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Off-Road Vehicles a Concern in Merrillville

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The town of Merrillville is considering its options concerning off-road vehicles. Town Council President Carol Miano says they've gotten multiple complaints about people riding dirt bikes near railroad tracks on Taft Street. Safety and noise issues have been raised. Miano has proposed an ordinance prohibiting the use of off-road vehicles on public properties as well as residential and agricultural areas of town.
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Funeral Monday for Former Mayor Billings

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Visitation is Sunday with funeral services Monday for Armed Forces veteran, former judge, and former Mayor of Valparaiso, Bryce Billings. Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas says he admired the former mayor for making a lot of tough decisions to grow the borders of Valparaiso in a uniform fashion. Billings was among those instrumental in developing cable television service in Valparaiso, when the industry locally was in its infancy, along with Radio One Communications founder Leonard Ellis. Billings was appointed to the bench of the Superior Court where he served from 1976 until his retirement in 1988. he was also instrumental in founding the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County in 1971.  Moeller Funeral Home says visitation for Bryce Billings will take place Sunday, from 1 to 4pm, at the funeral home, with a funeral service scheduled for Monday morning, at 10:30, at Heritage Lutheran Church in Valparaiso. Billings served as Mayor of Valparaiso from 1968 through 1972.  Billings passed away last Monday, May 6, at Porter Regional Hospital at the age of 88.
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Lake Tax Takes Effect in Fall

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No veto from the Lake County Commissioners, so Lake County becomes the 92nd out of 92 counties in Indiana to have a local income tax, and it takes effect this October. Commissioner Gerry Scheub made multiple motions to veto ordinances for the tax, but each motion failed to get a second from either of the other two commissioners, Michael Repay and Roosevelt Allen, Jr..  There had been widely publicized speculation, based on earlier published comments by Repay that he could not support the tax, that the income tax would be vetoed by commissioners during the board's special meeting early Friday. Early in the week, the Lake County Council voted four-to-three to approve a one-and-a-half percent local income tax for county residents and out-of-staters who work in Lake County.
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Officials: Cr Pt Man Sought in Home Invasion Dead

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Authorities say a Crown Point man who was being sought in connection with an Illinois home invasion apparently fatally shot himself inside an East Chicago home Friday night.  Police say they had been searching for 27-year-old Anthony Espinoza in connection with a violent home invasion in Orland Park, Illinois, earlier in the day. The Lake County Coroners office reports his death was the result of an apparent suicide in the 400 block of Liberty Street in East Chicago and that he was pronounced dead at the scene. The FBI, Lake County Sheriffs Department and Crime Lab, and Orland Park Police Department are also investigating.
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Two Horses Hit by Train Found in Rural Union Twp

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Authorities say they do not know when two horses discovered Friday morning in Porter County's Union Township were killed, but they do know they died after being struck by a train. The Times reports the horses were hit by a train in the area of County Road 375 West and 400 North and Porter County Animal Control is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Porter County Sheriff's Office.
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Airport Road Overpass Named for Quentin P. Smith

