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Mother and Son In Fatal LaPorte Co Crash Identified

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A mother and her son were killed in a crash late Saturday morning after their vehicle struck a tree in LaPorte County's Springfield Township, about a half-mile from their Michigan City home. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports deputies were dispatched just after 11:30, in the 51-hundred block of North County Road 600 West, and upon the arrival, found the pair dead in the vehicle. Coroner John Sullivan says 39 year old Shay Heddens and 7 year old Matthew Heddens both died due to blunt force trauma. According to a witness statement, the vehicle was heading south and while attempting to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone, lost control while in the northbound lane, then crossed back into the southbound lane, left the west side of the road and struck a tree. Sullivan says it is still unknown why she lost control of the vehicle, and are waiting toxicology results. The Coroner says this was the third and fourth traffic fatality in the last two-weeks.
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Man Calls 911to Report Himself as a Drunk Driver

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A Logansport man called 9-1-1 to report himself as a drunk driver early this morning. Indiana State Police Lowell Post report 24 year old Matthew Devore contacted the Jasper County Sheriff's Department, just before 12:30am, and was located on northbound I-65, four-miles south of the DeMotte/Roselawn exit. A preliminary investigation revealed Devore lost control of his vehicle and went into the median but was able to drive out, and then contacted authorities after he realized he had a flat tire. Devore reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of point-zero-nine, and was taken to the Jasper County Jail in Rensselaer.
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Chesterton Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft

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A Chesterton man was sentenced to two years in prison, with one year of supervised released, and ordered to pay over 25-thousand dollars in restitution after pleading guilty last week in Hammond federal court to felony aggravated identity theft. The U-S Attorney's Office reports 38 year old Leon Thomas, from June of 2009 through July of 2010, received unemployment insurance benefits and extended unemployment benefits using his brother's date of birth and social security number, while he was employed and receiving a paycheck from a manufacturing company in Michigan City. Authorities say Thomas received over 11-thousand dollars in federal funds, and over 13-thousand in state funds.
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Read more: Chesterton Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft

 

Authorities Investigating Gary Man Found Dead in Alley

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The manner of death regarding the the body of a 40 year old Gary man, found in an alley at 37th Avenue and Tyler Street, in Gary, was pending at last check. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports they were dispatched to the alley just after 10:30 Sunday night, and pronounced Pierre Dennis dead at 10:59pm. Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are investigating, and no further information is available at this time. ...

Read more: Authorities Investigating Gary Man Found Dead in Alley

 

Early Voting Begins Today

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Early voting is scheduled to begin today at the Lake County Government Center for a vote on raising property taxes for Munster Schools. early voting at Munster Town Hall will begin later this month (April 22). The referendum will be on the ballot on May 7th, a date when special elections in Munster and other communities around the Region and state on school-related issues. [Boone Twp, Union Twp, Knox/Starke Co] Other than that, this is actually a non-election year in Indiana as far as public offices are concerned.

May 7, 2013 Special Elections
- Barr-Reeve Community Schools (Daviess County)
- Hamilton Southeastern Schools (Hamilton County)
- Noblesville Schools (Hamilton County)
- City of Vincennes Parks & Recreation Department (Knox County)
- Munster School Referendum (Lake County)
- Metropolitan School District of Boone Township (Porter County)
- Union Township School Corporation (Porter County)
- Knox Community School (Starke County)...

Read more: Early Voting Begins Today

 

Woman and Boy Killed in LaPorte Co Crash Saturday

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LaPorte Co Sheriff Dept
A woman and a young boy were killed in a crash late Saturday morning after their vehicle struck a tree. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports deputies were dispatched just after 11:30, in the 51-hundred block of North County Road 600 West, in Springfield Township, and upon the arrival of medical personnel, found the pair dead in the vehicle. According to observations and a witness statement, the vehicle was heading south on County Road 600 West, and while attempting to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone, lost control while in the northbound lane, then crossed back into the southbound lane, left the west side of the road and struck a tree. At last check the identities of both victims are being withheld pending notification of family.
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Read more: Woman and Boy Killed in LaPorte Co Crash Saturday

 

Northern Indiana Rail Conference Coming to Hammond

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The Northern Indiana Rail Conference, “Junction 2013” will highlight not only the new $65 million dollar Potash Corporation investment in Hammond, Indiana, but will also focus on economic development, and methods to capitalize our rail assets in Northern Indiana.

Mr. David Ostertag, Senior Director of Transportation and Distribution for Potash Corporation will deliver the keynote address, emphasizing the Potash Multi-Million dollar investment in Hammond, why they chose Hammond for their new distribution site, and how this new location will enable Potash to more efficiently reach their customers across the Eastern United States.

