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Vactican Wants to Know What You Think About...?

For the first time in for than 50 years, Catholics around the world will have the chance to tell the Vatican what they think about everything from birth control to gay marriage and single-parent families. ABC News reports the Vatican is sending out a 38-question survey to parishioners to find out what its members think of its teachings on issues like marriage and sex. The survey, which needs to be returned by January, is being depicted by some Catholics as an overture to those disaffected with the church's conservative stance. ...
 

Special Advisor Named to Lead IEDC Asian Strategy

Pease
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and shows Governor Mike Pence, Rick Pease (right of governor) and other state leaders meet with representatives of NSK, the parent company of NSK Corp. and Franklin, Ind.-headquartered NSK Precision America, during the governor's 2013 jobs and economic development mission to Japan.)
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced Rick Pease will serve as special advisor for Asia, working with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to spearhead the state's strategy to strengthen and expand initiatives there. Pence welcomed Pease to the new position on Monday, at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Toyota Material Handling, USA's new North American headquarters in Columbus, Indiana. The Japan-based company relocated its national headquarters from Irvine, California to Columbus, creating 72 new jobs. Today's announcement comes less than two-months since the Governor returned from his inaugural jobs and economic development mission to Japan.
Pease joins the IEDC, the state's jobs hunting agency, following an extensive 30-year career at Enkei America, which included serving as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the $1.5 billion global automotive supplier's North American division. Based in Columbus, Ind., Enkei America, a subsidiary of Japan-based Enkei Group, produces automotive aluminum wheels, engine parts and industrial components. Pease, who grew up in Tokyo, is bilingual in English and Japanese.
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Email Scam Alert

Scam-Alert
Authorities are warning northwest Indiana residents of an email phishing scam that is circulating. LaPorte Police report the email arrives in your inbox as “security@Wells Fargo” with a subject of Wells Fargo Notification” and a message I-D number. Police say the email includes the Wells Fargo logo and while it looks very official and legitimate it is not. If you receive this email do not respond or click on the link as it is a way for criminals to obtain your personal and banking information. Officials with Wells Fargo's On-line Banking Department have verified this is not something they have sent out.
Authorities remind you to never give out your personal information over the internet or phone to those initiating contact with you. If you suspect you've been a victim of this scam, please contact the Wells Fargo On-line Banking Division at 1-800-956-4442, or you can report the activity at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ....
 

Rainy Days in the Region

It's been a rainy couple of days in the Region. As of 10'o-clock this morning, just over one inch had already fallen in the previous 24-hours in Crown Point and at the Indiana Dunes in Porter County, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Chicago.   Valparaiso and Winfield have also had about an inch of rain.  Here's a list of  24-hour rainfall amounts for today (Wednesday Nov 06 2013); rain amounts for the previous 24 hours as measured  in the morning by NWS Cooperative Observers and COCORAHS Observers (observations usually taken between 6-8am).  http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=lot&product=pns&issuedby=LOT&format=CI&version=1&glossary=0
INDIANA                                        RAIN
  LOCATION (COUNTY):                           FALL (IN)
  CROWN POINT 1N (LAKE)........................1.05
  INDIANA DUNES (PORTER).......................1.04
  PORTER 1S (PORTER)...........................0.93
  VALPARAISO 5WSW (PORTER).....................0.88
  CROWN POINT (LAKE)...........................0.86
  WINFIELD 1NE (LAKE)..........................0.66
  CROWN POINT 2WSW (LAKE)......................0.65
  CHESTERTON 1ENE (PORTER).....................0.63
  VALPARAISO 6NW (PORTER)......................0.62
  GARY 4SSW (LAKE).............................0.60
  VALPARAISO 2NW (PORTER)......................0.60
  VALPARAISO 6NW (PORTER)......................0.57
  DYER 1WNW (LAKE).............................0.56
  CROWN POINT 8E (PORTER)......................0.55
  PORTAGE 1ESE (PORTER)........................0.52
  VALPARAISO 7WSW (PORTER).....................0.52
  (W9MAL)MERRILLVILLE 2NNW (LAKE)..............0.48
  VALPARAISO 1SE (PORTER)......................0.47
  DE MOTTE 1SSW (JASPER).......................0.45
  LOWELL 3N (LAKE).............................0.43
  HEBRON 4NE (PORTER)..........................0.43
  VALPARAISO 6WSW (PORTER).....................0.43
  VALPARAISO 5NNE (PORTER).....................0.41
  VALPARAISO 5NNE (PORTER).....................0.41
  LAKE VILLAGE 2W (NEWTON).....................0.39
  ST. JOHN (LAKE)..............................0.38
  PORTER 1S (PORTER)...........................0.37
  VALPARAISO 4SW (PORTER)......................0.33
  LAKE VILLAGE 8SE (NEWTON)....................0.28
  DE MOTTE 3SE (JASPER)........................0.27
  VALPARAISO 6S (PORTER).......................0.26
  (KB9F)VALPARAISO 4S (PORTER).................0.25
  LAKE VILLAGE (NEWTON)........................0.25
  DE MOTTE 4SW (JASPER)........................0.23
  KOUTS 2WSW (PORTER)..........................0.23
  RENSSELAER 5E (JASPER).......................0.21
  VALPARAISO 2N (PORTER).......................0.21
  DE MOTTE 6S (JASPER).........................0.20
  FAIR OAKS 6SW (NEWTON).......................0.20
  MOROCCO (NEWTON).............................0.15
  (WV90)HOBART 1ENE (LAKE).....................0.14
  VALPARAISO 6SSW (PORTER).....................0.14
  VALPARAISO (PORTER)..........................0.14
  RENSSELAER 4N (JASPER).......................0.13
  VALPARAISO 1ENE (PORTER).....................0.13
  WHEATFIELD 3S (JASPER).......................0.12
  REMINGTON (JASPER)...........................0.12
  DE MOTTE 1NNW (JASPER).......................0.11
  REMINGTON (JASPER)...........................0.11
  RENSSELAER 2SSW (JASPER).....................0.10
  KENTLAND (NEWTON)............................0.10
  KENTLAND 2SSE (NEWTON).......................0.10
  RENSSELAER (JASPER)..........................0.10
  MOUNT AYR 2NNE (NEWTON)......................0.06
  (W9OPR)WHEATFIELD 1ENE (JASPER)..............0.05
  KENTLAND 1NNW (NEWTON).......................0.04
  BROOK 4W (NEWTON)............................0.03...
 