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KFW with QP Jr and Bill Hanna
(Photo Courtesy of the Gary/Chicago International Aiport Authority)
GARY, IN, May 10, 2013– Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined the board of directors of The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and other city and regional dignitaries today to dedicate the new $11.6 million Airport Road overpass in honor of World War II Tuskegee Airman Quentin P. Smith, long-time Gary leader, educator and recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal.
The new Quentin P. Smith Tuskegee Airman Memorial Bridge marks a significant milestone in the airport’s $166 million expansion project scheduled to be completed this year and is emblematic of the commitment of city and regional leaders to develop the airport – Chicago’s real third airport – and the surrounding area for good-paying jobs and sustainable growth.
“In war and in peace, Quentin P. Smith was a hero; he bravely defended our nation, stood up against segregation, and throughout his stellar career he unselfishly served the community as a civic leader, educator and mentor,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “For his significant contributions to our nation, our state and our city, we dedicate this new overpass in his name – Quentin P. Smith – and celebrate a major milestone in the expansion of the Gary/Chicago International Airport.”
Mayor Freeman-Wilson thanked leaders of the City of Gary, the Airport Authority, Lake County, Indiana and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) for their leadership in making the Quentin P. Smith Tuskegee Airman Memorial Bridge a reality.
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority funded construction of the $11.6 million overpass.
“When I think of the Tuskegee airmen and a man like Quentin P. Smith, I can’t help but think of hard-fought progress and the need we all have to gain opportunities to prove ourselves,” said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. “As inspiring as Mr. Smith’s life story is, his legacy sets the bar very high. It will be incumbent upon us to honor his memory by doing our part to develop Gary/Chicago International Airport to its fullest potential.”
A B-25 bombardier with the legendary black World War II Tuskegee Airman Army Air Corps, 1st Lieutenant Smith and 100 black officers were arrested at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana for defying orders not to enter the officer’s club. After his military career, Smith went on to become the first principal of West Side High School in Gary. Smith was born in Weldon, Texas on July 30, 1918 and died January 25, 2013 at the age of 94.
Throughout his distinguished career Smith also served on the boards of numerous colleges, military, religious, and civic organizations including service on the Gary Common Council, chairman of the board of trustees of Calumet College, and president of the board of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority.
“We honor Quentin Smith for his dedicated service to the Airport Authority and salute him for his unwavering commitment to education and service to others,” said Nathaniel T. Williams, president of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority Board.
In addition to the opening of the Airport Road overpass and the major runway expansion underway, the Airport Authority is currently conducting an exploration of a potential public-private partnership to invest in the airport to accelerate the competiveness of the airport, the City of Gary, and the region in the global economy.
“We are diligently examining the potential for a public-private partnership to infuse more economic development into the airport and the surrounding area to create quality jobs in Gary and throughout the region,” said Williams. “We are looking at the best ways to attract private sector investors and maintain local public control.”
The Gary/Chicago International Airport is less than 30 minutes from the heart of the tri-state region – the city of Chicago. The airport is directly connected to Chicago’s transportation network through rail freight, interstate and mass transit integration.
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Governor Pence Signs Gaming Legislation

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence today signed into law legislation he says will give gaming businesses within Indiana the tools to compete with surrounding states. Senate Enrolled Act 528 allows existing casinos and racinos and related businesses to improve their market competitiveness, without expanding gaming in Indiana. The legislation also makes adjustments in the gaming tax structure and codifies the limited use of mobile gaming devices approved last year by the Horse Racing Commission.
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Man Killed While Crossing US 30 Near the Mall

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The Lake County Coroners office reports a Dyer man died from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident in the 19-hundred block of East 80th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say 32-year-old Jasmit Dang sustained blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight this morning. According to published reports a 40 year old Valparaiso man was heading east on U-S 30, near the Westfield Southlake Mall, and contacted police after he thought he had hit something. Police arrived and found the body of the Dyer man, who had been staying at a nearby hotel, and reportedly been crossing the highway when the incident occurred. Police report the wet weather and dark condition played a factor in the incident, and the Valparaiso man will reportedly not be cited since he stopped and reported the incident.
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Tri-Creek School Corp Board Looking to Fill Vacancy

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The Tri-Creek School Corporation Board of School Trustees invites interested applicants to apply for a four-year appointment to fill a position which will be vacated at the end of June. Interested candidates may pick up the application packet at the Tri-Creek Administration Center, at 195 West Oakley Avenue, and must have it returned no later than 4pm, Monday, June 3rd. The Board anticipates conducting interviews during the month of June, and appointing a new member at the Board of School Trustees meeting on June 27th.  To be eligible for this seat, an applicant must (1) live in Eagle Creek Township and have been a resident in Eagle Creek Township for three years or more, (2) be a registered voter in the electoral district of legal residence, and (3) be 25 years of age.
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Finalists Announced for Influential Women of NW IN Awards

