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Update: Region Road Closures

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From the INDOT Cams this morning, overhead electronic sign along I65 near 101st Avenue in Lake County, IN, warns of flooding in Illinois
Hammond Police report:
-Northcote Ave bridge from Hammond to Munster closed
-Columbia Ave bridge from Hammond to Munster closed
-In North Hammond US 41/Calumet Avenue is closed at 141st through 129th
INDOT reports:
-Cline Avenue is closed between Riley Road and Calumet Avenue (East Chicago)
Also -- the westbound ramp rom the Borman Expressway to Calumet Avenue was closed earlier (Hammond), and there was concern about the water level at the Kennedy Avenue ramp off the Borman (Hammond)
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Tornado Watch Cancelled for the Region

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A Tornado Watch remains in effect for 39 counties in Indiana, but counties around the Region are no longer included in that watch area. Other weather alerts remain in effect.
http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
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Tornado Watch, Other Alerts in Effect

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Multiple watches and warnings are in effect for the Region today related to the heavy rains moving across Northwest Indiana and the Midwest. 
A Tornado Watch for our entire listening area has been posted til 4 pm CDT. A Flash Flood Warning that includes Lake County and southwestern Porter County is in effect until 2 pm CDT. There's also a Wind Advisory from this morning through tonight.  A Flood Watch continues for Northwest Indiana.  A Flood Warning for the Little Calumet River at Munster is in effect where observed flooding has changed from minor to moderate severity. A Flood Warning is also in effect for the Kankakee River at Shelby, affecting Lake and Newton Counties.
For updates from the National Weather Service: 
http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
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Road Closures in Hammond

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Heavy rains have led to road closures in parts of Hammond. Kennedy Avenue is still passable.  Hammond Police Lt. Pat Vicari gave us an update::
-Northcote Ave bridge from Hammond to Munster closed
-Columbia Ave bridge from Hammond to Munster closed
-In North Hammond US 41/Calumet Avenue is closed at 141st through 129th
Heavy rains have caused major flooding in and around Chicago. ABC reports cars are underwater... "I have an underground parking garage and the water in the parking garage is up to the tires, " was one description. And expressways are underwater making it difficult to get to work... "Probably about eight inches of water just submerging the roads."
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Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued

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Click here for updates:
http://forecast.weather.gov/hazards/lot
BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL 809 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR... IROQUOIS COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS... SOUTHEASTERN KANKAKEE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ILLINOIS... BENTON COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... JASPER COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... SOUTHERN LAKE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... NEWTON COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... SOUTHERN PORTER COUNTY IN NORTHWEST INDIANA... * UNTIL 945 AM CDT * AT 806 AM CDT...A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WAS LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM CHEBANSE TO RANKIN...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH. HAZARD...70 MPH WIND GUSTS. SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED. IMPACT...EXPECT CONSIDERABLE TREE DAMAGE. DAMAGE IS POSSIBLE TO MOBILE HOMES...ROOFS AND OUTBUILDINGS. * SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE NEAR... AROMA PARK AND CLAYTONVILLE AROUND 815 AM CDT. ST. ANNE AROUND 820 AM CDT. WATSEKA AND MILFORD AROUND 825 AM CDT. MOMENCE AND HOPKINS PARK AROUND 830 AM CDT. STOCKLAND AND SHELDON AROUND 835 AM CDT. TALBOT AROUND 940 AM EDT. OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE MARTINTON...SUN RIVER TERRACE...WOODLAND...PAPINEAU...WELLINGTON...DONOVAN...BEAVERVILLE... IROQUOIS...AMBIA AND SCHNEIDER. OTHER LOCATIONS AFFECTED... KANKAKEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE...KANKAKEE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS... SPEEDWAY...US 41 DRAGWAY... PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING....

Read more: Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued

 

Flood Safety Tips from Ind St Police

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Indiana State Police say the threat of heavy rain makes flooding a real threat in north central Indiana. Floods occur as streams and rivers overflow their banks. This can occur from deep snow run off or during heavy rainfall. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. Flash flooding can occur after a few minutes of heavy rain fall or after hours of significant precipitation. Hoosiers who live in flood prone areas should always be conscious of the threat of flash floods when receiving significant rainfall. The Indiana State Police offers a few flood safety tips.
• Don’t travel unless absolutely necessary. If you have to travel carry a cell phone with a car charger.
• Purchase a weather scanner and heed all flood and flash flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
• Do not drive around barricades at water crossings.
• Be especially vigilant at night. Many drowning deaths occur at night when it is difficult to see water crossings.
• Do not cross or enter flowing water. Driving fast through high water on the road is not a solution. Faster speeds create less tire contact with the road surface and increase your chance of crashing.
• Driving through standing water may affect your brakes. Test your brakes at low speeds as soon as you exit the water.
• If you choose to abandon your vehicle, respect the force of the water flow, you may be swept off your feet. After you exit the vehicle seek higher ground.
• Be aware that road erosion may occur when there is running or standing water.
• Remember that six inches of water will reach the bottoms of most car doors. One foot of water will float many vehicles, and two feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles.
If you find yourself stranded in flood waters remain calm and call 911. If you can do so safely move to higher ground.
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Shooting Death in Lake County

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Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are investigating a shooting death overnight. The Lake County Coroners office says 22-year-old Bryan David Taylor of Gary suffered multiple gunshot wounds at the More 4 Less Corner Store in the 700 block of West 45th Avenue in Gary and was pronounced dead at the scene at midnight this morning.
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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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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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Read more: Donnelly Statement on Gun Rights Legislation

   

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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Read more: Severe T-Storm for Northern Porter County Until 5pm CST

   

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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