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Work Continues to Let Blind Woman Keep Her Home

Work continues to allow an elderly blind woman in Cedar Lake keep her longtime home after the small plot of land ended up on a county tax sale list and was sold out from under her for 43-dollars. During a recent Region News Makers interview Cedar Lake Town Council President Randy Niemeyer says town council members took action earlier this month directing the town attorney to look into trying to buy the property where 67-year-old Dolores Pittman has lived for over a half-century, then allowing her to stay there through possibly a life-estate agreement.
Pittman's family bought the house decades ago, and was paying rent on the land, and when a church group that used to own the land divested itself of the property and property tax bills for the parcel began mounting up. To hear more our Region News Makers interview with Cedra Lake Town Council President Niemeyer, visit

Season's Greetings from Governor Mike Pence

Gov Mike Pence
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and that is especially true in the Hoosier State. Ever since my youth, Christmas in Indiana has been magical to me, and it still is. It is a time of the year when my present pays special tribute to my past. I cannot come to a Christmas Eve without spending some time thinking of my Dad, gone now 25 years, or my grandparents, whose loving arms and twinkling eyes still light my memories.
Every family has their own traditions, but for the Pences, it will mean church and dinner on Christmas Eve with Karen’s side of the family and Christmas morning opening presents around the tree at the Governor’s Residence with our three college-age kids.
During this special time, we do well to remember that many across our state face this season with heartache. Some have lost a job, some have been out of work for a long time, some have lost a loved one, and others have a son or daughter serving our country in a distant land. For all  of them,  I pray they find hope, comfort and joy in this blessed season. And as we enjoy our families, let’s find ways to share our blessings by being generous with our treasure and time. Let’s make an extra effort to support local charities as they provide for the needs of the most vulnerable within our communities. And let’s remember to personally reach out to that neighbor who needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement. It may be just the gift someone needs most.
On behalf of our family, I wish you and yours a truly memorable holiday season. Merry Christmas, Indiana.
Governor Mike Pence...

Proposed P3 Airport Terms to be Made Public on 1/13

Preliminary approval was given today by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority Board to move forward with the public meeting of ordinances surrounding the proposed privatization terms. Tim Toughy, spokesperson for the public-private partnership committee says the proposed terms will be made public on January 13th, with an opportunity for public comment through January 27th. A public hearing will also take place on January 27th and the board may choose to vote on the matter that day.
The proposed terms were negotiated by the Ad Hoc committee with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., of Virginia, and include an investment of 25 million dollars in the first three years and a minimum 30 percent goal for local workforce participation as well as performance incentives for revenue growth, including profit sharing with the airport and the City of Gary. ...

Crashes Cause Road Restrictions in Porter County

porter co sheriff dept
Two separate crashes involving extractions have kept Porter County Sheriff's Police busy this afternoon and as a result traffic restrictions were put in place. Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says a three-vehicle crash involving two passenger vehicles and a semi took place on County Road 600 North and State Road 49. Sgt. LaFlower reports northbound traffic on State Road 49 was restricted to one-lane and County Road 600 North traffic is not being allowed to cross State Road 49. No major injuries are being reported.
Meanwhile US 6, between Mander Drive and County Road 350 East in Jackson Township, will be closed until around 6:30pm tonight for crash cleanup after a westbound vehicle crossed the center line for unknown reasons and struck an eastbound semi head-on. Sgt. LaFlower says a 49 year old Wanatah woman had to extricated from her vehicle as a result of the crash, while her 69 year old female passenger also reported an injury. The semi driver was not injured in the crash....


Head-on Crash Closes Portion of US-6 in Porter County

US-HWY 6 is closed between Mander Rd. and CR-350 E. due to a head-on crash between a semi and another vehicle. Porter County Sheriff's police say drivers should avoid the area for at least the next couple hours. 
Drivers need to avoid US Highway 6 east of Calumet Avenue in Jackson Township this afternoon. Shortly after 2:00 pm CST emergency crews responded to a report of a semi vs another vehicle in a head-on crash on US HWY 6 in Jackson Township.  
Sgt. Larry La Flower of the Porter County Sheriff's Department says at least one extrication was performed and a life flight helicopter was landing in the area. Sgt. La Flower is urges drivers to stay out of the area as the accident scene will be active for some time. Reportedly semi hauling a steel coil lost its load and is leaking diesel fuel as a result Hazmat crews are enroute to the scene. as a result of the crash, US- HW 6 is closed between Mander Dr. and CR-350 E. in Jackson Township.
Also, another crash is being reported in Porter County at State Rd. 49 and County Rd.600 N north of Valparaiso. Drivers need to be alert to arriving emergency vehicles.



