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Officials say small colonies of Giant Hogweed have recently been spotted in Indiana, and Hoosiers are warned to stay far away from it. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says the plant has been found in St. Joseph and Kosciusko Counties and can cause severe skin irritation and temporary or permanent blindness from contact with it.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says Giant Hogweed is a public health hazard listed as a federal noxious weed, and ranks higher than poison ivy, with regards to its potential to harm you. Biologists say it's a tall plant, capable of reaching heights of six feet or more, with very large leaves, up to five feet across, and large clusters of white flowers.
[Photos/Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development]
“The safety of our farm workers should always be of paramount importance to our Indiana farm businesses,” noted Commissioner Sean Keefer. “It is especially important to recognize the dangers of working in and around grain bins and take all necessary precautions.”
Information provided by the Indiana Department of Labor:
Prevent falls: Provide all employees with a body harness and lifeline, or a boatswains chair, and ensure it is properly secured before entering a grain bin.
Prevent electrocution/auger entanglement: Before grain bin or silo entry, shut down and lock out all equipment power sources. Station an observer outside the bin or silo to continuously monitor and track the employee inside the bin.
Prevent engulfment: Prohibit employees from walking-down the grain or using similar practices to make the grain flow. Prohibit entry into bins or silos underneath a bridging condition or where there is a build-up of grain products on side walls that could shift and bury a worker.
Prevent dust explosions: Prior to any entry, test the air within a bin or silo for the presence of combustible and toxic gases and make sure there is sufficient oxygen for safe entry.
Employers and employees are strongly encouraged to learn about safe grain handling procedures and take necessary precautions for the prevention of work-related injuries and fatalities.
Upon entry into the top of a silo or bin:
- Never work alone during any entry of a silo or bin.
- Turn off the auger and lock out the shut-off switch.
- Turn on the aerator.
- Conduct a pre-use inspection on all rescue equipment. Have all rescue equipment readily available for immediate use.
- Ensure the silo or grain bin entrant is wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment—dust mask, safety glasses, rescue harness, etc.
- Ensure all workers are familiar with the communication procedures and within communication distance.
- Ensure tie off at an adequate anchor point. Make sure there is enough rope to travel up the ladder and into the silo to attach to the harness and employee.
- Place an employee attendee at the top of the silo or bin and another at the base of the ladder at the anchor point.
- Never allow slack on the lifeline.
- In the event of entrapment at or above waist level:
- Train the entrant to cover his or her face with his or her shirt or dust mask.
- Never attempt to rescue the entrapped employee from the top of the bin or silo. Implement Emergency Action Plan procedures.
- Turn off the auger and lock out the shut-off switch.
- Turn on the aerator.
- Call 911.
- If the victim is within reach, without entering the bin, place a rescue sleeve around the victim. If a rescue sleeve is not available, place any flat, hard surface material (i.e. plywood, sheet metal, etc.) at the face of the victim.
Friday [June 14] was Orientation Day for the third-year medical students attending IU School of Medicine – Northwest at IUN in Gary... and with twelve third-year medical students, this is the largest third-year class to date, since the recent expansion from a two-year to four-year institution for the IU School of Medicine - Northwest. Ten of the students are from Northwest Indiana – Hobart, Portage, Merrillville, Highland, Burns Harbor, Gary, Hebron, Crown Point and Munster-- and two are from Indianapolis... and starting this week students were being sent around the region and into hospitals to begin their rotations in their subspecialties.
Visit News Audio on Demand here at our website to hear our interview with one of the students, Cicely Moreno of Gary.
· Top Row – (left to right): Galen Hartman of Indianapolis; Wayne Larson of Hobart; Jeremiah (JJ) Cox of Portage; Kenneth Polezoes of Merrillville; Daniel Pop of Highland; Daniel Berg of Indianapolis.
· Middle Row – (left to right): Dr. Patrick Bankston (Associate Dean and Director of IU School of Medicine-Northwest); Kyle Gospodarek of Hobart; Alissa Bishel of Burns Harbor; Cicely Moreno of Gary; Margie Rivera-Tomasi (Coordinator of Clinical Education)
· Bottom Row – (left to right): Courtney Myers of Hebron; Christine Stephens of Crown Point; Rohini Chatterjee of Munster
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District website: www.nictd.com
Valparaiso State Senator Ed Charbonneau will chair three legislative study panels this summer: the Environmental Quality Service Council, Water Resources Study Committee and the Compliance Advisory Panel. Each summer and fall — when Indiana’s part-time legislature is not in session — lawmakers are assigned to interim study committees that meet to review the state’s top issues, as identified by the General Assembly during the prior legislative session.
