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Pence Reiterates Importance of College Degree Attainment

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(Photo Courtesy of WGU Indiana)
INDIANAPOLIS (April 23, 2013) – Earlier today, WGU Indiana presented Gov. Mike Pence with more than 140 pledges from the state’s top business and civic leaders committed to the importance of college degree attainment. Supporting the pledge initiative and presentation, WGU Indiana also announced $100,000 in new Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships. This is the largest scholarship offering in WGU Indiana’s history.
“Indiana’s economic and civic leaders have demonstrated their commitment to college completion and shown they are serious when it comes to helping more Hoosiers earn degrees and qualify for high-quality jobs,” said Pence. “WGU Indiana, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the state’s other colleges and universities are clearly focused on helping Hoosiers achieve more through education.”
Responding to the governor’s challenge to close the gap between Indiana’s qualified workforce and available jobs, WGU Indiana began the Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree campaign when Pence was sworn into office three months ago. Through a pledge initiative, WGU Indiana invited community and business leaders to commit to using their leadership platforms to increase awareness of the opportunity to attain a degree.  The university’s goal was to deliver 100 signed pledges by today, Pence’s 100th day in office.
Chancellor Allison Barber and WGU Indiana officials spent the past three months meeting with businesses and civic leaders about the pledge and about how they can support degree attainment as a way of strengthening Indiana’s workforce. Among those who signed the pledge are Jim Morris, Indiana Pacers; Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts; Nancy Huber, 5/3 Bank; Carey Lykins, Citizens Energy Group; Sarah Fisher, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing; Cindy Hubert, Gleaners; Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann; and Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. Pence signed the pledge today, and in response to its strong support, the pledge is now posted to WGU Indiana’s website for other Indiana community and business leaders to sign.
In WGU Indiana’s new Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships, 50 scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $2,000 each ($500 per term for four terms). To be eligible, applicants must have some college credit, apply as new students to WGU and pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The deadline to apply for a Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarship is July 1.
“As I presented this idea to decision-makers around the state, I was consistently met with enthusiasm and support,” Barber said. “The discussion about workforce development has been growing louder throughout the state, and the opportunity for degree attainment to strengthen our workforce and improve our economy is very real. In Indiana, there are 740,000 adults who have some college experience but no degree. This pledge is a way for the state’s business and civic leaders to work directly with us in higher education and address the skills gap that exists in our workforce. Those who signed the pledge—and those who will sign it in the future—are committing to encourage their employees or constituents to go further through education.”
To learn more about all of WGU Indiana’s degree programs, visit indiana.wgu.edu. For more on the Taking Indiana to a Higher Degree Scholarships, visit indiana.wgu.edu/higherdegreescholarship.
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Natura Pet Cat and Dog Treat Recall

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CHICAGO – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are urging people to stop using and return or discard certain Natura Pet Products food and treats after the company issued a recall due to potential salmonella contamination Friday.
According to a press release issued by Natura Pet Products, the company is expanding its original recall after sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of salmonella in additional dry pet food and a cat pet treat.
The brands affected are California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, Innova and Karma with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014(See table below for additional details).
The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Costa Rica, as well as online, the release said.
People who have the potentially contaminated product should discard it immediately and stop handling it as it poses a risk to humans as well.
Salmonellacan 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
Size
Description
UPC
Lot Codes(s)
EXPIRATION DATE
California Natural
All
Sizes
All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties
All
UPCs
All Lot Codes
All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
EVO
All
Sizes
All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties
All ferret food varieties
All
UPCs
All Lot Codes
All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Healthwise
All
Sizes
All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties
All
UPCs
All Lot Codes
All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Innova
All
Sizes
All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties
All
UPCs
All Lot Codes
All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Karma
All
Sizes
All dry dog food varieties
All
UPCs
All Lot Codes
All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Natura Pet Products also recommended for consumers to visit www.naturapet.com for additional information. For a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).
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Cal City Man Shot by Police Was Suspect in Shooting

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An investigation continues into the shooting death of 22 year old man in Calumet City on Monday evening. Calumet City Police say officers, fearing for their safety, shot 22 year old Victor Johnson, of Calumet City, after he pulled a handgun while being pursued through a yard in the 400 block of Freeland Avenue, just after 5pm. Police say Johnson matched the description of a suspect who shot a 21 year old Hammond man earlier that afternoon, in the area of Freeland and 154th Place. Johnson was taken to a Hammond hospital where he later died of his injuries, while the Hammond man , who was shot twice, was taken to a hospital in Oak Lawn with non-life threatening injuries.
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Veterans Tuition Bill Moves to Governor's Desk

