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BBB: Phony Websites Pretending to be Overstock.com

BBB
The Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana is warning Region residents about phony websites pretending to be Overstock.com. Better Business Bureau says a noticeable trend recently is websites that include the word "overstock" in the domain name, hoping to trick consumers into thinking they are shopping with Overstock.com. The President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus says they'veseen this with other major retailers as well. BBB is warning consumers: be careful to look for the real domain when it comes to major retail sites. ...
 

Hammond Holiday Tradition Continues This Weekend

hammond holiday
Be sure to pack on the layers and check out the Hammond Holiday Parade this Saturday starting at 10am. There will be over 80 participants this year, as the parade makes its way down Indianapolis Blvd from 175th-169th Street in South Hammond. Santa will also be on hand to take pictures with kids! For more on this Hammond holiday tradition, listen to our interview with Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Michelle Turchany at Region News On Demand here on our website....
 

Community Leaders Raise Funds for Hungry Families

annie and mayor
NIPSCO, Jelly Pancake House and several community leaders partnered together in Merrillville this morning to support the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, Valparaiso University Men's Basketball Head Coach Bryce Drew and NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley were among the guest servers for the fundraising event.
Funds raised from a portion of sales at Jelly's and a 20-thousand dollar contribution from NIPSCO will be used to purchase food to be distributed at two mobile pantry events in Lake and Porter Counties December 14th and 21st. ...
 

Historic Valpo House Torn Down

photo 1
In Valparaiso, the Needle and Thread building heavily damaged by fire this past July was torn down Thursday. The historic home, built around 1900, sat at the corner of Lafayette and Jefferson.
photo 2
After no one was willing to restore the structure, the city okayed funds in October to buy the building, demolish it, and turn the site into a lot to provide additional free parking for the downtown area. [Photos/Radio One Communications]...
 

Whiting Reports on Source of 'Blasting Noise'

Whiting City Hall reports having taken a number of calls regarding a “blasting noise” sometimes as early as 4am. City officials say thanks to the help of some residents looking into it, it's been determined the sound was sourcing from the dredging landfill along the channel. A message to residents posted at the city's website says the Army Corps of Engineers set up propane cannons to keep birds and wildlife away from the confined disposal facility, especially during the spring and fall bird migrations. City officials say the USDA thinks that since the water in the cells froze earlier this year, the sound from the cannons is being amplified by ice and that’s why residents are hearing the noises now. According to the information from city hall, federal officials believe the solution is to move the propane cannons lower into the cell, and the timers will be double-checked, to make sure they aren’t going off in the middle of the night.
City of Whiting website:  http://www.whitingindiana.com/news.php#newsitemEFlVVyEpVkaRxkCFjD...
 

Governor Unveils Legislative Agenda

Indiana Governor Mike Pence unveiled his legislative agenda Thursday at the Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP Legislative Conference. Among other things, "Roadmap 2014" calls for phasing out the business personal property tax, investing 400-million dollars in highway expansion, creating an Indiana Teacher Innovation Fund, and providing financial support to teachers who choose to work in a low performing school or a public charter school that serves a majority of disadvantaged children. ...
 

UPDATE: Flags at Half-Staff Now through Monday

Indianapolis, IN - In accordance with a presidential proclamation regarding the passing of Nelson Mandela, Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities statewide be flown at half-staff beginning immediately.  Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset Monday, December 9.  Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to pay tribute to this world leader....
 

IU Approves New Online Degree

applegate
John Applegate [Photo by Indiana University]
The Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved the creation of an online Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, the first bachelor's degree program offered jointly by all five IU-administered regional campuses, and one of the first BAS degrees offered in the state.  The new degree must now be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. It would be offered at IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.
"Joint degrees such as this provide increased educational opportunities for students while capitalizing on economies of scale created by sharing faculty and classes across all five regional campuses,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. Funded by IU President Michael A. McRobbie's IU Online initiative, the regional campuses are working together to create up to four more new joint online degrees over the next few years. IU says the goal is to increase availability of high-quality degrees to students all across the state.
Coursework for the proposed online BAS could be oriented toward several specific career fields, such as hospital administration, general supervision or entry-level management. The degree would track into about 34 occupations that can be grouped into three clusters: specialty business, supervisory and management.
"The BAS is designed for students who already are in the workforce but need a more advanced degree to improve their job options," said Sharon Calhoon, assistant vice president for university academic and regional campus affairs. "Currently, the Associate of Applied Science degree does not align well with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, so students with an AAS typically lose a substantial number of credit hours when they go on to pursue either degree."
The new BAS program is designed to help students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree achieve a high-quality bachelor's-level credential more quickly and efficiently than was previously possible. IU research has identified a great demand for this degree, which is very closely aligned with future workforce needs in the state; it is expected that students in the BAS degree program will develop skills that will help them advance in their careers and earn better salaries.
Students will be able to take all of their courses online or combine online instruction with classroom instruction. Full-time students who already have an associate degree in applied science will be able to complete their bachelor's degree in two years.
The new degree program is expected to involve two full-time faculty from each campus and will be administered jointly by the School of Business and Economics at IU East, the Department of Allied Health at IU Kokomo, the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Northwest, the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at IU South Bend and the School of Arts and Letters at IU Southeast....
 