During a Region Newsmakers interview after the end of the most recent legislative session, Senator Charbonneau talked to us about the environmental council, stressing that water is going to need to be a big issue in the Hoosier state, even though it's kind of been on the back-burner. Last year, Indiana found itself in the midst of a serious drought, and "when you have a year like we did last year," Charbonneau said, " and find that Lake Michigan was at its lowest level in history, where we had something like 17 wells run dry in a little community called Parr, which is in my district, and various other issues down south, we need to put together a plan".
Charbonneau was also appointed to serve on the following committees: Health Finance Commission, Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy, Distressed Unit Appeal Board, Environmental Adjudication Director Selection Panel, Lake Michigan Marina & Shoreline Development Commission. Study committee topics are assigned by the Legislative Council, comprised of 16 voting members — eight from the House of Representatives and eight from the Senate.
You can hear our Region Newsmakers conversation with Indiana State Senator Charbonneau here at our website.
On March 18, the company issued a voluntary recall due to the presence of salmonella being found during routine testing performed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
On March 29, the company issued an expansion of their original recall citing the same reason as before and adding that the Georgia Department of Agriculture had also confirmed the presence of Salmonella.
On April 19, the company issued a further expansion of the original recall stating the same reasons as before and adding that this was being done out of an abundance of caution.
Most recently, on Tuesday, Natura Pet Products issued a press release recalling specific lots of dry pet food citing the potential for the food to be contaminated with Salmonella, after routine testing performed by the Food and Drug Administration tested positive for Salmonella.
The most current release states, “Natura is voluntarily recalling all products with expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014.”
According to the release, the affected products are sold in bags through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers, and online in the United States and Canada. No canned wet food is affected by this announcement.
People who have the potentially contaminated product should discard it immediately and stop handling it as it poses a risk to humans as well.
Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Common symptoms of salmonella in pets include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever and abdominal discomfort.
“Any time you notice your pet is not acting right, you should take him or her to your family veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl. “If it is an after-hours emergency, we would be glad to help at any one of our locations.”
The affected products are:
BRAND LOT CODE/UPC/SIZES; EXPIRATION
Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Healthwise dry dog and cat foods All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Karma dry dog foods All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Natura Pet Products also said in their release that consumers looking for additional information, product replacement or a refund should call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).
BluePearl Veterinary Partners does not carry any of the recalled products.
About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.
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“Our broken and uncontrolled immigration system must be repaired, but the current legislation fails to address many of our border security problems,” said Coats. “Hoosiers have heard promises before from Washington that our borders will be secured, but unfortunately these promises have not been upheld. This amendment would ensure that high-risk sectors of the border are actually secured and maintained before undocumented immigrants are legalized.”
“I am confident that this amendment is a good compromise for those who want to move forward with immigration reform, but also want to ensure we actually secure the border this time,” added Coats.
The current bill only requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submit a strategy on border security to Congress before undocumented individuals can begin receiving provisional status.
The Coats provision (Amendment 1442) requires that measurable improvements in border security in the highest risk sectors of the Southern border are achieved before any individual can receive Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. The amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to certify that it has maintained effective control of high-risk border sectors along the Southern border for at least six months before the department can begin processing applications for RPI status. The amendment defines high-risk border sectors as a sector in which more than 30,000 individuals were apprehended during the most recent fiscal year. Further, the amendment requires that the secretary of Homeland Security certify that effective control has been maintained for six months along the entire Southern border before any individual with provisional status can apply for permanent status.
In addition, Coats offered several other amendments to address border security and improve operations at DHS. These measures include:
· Allowing infrastructure improvements to our land ports of entry (Amendment 1407);
· Incentivizing state and local governments to work with ICE in ensuring that criminal aliens are removed from the country (Amendment 1375); and
· Improving the department’s financial management of bonds (Amendment 1441).
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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A pursuit that began in Munster this morning, and involved a Lake County Sheriff's Department helicopter, ended in a crash in Crown Point. Indiana State Police Lowell Post report the pursuit began at approximately 11:42am, and that the driver of the vehicle Munster Police were pursuing, 35 year old Jennifer Clark, of Tennessee, was wanted for alleged check fraud. State Police say the pursuit continued in to Crown Point until Clark's SUV struck a stationary Honda at a stop light in the left-turn lane at the intersection of 93rd Avenue and Main Street. That collision caused the Honda to strike and stationary Toyota in the left lane which leads south on Main Street, with the SUV coming to rest in the middle of the intersection. Authorities say Clark was immediately apprehended, and a total of three people from the two vehicle struck were taken to Saint Anthony's Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, today issued the following statement regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to prevent a vote on an amendment offered by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would have strengthened the trigger on border security as a requirement to undocumented immigrants’ pathway to citizenship in the Senate immigration reform bill:
“The Majority Leader’s decision to block a vote on one of the most effective border security amendments delivers a serious blow to immigration reform,” said Coats. “As someone who wants to see our broken immigration system repaired, I am extremely disappointed the Majority Leader is refusing to allow a vote on this amendment to strengthen our nation’s borders. Hoosiers have made it loud and clear to me that we cannot make the same mistakes of 1986 and grant legal status to undocumented individuals with only empty promises that we will secure the borders. Reid’s action today makes it clear that he is willing to repeat the past mistakes and broken promises.
