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Hobart Teen Accused of Making Death Threats

porter co sheriff dept
A 15 year old Hobart boy could face a misdemeanor charge of intimidation after threatening to kill a Facebook user and his family. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports they were informed of the alleged death threat on Tuesday and report the issue stemmed from the teen becoming upset of a comment about his bad grammar and the user using racist slang. The Sheriff's Office reports the Hobart teen informed them, while he did post a photo of a gun and also threatened to blow up the user's house, he had no intention of committing those actions, as he has no access to a gun and the photo was found online. Authorities say the incident has been referred to the juvenile probation department for review. ...

Indiana Dunes Tourism Earns DMAP Reaccreditation

Indiana Dunes Tourism Logo Color copy
Indiana Dunes Tourism announced today they have earned re-accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International's accreditation program. Promotions Director Ken Kosky says Indiana Dunes Tourism was first accredited in 2009 and the accreditation period lasts for four years. To become accredited, a destination marketing organization like Indiana Dunes Tourism must successfully comply with 58 mandatory and 30 voluntary standards in areas that include governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research. Kosky says the re-accreditation is a testament to management and the overall job they are doing to promote the destination. Indiana Dunes Tourism is one of only 172 destination marketing organizations in the world to achieve this distinction....

Beta Steel Explosion Settlement Reached

A settlement has been reached regarding a January 2010 plant explosion in Portage that resulted in the death of a Griffith man and severe injuries to a Valparaiso man. Of the eight-point-two million dollar settlement, three-point-four million, minus attorney fees, will go to the survivors of Michael Kies. Stephen Kinlaw, who was left disabled after the explosion at the former Beta Steel plant, will receive the balance, minus attorney fees. According to the settlement, operators had knowledge or should have known of a previous furnace explosion and modifications made increased the probability of another such incident taking place. The two men were repairing a leak on the roof of the furnace when the explosion occurred....

Curbing Celebratory Gun Fire This New Year's Eve

The East Chicago STOP Team and Region STOP Team will increase patrols this holiday season to curb “celebratory gun fire” associated with New Years Eve. East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker says since September of this year, his department has teamed up with “ShotSpotter”, a California based company that uses advanced technology to quickly identify gunshots and then, literally within seconds, direct officers to the location of where those firearms are being shot....

UPS: Delays Result of Bad WX, Surge in Online Shopping

UPS is spending the day delivering packages that were supposed to arrive on Christmas. ABC News reports across the country there will be a lot of this as the delivery service makes good on Christmas delays that resulted from bad weather and an unexpected surge in online shopping. Other customers took to Facebook and Twitter where one called UPS the "Grinch of Christmas." FedEx said few of the nearly 300 million packages it handled this season were delayed and customers could pick them up at counters....

Hundreds Gather for Christmas Day Meal in Gary

More than six-hundred people gathered for a Christmas Day meal in Gary Wednesday, and Gary State Representative Dr. Vernon Smith was among those serving. More than seventy volunteers helped put together the Annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner led by Dr. Smith in honor of his mother, the Reverend Julia Smith, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, and Patricia Tillotson, former educator in the Gary School System. Dr. Smith says the event is primarily for residents of Gary, Merrillville, Griffith, New Chicago, Lake Station, and Hobart, but anyone from Lake County or anywhere else is welcome. In particular, Dr. Smith says it's meant for those who are poor and hungry, senior citizens, and others, who will be away from family and friends, to attend. The dinner was held at the Ivy Tech Gary campus. Dr. Smith says dinner's popularity has grown dramatically since the first one was held in 1987. Representative Smith hosts the dinner with Joyce Washington-Price, Dwight Pointer, Dwight Williams, and Robin Bernal. ...

Flags at Half-Staff in Illinois to Honor Slain Officer

Flags are at half-staff in Illinois in memory of an off-duty Cook County Sheriff's officer killed last Friday. Authorities say 50-year-old investigator Cuauhtemoc Estrada was shot to death trying to stop two people from robbing his daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint as they carried food from a car outside a family Christmas party at a VFW Hall in west suburban Bellwood. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has ordered flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise today through sunset this Saturday. Before joining the police force, Estrada was a Marine who served in Desert Storm. Two 22-year-old men face multiple charges including first-degree murder in the officer's death....