Audio: Rep VanDenburgh on Bus Personal Prop Tax

vandenburgh

A proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage isn't the only hot topic facing Indiana state lawmakers this session. Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh says Indiana's personal property tax that businesses pay on equipment they own is expected to be up for debate this session. There's been talk of reducing or eliminating the levy altogether. VanDenburgh recently told the Region News Team that would mean a big drop in revenue for Lake County.  To hear comments from Representative VanDenburgh, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website....

 

Gov Directs Flags to Half-Staff Pearl Harbor Day

Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities statewide be flown at half-staff Saturday, December 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset Saturday, December 7.
Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to pay tribute to the men and women who were injured or lost their lives on December 7, 1941....
 

Region Officials Reflect on Mandela's Passing

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of 95.  Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, emerged to end South Africa's white supremacist system of apartheid. Tributes are coming in from around the world and the Region.

Congressman Pete Visclosky released the following statement on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela:
“Nelson Mandela was a universal symbol of social justice and democracy throughout the globe.  He famously said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”  This remarkable statesman leaves the world a legacy of compassion, love, and optimism for all mankind.”

Statement from Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson:
"As I reflect on the transition of the great Nelson Mandela, the word 'icon' comes to mind. His fight for justice never waned, and his level of sacrifice will forever be etched in our minds and the pages of history. The legacy he built has allowed me and countless others to stand on his shoulders to continue the fight against injustice wherever it may be. I extend my sympathy to his family and the citizens of South Africa."

Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly:
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela. His tireless and courageous efforts to bring freedom and equality to all in his home country and across the world will continue to inspire us. May we learn from his example and may he rest in peace.”

La Porte Mayor Blair Milo:
"The world has lost an iconic champion for equality. Nelson Mandela emerged on the world stage after 27 years in prison. He was revered by presidents as well as those who were impoverished and down-trodden. A humble man with a large message. The first black president in a nation that had embraced apartheid. A man who changed the course of a country and a continent. He said, "We can change the world to make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference." Definitely a man who made a difference for having walked on this earth."

...

   

Porter County Salvation Army Mail Appeal Down

The Salvation Army of Porter County reports the Red Kettle Campaign is growing, but their mail appeal is down.  For Porter County, the 2013 Christmas Season Red Kettle Campaign was at $60,582.69 as of Wednesday (12/4).  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.  This year's campaign goal in Porter County is $280,000 --$150,000 through the Red Kettles and $130,000 through the mail appeal drive to serve needy families, youth & seniors in our Porter County communities throughout the year.
Volunteers may sign up to ring a bell at saportercounty.org or call The Salvation Army of Porter County at 219-762-9191 and ask for Nathan.   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....
   

Red Kettle Donations in Lake County Down 32%

Salvation Army logo
Red kettle donations in Lake County are down by 32 percent compared to this same time a year ago. The Salvation Army of Lake County reports the iconic red kettles have been on the streets and at shopping centers since November 8th, with the goal of raising 940-thousand dollars to fund the emergency and social services provided during the holiday season and throughout the year. In Lake County, the Salvation Army serves more than 11-thousand people, provides more than 25-hundred food baskets, eight-thousand toys and more than four-thousand articles of clothing.
The Lake County Salvation Army is also hosting the 'I Double Dog Dare You' bell ringing challenge, which allows groups, families and individuals to volunteer as bell ringers the week of December 16 - 21. The top ringer from each of the three categories will be announced Christmas Eve and will receive special recognition at the annual Spring Volunteer Luncheon. To sign up, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To make a donation by mail, please send to
  • The Salvation Army Lake County, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321, 219-838-1328

For more information on how to volunteer, please contact The Salvation Army closest to you:
  • East Chicago, 513 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago, IN 46312, 219-398-2939
  • Gary-Merrillville, 4800 Harrison, Gary, IN 46408, 219-887-6588
  • Hammond-Munster, 8225 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN 46321

...
   