“I am working on an alternative measure that will require our federal government to improve border security before granting legal status to immigrants, and I will urge the Majority Leader to allow a vote on my provision.”
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Washington, D.C. – Last week, Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) successfully offered an amendment designed to address the growing problem of suicides in the US military. Their amendment was unanimously adopted by the Senate Armed Services Committee during the debate and passage of the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This amendment builds upon S. 810, the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, introduced by Senator Donnelly and co-sponsored by Senator Wicker, that would require a pilot program to screen servicemembers for mental health problems and refer them for care by behavioral health specialists. Donnelly and Wicker introduced the amendment to require a Department of Defense report on the possible implementation of the pilot program required under the Jacob Sexton Act.
Donnelly said, “I am pleased the Committee unanimously voted to adopt our amendment to evaluate improvements to the military’s suicide prevention efforts. With this amendment, we make significant strides toward passing into law the Jacob Sexton Act, designed to better identify servicemembers struggling with mental health issues before it is too late. I thank Senator Wicker for joining me in this effort to get those who are struggling with mental health issues the help they need before they resort to taking their own life.”
“After a record number of suicides by service members in 2012, significant steps need to be taken to curb this disturbing trend,” Wicker said. “The Donnelly-Wicker amendment is a step in the right direction as we work to address this critical need. I am pleased to join Senator Donnelly in supporting those in our military who suffer from mental health issues.”
The bipartisan amendment would require the Department of Defense to assess computerized assessment tools identified in the Jacob Sexton Military Prevention Act of 2013 that could be implemented to better screen servicemembers for mental health needs and suicidal risk factors. The bill would implement a pilot program to integrate annual mental health assessments into a servicemember’s Periodic Health Assessment and to solicit the input of a first-line supervisor while protecting servicemembers’ privacy. The design of this pilot program would benefit from further evaluation from military health care professionals, and the report required by the Donnelly-Wicker amendment directs that evaluation to be completed no later than February 14, 2014, in time for consideration of the FY 2015 NDAA.
Last year, we lost more servicemembers to suicide (349) than in combat in Afghanistan (295). This number does not include the more than 6,000 veterans who committed suicide in 2012. According to the Defense Suicide Prevention Office at the Department of Defense, since they began keeping detailed records in 2008, less than half of the suicide victims had deployed and few were involved in combat. Research has shown other risk factors, such as relationships, legal or financial issues and alcohol or drug usage play a larger role than a servicemember’s deployment history. Further, many of these suicide victims did not communicate their intent, nor did they have known behavioral health histories.
Senators Donnelly and Wicker are dedicated to working with their colleagues to ensure the psychological needs of servicemembers and veterans are adequately addressed, and that they have access to resources such as counseling without fear of negative effects on their careers.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A pursuit that began in Munster this morning, and involved a Lake County Sheriff's Department helicopter, ended in Crown Point. According to the Times, a witness reported a white SUV heading south on Taft Street hit two cars stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of 93rd Avenue and Main Street. No further information is available at this time....
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A Lake County judge has dismissed the more serious of one of the two neglect of a dependent charges against the mother of a two year old Portage girl whose body was found in concrete, in a swampy area of LaPorte County four years ago. Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. stated the state cannot prove Melissa Swiontek knowingly placed her daughter in a situation that likely led to her death. Published reports say the case revolves around whether the woman knowingly placed Jada Justice in a dangerous situation leaving the girl in the care of her cousin and her cousin's boyfriend with knowledge the couple used and dealt drugs. If convicted, Swiontek could receive six-months to three years in prison, before the judge's dismissal of the charge today, she faced between 20 and 50 years in prison.
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(photo from http://pws.trafficwise.org/ipws/nw/index.html))
- Minor Injuries When Garbage Truck Hits Rail Bridge
- NICTD: Truck Strikes Railroad Bridge
- IDEM Region Office Now in Valpo
- La Porte Crews Respond to House Fire
- Woman Arrested After Shots Fired
- Donations Sought for Griffith Shelter
- Virgin Mary Statue Relocated
- Tests Show Food Additive Was in Lake
- Three Parachute Off Trump Tower
- Five Recent Arrests for Ridge Task Force
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