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Backups on 65, Reports of High Water Across Region

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65 backup WinCE
This is from the 61st Ave INDOT camera looking north on I65 this morning.   The right lane of northbound I-65 has been closed near Ridge Rd due to a vehicle fire. INDOT says to expect delays northbound on I-65 near mile 257.8
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is warning drivers to be on the lookout for high water and debris on the roadways across the Northwest Indiana District. Heavy rainfall continues today, adding to troubles caused by severe storms and several inches of rain affecting the area over the last 48 hours.
INDOT crews are patrolling state roads, posting high water signs or closing roads as needed, and clearing tree limbs and debris that has fallen or blown into the path of motorists. But INDOT says the potential for obstructions is high and drivers should use extreme caution in these conditions.
From INDOT: If you come across a flooded roadway, turn around. Never drive through standing water. According to the National Weather Service most flooding deaths occur in automobiles. Six inches of standing water is enough to stall a car and a foot of water will float many vehicles INDOT encourages motorists to follow updates on high water closures or other restrictions through our social media sites, www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and  www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest .
You can also find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov .
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Read more: Backups on 65, Reports of High Water Across Region

 

Some Repairs Could Take Through Thursday

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As of early this morning, 13-thousand customers across NIPSCO's service territory remained without electricity after storms this week and the utility company says some repairs may not be complete until tomorrow due to extensive damage, and additional storms may delay restoration efforts. That number has since gone up to nearly 16,000 throughout this morning as storms again moved across the Region. NIPSCO field and contracted personnel have restored more than 75 percent of the 87-thousand electric customers who lost power in Monday's severe storms that produced wind gusts in excess of over 80 miles-per-hour damaged more than 50 utility poles, downed electric wire and caused other severe electric distribution system damage.
Here is the link to NIPSCO's Outage Map: http://www.nipscooutages.com/WSSNisourceOutageMap/outagemap.html?action=city&reloaded=true
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Read more: Some Repairs Could Take Through Thursday

 

Semi Fire on I-65

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Traffic-Alert
The Indiana Department of Transportation Northwest Office says in Lake County, an accident and semi fire on northbound I-65 at the 257 mile marker had closed all lanes of the highway.  This is affecting the Gary/Hobart/Lake Station area. The right lane remains closed near Ridge Road as of the latest report from INDOT.
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Read more: Semi Fire on I-65

 

Flooding Reported on Interstate 94

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Traffic-Alert
Flooding is being reported to us along Interstate 94 in Porter County, in the Burns Harbor and Portage area. One caller told us it was about a foot deep and the interstate is down to one to two lanes through that area.
NB 65 jammed with semi on fire near Ridge Road.  Right 2 lanes blocked.  Southbound slowing also
In Valparaiso, report of high standing water on Sturdy Road in Valparaiso between the roundabout and Evans.
Power outages also continue to knock out traffic signals in the Region.  At about 715 this morning one caller told us lightning struck the light at the intersection of State Road 130 and County Line Road in Hobart.  Earlier a caller told us the lights were out at US 20 and Johnson Road in Michigan City
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Flash Flood Warnings, Several Repts of High Water

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725 AM CDT WED JUN 26 2013 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR URBAN AREAS AND SMALL STREAMS IN... NORTHEASTERN LAKE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... NORTHERN PORTER COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... * UNTIL 130 PM CDT WEDNESDAY/230 PM EDT WEDNESDAY/ * AT 722 AM CDT/822 AM EDT/...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED SLOW MOVING THUNDERSTORMS WITH VERY HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. RADAR ESTIMATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAINFALL HAS FALLEN IN ABOUT 1 HOUR OVER THE WARNED AREA. * RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO OCCUR. SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...BURNS HARBOR...CHESTERTON...EAST CHICAGO...GARY...HOBART...LAKE STATION...LINCOLN HILLS...PORTAGE...PORTER...SOUTH HAVEN... VALPARAISO...WHEELER...WHITING...BEVERLY SHORES AND NEW CHICAGO.
629 AM CDT WED JUN 26 2013 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTHERN INDIANA HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR... NORTHERN LA PORTE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA * UNTIL 1230 PM CDT/130 PM EDT WEDNESDAY/ * AT 625 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED VERY HEAVY RAIN FROM A CLUSTER OF THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE WARNED AREA. RADAR ESTIMATES OVER THE WARNED AREA SO FAR THIS MORNING HAVE GENERALLY RANGED BETWEEN 3 AND 5 INCHES...WITH AN ADDITIONAL 1 TO 3 INCHES POSSIBLE THROUGH MID MORNING. * LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO SPRINGVILLE...HESSTON...TRAIL CREEK...POTTAWATTOMIE PARK...MICHIGAN CITY AND LONG BEACH
A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect in Northwest Indiana through this evening. 
National Weather Service Severe Weather Summary Page:  http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
We are getting several reports of high water in northwest Indiana... including US 20... also along Interstate 94 east of the Burns Harbor exit, construction area, down to two lanes, one caller says water's about a foot deep on the interstate in Portage, Burns Harbor area
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Read more: Flash Flood Warnings, Several Repts of High Water

