Groundbreaking in Gary for South Shore Commons

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Gary South Shore Commons Groundbreaking
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary)
A groundbreaking ceremony was held this morning in Gary for South Shore Commons, a 60-unit, two-story permanent supportive housing development for the homeless going up on vacant property on 20th Avenue east of Grant Street, between Lincoln and Pierce Streets.
J. Forest Hayes, Director of the Gary Department of Commerce and Gary Economic Development Corporation, says the project is an example of collaborative efforts underway in the city.
The units are to be placed in service by the end of this year. Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living is partnering with U-P Development, Broadway Area Community Development Corporation, and N-S-P Consultants on the 12-million dollar project.
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SR 55 Closure in Newton County Begins April 1st

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NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of State Road 55 to through traffic between State Road 16 and State Road 114 beginning Monday, April 1st through the end of June 2013. Crews will be replacing a bridge. All traffic will be restricted at the work site, one mile north of State Road 16.

A detour will take northbound SR 55 drivers west on SR 16, north on U.S. 41, east on SR 114, and back to SR 55. Southbound SR 55 drivers will travel west on SR 114, south on U.S. 41, east on SR 16, and back to SR 55.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and project updates from INDOT, like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Read more: SR 55 Closure in Newton County Begins April 1st


Cedar Lake Man Pleds Guilty to Murder and Arson

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Anthony LaPorta
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
Sentencing is scheduled for April 26th after a judge accepted a plea agreement in which a 24 year old Cedar Lake man pleaded guilty to arson and murder. Published reports say Anthony LaPorta could serve 62 years in prison for murdering a 32 year old neighbor,18 years for setting the victim's house on fire, and a two-year sentence after pleaded guilty to a separate incident of sexual battery of a minor, which would reportedly be served concurrently to murder and arson charges.
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EC Lawmaker on Canada Relations Cmte

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East Chicago State Representative Earl Harris has been appointed to the Indiana House Midwest-Canada Relations Committee. The committee established in 1991 is a forum between eleven states and their counterparts from the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan to share and discuss ideas and mutual concerns, including law enforcement, border security and Great Lakes ports.
More recently, the committee has focused on trade-related issues, North American relations, and efforts to build an international bridge between Detroit and Windsor. “I’m honored to be appointed to this committee,” said Harris. “I look forward to working with my counterparts from other states and Canadian provinces to learn best practices and to discuss the issues that affect our communities. This is a great opportunity to share ideas with our neighbors.”  Harris also will serve on the committee with Reps. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) and Dennis Zent (R-Angola).
For more information go to You also can contact Harris at his Statehouse office at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. His office can be contacted toll free at 1-800-382-9842, or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Statewide Tornado Drill Today

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Listen for tornado sirens in Lowell and other Indiana communities today. It's not because of approaching severe weather -- it's because today is the statewide tornado drill that's part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana. 
The National Weather Service, in conjunction with Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Iindiana Department of Education, and the Indiana Broadcasters
Association, will conduct a statewide test of emergency communications systems Wednesday March 27 between 900 am and 930 am Central Daylight Time and again between 630 pm and 700 pm Central Daylight Time.
A test Tornado Warning will be issued for all Indiana counties, and will be disseminated like an actual warning and broadcast on NOAA weather radio transmitters serving Indiana
with same/eas codes and the tone alert.
Meteorologists say it's be a good time for Indiana residents to review severe weather procedures and participate in a tornado drill whether at home. at work or at school.
To hear our interviews with Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Chicago, and Valparaiso  University Meteorology Professor Dr. Bart Wolf on severe weather preparedness and safety, visit On Demand here at our website.

Read more: Statewide Tornado Drill Today


South Shore Commons Groundbreaking

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The City of Gary is hosting groundbreaking today for South Shore Commons, a 60-unit, two-story permanent supportive housing development going up on a piece of vacant property on 20th Avenue east of Grant Street, between Lincoln and Pierce Streets. Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living is partnering with UP Development, Broadway Area Community Development Corporation, and NSP Consultants on the 12-million dollar project

Read more: South Shore Commons Groundbreaking


Griffith 'Secession' Bill Changes Again

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Legislation on Griffith's attempt to leave Calumet Township has changed again. The measure, House Bill 1585, was approved by the Indiana House 66-to-32 last month. A Senate panel has now restored the opportunity for residents to vote on the issue, but only under certain conditions. The referendum option, which was in the House version, was removed altogether earlier this month by a different Senate committee. The town says they send significantly more in tax dollars to the township than they get back.