Gold Coin Dropped in Red Kettle in Cedar Lake

gold coin
December 23, 2013 (Chicago) – One 1-ounce 1993 fine gold $50 coin, valued at approximately $1,300, was dropped into a Salvation Army Red Kettle on Friday, December 20, at a Strack and Van Til in Cedar Lake (9605 Lincoln Plaza). Gold coins found in Salvation Army Red Kettles have become a much-anticipated holiday tradition of giving in Chicagoland and northwest Indiana.
In the continuing economic downturn, more and more people are turning to The Salvation Army for help. The Salvation Army in Munster, which includes Cedar Lake, has seen a marked increase in the number of families, individuals and seniors requesting emergency aid for food, largely due to decreases in federal assistance benefits. Food assistance is one of the primary uses for Red Kettle donations, along with emergency rent and utility assistance, after-school programs for youth and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Each holiday season, The Salvation Army in Lake County serves more than 11,000 people, provides more than 2,500 food baskets, 8,000 toys and more than 4,000 articles of clothing.

"Donations to red kettles in Lake County Indiana are down by 30 percent compared to this time last year, so a donation as significant as this gold coin really does go a long way toward helping us meet our goal and we're so grateful to our anonymous Secret Santa," said Lt. Betsy Clark of The Salvation Army Hammond-Munster Corps. "This year we had one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we're trying our best to make up for lost time so that we don't have to make any cuts to the critical social services we provide to people in need all year long."
The philanthropic tradition of dropping gold coins into Salvation Army kettles actually began right here and dates back more than 25 years, when the first gold coin was deposited in McHenry County. Since then, The Salvation Army has received more than 400 gold coins of every type and description from anonymous donors.
The familiar Red Kettles will disappear from the streets on December 24, with a few remaining until January 4. However, the Red Kettle campaign will continue through January 31, 2014. The iconic red kettles and its bell ringers are the heart and soul of the Christmas season and are an integral part of The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. The Salvation Army receives nearly 70 percent of its yearly donations during the campaign. The funds are used not only to support Christmas programs and services, but to help The Salvation Army serve neighbors in need throughout the entire year. Funds raised will stay in the Lake County community.

For those wishing to donate at their computers, virtual Red Kettles are available on-line. Donors can host a virtual Red Kettle, or sponsor a Red Kettle team, by going to The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division web site at Visitors to the site can register individually, as a group, or a business by completing a simple registration form.

To make a donation by mail, please send to:
The Salvation Army, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321
call 219-838-0380
or visit www.salarmyhammond,org


Extra Alarm Industrial Fire in Chicago Heights

1 breaking-news
Crews are on the scene of an extra alarm industrial fire at the Trialco Plant in Chicago Heights, which has caused the closure of US 30, between State Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. No further information is available at this time. ...

Flossmoor Teen Facing an Adult Charge of Murder

The death of a 25-year-old Flossmoor man authorities allege was fatally stabbed by his 15-year-old brother early Friday, marks the first homicide in the south-suburban community in more than thirty years, police say. The suspect, Michael Tigue, is facing an adult charge of murder in the death of Steven Tigue, and is scheduled to appear in court again tomorrow. At the bond hearing Saturday, prosecutors said the teen planned an attack on his older brother because he'd been the victim of bullying. ...

Peoples Bank to Acquire First Federal Savings Loan

Munster-based Peoples Bank has signed an agreement to acquire First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Hammond. First Federal is headquartered on Rimbach Street in downtown Hammond and has a branch on Cline Avenue in Highland. NorthWest Indiana Bancorp, the holding company for Peoples, says Peoples will acquire the assets and liabilities of First Federal in a voluntary merger, pending regulatory approval.
“Peoples Bank is taking a significant step in expanding our community banking franchise and furthering our strategic goals through consolidation,” said David A. Bochnowski, chairman and chief executive officer of Peoples and the Bancorp. “The merging of our two organizations offers opportunities to create operating, investment and managerial synergies while offering First Federal customers a broader menu of traditional and electronic banking products to meet their needs now and in the future,” he added.
John Freyek, president and chief executive officer of First Federal, views the merger as the means to bring together two community banks that share a similar history of local decisionmaking, great customer service and commitment to the communities they serve. “Our goal this past year has been to explore possible relationships that would be meaningful to our customers, employees and the community,” said Freyek. “We’re excited to partner with Peoples and provide our customers access to a full range of deposit, lending and wealth management product and service options while preserving our community banking roots.”...