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CROWN POINT – The Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet is set for May 23 at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, and finalists were recently announced for the annual event.
A 17-member steering committee chose a total of 90 finalists from 172 applications. Two women will be awarded in each of 11 industries, one for the Influential Woman Award and another for the Up and Coming Woman Award.
“We recognize women who are established in their industry, as well as rising stars who are newer to their respective fields but are making an impact,” Event Organizer Andrea Pearman said. “There is such a diverse group of deserving women in Northwest Indiana, and our committee works very hard to select the best and brightest.”
The categories for which women will be awarded include business, construction, economic development, education, finance, government, healthcare, law, media/marketing, nonprofit and service/tourism.
The committee will also choose a winner from 12 finalists vying for the Empowering Business of the Year Award. The honor is given to a company that demonstrates excellence in supporting the success of women.
During the past two years, Influential Women of Northwest Indiana has also donated more than $20,000 to area nonprofits. This year, four more organizations will receive funds during the awards banquet.
“The nonprofits that were selected have demonstrated a commitment to enriching Northwest Indiana,” Pearman said. “The funds from Influential Women of Northwest Indiana and its sponsors will go directly to a project that specifically benefits women and girls in the community.”
A full list of the women, organizations and nonprofits that will be honored at the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet can be found at www.nwiwomen.com. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be purchased at the Web site as well. Tickets to the event are $90 per person, or $800 for a table of ten.
For more information about the event, contact Andrea Pearman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 219-226-0300.
 
About Influential Women of Northwest Indiana
Influential Women of Northwest Indiana is an organization devoted to providing women with the resources, recognition and motivation necessary to be successful in the business world. Each year, Influential Women honors the area’s most successful women in eleven different industries, ranging from construction and healthcare to education and government.
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LaPorte Police Investigating Vandalism At Kesling Park

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LaPorte PD
Police in LaPorte are investigating an act of vandalism at Kesling Park that reportedly occurred within the last week. Police report a subject or subjects poured or sprayed some type of substance on the grass of ball diamond number one, killing the grass to spell out profane language. Authorities ask anyone with information regarding this incident to please contact LaPorte Police, at (219) 362-9446, or http://lpcitypd.com.
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LaPorte PD Thanks Citizens for Keeping Lost Child Safe

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LaPorte PD
Police advised the parents of a two year old, who let himself out of the house and was kept from wandering into the street by concerned citizens Thursday, to utilize different lock style and placement to prevent further incidents. LaPorte Police report they received a call just before 10am, of a child walking alone next to the intersection of Tyler Street and Lincolnway. Police say the parents of the child reported they had been cleaning in the basement of their home, in the 12-hundred block of Jefferson Avenue, and had not realized the child had let himself out.
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Law Enforcement Memorial Service Today in Dyer

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Law enforcement agencies in the region have been remembering their fallen brethren this month and today in Dyer a gathering is scheduled to remember their fallen heroes. The Dyer Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 169 and the Dyer Police Department invite the public to attend their annual “Law Enforcement Memorial Service” at 5pm , at the Dyer Police Department.
The Highland Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 122 will be having their annual fallen officer memorial service on tomorrow, at 9:00 AM, at the Main Square Park Gazebo. Next week, Munster Police will hold their service at 3pm at the police department, and on May 17th, the Lake County Sheriff's Department will hold their memorial service at the department's Memorial Gardens, directly east of the Sheriff's Department building.
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Tom Ridge to Keynote PCSD Ceremony

