary Animal Control on a daily basis to recruit additional rescue groups to reduce the number of euthanized animals. In addition,
rescue groups are providing virus vaccinations at no cost to the animal control facility.
Fundraising efforts
The Gary Animal Control Division continues to cultivate relationships with community groups to assist with fundraising.  On August 31, 2013, Wright Painting LLC will partner with the Gary RailCats to host its first fundraising event. All proceeds will go to the Animal Control building fund. Future fundraising events are pending. Community organizations and businesses are also invited to submit fundraising ideas to help support this effort.
Future Plans
From July 8-12, 2013 ARC (Animal Rescue Corp.), President Scotlund Haisley will visit the Gary Animal Control facility to conduct a needs assessment at no cost. He and his team will assess all elements of Gary’s Animal Control field and shelter operations, identify any deficiencies, make recommendations on cutting costs while maximizing efficiency and
effectiveness, and suggest ways to expand and improve service.
Areas to be assessed include but are not limited to budget, facility, staff, training, database system, customer service, emergency plan, animal handling, animal enrichment, behavior assessments, veterinary care, housing quality, intake protocol, euthanasia criteria and protocol, adoption program and policies, community outreach, shelter and rescue partnerships, food program, volunteer program, foster program, etc. This assessment will provide guidance for future plans of the Gary Animal Control.

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Gov. Pence Appoints IVY TECH Board of Trustees

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Gov Mike Pence
(photo provided)
Governor Mike Pence today appointed members to the Ivy Tech Board of Trustees. Appointees will serve three-year terms, effective July 1, 2013.
“Leaders in their fields, the individuals named today to the Ivy Tech Board of Trustees have the experience and proven leadership necessary to further the success of Ivy Tech in the years ahead ,” said Governor Pence. “Under their guidance, Ivy Tech will undoubtedly continue to accelerate learning and provide an affordable and impactful learning environment for the nearly 200,000 Hoosier students on its campuses across the state.”
Dr. Michael Evans, of Indianapolis, has been appointed to the Board. Evans is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIT Laboratories, which he founded in 1990. Since then, the Indianapolis-based reference laboratory, which specializes in pain management, forensics, clinical and pharmaceutical testing, has grown into a premiere testing and research institution recognized nationwide for superior customer service and quality in testing. Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, Evans served as tenured professor, director, faculty member, and researcher for institutions such as the Indiana University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He was also a visiting professor of toxicology for Kunming Medical College and the Sichuan Institute of Materia Medica, both located in China. Evans earned his doctorate in toxicology from Indiana University School of Medicine and held a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Toxicology Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Old National Bancorp. since 2004, Bob Jones will also join the Board. Prior to joining Old National, Jones, of Evansville, worked for 25 years at Cleveland-based KeyCorp., where he most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of McDonald Investments Inc. He serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Board of Directors, where he is a member of it Executive Committee and chairs the Audit Committee. Active within his community, Jones serves on the boards of the University of Evansville, the Evansville Regional Business Council, Vectren Corporation, the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, Riley Children’s Hospital, and Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana. Jones earned his undergraduate degree from Ashland University.
Larry Garatoni has been appointed to the Ivy Tech Board of Trustees. Garatoni, of South Bend, served in the Army Reserve attaining the rank of Captain. He began his career in 1964 when he and a partner built and operated a long term care facility. From 1969 to 1994, Garatoni founded and operated several companies under Health Quest Group. From 1994 to 2003, Garatoni served as CEO at several different software and internet sales companies. In 2007, Garatoni founded HQ Investments, which manages investments in public equities, private equities, hedge funds, venture capital and angel investing. The company also supports K-12 education-focused philanthropic activities and manages the Garatoni Family Foundation. Garatoni earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and completed the Owners/President Program of Harvard Business School.
Paula Hughes will serve on the Board of Trustees. Hughes, a consultant for both non-profit and private sector clients, also serves on the Board of Directors at Transmission & Fluid Equipment, Inc. With experience in local government, Hughes served as Second District Elected Representative on the Allen County Council from 2003 to 2010. She has held a variety of positions throughout her career including time spent as a commercial real estate broker, President of the Downtown Improvement District, Director of Development at Arts United, and Executive Director of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce. Hughes, of Fort Wayne, earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana University and her master’s degree from the University of Saint Francis.
Rush County resident Michael Dora has also been named to the Ivy Tech Board. Dora, who is retired, is the previous owner operator of Dora Enterprises, a grain and swine production company. Actively involved within his community, Dora has served as a member of the Area Planning Commission, a trustee on the Rush County School Board and an assistant wrestling coach at Rushville High School. Dora, an Elder at Center Christian Church, is a graduate of Purdue University.
President of Citation Homes, Steve Schreckengast, of Lafayette, has been reappointed to the Board.