A Panel of experts will follow the Potash presentation with a wealth of information, highlighting the Indiana Harbor Belt Railway (IHB), the $71 million dollar Indiana Gateway Project, the Norfolk Southern Rail influence in Northern Indiana, and the nearly 300 new construction and permanent jobs created by the Potash project.

Hammond Mayor, Thomas M. McDermott, Jr will join the NW Indiana Forum’s CEO, Mark Maassel, and railroad officials from Norfolk Southern, IHB, and Potash Corp, in a lively Question and Answer session with the audience.

The Northern Indiana Rail Conference – Junction 2013, is sponsored by the Steering Committee of the Northern Indiana Rail Conference, and hosted by the Lakeshore Chamber and the Crossroads Regional Chamber.

Location: Dynasty Conference Center, 4125 Calumet Avenue, Hammond, IN.

Date: April 19, 2013

Time: 11:15 – 1:00 pm

Cost: $25.00

RSVP to the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, at 219 931 1000.
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New Porter County Organization Names It's Leader

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Porter County’s new initiative to address substance abuse now has a name and a leader.  Heather Harrigan has been named Executive Director of Empower Porter County, a unified organization committed to empowering the community to prevent and overcome substance abuse. 

Empower Porter County is a single organization, uniting the efforts of many sectors of the community toward a common goal.  “We’re pleased to bring together a coalition of 12 organizations – healthcare, government, education, law enforcement, business, faith-based organizations, youth organizations and more,” said Harrigan.  “We’ll be working together to maximize efforts in our county, helping each organization to be even more effective and finding new ways to meet the community’s needs.” 

Harrigan brings 25 years of management and public service experience to her new role at Empower Porter County.  She most recently served as Director of Marketing and Sales at Prudential Executive Group, one of the region’s most successful real estate organizations.  She has also successfully led a nonprofit organization, led alumni affairs at Valparaiso University and served on the boards of directors for several community organizations, including the Porter County Community Foundation, and Pathway Family Center.  “I feel a personal interest in the mission of Empower Porter County and look forward to partnering with others to reach our common goal of overcoming substance abuse,” she said.

Empower Porter County is a limited liability organization founded through the Porter County Community Foundation and funded through the generous support of governmental entities, nonprofits and local businesses committed to addressing this important issue.  The new organization will initially be housed at the Porter County Community Foundation, 57 Franklin St., in Valparaiso. To learn more, you may contact the Foundation at 219-465-0294.
HeatherHarrigan
Heather Harrigan, Executive Director of Empower Porter County
(photo courtesy of Porter County Community Foundation)
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Scam Protection for Hoosier Military Service Members

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller recently helped launch a legal toolkit to assist state attorneys general in cracking down on those who prey upon military service members. 
Zoeller worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Protection Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and attorneys general from Kentucky, Illinois and North Carolina to develop the toolkit. The kit outlines issues impacting the military community and how states’ consumer protection officials can effectively combat these types of financial predators and scammers. 

“Scammers and illegitimate businesses often target service members and their families because of their steady paychecks and deployments,” Zoeller said. “Issues impacting our military include topics ranging from predatory mortgage lending to auto financing and from GI Bill related scams to identity theft. It’s important that state and federal officials use the resources available to crack down on those who prey on individuals serving our country.”

The toolkit is intended to serve as a guide for relevant statutes and regulations, as well as a platform to discuss best practices and developing trends. Zoeller said his colleagues in offices of state attorneys general nationwide will be better equipped to navigate the diverse issues and complex laws concerning the military community. 

"I want to thank Attorney General Zoeller for his efforts to protect our service members from financial predators who attempt to take advantage of those serving our country," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard. "I also want to encourage every soldier and airman to look closely at the resources available to protect themselves and their families, so they understand situational awareness in the world of finance can be just as important as it is on the battlefield."
Zoeller said there are some important resources available to those in the military to help prevent financial harm including:
 
Active-Duty Alerts: These alerts can be placed on a service member’s credit report to inform a business it is obtaining information from an individual away on active duty. The alert requires the business to first obtain permission from an authorized third party like a family member or friend before proceeding.
 