Memorial Marker Unveiled for Fallen Trooper

Scott Patrick Memorial
A memorial marker has been placed at the location where Indiana State Police Trooper Scott Patrick of Wheatfield was killed in the line of duty in Gary ten years ago. Police say Patrick was responding to help a stranded motorist at the Grant Street exit of the Borman Expressway on December 22nd, three days before Christmas 2003, when he was fatally shot. The marker was unveiled on a rainy, wet Saturday night this past weekend in a ceremony that included special guest speakers, Indiana State Police Honor Guard and the Scott Patrick family.

Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon G. Smith filed a naming resolution which was passed by both chambers of the Indiana legislature and resulted in the declaration dated January 13, 2013. Indiana State Police say these efforts were enhanced with the assistance of Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh and INDOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Alderman.   [Left to right: Lieutenant Jerry Williams (Lowell District Commander), Melissa Patrick (widow), Isaac Scott Patrick (son) and Jamie Patrick (brother)/photos Indiana State Police]
The ceremony included the Indiana State Police Honor Guard, the Lake County Pipes and Drums, Indiana State Police Chaplain Coffee, Senior Trooper Geoff Gruber (who was first on scene and wounded Darryl Jeter who was convicted of Scott’s death), Melissa Patrick (Scott’s widow), Isaac Scott Patrick (nine year-old son of Scott) and Jamie Patrick (Scott’s brother).  Patrick's widow was pregnant when he was fatally shot.  The ceremony also marked the tenth anniversary of Trooper Patrick's death.  In 2006, State Road 10 between Wheatfield and DeMotte in Jasper County was dedicated as the Trooper Scott A. Patrick Memorial Highway in his honor.
Darryl Jeter of Chicago was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 after being found guilty of murder in Trooper Patrick's death....

Ind License Branches Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles says license branches will be closed on Tuesday, December 24th and Wednesday, December 25th in observance of the Christmas holiday. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Thursday, December 26th.  In addition, license branches will be closed on Wednesday, January 1st in observance of New Year's Day. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Thursday, January 2nd....

Gold Coin Dropped in Porter County Red Kettle

The first gold coin of the Christmas season for the Porter County Salvation Army has been found in a red kettle at the Strack and Van Til on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, during the morning to afternoon shift Saturday December 21. The coin has an image of the knight St. George, and was accompanied by a Christmas card with Santa Claus on front, signed "The Bright Metal Society", and identifying the gift as an 1883 Queen Victoria gold coin. Also inside the card was a special holiday message that read
"Three Wise Men
Came & one
Brought Gold...
Far Away Land
When Times were
Sought for a
Mother & her
Child, Holiest
King – yet
Infant Mild...
Two Thousand Years
Have come & fled,
Still to the Manger
We are led.
Plowshares were
taken from a sword.
Bright Metal once again serves our Lord..."
Additional information from The Salvation Army of Porter County:
THE SALVATION ARMY OF PORTER COUNTY 2013 Christmas Season Red Kettle Campaign is at $121,805.93 (as of Thursday, 12/19) 81.2% of goal (150,000) in Porter County, which is our major fund-raising event for the Army each year and one of the world’s oldest philanthropic campaigns.  The monies raised over these days (excluding Sundays) will be used to assist those in need in Porter County for Christmas and throughout the 2014 fiscal year.  The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene with our overall Campaign Goal this year at $280, 000 (to date we are at $220,914.25 or 78.9%).  We plan to raise $150,000 through our Red Kettle Drive and $130,000 ( we are at $99,108.32 or 76.2%) through our mail appeal drive to serve needy families, youth & seniors in our Porter County communities throughout the year.  The Red Kettle Campaign is into the final week for Red Kettle Bell Ringing.  Please know that our Mail Appeal Drive continues to accept donations thru to January 30, 2014 for this annual campaign.
      We invite you to be part of this event to help spread the word about raising funds for The Salvation Army of Porter County to assist those in need.  Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who rung the bell; fed people on Thanksgiving Day; collected, sorted, wrapped and distributed gifts at The Salvation Army of Porter County Corps Community Center and local Nursing Homes.   “The Salvation Army has brought spiritual light and love along with food, clothing and gifts to over 433 families, 819 senior citizens and 722 children which were served this Christmas Season so that the real meaning is not forgotten.  We minister to the needy in Jesus name without discrimination.”  
      Other Christmas events held by the Army include the Angel Tree Food, Clothing & Toy Assistance, Collection and Distribution, Adopt-a-Family Assistance, Christmas Nursing Home/Shut-in Senior Gift Distribution, Christmas Food Distribution and Youth & Family Christmas Parties, Christmas and New Year Worship Services along with our daily help with food, rent/mortgage, utility, medicine, employment and transportation assistance.Thank you and may God richly bless Porter County, Indiana....