Read more: Griffith 'Secession' Bill Changes Again


Indiana Voucher Law Upheld 5-0

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The state's highest court has unanimously upheld Indiana's school vouchers law. The 5-0 decision in the case of Meredith et al v. Pence et al, affirmed a lower court and ruled that House Enrolled Act 1003 of 2011 (Public Law 92) does not violate the Indiana Constitution. As lawyer for state government, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office defended the statute -- he says the Indiana Supreme Court found that the Legislature, in creating a voluntary program to broaden educational alternatives for Hoosier children followed the Indiana Constitution by leaving the decision whether and where to use a scholarship to qualifying students and their families.
The Choice program was being challenged in court by the Indiana State Teachers Association. Governor Mike Pence issued a statement following the decision, saying he has “long believed that parents should be able to choose where their children go to school, regardless of their income.” The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program was enacted in May of 2011. Pence also said the state must continue to find ways to expand educational opportunities for all Indiana families.
Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary), ranking Democratic member on the House Education Committee.Smith, also an education professor at Indiana University Northwest, reacted to the decision saying he thought it was "unfortunate that the Supreme Court made the decision that it made," and that he is hoping that those "who believe that it is unconstitutional" will "continue to pursue other avenues to stop the decimation of public education".

Read more: Indiana Voucher Law Upheld 5-0


Two Injured in Portage Stabbing

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Police in Portage are trying to sort out what happened to prompt a dispute that led to an apparent stabbing incident between two men in which both were injured. Sgt. Keith Hughes says it happened in the 61-hundred block of McCasland Avenue. The SWAT team was callled out and yesterday morning's search for a suspect eventually led to the second individual being taken into custody outside an apartment complex on Canden Avenue, and he and the other man were both taken to an area hospital. Their injuries are NOT believed to be life-threatening, according to police.  Sgt Hughes says at this point they are still gathering information.

Read more: Two Injured in Portage Stabbing


Fire Territory Approved Pending Approval

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Valparaiso City Council and Center Township have approved the creation of a fire territory, pending approval by Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance. Published reports say the territory encompasses the city and unincorporated areas of the township, and will take effect July 1st if approval is granted. A five-member board will reportedly oversee the operation. The total rate is about 28-cents per one-hundred dollars of assessed value, so the owner of a one-hundred-thousand dollar home in the city will reportedly see an annual increase of about three-dollars-36-cents, while an owner of a similar home in the township will see an annual increase of about 42-dollars.
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Read more: Fire Territory Approved Pending Approval


Police Seek Help Locating Missing Dolton Teen

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Austin Battle 19
Austin Battle Age 19
(Photos Courtesy of Dolton Police Department)
Austin Battle was last seen on Tuesday (March 19). His last known location was Sibley and Burnham in Calumet City. Battle made a call to his father on Tuesday night and asked that
his father pick him up at Sibley Blvd. and Burnham Ave. That was the last time anyone heard from him. When the father went to pick him up, Battle was nowhere to be found.
Battle’s cell phone records indicate that there has been no activity since that last call made to his father.   Dolton Police also contacted the Cook County Morgue who had no possible matches or results.
The police are asking for assistance from the public in locating this missing teen. Austin Battle is 19 years old. He is 5 foot 11 inches, and was last seen wearing a grey hoodie, blue jeans, and black boots.   Battle is a graduate of Thornridge High School. He also attended South Suburban College, and is known for having bouts of depression.
Those with information should contact the Dolton Police Department, Commander Blaudin, at 708.841.2533 or 708.201.3211.  
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Read more: Police Seek Help Locating Missing Dolton Teen


MC Man Arrested on Felony Heroin Charge

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Timothy Hampton
(Photo Courtesy of Michigan City Police)
An ongoing investigation into the distribution of heroin in Michigan City has authorities there announcing another arrest today, and say while the investigation continues in this arrest, more arrests could be made in the future. Michigan City Police say during a search warrant of 37 year old Timothy Hampton's residence on Friday, in the two-hundred block of East 8th Street, a quantity of heroin, pills, drug paraphernalia, and currency were seized as evidenced. Hampton was arrested on probable cause for felony possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and his bond was set at one-hundred-thousand dollars cash.
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Read more: MC Man Arrested on Felony Heroin Charge


Woman Pulled from Gary House Fire Dies

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A 73 year old woman died shortly after being hospitalized Monday evening after being removed from house fire in Gary. Published reports say the cause of death is pending at last check. The fire reportedly occurred in the 24-hundred block of Buchanan Street. No further information is available at this time.
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Read more: Woman Pulled from Gary House Fire Dies


Philpot Denied Release on Bond Pending Appeal

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Former Lake County Clerk and Coroner Thomas Philpot had his request to be released on bond, pending appeal of his criminal convictions, denied today, according to published reports. Philpot surrendered himself to a federal prison in Michigan earlier this month to begin serving an 18-month sentence for paying himself more than 24-thousand dollars in bonuses from federal child support incentive funds while he was County Clerk. He was convicted last August on theft and public corruption charges.
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Read more: Philpot Denied Release on Bond Pending Appeal