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17 Yr Old Ingested Synthetic LSD Before His Death

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Tests results have revealed that a synthetic version of LSD was ingested by a 17 year old who later died at an area hospital last week. An investigation by Porter County Sheriff's Detectives states that two juveniles with Cody Riffett, moments before his death, advised that after he took the drug, he began to severely hallucinate and go through a psychotic episode. Authorities were called out to the 400 block of Sturgeon Road west of Valparaiso around 5-o'clock last week on Tuesday evening for a teenage boy lying unconscious in the roadway. The Drug Task Force on Friday executed a search warrant at the residence of an 18 year old Union Township man who allegedly sold the drug to the victim, with whom authorities had conducted two drug buys, and seized additional narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
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Gary PD Investigating Two Separate Weekend Shootings

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Gary PD
Police in Gary are seeking the public's help regarding two separate shooting incidents from over the weekend. Public Information Officer Corp. Gabrielle King says the first incident took place just before 10:30 Friday night when a 17 year old out riding with friends stopped to speak with an unknown subject in the 700 block of 7th Avenue, near Polk Street. After parting, the 17 year old victim reports the unknown subject pulled out a handgun and shot him.
The second shooting incident took place just before midnight on Saturday, where a 21 year old man and a 17 year old man were traveling north on Pierce Street from 38th Avenue, when they were both struck by bullets from an unknown man with a gun who fired at them.
Corp. King says all injuries sustained appear to be non life-threatening, and that anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact the Gary Police Department.
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Smoke-Free Air Law Going Strong One Year Later

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indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—One year has passed since Indiana joined 39 other states in becoming smoke free. The Indiana Smoke Free Air Law prohibits smoking in all businesses, except for membership clubs, bars, casinos and retail tobacco shops, better protecting millions of Hoosiers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens.  The U.S. Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. In Indiana, an estimated 1,100 deaths annually are attributed to secondhand smoke exposure.
“Protecting Hoosiers from secondhand smoke, helping smokers quit and preventing our kids from choosing tobacco are all top priorities for the Indiana State Department of Health,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “The statewide Smoke Free Air Law has helped protect millions of workers and business patrons across the state. We know there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and so I am pleased that Indiana businesses have been on board with the law.”
Initial monitoring of the implementation of the law indicates compliance is high, with the vast majority of venues (97 percent) abiding by the no-smoking provision of the law. This data is consistent with other smoke-free air laws.
The Indiana State Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation division has worked very closely with the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) to implement the new state law. While ATC is the primary enforcement agency, the State Health Department has developed and distributed materials to educate businesses that are impacted by the law and to educate citizens on what to expect with the new law. Over 8,500 educational toolkits have been distributed to Indiana businesses.
“While 300,000 Indiana businesses were affected by the Smoke Free Air Law, only 108 have been cited for violating the law,” said Travis Thickstun of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission's enforcement division, Indiana State Excise Police. “We are finding that as excise officers work to educate businesses across the state, the vast majority come into compliance with the law once they learn what they need to do. Because our officers are finding that most people want to follow the law, only a few citations have been necessary.”
Smoking and secondhand smoke-related illnesses cost Indiana millions of dollars per year. A 2012 report from the Bowen Research Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine concluded that secondhand smoke costs Indiana $1.3 billion per year, or $201 per resident.
Local communities may pass laws stronger than the state law. To date, thirteen Indiana municipalities have passed smoke free air policies that protect workers in all workplaces, including bars and membership clubs, including Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Columbus, Plainfield, Terre Haute, Zionsville and the counties of Delaware, Hancock, Monroe, Vanderburgh and Vigo.
Those interested in learning about the law and the resources available can go to  To report a violation or ask a question, please visit the ATC website at
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health, go to
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BP Starts Up New Crude Unit at Whiting Refinery

