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Hospital Assessment Goes Up After Appeal

The Porter County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals Monday ruled that the first assessment for the new Porter Regional Hospital should have been higher than it was. The ruling comes after the hospital filed an appeal contending the 2012 assessment should have been lower. The president of the appeals board says the hospital opened the door to the increase by appealing the March 2012 assessed value of 34-million dollars, which officials have now increased to 117-million dollars.  The new hospital at State Road 49 and US 6, which opened in August 2012, has been described as the biggest construction project in Porter County since the steel mills went in....
 

Mega Millions at $586 Million

Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot estimate has been increased to $586 million.  Here are some fun facts courtesy of the Hoosier Lottery:
Notable Hoosier wins by family, friend or workplace pools
Some notable Hoosier jackpot wins, including the biggest prize ever won in the state and the only Mega Millions jackpot win in Indiana, have been by family members or co-workers who pooled their money and purchased tickets as a group.
Pools, also referred to as lottery clubs, are popular among Hoosiers.  Indiana's biggest jackpot, a $314 million Powerball win in Richmond in 2007, was a group of family members:  a father and his two grown children, who played Powerball twice a week together.
Indiana's only Mega Millions jackpot win to date was claimed by a group of five siblings, the Bolke family, who pooled their money and struck it rich in February 2011 with a $46.5 million winning ticket purchased in Munster.
Players interested in pooling their money and playing as a group may want to print a  Mega Millions Pool Form at hoosierlottery.com.
Other big Hoosier wins by groups include the following:
    Two southern Indiana co-workers, welders Darin Fox of Clarksville and Todd Reardon of Jeffersonville, both retired after they combined their money and won a $221.7 million Powerball jackpot in April 2011.
    A group calling themselves "The Lucky 13" claimed a $295 million Powerball prize on a ticket purchased in Richmond in July 1998.
    Two co-workers at CMA Supply in Fort Wayne claimed a $19 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot in September 2013. A group of six Columbus residents and friends who called themselves the "Thursday Lunch Six" claimed a $14 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot in August 2012.
    The "Amtrak 15" from Beech Grove shared a $34.5 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot in October 2010.
    Twenty-nine co-workers at Trailer Transit in Porter split a $2 million Powerball prize in August 2012.
    Ten co-workers at PRD in Bedford split a $1 million Powerball prize in September 2013.
    Two co-workers at Union Electric Steel in Valparaiso, Brad Hundt and Pamella Legler, combined their funds and won $1 million playing Powerball in May 2012.
    Five medical claims processors in Indianapolis split a $1 million prize in February of this year after pooling their money and matching the first five numbers in a Powerball drawing.
    Thirty-six City of Hammond employees shared a $250,000 Mega Millions prize in August of this year.
Tickets for the $586 million Mega Millions jackpot must be purchased by 10:44 p.m. Tuesday for the drawing, which is at approximately 11 p.m. They are available for $1 per wager at over 4,000 retailers across the state.
To avoid long lines at retail, players may want to purchase their tickets early.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.  
ABOUT THE HOOSIER LOTTERY: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to local police and firefighters' pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. In fiscal year 2012, $147.6 million in Hoosier Lottery earnings helped reduce motor vehicle excise taxes by 50 percent.
To learn more about the Hoosier Lottery, visit www.hoosierlottery.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter....
 

Region Resident Celebrates her 105th birthday

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Ann Pamachena was four years old when the Titantic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank on its maiden voyage. Fast forward to this last Friday, and Ann could be seen playing a piano (above photo) at her 105th Birthday celebration at Golden Living Center in Portage.
That is where the staff, management and voluteers at Asera Care Hospice and Palliative Medicine joined family and friends in celebrating the centenarian's
special day.
 