Caps on interest bearing debt: Those on active duty may cap the interest rate on most outstanding loans at 6 percent under the provisions of the Service members Civil Relief Act. To have your interest rate reduced to 6 percent, you must write a letter to each creditor letting them know about your orders and your intent to invoke the 6 percent cap. 
Vehicle and property lease terminations: Deployed military members are able to legally terminate some vehicle and property leases. If you are currently leasing a vehicle or home/apartment and wish to terminate your lease, contact the leaseholder and inform them of your deployment.
Foreclosure and eviction relief: Under the Service member Civil Relief Act and the National Mortgage Settlement, service members are granted special relief when facing foreclosure. For example, a person may be able to obtain a “stay” or temporarily delay in a foreclosure or other civil court proceeding if he or she is called up to active duty. In addition, service members have special eligibility for loss mitigation relief such as a modification of their loan or a short sale. Similarly, service members and their families who rent their home may obtain a temporary stay of eviction proceedings while the service member is on active duty.
Atty Gen. Greg Zoeller
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (file photo)
(photo provided by Jay Stevens)
Military service members can visit www.IndianaConsumer.com/military/ to learn more about resources available to them.
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Tier Two Illiana Corridor Study Public Meeting #1

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Based on technical analysis done as part of Tier One Illiana Corridor studies (completed in January 2013) and public comments, Corridor B3 and the No-Action Alternative have been identified and carried forward into the second tier of the project.

IDOT and INDOT and are now hosting open house public meetings regarding Tier Two where the focus will shift from the original broad 952 square-mile study area to the communities, landowners and access needs along the preferred corridor.

The purpose of these meetings is to explain the Tier Two process which includes the refinement of the preferred corridor, interchange locations and layout, and determining overpass and underpass opportunities, environmental analysis and continued stakeholder outreach. IDOT and INDOT will consider your input as the detailed planning process moves forward. The meetings will be an open house format, and interested persons may attend anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. There will be a continuous PowerPoint presentation, and attendees will have the opportunity to view study exhibits and speak with IDOT, INDOT and study team representatives on a one-on-one basis. A question and answer forum will be held at 6:00 p.m. each day.

ILLINOIS
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Peotone High School
605 West North Street
Peotone, IL 60468

INDIANA
Thursday, April 18, 2013
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lowell Middle School
19250 Cline Avenue
Lowell, IN 46356

* The meeting will be accessible to handicapped individuals. Anyone needing specific assistance should contact Sarah Copeland of Images, Inc. at (630) 510-3944. Persons planning to attend who will need a sign language interpreter or other similar accommodations should notify the TTY/TTD number (800) 526-0844/ or 711; TTY users (Spanish) (800) 501-0864/or 711; and for Telebraille dial (877) 526-6670 at least five days prior to the meeting.
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Read more: Tier Two Illiana Corridor Study Public Meeting #1

 

Gary Woman Found Guilty in Boyfriend's 2009 Murder

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The fate of a Gary woman on trial for the 2009 shooting death of a man she had been involved with for some time, has been determined.  The Times is reporting that it took less than 90-minutes Friday for a Lake County`jury to find 34 year-old Kaneda Kidd guilty of murder.  Prosecutors had argued Kidd had opened fire on the victim, 37 year-old Jermaine Ellis, after the couple left a party held by friends in Merrillville. 

The defense countered that the shooting was the result of years of domestic abuse.  However, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Toth said Kidd methodically shot Ellis 10 times.

Kidd will next be sentenced on May 10th, according to the article.  Read more at:
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/gary-woman-found-guilty-in-boyfriend-s-murder/article_030e52c3-972b-523e-818d-a4806073a24b.html
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Kaneka Kidd, found guilty Friday, April 4, of murdering her longtime boyfriend in 2009
(photo courtesy of the Times of Northwest Indiana)
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Bridge Work Continues on I-94 Between US-20 SR-49

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The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces continued lane closures for both northbound and southbound I-94, between U.S. 20 and State Road 49, beginning Monday, April 8th.
The shoulders of I-94 in this area will also be closed. Lane restrictions will continue until the completion of this bridge rehabilitation project in late fall 2013.
An alternative route has been posted for drivers wishing to avoid potential travel delays. Eastbound I-94 traffic may take the U.S. 20 exit and travel east to State Road 49, then south to eastbound I-94. Westbound I-94 traffic may take the State Road 49 exit and travel north to U.S. 20, then west to westbound I-94.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and project updates like us at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and follow us at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Emergency Repairs Continue on Indiana Toll Road

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On the Indiana Toll Road (I-90), the eastbound driving lane is closed at Milepost 14-15 until Sunday evening, April 7, while crews repair a joint failure on the Broadway Bridge.   Additionally, the repairs will close the eastbound Broadway entry ramp (Milepost 14) from approximately 4 a.m. CST Saturday until 10 p.m. CST Sunday.
According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, The joint failure caused a gap in the roadway, and maintenance crews have been working diligently to correct the issue; however the length of time is greater than first anticipated. During this time, patrons wishing to enter at Broadway will be detoured to Gary East (Milepost 17).
Traffic-Alert  
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Police Release New Photos of Casino Murder Suspect

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There are new surveillance photos released by police investigating the murder of the 76 year-old Griffith businesswoman, whose body was found inside the passenger-side of her SUV at Gary casino parking lot. The Times is reporting the new photos show the suspec that police believe is the same male subject seen leaving one of the victim's family businesses appearing in security photos walking into the casino.