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ridge
Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge will be the keynote speaker at the Porter County Sheriffs Department's annual Inspection and Memorial Service next Friday in Valparaiso. Both the inspection and service are open to the public. The annual tradition during National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Week honors the men and women whose lives have been lost. Ridge, who has since re-entered the private sector, served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 through 2001, and resigned the governorship after President George W. Bush announced that Governor Ridge would become the director of a new U.S. Office of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Ridge served as US Homeland Security Advisor, then later became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving in that position from 2003 to 2005 . He was also a longtime member of the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, from 1983 to 1995.
Details:
The Porter County Sheriff’s Department will be holding its annual Inspection and Memorial Service on Friday May 17, 2013 at the Sheriff’s Department, 2755 State Road 49, Valparaiso, IN. The inspection will start at 9:30 AM and the Memorial Service will start at 11:00 AM, and both are open to the public.
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Valpo PD Arrest Suspect in Break-In

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A Crown Point man was arrested early today in Valparaiso after allegedly breaking into someone's home. Valparaiso Police were called out just after 2:30 this morning to the 200 block of Chestnut Street. A person sleeping inside heard a bell ring attached to the door, awoke and heard footsteps inside and immediately called police. Police found a glass pane was also missing from the door, and upon searching found a male subject in the alleyway directly behind the residence. During an interview with police, the 22-year-old male subject allegedly admitted to breaking into the home while walking in the area. Burglary charges are pending.
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Vehicle Break-ins in La Porte

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In La Porte, police are investigating several vehicle break-ins in the 900 Block of Division Street early Thursday. Police say one of the victims spotted a dome light on in her vehicle and heard someone climb her fence, then found some change had been taken. In checking the area, officers found several other vehicles had also been entered and ransacked, with items stolen. An 18-year-old La Porte man, located underneath a vehicle in a garage a couple blocks away, was taken into custody on a trespass charge. Police say no stolen items were found in his possession at the time of arrest
About a mile-and-a-half away, police in La Porte Police report that someone's vehicle was broken into that same night and an I-Pod was stolen from the center console, in the 400 block of Pulaski Street. The victim said it's the third time his vehicle has been entered in three weeks. Police urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to contact them.
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Teen Accused of Dealing Heroin

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A La Porte teenager is accused of dealing heroin. La Porte Police say Thursday their officers located a vehicle in the Stone Lake Beach parking lot, and after checking it, called on investigators from the La Porte County Metro Operations Unit to assist. A subsequent on-scene investigation led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man who was taken into custody without incident, on a Class A Felony charge of Dealing in a Schedule Two Controlled Substance. He was being held on 100-thousand dollar bond, and is scheduled to appear in court today .
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Funeral Services for Former Gov Bowen

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Funeral services are in Bremen today//Friday for former Indiana Governor Otis “Doc” Bowen, who died last Saturday at the age of 95.  In Bremen, police say Center and 2nd Street will be closed from approximately 12:00p to 1:30p today for the funeral.
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No Veto, Lake Tax Stays

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Breaking News

The Lake County Commissioners determined the fate of Lake County's one-and-a-half percent local income tax this morning, but not the way it was thought would happen. Our Karl Berner was there and reports that Commissioner Gerry Scheub made multiple motions to veto ordinances for the income tax, but each motion failed to get a second from either of the other two commissioners, Michael Repay and Roosevelt Allen, Jr..  There had been widely publicized speculation, based on earlier published comments by Repay that he could not support the tax, that the income tax would be vetoed by commissioners during the board's special meeting at 8:30 this morning.    A few days ago, the Lake County Council voted four-to-three to approve a one-and-a-half percent local income tax for county residents and out-of-staters who work in Lake County. If commissioners had vetoed it, the county council could have overridden that, but it would have taken a super-majority, at least five votes, to do so. Lake was the only county in the state without a local income tax.  Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor President Dan Murchek called the outcome a win for Lake County municipalities, saying the tax increase will help to offset already strained police, fire and EMS services due to state funding cuts.
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Dyer Man Killed in Crash

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The Lake County Coroners office reports a Dyer man died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in the 19-hundred block of East 80th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say 32-year-old Jasmit Dang suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight this morning   No other details were available at this hour.
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