Ann Pamachena 2
Ryan Trzaskowski Asera's Executive Director says that everyone just wanted to "celebrate the moment" with  Ann.  
Trzaskowski wants everyone to know that hospice care is about living  "Although someone is facing the end of thier time here on earth that there is still a lot to be celebrated and a lot that hospice can bring to the quality of that time and we are certainly very privilidged to be a part of folks lives."

You can find out more about the birthday celebration online by clicking on the News Audio On Demand link at:  http://regionnewsteam.com
(photos courtesy of great nephew, Christopher Smith)...
 

Indiana Welcome Center Reaches Milestone

Indiana Welcome Center
On Saturday, the South Shore Visitors and Convention Authority welcomed their 3-millionth visitor to the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. According to the South Shore CVA, Janette Patterson of downstate Greenwood, was on her way to Chicago with her family when she decided to make a stop to view the exhibits at the welcome center. After being given a gift basket full of items from South Shore CVA partners, including a gift certificate for an overnight stay, candy from Albanese and more Patterson remarked how great and nice the welcome center was to her.
The Indiana Welcome Center serves both residents and visitors to the South Shore area and first opened its doors in 1999.
(photo/ http://www.in.gov )...
 

Governor to Present 2014 Jobs and Economic Agenda

 Hoosiers might have a better idea of what to expect on the Indiana job front in 2014.  Governor Mike Pence is scheduled to detail his 2014 jobs and economic agenda during a keynote address one o'clock EST Tuesday at the Anderson Rotary meeting in Indianapolis. The venue he'll be speaking at, called "The Speak Easy," is a place for Indianapolis-based entrepreneurs and start ups to work and collaborate, according to a press release from the governor's office. ...
 

Mega Millions Jackpot: Grows to $586 Million!

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According to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, the chance of getting struck by a bolt of lightning in any given year is around one in 700,000.  Those odds dim quickly when compared to national lotteries.   Case in point, the current Mega Millions Jackpot of $586 million.  Contemplating a windfall for that amount even after taxes at Christmas time would be on everybody's wish list but according to the Hoosier lottery website current odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 258,890,850.
ABC News reports that there have been 21 straight Mega Million drawings without yielding a winner and that number is close to the longest winless streak of 25 drawings 13 years ago.  Fast growing jackpots are the recent norm ever since lottery officials changed the rules, which makes it harder to win..  However, Walter Hickey, a statistician with Five-Thirty-Eight-dot-com, says somebody's bound to win eventually.   The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
(graphic:  www.hoosierlottery.com)...
 

US Senate Okays New Head of Homeland Security

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On Monday, the U.S. Senate gave overwhelming approval to Jeh Johnson, the President's choice  to head up the department of Homeland Security.  Indiana Senator, (Democrat) Joe Donnelly announced the tally with 78 members voting in favor Johnson and 16 voting against, confirming Johnson's nomination for Homeland Security Secretary.
(photo: Indiana U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly/provided)...
 

Cook Co, Ill Sheriff to Reveal Concealed Carry Policy

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llinois' concealed carry law goes into effect in January and Cook County, Illinois Sheriff, Tom Dart is expected to make a policy announcement 11 a.m. Tuesday morning concerning the new law.  A press release says Sheriff Dart will speak on managing the huge number of concealed carry license applications that the law will create.
Dart will also reveals plans to ensure public safety in Cook County--especially ensuring that people who pose a risk to themselves or others are not grated applications.  The press conference will be held at Sheriff's Police Headquarters in suburban Maywood, according to the release.
(photo:  Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart at Gary Gun Summit last February.  Photo courtesy of the Times)...
 