 

Businesses Damaged in Fire

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stripmall fire 2
stripmall fire 3
These photos are of a Valparaiso strip mall damaged by fire.  The mall is on North Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, north of the five-points intersection.  No word at this hour on what may have caused the fire.
[Photos/Scott Rosenberg]
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Fire at Valparaiso Strip Mall

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stripmall fire
Fire broke out at a strip mall on North Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, damaging multiple businesses, including more than one restaurant.  We are gathering information this morning and will pass it along as it becomes available.
[Photo/Scott Rosenberg]
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Read more: Fire at Valparaiso Strip Mall

 

I-DNR Finds No Indication of Alligator in Indy

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Indiana Conservation Officers found no indications that an alligator is or has been found in a retention pond in Marion County Tuesday. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reports an alligator sighting was first reported in the 35-hundred block of DePauw Blvd, in Indianapolis, on June 7th, with two other sightings since that initial report. Officials say while nothing has been found, it doesn't eliminate the possibility one could still be in the pond, and they advise caution and to report if any other sightings. Conservation officers say alligators have been found in Indiana waters in the past, mainly due to people releasing them.
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Read more: I-DNR Finds No Indication of Alligator in Indy

 

Lightning Safety Awareness Week (6/23-30)

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In light of recent lightning strikes in the news and in recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 23 - June 30), the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® offers the following tips to keep families reduce their risk of lightning injuries:
Before the Storm
  • Stay alert and listen carefully for the first signs of lightning or thunder. Remember, “If Thunder Roars, Go Indoors™.”
  • Seek shelter. Lightning often hits before the rain begins, so don’t wait for the rain to start before leaving.
If Outdoors
  • Avoid water, high ground and open spaces.
  • Stay away from metal objects including wires, fences and motors.
  • Find shelter in a sizable building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle like a car or truck. Completely close the windows and don’t lean on the doors.
  • Don’t get under a small canopy, small picnic shelter or near trees.
  • If you cannot take shelter indoors, crouch down with your feet together and place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from the thunder.
  • Stay at least 15 feet away from other people.
If Indoors
  • Avoid water and stay away from doors and windows.
  • Do not use landline telephone or headsets. Cell phones are safe.
  • Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools and televisions sets as lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines inducing shocks to equipment inside.
After the Storm
  • Don’t resume activities until at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunderclap.
  • Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured and use first aid procedures.
  • Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, so it is safe to administer medical treatment.

For more information on protecting your home and family from dangerous lightning strikes, visit www.flash.org. For severe weather alerts and mitigation tips, download FLASH Weather Alerts at www.flashweatheralerts.org
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Read more: Lightning Safety Awareness Week (6/23-30)

 

Coats: Obama's Climate Action Plan is Damaging to Indiana

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Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement that he will bypass Congress and issue a series of executive actions to enact a national energy tax and close existing coal-fired power plants:
“Once again President Obama is circumventing Congress and the will of the American people to implement policies that have already been rejected. Imposing a backdoor energy tax and unrealistic regulations on coal power plants is a recipe for disaster in Indiana and across the country. Instead of encouraging job creation and an economic recovery, President Obama is empowering unelected Washington bureaucrats to implement regulations that will result in significant job losses and skyrocketing energy costs.
“Our country has taken great strides to improve air quality over the years. To date, the utility industry has spent over $100 billion in capital investment for air pollution controls resulting in significant declines in emissions. By singling out these providers and effectively prohibiting coal-fired electricity generation, the president is putting our economic well-being, grid reliability and American jobs at risk. This unreasonable plan will damage Indiana’s economy and hike electric bills for all Hoosiers.”
On June 13, Coats joined a bipartisan group of the Indiana congressional delegation in a letter to President Obama highlighting the importance of coal-fired generation to Indiana and urging the administration to abandon a proposal of imposing a one-size-fits-all carbon regulation on power plants.
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Read more: Coats: Obama's Climate Action Plan is Damaging to Indiana