Additional photos show a black sedan, believed by police to contain the suspect, leaving the casino through the front valet parking area.

According to the article, 76 year-old, Mary Austgen of St. John, was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her vehicle parked in the Majestic Casino garage March 29th. Both gary and Griffith police continue to investigate the homicide. Anyone who has any information concerning the incident is asked to contact Gary or Griffith police. Read more at:
  http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/st-john/police-uncover-new-clues-in-austgen-slaying/article_db7c8031-0d18-5b12-8981-fafa927e7076.html
surveillance photo
Security photo shows male suspect, holding black bag, entering casino from the parking garage.
(photo courtesy of the Times of Northwest Indiana)
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Investigation Ends Concerning Killer's Father

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An investigation into any role the father of convicted murderer Dustin McCowan might have had in the death of Amanda Bach, has ended.  Sgt. Larry LaFlower, Public Information Officer of the Porter County Sheriff's Department says  his department and the County Prosecutor based their decision to not pursue charges against the father, Ellliot McCowan, because there is no probable cause at this time.
However, Sgt. LaFlower says if new information is received, the investigation could be reopened.
According to an article in the Times, Dustin McCowan was sentenced to the near-maximum 60-years in prison for the Sept 2011 murder of his former Portage girlfriend.  Last month the younger the younger McCowan was sentenced after being convicted of shooting Bach during the early morning hours after she showed up at the Union Township home he was living in at the time with his father, according to the article.
Read more at: 
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/valparaiso/no-charges-will-be-filed-against-elliott-mccowan-in-bach/article_4cc8eb8a-2b8d-5081-ace6-12d495e177fc.html

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Elliot McCowan
(photo courtesy of Times of Northwest Indiana and John Luke)
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Fire Destroys Home in Lake Dale

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A suposed empty house that was under rehab burned to the ground  Wednesday.  At around 12:26 pm.  Lake County Police responded to a house fire in the 4700 block of W. 153rd Avenue in Lake Dale. Upon arrival Officers found the structure to be completely engulfed by fire. An area resident indicated an explosion had been heard just prior to the fire starting. Nothing remains of the residence. Mr. Richard Stone of Cedar Lake is listed as the homeowner.

Detective Michelle Dvorscak and Detective Sgt. Edward Jenkins indicated there was one reported injury resulting from the fire. They are investigating his role in the incident. The male subject that was injured was airlifted from St. Anthony Hospital in Crown Point to Loyola Medical Center. His condition is unknown at this time.

The residence was under rehab, and it is believed there was no one living in the home at the time of this possible arson fire.

This case remains under investigation.
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Call To Hotline Tips Police to Suspected Drug Activity

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On Thursday, April 4th, at approximately 12:38 pm, the Lake County Police responded to the residence at 648 New Jersey Street in the Aetna section of Gary reference to information provided on the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Tipline indicating there is suspected drug activity at that location. 
Upon arrival at the location, officers discovered the rear door of the residence to be standing open and could not raise any occupants to come to the door.  Officers noticed an extremely foul odor coming from the home.   Observations made through the open back door included children’s clothing laid throughout the residence.  The residence smelled of filth, and observed urine, feces, rat/mouse droppings, and molded food. 
Officers entered the building due to the circumstances to secure a possible crime scene.  They found no one to be home.  Officers located in plain view marijuana and pills.  The marijuana field tested positive.  A total gross weight of 113.5 grams was confiscated.  There was morphine pills along with other prescription medications as well as field test confirmed PCP.
Admitted gang member Daniel P. Thomas was located in the area who indicated he was the occupant of the residence and was arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and incarcerated in the Lake County Jail.  Contact was made with Code Enforcement for the City of Gary and the Building Commissioner Steven Marcus.  Mr. Marcus advised that the residence was inhabitable and ordered the City to board up the residence immediately. 
Contact was also made with Lake County Department of Child Services due to the children living in the residence.  An investigation will ensue with that agency.  An area resident indicated there were at least four children living in the home and other children were brought there for babysitting services.
Sheriff Buncich stated, “We continue to encourage other area residents to call the Hotline.  If you see something like this in your neighborhood, please call us and we will see what we can do.”  Lake County Sheriff’s Department Tipline telephone number is 1-800-750-2746.
Daniel Thomas Sr
Daniel P. Thomas
(photo provided by Lake County Sheriff's Department
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Lane Restriction Start Monday on US 41 in Newton County

