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Flash Flood Warning Includes Lake, Porter Co

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The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Flash Flood Warning that now includes Lake County, Indiana, and southwestern Porter County.  A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. National Weather Service officials say a flash flood is a rapid and extreme flow of high water into a normally dry area, or a rapid water level rise in a stream or creek above a predetermined flood level, beginning within six hours of the causative event, like intense rainfall, dam failure, ice jam. Here is a link to watches and warnings from the National Weather Service::
http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
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March For Hunger Generates Equivalent of 143 Tons of Food

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced the March Against Hunger food drive competition generated $55,455 and 10,065 pounds of food for local food banks.
The fifth annual food drive competition was between 44 participating law groups from Indiana and Kentucky. To help coordinate the donations, Zoeller teamed up with the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) and the nonprofit group, Feeding Indiana's Hungry (FIsH), which is the umbrella organization for 11 regional food banks.
"All food drive participants deserve recognition for their efforts to serve their local communities by selflessly giving their time and money to a worthy cause," Zoeller said. "Too many Hoosiers, including children, face hunger on daily basis and it’s heart-warming to see the members of my profession step up in such a big way.”
Zoeller said this year’s monetary and food donations combined is the equivalent to 143 tons of food.
"As a fellow lawyer, I am particularly proud of the fact that lawyers from all corners of the state rose to the occasion to serve Hoosiers in need," said ISBA President Daniel B. Vinovich. “It’s opportunities like this annual food drive that allow us to serve beyond our clients."
Winners from all six divisions will receive a trophy known as the Attorney General’s Cup for collecting the most donations:
Extra Large Division – Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Elkhart) – 784 pounds of food and $16,190 in monetary donations
Large Division – Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP (Merrillville) – 1,675 pounds of food and $7,153 in monetary donations
Medium Division – Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy LLP (Terre Haute) – $2,510 in monetary donations
Small Division – Tuesley Hall Konopa LLP (South Bend) – 29 pounds of food and $1,570 in monetary donations
Sole Proprietor – Steven Douglas Law Office (Elletsville) – $1,685 in monetary donations
Public/Non-Profit – Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office (Evansville) – 2,295 pounds of food and $5,000 in monetary donations.
“We are grateful for the participation and generosity of so many Hoosier lawyers, as well as for the leadership of our state's attorney general to raise awareness of hunger,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, FIsH Executive Director.  “One in six Hoosiers is at risk of hunger, and for Hoosier children just one in four. The pounds contributed through the food drive this year will provide the equivalent of nearly 240,000 meals to Hoosiers in need, with nearly 1 million pounds donated since the program was created in 2009.”
The 11 regional food banks that serve Indiana and are members of FIsH include: Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana Inc., Food Finders Food Banks, Gleaners Food Bank, Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Terre Haute Catholic Charities Food Bank and Tri-State Food Bank Inc. Also, Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati and Dare to Care Food Bank of Louisville also participated and serve some Indiana counties.
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Crown Point Man Arrested on 11 Felonies

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Indiana State Police logo
A 39 year old Crown Point man accused of multiple financial crimes, identity deception, and crimes against the elderly, was arrested Wednesday in Michigan City on 11 felonies charges. Indiana State Police say Marlon Leon Underwood was taken into custody without incident, and his arrest stems from an investigation that began back in July of 2012 after a complaint by the Indiana Department of Insurance on possible insurance fraud. Authorities say Underwood, who had his brokers license suspended in 2010, was a broker at the American Freedom Financial Insurance Office in Highland, and later worked out of his home, selling insurance primarily to the elderly. State Police say it is believed there may be more victims that have not yet come forward, so if you think you may have been a victim, please contact the Indiana State Police Lowell Post, at 219-696-6242, and ask for Detective Joe White.
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Lubricant From Leaky Storage Tank Caused Sheen

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An oil sheen on Cady Marsh Ditch last week has been identified. The Times reports the a leaking storage tank was the culprit, and the suspected chemical is a lubricant used to keep concrete from sticking to wooden molds. Jacob Hassan, on-scene coordinator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, told us on Monday the source has been determined, but at the time had not been identified, as the investigation continued. Cleanup was anticipated to be completed by Wednesday. The waterway flows from Calumet Township to Munster, emptying into the Little Calumet River.
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Medical Marijuana Passes IL House, Moves to Senate

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By a vote of 61 to 57, the Illinois House on Wednesday approved the use of medical marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions. The legislation proposes a four-year pilot program that would require background checks for caregivers and patients, with a two-point-five ounce limit per patient per purchase. The measure now moves to the state Senate.
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Gary Mayor Joins VP Biden in Video Chat on Gun Control