 

City of Valparaiso Reminds of Fireworks Guidelines

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The 4th of July holiday is a time of celebration, but also a time of potential dangers. The City of Valparaiso is reminding residents that restrictions are in place regarding the use of fireworks, and that penalties may result from violations. The guidelines include:
  • Fireworks may be used only on the user’s property or on the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks.
  • Fireworks are not permitted on public property or in areas where fireworks will land on, litter or end up on public property or private property (unless the property owner has consented).
  • To prevent fireworks and their debris from polluting waterways, all fireworks litter must be extinguished, retrieved, and disposed of in the trash by those using the fireworks.
  • Fireworks are permitted only between the hours of 5 pm and midnight on July 4th. On all other days of the year, fireworks are permitted between the hours of 5 pm and two hours after sunset, with the exception also of Dec. 31, where fireworks are permitted from 5 pm to 1 am on Jan. 1. All other guidelines apply.
  • Fireworks may be purchased only by persons 18 years of age and older and children may possess or use fireworks only with an adult present.

Further, Valparaiso’s Fireworks ordinance states that those using fireworks must comply with the guidelines above or risk penalties for violation. Those using fireworks are liable for damage to person or property caused by the use of consumer fireworks, special fireworks or banned fireworks, and shall also be liable for costs of fire service by a responding fire department or other emergency services necessitated by the use or discharge of fireworks.
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Pence Comments on Obama's Climate Action Plan

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Gov Mike Pence
INDIANAPOLIS - Today, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, which takes the unprecedented step of calling for carbon dioxide emission standards for both new and existing power plants.  The Environmental Protection Agency has already begun the rulemaking process for regulating carbon dioxide emissions at new power plants.  Governor Pence recently wrote President Obama in opposition to the EPA’s rulemaking. The President’s announcement today to extend the carbon dioxide regulations to existing power plants will raise electricity costs for Hoosiers.
“The President’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations will have a significant and detrimental impact on states like Indiana that rely on coal for reliable, affordable electricity,” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence.  “These regulations will increase the cost of electricity on Hoosier families and businesses at a time when our economy can least afford it.  Instead of driving up the cost of energy, the President should be focused on creating jobs.”
Governor Pence adds, “We need an all of the above energy strategy that uses coal, wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas to meet our energy needs.  These proposed regulations are inconsistent with an all of the above strategy.”
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Read more: Pence Comments on Obama's Climate Action Plan

   

City of Gary Announces Cooling Center Locations

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City of Gary
June 25, 2013 -- In collaboration with the City of Gary and NIPSCO, the Gary Community School Corporation is providing additional cooling centers to support Gary families who have been affected by power outages. There will be cold water available at each site.
“In times of emergency, it is wonderful that we are able to come together quickly and forge partnerships to meet the needs of our citizens,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “I would like to publicly thank Superintendent Pruitt and the Gary Community School Corporation as well as NIPSCO for helping us to secure these cooling centers.”
The following locations have been designated as community Cooling Centers:
Genesis Convention Center, 5th Ave. & Broadway
This cooling center will be open today, June 25th from 2:00p.m. - 5:00p.m. and will reopen tomorrow June 26th from 9:00am -- 5:00p.m. 

Williams Elementary School, 1320 E. 19th Ave.
This cooling center will be open today, June 25th from 2:00p.m. - 7:00p.m. and will reopen tomorrow June 26th from 8:00a.m. – 7:00p.m. 

McCullough Girls Academy, 3757 W. 21st Ave
This cooling center will be open today from 2:00p.m.-7:00p.m. and will reopen tomorrow June 26th from 8:00a.m. -- 7:00p.m. 

Gary residents who need to report fallen trees and other storm emergencies are encouraged to call (219) 881-1311. More information regarding the City of Gary 311 System is listed in the attachment.
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Read more: City of Gary Announces Cooling Center Locations

   

Company Thanks 1st Responders, Offers Condolences to Family

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Co-Alliance, LLP, today issued a statement saying their thoughts and prayers go out to the family of 67 year old James Swank, of Union Mills, who had worked at the facility for seven-years before tragically losing his life in a grain explosion accident Monday afternoon. The company reports the focus for the cause of the explosion is centered on grain dust ignition, as preliminary indications are that an explosion took place at the top of the grain elevator. They report that in the days to come, they will work closely with investigating agencies to provide any assistance necessary. Co-Alliance also thanks all the first responders for their quick and professional efforts in securing the facility and providing assistance to employees. Grief counselors were scheduled to be on site at the facility today and at last check funeral arrangement for James Swank are pending.
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Portage Dealing with Grass Clippings Issue