Improvements Noted at Lake County Jail

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says he will ask a federal court to dismiss US Department of Justice monitoring of county jail compliance duties for 27 of 99 deficiencies cited in a December 2010 court order that mandated improvements in jail conditions. The announcement comes after the sixth semi-annual inspection concluded Thursday and required by the court. According to Sheriff Buncich, federal inspectors said 56-percent of all problem areas have achieved either substantial or sustained compliance, up from 42-percent in May. A December 2009 report found inmates rights were being violated, officials say, in regard to medical and mental health care, suicide prevention and sanitary and safe living conditions....

Gary Homicide Investigated

Police in Gary continue to investigate a homicide discovered during the weekend. The Lake County Coroners office says 55-year-old Richard Lewis of Gary suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead shortly after 12:30 Saturday afternoon in the 200 block of Polk Street on the far north side of the city. Police say the man's body was in an alley between the 200 blocks of Polk and Tyler Streets. Gary has seen more than fifty homicides this year. Last year there were 43 homicides recorded in the city....

219: Whiting Elks Sailor Dinner

The holiday season is one of giving and that is what the Whiting Elks Lodge is doing this Christmas Day. As part of their annual tradition, they will host over 100 recruits from the Naval Station Great Lakes for Christmas dinner. Elks P.E.R. Helen Chapman says volunteers are needed and no amount of time is too small to donate. For more, listen to today's 219 at News Audio On Demand here on our website....

Good Police Work Nabs 4 Burglary Suspects in MC

michigan city police
An elderly Michigan City resident in the 200 block of Emma Street told police that after hearing a loud crash, he discovered his backdoor to be badly damaged and kicked in.  Finding that nothing was taken and after speaking with family the 98 year old called police.  Then according to police reports, while taking a report of that incident last Tuesday afternoon officers received another burglary call of an elderly homeowner in the 100 block of Ashland.
The 79 year old victim told police that she was home when her power went off but that she thought it was weather related.  Then she said she herd a noise in her kitchen area and thought it was a family member.  When she went to check, she said she saw two males running out of her house and like with the earlier victim, checked with family before calling police.
Two members of the burglary task force, Cpl. Al Bush and Cpl. Tim Baker were getting ready to investigate the crime scenes when two juveniles arrived at the police station for a scheduled interview with one of the members on an unrelated case, according to reports.  
Reports say Shift ll  officer Cracknell collecting evidence from the scene relayed information to officer Oberle who was working the front desk.  Officer Oberle picked up on certain similarities from the crime scene to the two juveniles waiting to be interviewed.
After the juveniles were interviewed on their cases, they were then asked about the burglaries.  Following the interview the two juveniles were arrested for burglary.  Cpl. Bush continued to investigate the case and that led him to more suspects and on December 18th and 19th two more juvenile suspects were arrested in connection with the case.  A total of four suspects ranging in age from 15 to 17 years of age each face 2 counts of B-felony burglary charges.
Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek applauds the officers and detectives for really good police and team work.
Suspects are presumed innocenter until proven guilty in a court of law....

Wake for Local Pearl Harbor Survivor on Sunday

USS West Virginia   
A Pearl Harbor survivor from Hammond passed away on Wednesday at the age of 94. John Latko was a marine aboard the USS West Virginia and gained popularity in a picture (above photo) showing him in a boat pulling another man out of the water with the USS West Virginia burning in the background. Latko was involved with the local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, as well as the armed forces memorial in Munster. A wake has been scheduled for Sunday, at Burns Kish Funeral Home in Hammond, from 2 to 7pm.
(photo:  Provided by James M. Laud Sr., Indiana State Chairman Sons of Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors)...