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NEWTON COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces lane restrictions for U.S. 41 just north of State Road 10, beginning Monday, April 8th. U.S. 41 will be restricted to one lane in each direction near the project site so crews can install a pipe. All lanes are expected to reopen in early July.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, “like us” at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest and “follow us” at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest.
You can find traffic restriction information at www.trafficwise.IN.gov.  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT
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DNR Grants to Address Invasive Aquatic Vegetation

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Indiana DNR
Department of Natural Resource grants totaling 693-thousand dollars is set to be used to fund the battle against invasive aquatic vegetation in 53 Indiana lake, including a half-dozen in northwest Indiana. Several lakes in LaPorte, Porter, and Starke County will receive DNR grant money, which comes from the LARE fee paid annually by boat owners to the BMV. The DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife reports the projects also provide economic benefits to the associated lake communities by offering increased opportunities for those who fish or pleasure boat.
April, 2013 LARE Invasive Aquatic Vegetation Management Grant Awards
Water body (County)
Project type
Grant award

Bass Lake (Starke)
Aquatic vegetation management treatment
$5,000

City of LaPorte Area Lakes-Clear, Pine, and Stone lakes (LaPorte)
Aquatic vegetation management survey, plan and treatment
$66,800

Fish Lake Area-Upper Fish, Lower Fish and Mud lakes (LaPorte)
Aquatic vegetation management survey, plan and treatment
$32,000

Hudson Lake (LaPorte)
Aquatic vegetation management survey, plan and treatment
$11,920

Koontz Lake (Starke)
Aquatic vegetation management survey, plan and treatment
$13,000

Valparaiso Area Lakes-Flint and Long lakes (Porter)
Aquatic vegetation management survey, plan and treatment
$16,750

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National Public Health Week: Empower a Healthy Community

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indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—National Public Health Week wraps up today with an important message to empower a healthy community. Individual health and community health go hand-in-hand. Where individuals have access to health tools, knowledge and opportunities, improved community health follows.  A resilient, well-supported public health system provides these necessary resources.
“It’s been a great National Public Health Week so far,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Each of the daily themes were designed to help people understand exactly what public health is and its value. Nowhere is that value more evident than in the community setting, so today’s theme of Empowering a Healthy Community is a great lesson to end the week.”
There are many ways public health efforts positively affect Hoosiers, such as by providing access to fluoridated water, which can reduce tooth decay by up 25 percent, and protecting children and adults from infectious diseases by making immunizations available.
Providing information and guidance about healthy eating, physical activity and injury prevention are key components of public health. Health and wellness initiatives are often driven by local health departments and other public health partners. These efforts are aimed at improving quality and length of life and reducing the burden of health care costs on society. For example, if 10 percent of adults began regularly walking, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs could be averted. And a sustained 10 percent weight loss could reduce an overweight person's lifetime medical costs by up to $5,300 by lowering the costs linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
“It’s amazing how far a little physical activity can go toward your overall health and wellness,” said Dr. VanNess. “Adding a few small extra steps into your day by parking far away from an entrance or choosing the stairs over the elevator adds up. You can gradually work your way up to more challenging activities, like Zumba, swimming, yoga or running. Have fun with exercise.”
Here are some ways to help your community become empowered:
·         Join your Neighborhood Watch program.
·         Inquire about volunteer opportunities at community health centers.
·         Take part in national health observances, such as National HIV Testing Day, National Youth Violence Prevention Week and National Minority Health Month.
·         Support smoke-free policies; visit www.QuitNowIndiana.com to learn more. 
·         Partner with state and local parks and recreational facilities to increase access to safe places to be outside and physically active.
·         Work with local authorities to initiate violence intervention and prevention efforts. 
·         Reach out to health care professionals and discuss community health and prevention efforts.
·         Create a local health movement. Start a healthy food co-op, organize a canning circle, gather a walking group or form a club dedicated to volunteering.
 
To learn more about National Public Health Week, visit www.nphw.org.
For more information about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov.
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Page 359 of 488


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