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Senator Jim Banks
STATEHOUSE (April 23, 2013) — Military veterans would have access to more affordable college education under legislation authored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City). A final version of Senate Bill 177 passed both the Senate and House of Representatives today and now moves to the governor’s desk for signature into law.
SB 177 grants in-state tuition eligibility to honorably discharged veterans and active National Guard members who enroll in one of Indiana’s state colleges within a year of settling in Indiana. Currently, veterans serving in a different state or country may not qualify for in-state tuition upon returning home, increasing their college costs by thousands of dollars.
“With this legislation, Indiana has an opportunity to make significant strides in helping veterans earn their college degrees,” Banks said. “A recent Indiana University study showed that 18 percent of Hoosier veterans have at least a bachelor’s degree, which is below the national average of 26 percent. Expanding in-state tuition eligibility could help bridge that gap by easing veterans’ financial burden and improving their access to higher education.”
To be eligible, veterans are required to enroll in a state college or university no later than 12 months after their discharge or separation from the armed forces. They will then have to take steps to establish Indiana residency within 12 months of enrollment.
Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) is the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives.
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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week Allan Best

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Allan Best
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte PD)
In LaPorte, police say a 21 year old currently wanted for felony forgery is their “Wanted Person of the Week.” LaPorte Police say Allan Best is described as a white male, five-feet ten-inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact 9-1-1, the LaPorte Police Department, at 219-362-9446, or LaPorte County Metro Operations, at 219-325-9022, and you can remain anonymous.
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Poll Shows Hoosiers Want Tax Cut

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A new Howey Politics Indiana poll released today (Tuesday) shows 72-percent of Hoosiers support an income-tax cut – either Governor Pence's plan for a ten-percent reduction (39-percent support), or the smaller tax cut proposed by Senate Republicans (33-percent support). The poll of six-hundred registered voters April 18-21 also showed 83-percent support the expanded gun background check legislation that was recently defeated in the US Senate. Other key findings included... 16-percent said they felt abortion should be illegal without exceptions, while 45-percent said illegal except for rape, incest and endangering the life of the mother....50-percent said they would support a proposed constitutional amendment stating marriage is between a man and a woman... and 56-percent favor decriminalization of marijuana. Howey Politics Indiana polling is conducted with corporate and academic sponsorships.
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Airport Board Hires Advisers

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The board of directors of Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority has hired advisers, including a consulting firm led by former Indianapolis International Airport CEO John Clark, to assist in exploring a public-private partnership for the airport. It comes as construction of a large-scale 167-million-dollar runway extension project nears completion by the end of the year. Also, the board wants the city of Gary to name the new Airport Road overpass after Tuskegee Airman and long-time Gary educator Quentin Smith, who died in January at the age of 94.
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Last Stand for Nine Span

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ninespan 1 WinCE
[Courtesy INDOT]
Eight spans down, one to go... Crews have been taking apart the old Nine-Span Bridge in Lake County for the past few months, and now the final span is being disassembled piece by piece so it can be saved for historic purposes. The bridge, spanning the railyards as it connects Hammond and East Chicago, was built in the mid 1930s. INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley told us that when it's rebuilt, it'll look very different from the bridge so many Region residents have traveled over, over the years. INDOT officials say it's possible that pieces of the bridge may one day be incorporated into a trail bridge. The INDOT detour directs motorists to use Cline Avenue, the Borman Expressway, and US 20/ Michigan Street to get around the closure, which is expected to last most of the year.  Underneath the 75-year-old nine-span is big new economic development, as an international fertilizer giant from Canada is building a facility in the vicinity.

The website hammondindiana-dot-com says at one point it was reported to be the longest bridge over dry land in the country.
The new bridge is expected to open before the end of the year. Photos of the demolition are courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation --
ninespan 2 WinCE
ninespan 3 WinCE
Here's a link to their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=299041910229213&set=pb.115599371906802.-2207520000.1366733724.&type=3&theater
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FBI Confirms Fugitive Arrest

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tothfbi WinCE
[Image courtesy of FBI]
The FBI has confirmed that a Lake County native who was among their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives was arrested in Nicaragua, a little more than a year after being placed on the list. Officials say 31-year-old Eric Justin Toth, originally of Hammond, was wanted for alleged possession and production of child pornography. Authorities have been looking for Toth for nearly five years, when he disappeared from the Washington DC area where he had been working as a teacher at an exclusive elementary school. The FBI says the former Washington, D.C., private school teacher had been on the run since 2008, after pornographic images were allegedly found on a school camera that had been in his possession. Authorities say a tip led law enforcement to Nicaragua, where Toth was living under an alias.
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Fatal Calumet City Shooting Police-Involved

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Authorities confirm a 22-year-old Calumet City man was shot to death Monday in the 400 block of Freeland Avenue in a police-involved shooting. More information is expected to be released later today. The Lake County Coroners office says Victor Johnson suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died shortly after 6-o'clock Monday night at a Hammond hospital. Calumet City and Illinois State Police are investigating.
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Hearing for Chicagoan with 400 Arrests

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A Chicago woman who's been arrested nearly four-hundred times since 1978, including 92 times for theft and an alleged attack on a City Council member, was due before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board today. Over the years, 51-year-old Shermain Miles has also been arrested on disorderly conduct prostitution-related charges, among other things. Miles is at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln. If it's determined she violated her parole, she will be behind bars until April 2014.
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Flooding Concerns in Munster