I U Northwest Homecoming Dates Announced

IU NW logo
The fifth annual Homecoming at IU Northwest will be held January 21-23,2014. According to a press release from the university, homecoming week festivitieswill include an alumni reception, men’s and women’s basketball games, guest speaker and more. Events are also open to current students.
Events planned for Homecoming Week 2014 include:
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m., Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium

Free Lecture: “Leadership Lessons: Become the CEO of Your Own Career”
Presented by Caroline Dowd-Higgins
(Reception to follow)
Dowd-Higgins is the Director of Professional Enrichment for the IU Alumni Association and a nationally-known career expert.. She has authored the book and maintains the blog: This Is Not the Career I Ordered® which showcases her savvy professional development advice. Dowd-Higgins has a social media reach of 81 million and writes for the Huffington Post, America Online (AOL), CNN Money, More Magazine, and for The Chronicle, a newspaper in Indiana. She maintains a career and executive coaching practice and speaks nationally on professional development topics.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 6 p.m., Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium
One-man play and discussion: “Incognito”
Presented by Michael Sidney Fosberg
Raised in a working-class Caucasian family in a Chicago suburb, Fosberg discovered at the age of 34 that his biological father is African American. “Incognito” is Fosberg’s journey to uncover and discover himself, his roots, his family, and the difficult history behind the American complexity of "race".
Since 2001, Fosberg has performed “Incognito” throughout the country, inviting audiences to question and discuss their thoughts on race and identity. This special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observance is sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

Thursday, Jan. 23, 4 p.m., Moraine Student Center
Alumni Reception

All IU Northwest alumni are invited to network with former classmates, professors and colleagues at this hors d’oeuvres reception. Alumni who attend will receive a free ticket to the Homecoming basketball games, which follows the reception.
Please RVSP to the Office of Alumni Relations at (219) 980-6769.

Women’s and men’s basketball Homecoming games 5 and 7 p.m., respectively Savannah Center Gymnasium. Come see the men’s and women’s basketball teams take on Moody Bible Institute.
There will be food served at halftime of the women’s game, and halftime challenges between current students and alumni during the men’s game. Tickets are $5 for IU Northwest students and $10 for all others. Tickets may be purchased at the game or in advance from the Offices of Alumni Relations or Student Activities.

The Lady RedHawks boast two Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Conference Championships and two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Tournament qualifying titles. The team is led by two-time A.I.I. Coach of the Year Ryan Shelton, recently honored for his 100th career win.

The Men’s Basketball program is led by Head Coach and Gary native Jason Hawkins. Currently in his second year at IU Northwest, Coach Hawkins brings National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) D-I and D-III experiences as well as NAIA head coaching experience

The Savannah Center is located on the northeast corner of campus at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary.


For more information about the Homecoming events, contact the Office of Student Activities at (219) 980-6746 or the Office of Alumni Relations at (219) 980-6769.


About Indiana University Northwest
As one of seven Indiana University campuses, IU Northwest leads the region as the premier, urban campus dedicated to serving the needs of more than 6,000 students from the state’s most diverse and industrialized region. Committed to helping its local Northwest Indiana communities thrive, IU Northwest is best-known for providing a personal, quality and affordable education close to home. IU Northwest positions its students to be leaders with more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional degree options available from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Business and Economics, and the School of Education. The campus is also host to IU School of Medicine-Northwest, which actively involves students in research and local healthcare needs through its four-year medical doctorate program. For more information, please visit www.iun.edu.

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Multi-Semi Crash Closes WB US-30 in Marshall County

A chain-reaction crash involving four semis shutdown the west bound lanes of highway US-30 just east of US-31 near Plymouth in Marshall County for over an hour Monday afternoon. According to published reports, a semi heading westbound near King Rd. rear-ended another semi causing two other semis to become involved in the crash sending one of the drivers to an area hospital with minor injuries. Indiana State Police report that the crash dislodged a large tank holding argon gas which landed in the westbound lanes. WSBT TV reports some of the tank gas did leak out but Hazmat crews were not needed. The westbound lanes of US-30 were re-opened around 4p.m. CST....