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Mayor Chats with VP Biden
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary)
Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden joined several U.S. mayors in a Google Hangout focused on gun violence. The participants included Gary, Ind. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Oak Creek, Wis. Mayor Steve Scaffidi.
“I was honored to be selected to participate in this critical conversation,” said Freeman-Wilson. “Although the proposed measures did not pass today, I’d like to thank Sen. Donnelly for standing with the victims of gun violence in Indiana. Background checks are common sense. Vote people not partisanship.”
In the link below, Freeman-Wilson refers to a double funeral she recently attended as a result of gun violence and the importance of ensuring that guns don't land in the wrong hands.
http://youtu.be/viG3pjxEmxw
To watch the entire chat with Vice-President Biden, visit this link: &list=UUYxRlFDqcWM4y7FfpiAN3KQ">&list=UUYxRlFDqcWM4y7FfpiAN3KQ
 
Earlier this week, Freeman-Wilson traveled to D.C. representing Mayors Against Illegal Guns. She spoke with Indiana legislators and joined individuals from all over the U.S. on Capitol Hill in memory of Virginia Tech victims. Freeman-Wilson participated by reading several of the victims’ names, who were all victims of gun violence.
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Donnelly Statement on Gun Rights Legislation

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Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement as the Senate considered a series of proposed amendments to legislation designed to strengthen the gun rights of law-abiding citizens and help keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, felons, and the mentally ill.
“I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and am proud to stand up for all law-abiding Hoosiers who exercise their right to keep and bear arms,” said Donnelly.  “Over the last 14 years, more than 3.5 million Hoosiers have purchased a firearm using the background check system.  Currently, however, too many individuals with criminal records or serious mental illnesses are getting guns by exploiting loopholes in the current system and, in the process, endangering the lives of others and the rights of law-abiding gun owners. 
“After all, history shows that Congress begins reexamining proposals that would infringe on citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights, like the assault weapons ban, which I oppose, only when someone who shouldn’t have had guns in the first place uses them to commit mass murder.  By improving our system of background checks as Senators Manchin and Toomey proposed, we would increase the likelihood that terrorists, felons, and the seriously mentally ill won’t be able to jeopardize the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
This evening, Donnelly continued his longtime support for Hoosiers with licenses to carry to have those licenses recognized in every state in the union.  While in the House, Donnelly co-sponsored legislation that would have made state-issued concealed firearm carrying permits or licenses valid across state lines as long as they followed that state's laws on where concealed weapons can be carried.  In November 2011, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives passed this legislation with Donnelly’s support.
Further, Donnelly supported reaffirming current law that no one can create a national gun registry and voted to add criminal penalties, up to 15 years in federal prison, to this law.
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EB S Shore Train 11 Running 10-15 Minutes Late

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Traffic-Alert
Eastbound South Shore Train 11 is running 10-15 minutes late due to severe weather knocking out gates and signals.
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HHC Game N Newton Vs. S Newton Postponed

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GARY, Ind. — Today’s High School Challenge game between North Newton and South Newton has been postponed due to inclement weather. A make-up date has not yet been announced.
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Flash Flood Warning for NW Lake County Until 8:30pm CST

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The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for northwestern Lake County until 8:30pm CST. Street flooding has been reported near Cline Avenue and Chicago Avenue in Gary, with some streets reported as impassable.
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Severe T-Storm for Northern Porter County Until 5pm CST

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A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for northern Porter County until 5pm. A severe thunderstorm was located near Beverly Shores, moving east at 40 miles per hour, and other locations affected include Indiana Dunes State Park. As a precaution, and for your protection, it is suggested you move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.
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Governor and Secretary of State in Region Tomorrow

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Governor Mike Pence and Secretary of State Connie Lawson are both scheduled to be in the region tomorrow. The Governor will join executives from Grand Design R-V, a towable recreation vehicle manufacturing company, at 2pm EST, in the Elkhart County community of Middlebury, what is described as a major economic development announcement regarding hundreds of new jobs for Hoosiers. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Lawson will be meeting with northwest Indiana county election officials in LaPorte at 1:30pm CST, to determine if the vote center model, an alternative to traditional precinct elections that can reduce the costs of elections, and allows voters to choose where they vote, is something they might want to consider.
 