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Town officials in Munster are looking into flooding issues in different areas of town. Street flooding was a concern in the 99-hundred block of Tanglewood Court in White Oak Estates after last week's heavy rains, reportedly preventing some people from getting to work. About three miles north, in the eight-thousand block of Kooy Drive, some residents were dealing with flooded backyards and water getting into their basements.
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Reports: Region Native, FBI Fugitive in Custody

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Published reports say a Lake County native who was on the list of the FBI's most-wanted fugitives list for allegedly possessing child pornography has been arrested in Nicaragua. Various media are reporting that 31-year-old Eric Justin Toth, originally of Hammond was taken into custody Saturday. Authorities have been looking for Toth for nearly five years, when he disappeared from the Washington D-C area where he had been working as a teacher at an exclusive elementary school.
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Fatal Shooting in Calumet City

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Authorities say a 22-year-old Calumet City man was shot to death Monday afternoon in the 400 block of Freeland Avenue. The Lake County Coroners office says Victor Johnson suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died shortly after 6-o'clock Monday night at a Hammond hospital. Calumet City and Illinois State Police are investigating.
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40 Child Abuse/Neglect Deaths, 6 in NWI

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New data from the Indiana Department of Child Services show forty children in the state died of abuse or neglect between July of 2010 through June 2011, and six of the victims were from northwest Indiana – four from Lake County, one from La Porte County, and one from Starke County. Of the children who died from abuse in the state, nearly half were under the age of one. The state's latest child-fatality report reviews nearly three-hundred child deaths during the one-year period, varying in causes from medical conditions, to drowning, and in 82 of the fatalities, officials say unsafe sleeping conditions was a factor.
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Silver Alert for Missing Lafayette Woman

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marshasmith WinCE
Photo from Indiana State Police
A Regional Silver Alert has been declared that includes Tippecanoe and surrounding counties in Indiana.  The Indiana State Police is investigating the disappearance of an adult from Lafayette, Indiana. Lafayette Indiana is located approximately 50 miles west of Kokomo, Indiana. Marsha D. Smith is a 57 year old white female, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 150 lbs., with brown hair and hazel eyes. Marsha D. Smith was last seen at 7:30 am on Sunday April 21, 2013 in at the AMTRAK train station, and is believed to be in danger. Marsha D. Smith may be disoriented and require medical attention. She is believed to be traveling on foot, and it is unknown what type clothing she may be wearing.  If you have any information on Marsha D. Smith, contact the Indiana State Police by calling 765-473-6666.
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Missing Man Found Dead in Hobart

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The Lake County Coroners office says a 26-year-old Rensselaer man was found dead in Hobart Monday, in the 24-hundred block of 80th Avenue, which is just on the north side of US 30. Coroners officials say manner of death was pending investigation. According to Rensselaer Police, Seth Rusk had been reported missing April 16, and the man left about 4:30 in the morning April 15 to start a new job in Francesville, but never arrived. On April 16th, police received information that the missing man's cell phone was in the Merrillville area, and it was later located by authorities near a cell tower a mile west of East 84th Street.
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$10,000 Reward Offered in Homicide

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A ten-thousand dollar reward is now being offered for information into the death of a 76-year-old Griffith businesswoman. Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance says the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Mary Austgen of St. John is a collaborative effort, involving the FBI, ATF, Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, and the Griffith and Gary Police Departments. The Lake County Coroners office says Austgen suffered a fatal gunshot wound and was found during the early hours of March 29th in a parking garage at Majestic Star Casino in Gary.  Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance says they are seeking to identify the driver of a black four-door vehicle that was observed on the Majestic Star security video picking the suspect up.
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16 Adults, 2 Juveniles Arrested in Sweeps Friday

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Lake Co. Sherrif
The Lake County Sheriff's Department today announced that they, along with seven other local agencies, executed sweeps on Friday in Gary and the Calumet area of East Chicago, which netted 16 arrest. Most of the arrests were for warrants, with a couple for drug possession and one for parole violation. Authorities also report two juveniles were taken to the Lake County Juvenile Center. Sheriff John Buncich says as they continue to aggressively address drugs and gang violence, they appreciate any community assistance, and urges citizens to contact their anonymous tip hotline.
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Rensselaer Man Missing Since April 15th

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Police in Rensselaer are asking anyone with information regarding a missing 26 year old with a past history of drug use to please contact their department. Seth Rusk reportedly went to start a new job in Francesville around 4:30 in the morning on April 15th, but never arrived. On April 16th, police received information that the missing man's cell phone was in the Merrillville area, and it was later located by authorities near a cell tower a mile west of East 84th Street. Rusk is described as a white male, around six-feet tall, with blond hair, blue eyes, tattoos on both arms, and was last seen driving a white 2001 Chevy Cavalier with a paper plate on it.
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