Sister of Missing Michigan Doctor Posts Plea

The uncle of the missing Kalamazoo doctor, whose abandoned car was discovered on I-94 near Portage last week, told FOX 17 in Grand Rapids that the family wants authorities to keep searching the area where his niece's car was found and to also look in the direction of Gary and Gary itself.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Herman Bromfield says they would like to have missing Teleka (Patrick) back by Christmas and that their Christian faith is keeping the family hopeful of finding her.
Meanwhile, Teleka's sister has reached out to social media with a plea to help find her sister.  The photo above was found among over a dozen other posts at the popular  Pinterest website at:
According to ABC News, Doctor Patrick, who has been missing for over two weeks, vanished from her hospital parking lot. Her purse and cell phone were found at the hospital and her car was discovered abandoned in a ditch the night of December 5th on westbound I-94, just east of the Porter/Burns Harbor exit. ...

50th Anniversary of Fallen Griffith Officer Observed

Lt Tex Minter
You will find the name of Texas Minter among the names of over 19,000 other law enforcers who are honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. for their dedication and sacrifice.
According to the Griffith Police Department, it was 50 years ago on Friday, December 20th when, in the line of duty, Lt. Minter's  vehicle slid on an icy road and into the path of a passing train.  Fifty years later, members of the Griffith Police Department, Griffith town officials, surviving family members and Police Chaplain Father Mens gathered at Ridgelawn Cemetery in memory of the fallen officer.  
A police department press release says that In 1965, Texas Minter was one of four officers appointed to the Griffith Police Department when it was officially formed by the newly created Griffith Metropolitan Police Commission.  Appointed as a Sergeant, Texas Minter demonstrated himself to be a leader and was quickly appointed to the Lieutenant’s position, a position he retained throughout the remainder of his service with the department. 
Known both personally and professionally as a gentle and distinguished man, Lt. Minter was a devoted husband to his wife Elsa and an inspiring example to his nieces and nephew.  When not acting as a law enforcement officer, Lt. Minter enjoyed family and capturing the beauty of life through his hobby of photography.  When acting as a law enforcement officer, Lt. Minter was known as being fiercely protective to his oath as an officer and enjoyed a reputation of being a diligent protector of both the officers and citizens of Griffith.
Chief Mance says, “Lt. Minter’s reputation as an officer is an inspiration to us all and memorials like the one given today are a small token of our ongoing appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice he gave 50 years ago.”
In addition, Chief Mance thanked BerylMartin design studio for their donation of a memorial portrait that was given to the family and memorial programs that were given to the memorial attendees.
Chief Mance also thanked Griffith FOP lodge #161 for the memorial wreath that they placed at Lt. Minter’s grave.


Red Kettle Campaign needs your Help to Reach Goal

salvation army red kettle
In it's final week for Red Kettle Ringing the Salvation Army of Porter County are a little over three-quarters toward this year's goal. 
According to a press release as of last Wednesday (12/18) $111,451.98 of their $150,000 goal has been reached and with the Army's annual mail drive, the overall campaign goal for Porter County is $280,000 however, mail drive donations will be accepted through January 30, 2014. 
According to a press release, monies raised (excluding Sundays) will be used to assist those in need in Porter County for Christmas and throughout the 2014 fiscal year.  Specifically the Salvation Army in Porter County has brought spiritual light and love along with food, clothing and gifts to over 433 families, 819 senior citizens and 722 children in the county, according to the release.
The Army also sponsors other Christmas events including the Angel Tree Food, Clothing and Toy Assistance, Collection and Distribution, Adopt-a-Family Assistance, Christmas Nursing Home/Shut-in Senior Gift Distribution, Christmas Food Distribution and Youth and Family Christmas Parties, Christmas and New Year Worship Services along with the Salvation Army's daily help with food, rent/mortgage. utility. medicine, employment and transportation assistance.
Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or send a check to your local Salvation Army. Donors can also contribute on-line at:, or through a virtual red kettle on any number of corporate or individual websites.
HISTORY:  The Red Kettle campaign, first begun in San Francisco in 1891, has traditionally been The Salvation Army’s most prominent fund-raiser.  Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army to provide assistance to more than 34 million Americans in need.  About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide. Almost 34 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 

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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
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