1200 Christmas Trees to Arrive in Chicago Friday

More than 12-hundred Christmas trees is scheduled to arrive in Chicago tomorrow morning on the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. The arrival marks a two-day event re-enacting an annual Chicago tradition dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The “Christmas Ship” is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at the west end of Navy Pier at 8:30am and opening ceremonies and free public tours of the ship are scheduled for Saturday.
Schedule of Events:
Dec. 6, 2013
8:30 a.m. - Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrives at west end of Navy Pier near Captain at the Helm statue, escorted by Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police boats; Rickover Naval Academy Band performs
9:05 a.m. - Decorating of Mackinaw commences
9:15 - noon - Students from Goodwin, St. Cornellius and Epiphany Schools tour Mackinaw and Tall Ship, Windy
 
Dec. 7, 2013   
10 a.m. Opening ceremony, west end of Navy Pier; wreath laying at the Captain at the Helm Statue by Capt. Dave Truitt and the President of Chicago Shipmasters; wreath drop and fly-over by Chicago Fire Department helicopter; remarks by Capt. Matt Sibley, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan and Cmdr. Michael Davanzo, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw; initial presentation of trees to representative families; music by the Taft High School Choir; folk singer Lee Murdock performs
Trees offloaded from Mackinaw following ceremony
1:30 - 5 p.m. - Free public tours of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw
...
   

Measles Making a Comeback in the U.S.

Just when you thought measles was ancient history......ABC News reports on new trouble. Look out for the spots because the measles are back, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.   Dr. Frieden reports 175 measles cases in the U.S. this year, 3 times the usual average. That's the bad news; the good news is two doses of vaccine - not one - will protect children and adults.  Experts say most of the new cases are spread by someone coming into the U.S. from overseas, or someone who had traveled abroad. ...
   

Polar Express Storytelling and City Tour of Lights

In Crown Point, the Mayor's Office of Special Events announced today that they are currently taking reservations for Polar Express Storytelling and City Tour of Lights. The story of the Polar Express and bus tours around the city to view and vote on the best decorated houses takes place on Friday, December 13th, but registration is required. Anyone interested in entering their home on the Tour of the Lights route should also contact the city to sign up and winners will be announced at the December 19th City Council Meeting.  Stories will be told at the top of each hour beginning at 5pm with the last story at 8pm. Tour of light busses will depart every hour on the ½ hour beginning at 5:30pm with the last bus tour at 8:30pm.  To register please call (219) 662-3290.  ...
   

Four Suspects Arrested in Michigan City Robberies

michigan city police
In Michigan City, four people were arrested on probable cause pending a probable cause hearing, regarding two robberies Wednesday night. Police says the first robbery occurred in the parking lot of Lighthouse Mall and the victim was a 55 year old woman. The second robbery occurred two-hours later in the three-hundred block of South Street where the victim was a pizza delivery driver. Police says a city-wide search began and just after 10:30pm, an officer was able to locate the suspect vehicle in the 41-hundred block of Franklin Street. Through the investigation, police report it was determined that both robberies were committed by the four people in the suspect vehicle. Arrested were three men, ages 20, 19, and 18, along with a 29 year old woman, all from LaPorte. An investigation continues and additional charges are expected. Anyone with any additional information regarding these robberies is asked to contact Michigan City Police....
   

Lake County Surveyor Formally Submits Guilty Plea

In U.S. District in Hammond on Thursday, Lake County Surveyor George Van Til formally submitted his guilty plea to six counts of wire fraud-felony crimes against taxpayers. 
 
When asked by Senior U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody who was the victim in this case, Federal Prosecutor Phillip Benson said that the Lake County Government was and if case went to trial the government is prepared to prove Van Til was using his office employees and resources to help get re-elected while employees were on the county's payroll sometime between the period of November 2007 and December 2012.  
 
Prior to hearing the plea, Judge Moody asked Van Til if he was fully aware of the rights and privileges that he would be giving up including not being able to run for public officer again and waiving the right to appeal the sentencing, to which Van til responded in the affirmative. 
 
Judge Moody also instructed the defendant that he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for each of the six counts plus, an additional 2 to 3 years supervised release adding up to a maximum sentence of 120 years in prison, 18 years supervised release and $1.5 million dollars in fines plus restitution. 
 
The judge reserved accepting the plea pending a sentencing date which Judge Moody said would be set to a date and time convenient to both the prosecutors and defendant’s council. Until that time, Van Til remains free on bond....
   

Coats: Indiana's AAA Credit Ratings a Model for D.C.

Senator Dan Coats
Indiana has maintained its Triple-A credit ratings from all three bond agencies – Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch. Indiana US Senator Dan Coats today says the Hoosier model has resulted in balanced budgets, job creation and a continued Triple-A credit rating, which is why Washington should look to it as a good blueprint for Amercia's recovery. Senator Coats says Washington's approach the last five-years has resulted in fewer jobs, higher debt, and credit agency downgrades, while Indiana's fiscal turnaround has brought increased opportunity and prosperity for Hoosier businesses, workers and families.

Indiana has held Triple-A ratings with all three bond agencies since April of 2010. ...
   

Mandela Dead at 95

mandela
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has died. He was 95. ABC News reports Nelson Mandela became an international symbol of triumph over injustice after he became South Africa's first democratically elected president following a quarter century as a political prisoner. During his five years in office he encouraged a policy of national reconciliation to heal the wounds of apartheid and devoted his later years to charity and conflict mediation across the globe. ...
   

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