Highland Crews Respond to Two Fires

Highland fire officials are trying to determine the cause of two fires. Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer says a fire at an apartment building on Farmer Drive just off 45th Street left two families displaced during Christmas. Crews also responded to a fire at Sophia's House of Pancakes at Indianapolis Boulevard and Hart Road around 5:30 pm Christmas eve to put out a kitchen fire that reportedly caused significant damage inside. Officials say the restaurant had already closed for the holiday during the time of the fire. Several area departments assisted Highland. No reports of any injuries.  ...

Portage PD to Accept Officer Applications in January

Applications to be a probationary patrol officer with the Portage Police Department will be available for a limited time next month starting January 6th. Chief Troy Williams says those interested can pick up an application packet at the police station beginning on that date.
Here is information recently posted by Chief Williams:
The Portage Police Department will be handing out applications for Probationary Patrol Officers beginning January 6th, 2014. I expect us to have openings to fill. The Portage Police Department is a proactive, innovative and respected Law Enforcement Agency with Divisions in Patrol, Detective, Training and Admin. We have Officers that specialize in SWAT, K9, Accident Reconstruction, Firearms Instructors, Field Training Officers, Hostage Negotiation, Emergency Vehicle Operations and we have assignments in the Porter County Drug Task Force, School Resource Officer, US Marshalls Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, and District 1 Task Force. If you are interested in becoming a Police Officer or know someone that is have the applicant come by the department and pick one up. The list is normally good for one year once completed. I'm hoping to hand out at least 200 applications to find the very best, dedicated, and service-oriented candidates out there. If you have any questions, just ask. Chief Troy Williams...

State Senator Plans to File 'Merry Christmas' Bill

jim smith senator indiana
State Senator Jim Smith
An Indiana State Senator says he wants Hoosiers to be able to recognize Christmas in the classroom again. Charlestown Republican Jim Smith says he's filing legislation in the upcoming session of the General Assembly to protect public schools and teachers from being sued over Christmas activity. Smith says Christmas is under attack "in a way that no other cultural traditions are," and his "Merry Christmas" bill would allow Christmas traditions like putting up a Christmas tree as long as teachers recognize at least one other holiday celebration, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The Indiana legislative session reconvenes January 6th....

New Lake County Surveyor to be Chosen Jan 4

Lake County Democrats are scheduled to caucus Saturday January 4th to name a new Lake County surveyor. After more than four-decades working in politics in the Region, former surveyor George Van Til resigned from office early this month, the same day he entered a formal guilty plea in Hammond Federal Court to six counts of wire fraud after being accused of using county employees to do campaign work for him. State law prohibits public officials convicted of felonies from holding office....

Caucus Chooses New Clerk-Treasurer

A caucus of Republican precinct committee members this week selected Stephanie Kuziela to replace Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski effective the first of the year. After a quarter century of service to the town, Polakowski is resigning effective December 31st due to health reasons. Polakowski has been Clerk-Treasurer since 1988. Polakowski's term runs through the end of 2015. Kuziela is administrative assistant to the town manager, and has been helping to fill-in for Polakowski. ...

Highland Council Against Air Show Move

Elected officials from another Lake County community have voiced displeasure over moving the South Shore Air Show out of the county, about fifty-miles south. The Highland Town Council this week voted unanimously to voice their disapproval over a plan to move the show from the shores of Lake Michigan in Gary, where the event has been held for more than a decade, to Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County this summer. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr from Hammond has also been critical of the proposal....

Homicide Suspect Extradited

Officials say a man whose parents were found dead in their Lowell-area home in October has been returned to northwest Indiana. Authorities say 34-year-old Thomas Snow has been extradited from Minnesota to Newton County on an armed robbery charge. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says he is preparing to file charges in Lake County court against Snow in connection with the homicide deaths of 68-year-old retired Hammond schoolteacher Clifford Snow and his wife, 66-year-old Joyce Snow. ...