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The city of Portage is having to deal with grass clippings. They're not being picked up at the curb by the city anymore, and so many bags of them have been left outside the street department that they'll have to be hauled to a Newton County landfill – but that will cost. The Times reports that's because there's no more room at the city compost site for them, but they're trying to address that. The city is encouraging residents to use mulching mowers and leave the clippings on their lawn to decompose.
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New Trial for Man Accused of Killing Corrections Officer

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A new trial date will be set Monday in the case of a man accused in an alleged hit-and-run crash that killed Lake County Corrections Officer Brittney Meux and injured three others after the judge today excused the jury. The judge made the decision after a man apart of the jury pool stated he witnessed the incident take place along West 93rd Avenue in Crown Point in March of last year. 43-year-old Jason Cozmanoff, of Lakes of the Four Seasons, faces charges that include reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Earlier this month a Lake County judge approved a request from the defense to remove a memorial for Meux [mew] at the Lake County Government Center and Court complex before and during the length of the trial.
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Read more: New Trial for Man Accused of Killing Corrections Officer

   

Griffith PD Investigating Armed Robbery at Walgreens

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Griffith PD
Police in Griffith are asking for the public's help after an armed robbery Monday evening. Authorities report a white male in his 40's wearing a blue hoodie pulled all the way up around his face, dark glasses, a blue and white striped shirt, and blue jeans, displayed a gun and demanded controlled substances at the Walgreens in the 12-hundred block of East Ridge Road at approximately 7:35pm. Police say the subject departed south on Colfax in an older model white Chevrolet Cavalier, with the license plate covered by a plastic bag.  Anyone with information can contact the Griffith Police Department at (219) 924-3141 or their anonymous tip line at (219) 922-3085.
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Read more: Griffith PD Investigating Armed Robbery at Walgreens

   

Cleaning Up and Restoring Power After Monday's Storm

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carsmash Katie Reeves
(Photo Courtesy of Katie Reeves)
NIPSCO field personnel and contracted crews from several Midwest states continue working around the clock to restore power to their customers. Over 25-thousand remain without electricity at last check, according to their outage map, with the highest totals coming out of the Marquette Park area of Gary. Reported storm damage included numerous downed trees and limbs and near 80 mile per hour winds that caused down power lines, blocked roadways, and knocked out traffic signals. ...

Read more: Cleaning Up and Restoring Power After Monday's Storm

   

Valpo Cooling Center Locations

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The following Cooling Centers are available when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees for consecutive days.
  • Valparaiso University (219) 464-5000
Harre Union, 1509 Chapel Drive., open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Christohper Center Library, 1410 Chapel Dr., open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Valparaiso YMCA, (219) 462-4185
1202 Cumberland Crossing, open Mon – Fri 5 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sat 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

  • Porter County Public Library, Valparaiso Branch (219) 462-0524
103 Jefferson St., open Mon – Thurs 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Vale Park Enrichment Center at Banta (219) 462-1301
605 Beech St., open Mon – Fri 8:30 – 4 p.m.

  • St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church (219) 464-4042
1511 LaPorte Ave., open every day 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

In addition, the Valparaiso Police Department offers a special program for individuals who may need special help during weather emergencies, including times when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees for consecutive days. The Contact Assistance Referral (CARE) Program means the VPD wil check on residents during harsh weather. To register yourself or a loved one for CARE, contact Sergeant Michael Grennes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (219)462-2135.
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Three Airlifted After US 6 Crash

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Three people were airlifted to Illinois hospitals after a crash north of Valparaiso around 9:30 Monday night. Porter County Sheriffs Police say the traffic signal was out due to the storm, and a passenger vehicle going north on Calumet Avenue struck the trailer of a semi going west on US 6. Police found the car pinned under the semi, and the officer had to crawl underneath to determine that there were three occupants in the car, but none could be extricated until a wrecker could lift the trailer off the car so it could be pulled free. Officials say the vehicles came to rest on US 6, about three-hundred feet west of the intersection.  Police say the driver and passengers from the car are from northwest Indiana, but their names are conditions were not available.   Porter County Sheriff David Lain says it appears the storm played a significant role in the incident, but an official cause is still pending.
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Read more: Three Airlifted After US 6 Crash

   

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