 

Snow Moving through and Limiting Visibility in the Region

Afternoon rush hour traffic around Northwest Indiana and the Chicago metro area are encountering slower speeds due to areas of moderate to heavy snow falling in the Region.
Traffic tipsters are reporting reduced visibilities on the Borman near the Indianapolis Blvd. exit.  Nation Weather Service meteorologists out of Chicago are predicted from one to three of snow fall in some areas through early evening.   INDOT urges drivers to allow for extra commuting time, increase the distance between other vehicles and be sure to be driving with headlights on.
12-16-13  Snow limits visibilty
(photo:  INDOT traffic cam looking eastbound Borman (I-80/94)...
   

No Serious Injuries After Tanker Tips, 2nd Tanker HIt

semi
In Gary, Indiana State Police say an early morning hazmat crash shut down a portion of northbound I-65 north of the I-80 westbound ramp for nearly twelve hours Saturday. A tanker tipped over around 4:30 am, and an empty tanker on its way to offload the hazardous materials was struck from behind about six-hours later. [Photo/Indiana State Police]
Troopers say a preliminary investigation revealed the first semi hauling nearly seven-thousand gallons of a liquid hazardous material flipped onto its passenger side on the snow-covered road after being cut off by a car so the car could exit the eastbound Borman ramp. The semi driver was unhurt. Troopers say a small leak was discovered after the crash.
Another semi/tanker was called out of Oak Brook, Illinois, to come to the scene to offload the hexanes, a colorless, flammable liquid, derived from distillation of petroleum and used as a solvent. Troopers say that empty tanker was hit as the driver stood outside his semi to gain access to the accident scene. After activating his hazard emergency lights, the driver went out to talk to a Hoosier Helper blocking I-65 from the earlier crash when the second tanker was struck by a minivan that came around a curve, began to slide and struck the rear of the tanker, police say. The minivan driver was treated and released at the scene and the semi driver was uninjured. Police say the tanker sustained minimal damage and was able to be used to offload the hazardous material from the earlier crash and all lanes were re-opened on I-65 north bound shortly after 4 pm.

Assisting: Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Division Sergeant Wanda Clay, Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers, Gary and Lake Station Fire and Haz Mat, Waffco Towing, and Service Environmental; Hoosier Helpers and Gary Fire Department.
 

...

   

Governor Pence Names New State Auditor

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State Rep. Suzanne Crouch
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced Republican State Representative Suzanne Crouch of Evansville as Auditor of State for Indiana.  She will complete the term held by Dwayne Sawyer which runs through 2014.  “Suzanne Crouch has a lifetime of experience and a heart for public service,” said Governor Pence.  “Suzanne’s fiscal leadership in the Indiana General Assembly, her distinguished public career in local government, and financial background will be valuable assets to our state.” 
Crouch served two terms as the Auditor of Vanderburgh County, and was president of the Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners. She was elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 2005 and serves as Vice Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.   The Auditor of the State has four primary duties: accounting for all of the state’s funds; overseeing and disbursing county, city, town and school tax distributions; paying the state’s bills; and paying the state’s employees.
Crouch received her degree from Purdue University.  She is married to Larry Downs, and they have one daughter.
Erin Sheridan, the Chief of Staff for the Office of the Auditor, is serving as Auditor on an interim basis until  January 2, 2014....
   

Two Taken into Custody After Alarms at Portillo's

In Merrillville, two male suspects were taken into custody after police responded to panic alarms at Portillo's Restaurant off US 30 late Sunday night. At about 11 pm, officers confronted the individuals as they were trying to flee, police say, it was later discovered that three employees had been handcuffed and duct-taped, and that the suspects allegedly forced the manager to open a safe and stole cash inside. The men were pursued on foot, and one was caught behind a nearby Shell station, and the other on a snowy hill behind the Staples store. Police say the second individual's head struck the pavement as he fought with the arresting officer. He was immediately transported to an area hospital, then released to Merrillville Police. Authorities say the suspect vehicle was located in the parking lot of Deluxe Inn, which is directly east of Staples. Charges are pending and police are asking anyone with information to contact Merrillville Chief of Detectives Robert Wiley at 219-769-3722 ext. 360....
   