Cargil Donates $5,000 Check to Housing Opportunties

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Cargil Donation
VALPARAISO, Ind. — Cargill’s Greater Indiana Farm Service Group received the 2012 Spirit of Cargill Award for its work with Housing Opportunities.
The Spirit of Cargill Award is given to businesses that best exemplify the legacy and passion of the company’s founder, William Wallace Cargill. 
The recognition included a $5,000 check that the Greater Indiana team will present to Housing Opportunities on Tuesday, March 26th.  Housing Opportunities is a HUD-approved and state-certified housing agency serving Northwest Indiana. It provides housing and access to food pantries for individuals and families in the six-county area of Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski counties.
In 2011, about 70 Cargill Greater Indiana employees helped refurbish an old hotel in Valparaiso that is used as a housing center and food bank for the homeless.
“The organization helps motivated people by providing them not only with shelter, but education to help them be successful and be able to provide for their families,” said Tim Kay, a Leadperson with Cargill in Aylesworth.  “Just shy of 450 hours were contributed to this project and each one was very much worth this cause.”
In addition to working on the hotel, the Greater Indiana team donated $6,250 to Housing Opportunities and that was matched with $6,250 from the parent company. 
Cargill’s Greater Indiana Farm Service Group is a network of grain elevators and farm service centers in Aylesworth/Kouts, Bremen, Burns Harbor, Lafayette, Lapaz, Linden and Tipton.
An innovator, business leader, family man and philanthropist, W.W. Cargill was recognized for his devotion to his community and his genial and optimistic nature that led his business and person life.  
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Read more: Cargil Donates $5,000 Check to Housing Opportunties


Prosecutors Office to Review Chalkboard Comments

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Lake Station Police say they take any statement seriously when it involves schools and guns – and announced today that case summaries regarding chalkboard and Facebook comments have been turned over to the Lake County Prosecutors office for review. Police say as they were investigating a highly-publicized chalkboard image circulated on Facebook that had comments like “the guns are loaded” allegedly written by a veteran high school teacher, Facebook comments about solving problems and needing guns were brought to their attention. Lake Station Police Chief Kevin Garber says it appeared to officers that an administrative staff member at Edison High School, a teacher at Edison Senior High, and a teacher at Polk Elementary participated in the online conversation.
Lake Station Police say for the past three weeks, detectives have interviewed over 55 students and several staff and administrators of the Lake Station School Corporation.
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Read more: Prosecutors Office to Review Chalkboard Comments


Phone System Out at Chesterton Town Hall

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The phone system at Chesterton Town Hall reportedly crashed on Monday, but officials say they hope to have it up and running by Friday, according to published reports. Until then though, the reportedly 20 year old telephone system is inoperable.
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Read more: Phone System Out at Chesterton Town Hall


Suspect in Portage Stabbing Incident Apprehended

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portage pd
A suspect in an alleged stabbing in Portage this morning was apprehended this afternoon. Portage Police Sgt. Keith Hughes says the reported incident occurred in the 61-hundred block of McCasland Avenue, north of the toll road. Sgt.Hughes says they determined the suspect that gotten south of toll road, to his apartment, in the 61-hundred block of Canden Avenue, and while awaiting the SWAT team's arrival, the suspect was seen exiting an adjoining apartment building, and apprehended. The suspect, according to police, sustained injuries during the stabbing incident, and was taken to Porter Regional Hospital, along with another man found at the initial scene.
Sgt Hughes says at this point they are still gathering information, speaking to witnesses, and commended the actions of all involved who helped resolve this incident.
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Read more: Suspect in Portage Stabbing Incident Apprehended


Westville Correctional Officer Arrested

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A longtime correctional officer at the Westville Correctional Facility has been arrested on a felony trafficking charge. Officials say when the 40-year-old Merrillville woman, who was hired in July 2000, reported for work at the start of her shift Saturday evening, she was found to possess a cellphone allegedly intended to be delivered to an offender. The incident is still under investigation.
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Read more: Westville Correctional Officer Arrested


Driver Training School Bringing 500 Jobs

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Governor Mike Pence joined executives from Celadon Trucking Services today to announce the company's plans to locate a driver training school in Indianapolis, creating up to 500 new jobs by 2022. The company, which provides long-haul, dry van truckload service throughout North America, plans to invest $5.7 million to build a training facility near its Indy headquarters. In addition to the drivers school, the building will house dorm rooms, a cafeteria, workout room, basketball/racquet court, Wi-Fi and driver training road course. Construction is expected to be complete by this fall.

Read more: Driver Training School Bringing 500 Jobs


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Laura-WZVN Scott-WZVN Brent-WZVN
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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