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NWS: Tornado Watch in Effect Through Midnight

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The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch until 12am CST Thursday for the following counties in Northwest Indiana: Newton, Jasper, Starke, and Pulaski. A Tornado Watch means the formation of tornadoes, large hail, and/or damaging winds are possible in the listening area. Be alert to changing weather conditions, be prepared to move to a place of safety, and keep your radio on for any changing weather conditions.
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Rain Anticipated to Soak the Region Today and Thursday

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The region is expected to get soaked between today and tomorrow. Associate Professor of Meteorology at Valparaiso University, Dr. Bart Wolf says most Northwest Indiana could see one to three inches of rain, with other areas receiving more, with the likelihood of severe weather increases tomorrow. Dr. Wolf warns of runoff with storms like these, and asks motorists to watch for flooding on areas along the roadway, especially in rural areas, during heavy rain, and says to never drive through a flooded area at night, because you cannot accurately estimate its depth. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch in effect through Friday morning for Porter, Newton, and Jasper Counties, and a Flood Warning continues for the Kankakee River at Shelby until Monday morning.
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Pelath To House Republicans: We Need a Plan B for HIP

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House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, of Michigan City, spoke on the House floor this afternoon, pleading with legislative Republicans and Republican Govenor Mike Pence to have a Plan B to offer health care expansion if the governor’s plan fails. Pelath mentioned that North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican in a very conservative state, signed legislation to expand Medicaid to cover more than 20,000 uninsured citizens in his state. The bill makes available $150 million to provide that coverage. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for the newly insured recipients through 2016. The state’s share will rise in stages to 10 percent.
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Governor Signs First Responder Bill

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill giving first responders more tools to help treat disaster victims. State Senator Vaneta Becker of Evansville says she's relieved this got approved so quickly, especially in light of the bombings in Boston. Becker says House Bill 1111 enhances the authority and ability of first responders to practice tactical emergency medicine, which means care provided in the field instead of a hospital – usually in a crisis environment, like a natural disaster. Under current law, members of law enforcement and other organizations who are trained to practice emergency medicine are sometimes prohibited from treating disaster victims on site. The measure passed both the Senate and House unanimously and takes effect immediately.
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Armed Robbery in South Haven

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In South Haven, Porter County Sheriffs Police are investigating an armed robbery at a Speedway gas station at US 6 and State Road 149 Tuesday night. Reports say there were no injuries and police were searching for the suspect.  Police say at approximately 10:05 PM, the suspect entered the station and confronted the clerk as she came out of the back room. The suspect pointed a handgun at the clerk and made her open the register and give him an undisclosed amount of USC. The suspect is described as a black male, 5'9" with a large build, wearing blue/black pants, black shoes, tan gloves, dark blue nylon winter coat with a green collar and 2 red stripes running horizontally across the center of the back. The suspect also was wearing a black ski mask over his face. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department Detective Bureau at 219-477-3140. Anonymous tips can be called into WeTip at 1-800-782-7463. WeTip offers up to a $1,000 reward for information aiding in the arrest and conviction of any suspects involved.
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Interest Could Help Build New Shelter, Center

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There's a lot of interest in how accrued interest from the sale of the county hospital six years ago might be spent... it's up to nearly eleven-million dollars. Porter County Commissioners have forwarded a request to the County Council requesting one-and-a-half million dollars go toward building a new animal shelter, at State Roads 130 and 149... and another million and a half on constructing an educational center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, which is at US 6 and Meridian Road.
Earlier this year, the county agreed to put 600-thousand dollars of the interest money into buying and renovating the Legacy Banquet Center on West Lincolnway in Valparaiso for Porter County PACT alternative sentencing, community service, counseling and related programs for offenders and former offenders.
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Child Abuse Awareness Vigils Across Indiana

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Candlelight vigils were held in Merrillville, Valparaiso, and communities around the state last night, representing 92 counties in the effort to bring awareness to protecting children against child abuse. Jane Bisbee, Regional Manager of the Department of Child Services in Lake County, says the number of assessments in Lake County has gone up. "The Indiana Child Abuse Hotline takes all of our calls of abuse or neglect, and then they're transferred electronically to the local level, and then we assign them to the case managers here in the Lake County office," Bisbee said.  She said they now have over two-thousand children who are now under the jurisdiction of the Lake County court system.  Louella Richey, Director of the Porter County office, says the toll-free Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotlinel is 1-800-800-5556. "We know that Indiana's future depends on our kids," Richey said, "and it's our responsibility to take care of them."
You can hear more of our interviews with Jane Bisbee and Louella Richey at News Audio on Demand at regionnewsteam-dot-com
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Legislators Honor Bowman Academy

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Gary State Representative Charlie Brown led the Indiana House of Representatives in congratulating the Bowman Academy with a Senate Concurrent Resolution for winning the 2A Boys Basketball State Championship this year. Brown says the Bowman Academy boys basketball team—which won the Class 1A Championship in 2010—is the first team in Indiana history to win state titles in multiple classes. Last year, they placed second in the Class 2A title game.
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