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BP announced today that it has completed commissioning and start-up of its new 250,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit at the Whiting Refinery, marking a major milestone in the multi-billion dollar upgrade of the facility in Northwest Indiana.
“The safe start-up of this large, sophisticated crude processing unit at the Whiting Refinery has returned the refinery to its nameplate processing capability of 413,000 barrels per day -- initially of mostly light, sweet crude -- and paved the way for the remaining upgrades to the plant to be brought on-line,” said Iain Conn, chief executive of BP’s refining and marketing segment.  “When the new coking and hydrotreating units are commissioned and operating at full rates in the second half of this year, the reconfigured refinery will have the flexibility to greatly increase heavy, sour crude processing, delivering an expected incremental $1 billion of operating cash flow per year, depending on market conditions.”
Construction of the Whiting Refinery upgrade project is more than 95 percent complete. BP expects to commission a new 105,000 barrel-per-day gasoil hydrotreater, a large 102,000 barrel-per-day coker and other associated units in the second half of 2013. When all of the new equipment is in full operation, the refinery will have the ability to significantly increase heavy, sour crude processing to roughly 80 percent of its overall crude run.
“The Whiting Refinery project is at the heart of our U.S. fuels strategy to operate sophisticated, feedstock-advantaged refineries tied to strong logistics and fuels markets,” Conn added. “This world class refinery is in the right location and will soon be running the right equipment to process growing supplies of North American crude oil, including oil from Canada.”
The multi-billion dollar investment in the refinery is the largest private sector investment in Indiana history and also includes several hundred million dollars in state-of-the-art environmental controls for water treatment and air emissions, according to Whiting Refinery manager Nick Spencer.
“Our investment in Whiting’s future shows BP’s commitment to creating jobs in America and safely providing energy,” Spencer said.
Spencer also credited the 1,900 Whiting employees and large contractor workforce for safely reaching today’s important milestone in the project.
“We’ve employed more than 10,000 skilled craftspeople here at Whiting the past few years preparing for this important moment,” Spencer added.  “We’ve focused on safe execution and earlier this year logged more than 40 million man-hours without an injury resulting in a day away from work.  Our focus now is to continue this standard of safety performance through to the completion of the project later this year and for years to come.”
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Crash on IN Toll Rd Injures State Trooper and Two Others

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A state trooper and two other people were hospitalized Sunday night after being injured in a two-vehicle crash near LaPorte on the Indiana Toll Road. Published reports say the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, and no further information is available at this time.
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St. John Approves Tattoo Business

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As long as all the permits are in order, St. John will have its first ever tattoo business up and running one-month from today. The Town Council last week approved a variance ordinance for the business, which will also offering piercings, and will be located in the 91-hundred block of Wicker Avenue.
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South Shore CVA Celebrates 30th Anniversary in July

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Throughout the month of July, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. During a recent Region News Makers interview, South Shore CVA President and CEO Speros Batistatos says it was on this day 30 years ago the South Shore CVA was created by state code in 1983, in response to the second worst recession in history, to pursue hospitality and get public input to help leverage private investment. Batistatos says they plan to have a lot of fun with the 30th anniversary, like identifying 30 careers and 30 influential people in tourism, 30 stops in 30 days with their Tour Mobile that will travel throughout the South Shore, and much more.
To hear more of our Region Newsmakers interview South Shore CVA President and C-E-O Speros Batistatos, visit and for more information on the South Shore CVA, visit

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CP Zoning Board to Hear Petition for Proposed Cell Tower

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The Crown Point Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear a petition later this month, July 22nd, from a Warsaw based company about putting up a 175-foot cell tower on a site in a residential zone. The cell tower would be located in the 12-hundred block of South Indiana Avenue, and would be near a senior living complex, who has objected to the proposed structure.

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Region Gas Prices Continue to Fall

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Gas prices continue to take less of a toll on the wallets of Hoosiers. According to Triple-A's fuel gauge report, a gallon of regular unleaded is averaging three-dollars-46-cents in the Gary metropolitan area, down 21-cents from last week, and down 39-cents from a month ago. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded for the state of Indiana is three-dollars-41-cents, a 34-cent difference from the Illinois average of three-dollars-75-cents.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Carl Robinson

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Carl Robinson
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals, Great Lakes Task Force)
A 41 year old wanted in Lake County Court for dealing cocaine, maintaining a common nuisance, and possession of marijuana has been named this weeks “Fugitive of the Week” by the US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force in Hammond. Carl Robinson is described as a six-foot tall black male, weighing 250-pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, with a scar on his nose and near his left eye. Authorities report Robinson was last known to reside in the 39-hundred block of Guthrie Street in East Chicago, that he frequents the areas of East Chicago, and possibly fled the state.  Anyone with information on Carl Robinson's whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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IN Ranks 25th Out of 30 States for Beachwater Quality

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Indiana ranked 25th out of thirty states for beachwater quality according to a recently-released report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Testing the Waters” looked at the rate and reasons for beach closures, and frequency of water quality testing, and levels of bacteria . Jeorse Park Beach in East Chicago landed on their list of “Repeat Offenders”. To view the report, visit
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Read more: IN Ranks 25th Out of 30 States for Beachwater Quality


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