Merrillville Police Investigate Death of Lake Village Man

In Merrillville, police are asking for the public's help as they investigate the death of a Lake Village man. Merrillville police say during the course of the Lake County Coroner's office investigation, it was learned that 28-year-old Jacob Oxley was involved in an altercation this past Thursday night, December 12, at the Operating Engineers Hall Local 150 in Merrillville at approximately 10:30 pm. Authorities say Oxley passed away the next day, December 13. Video footage was recovered by Merrillville detectives, and a male suspect was subsequently held at Lake County Jail pending charges. Anyone with information is asked to contact Chief of Detectives Robert Wiley at the Merrillville Police Department at 219-769-3722 ext. 360.  ...
   

'Quick Burst' of Snow Likely in the Region

The National Weather Service in Chicago says conditions are very favorable for a short period of moderate to briefly heavy snowfall along and north of a line from Rockford to Aurora to Valparaiso this afternoon and early evening (Mon Dec 16).  Meteorologists say a fast moving disturbance will move southeast bringing snow to the Chicago metro area by around 3 pm and to Northwest Indiana by early evening.  The most intense snow may last only two or three hours, forecasters say, but up to two inches are possible. A major concern with this snow event will be its impact on the afternoon rush hour around Chicago and the Region today....
   

Elderly Gary Man Victim of Homicide

Officials say a 75-year-old Gary man was pronounced dead at his apartment Saturday night after an apparent homicide. The Lake County Coroners office was dispatched to the 100 block of East 53rd Avenue just before 5:30 pm. Authorities say the victim, identified as Zan Davenport, Jr., suffered blunt force trauma. Gary Police and Lake County C-S-I are also investigating. Gary has recorded more than fifty homicides this year. There were 43 in the city in 2012....
   

Two Killed, Groom Dies Aiding Stranded Motorist

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Nikki and Riley Knight; Linda Darlington
Lake County Sheriffs Police say a Crown Point man who had gotten married hours earlier and a motorist from Crown Point he stopped to assist were both killed when they were struck by three different vehicles Saturday night shortly before midnight. Officers say 49-year-old William Riley Knight, a US Army veteran and actor in local theater, was returning from his wedding reception going home with his wife when they came across a vehicle that had gone into a ditch on the shoulder in the area of West 109th Avenue and Lane Street in Crown Point. Police say as 42-year-old Linda Darlington, a first-grade teacher at Joan Martin Elementary School in Hobart, was exiting her vehicle and making her way up the embankment, Knight stopped his vehicle to offer her assistance, and the two were standing by the side of the roadway when they were struck by a passenger vehicle traveling eastbound on 109th Avenue, then hit again by two other vehicles, police say. All drivers remained on scene. Police say Knight's wife, who was in the car her husband had parked in a nearby driveway, was not injured. Sheriffs spokesperson Patti Van Til says all drivers at the scene were issued field sobriety tests with no indications of alcohol. No citations were issued and no arrests were made, and police continue to investigate. [Photos/Facebook]...

   

INDOT: NB I-65 Reopens at the Borman

Traffic-Alert
In Lake County, the Indiana Department of Transportation reports northbound Interstate 65 at the I-80/94 interchange has reopened.  I-65 northbound was closed at the Borman Expressway for several hours today after a semi-tanker hauling what officials described as hazardous materials overturned.  No word at this time what those hazardous materials were.  The lengthy closure was due to the fact that special crews had to be called in to move the semi.  The Indiana Department of Transportation says a special crew had to offload the potentially dangerous material. ...
   

South Shore Train Update

Due to the NIPSCO utility problem, the eastbound extra scheduled to depart Millennium at 4:25pm has been cancelled.  All other scheduled eastbound trains will operate.  South Shore train service has resumed between South Bend and Michigan City.  Here's a link to NICTD (Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District): www.nictd.com...
   

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