Celebrate the New Year with a First Day Hike

Indiana DNR
Family-friendly, guided hikes are scheduled to take place on January 1st at Indiana's state parks and reservoirs as part of a national program called “First Day Hikes”. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with America's State Parks, report First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2014 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends. In northwest Indiana, an event will be held starting at 10am, at Indiana Dunes State Park at the nature center, where a moderate to rugged hike through the high dunes, including Mt. Tom, is scheduled. The event will conclude with a fire and refreshments. For more information on First Day events across Indiana, visit

New Scam Targeting Target Data Breach

Target customers reeling from a data breach contend with a new scam. ABC News reports Target says scam artists are trying to take advantage of the data breach that exposed tens of millions of credit and debit card accounts. They masquerade as Target's corporate offices and send sham messages to affected customers, hoping to steal from them again. The retailer says it will post all official communications on its corporate website.
Meanwhile JP Morgan Chase is putting charge limits on cards that were used at Target stores during the massive security breach. The bank is raising those daily limits to a thousand dollars in purchases and 250 dollars from ATMs. ...

Gold Bar Discovered in a Red Kettle in Michigan City

A one-ounce gold bar was found in a Salvation Army red kettle in Michigan City on Friday. Officials report the gold bar was discovered at the Walgreen's, at U-S 20 and U-S 421, wrapped in a one-dollar bill and has since been sold to a private buyer for 13-hundred dollars.
A one-ounce 1993 gold coin valued at approximately 13-hundred dollars was dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle on Friday at a Strack and Van Til in Cedar Lake and the Porter County Salvation Army reported receiving a gold coin in red kettle at the Strack and Van Til, on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, on Saturday. That coin 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. ...


Gary Mayor Announces Dollar Home Program Recipients

Gary KFW with winners
(Photo Courtesy of Nick Russ. Mayor Freeman-Wilson, (left)
congratulates Dollar Home recipients Milton and Silvia Willis.)
In a press conference in Gary today six Gary residents out of 25 applicants were chosen to receive a new home for just a dollar. Silvia and Milton Willis were one of the couples chosen. Silvia Willis, a life long Gary resident, says after living in an apartment in the Miller area, this would be their first home. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced the results of the Dollar Home Drawing and says the dollar home recipients must live in their homes a minimum of five years.
Gary Dollar home 2a
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary. The home that the Willis’ won
is located in Gary’s University Park area.)

Applicants for the lottery had to meet certain criteria such as employment and income in order to be considered for the lottery. A new lottery will be held next summer where more applicants are welcomed to apply. ...

New Research About Food Allergies for Pregnant Women

New concern about food allergies. Research out this week suggests eating peanuts or tree nuts during pregnancy cuts a child's risk of allergies, contradicting previous advice that pregnant woman should avoid nuts.  ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Doctor Jennifer Ashton says obstetricians, pediatricians are saying go ahead and in moderation eat these foods that are considered allergens. There's really no strict data at this point that says you should avoid them.
And what should do you if your child is allergic to nuts? Doctor Ashton says first of all see a pediatric allergist. Get your child tested. If they are diagnosed with a real food allergy make sure you have multiple Epipens all over various locations. Make sure people know how to use them and speak to your child's pediatrician about having other medications like steroids, Benadryl, antihistamines, on you or with that child because preparation is key. It can be very scary and to be clear, life threatening....

Brrrr... A Very Frosty Christmas in the Region

Chicagoland is bracing for its coldest Christmas in 9 years. Today's high is expected to only reach 17 degrees around the Region, but wind chills will make it feel like 12-below. Temps are expected to go up a little overnight tonight.  Here are some low temperature observations from the early morning hours courtesy of the National Weather Service Chicago:

NOUS43 KLOT 241538
940 AM CST TUE DEC 24 2013 /1040 AM EST TUE DEC 24 2013
-10     DEKALB IL
-9      PAW PAW IL
-6      ELGIN IL
-5      BATAVIA IL
-5      AURORA IL
-5      OTTAWA IL
-3      PONTIAC IL
-2      DWIGHT IL
-1      MIDWAY 3SW IL
0       WATSEKA IL
4       PAXTON IL


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


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