Lake Station Bridge Restricted due to Flooding Concerns

MP21 detour
Indiana Toll Road officials say a structure at the Lake Station interchange (Milepost 21) on the Indiana Toll Road is being restricted due to washout conditions. The bridge over I-80/94, which serves as an entrance and exit ramp, is closed to Indiana Toll road traffic entering eastbound I-94. The detour in place takes drivers to westbound I-94 and turns them around at the Ripley Street Exit.
The detour map above shows the new route highlighted in blue. The red dot “5262” is the structure in which flooding is a concern. This restriction does not impact eastbound I-80/94 traffic entering the Indiana Toll Road.
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The interchange has been restricted for a major reconstruction project. Here is the information on that particular closure, which began in late October:
Lake Station Interchange map
LAKE STATION, Ind. – Beginning Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, extended restrictions will be in place at the Lake Station Exit (Milepost 21) on the Indiana Toll Road.
The project begins with the closure of the westbound exit ramp (from ITR to I-94), and marks the beginning of ITR Concession Co.’s extensive reconstruction of the Lake Station ramp structures. It will include repairing or replacing various elements of three structures within the exit: BHX-A, BHX-B and Structure 5262 (see attached map for clarification). Each will be removed and rebuilt with the same configurations and footprints of the existing structures. Upon completion, the interchange will function as it did prior to the project. No permanent removal of any structure is planned.
The closure of the MP 21 westbound exit ramp (BHX-B) will begin on Monday, Oct. 28, and will last approximately 1.5 years. The entire existing bridge deck and superstructure, along with the concrete pier caps, will be removed. After BHX-B is removed, BHX-A (located beneath BHX-B) will be removed and rebuilt. Concurrently, Str. 5262 will be rebuilt (it is anticipated that one lane will remain open on Str. 5262 during construction). After BHX-A is removed and rebuilt, BHX-B will then be rebuilt.
Beginning Oct. 28, westbound traffic seeking to exit at MP 21 will be diverted to Exit 17, Gary East. At Gary East, patrons are to take I-65 south and re-connect with I-94. Exit 17 remains a free exit, just as Exit 21.
Construction on BHX-A and Str. 5262 are tentatively scheduled to begin in February 2014; notices will be sent at that time. The entire process is expected to be completed in April 2015....
 

Designer Chosen for 'Valplayso: The Next Generation'

valplayso
The Valparaiso Parks Foundation has chosen Leathers & Associates to design and organize a community build process to rebuild Valplayso. They're the original designers and contractors who led the 1994 build of the playground, which involved over 26-hundred community volunteers. For the modern-day revamp, recycled materials will be used instead of wood. The company will also host a Design Day in January, where architects will meet with more than six-hundred Valparaiso elementary students to discuss their ideas about what a next generation playground should look like.
Photo: The Valplayso playground is pictured here as it currently stands. Leathers & Associates has been selected to rebuild and revitalize the 20 year old wooden structure through a community build effort, just as they did for the original Valplayso in 1994, with a tentative completion in the fall of 2014. [Photo courtesy/Valparaiso Parks Department]
More info:
[News Release] The Valpo Parks Foundation has selected Leathers & Associates to design and organize a community build process to revitalize and rebuild the Valplayso playground.  Leathers & Associates are the original designers and contractors that led the 1994 build of Valplayso in 1994 that involved over 2,600 community volunteers.  Leathers & Associates has more than 40 years of experience creating custom designed playgrounds.  Their work can be found in all 50 states and 7 foreign countries.  They have home offices located in Ithaca, NY and Jupiter, FL.
While their design and organizational process remains similar to the model 20 years ago, the materials and designs have evolved over time.  All recycled plastic structural and composite materials will be used for the Next Generation playground rather than wood.  The current designs offer a higher level of visibility and accessibility.  With the desire to have a level of all-inclusiveness and insure that there are good sight lines throughout, the new playground will be built considering ASTM, CPSC and ADA recommendations and requirements.
Parks Foundation Vice-President and Selection Task Force member Jeff Lewis stated, “While we had many great proposals and exciting playgrounds presented, Leathers & Associates excelled at the community build and fundraising process on a large scale and had the best approach and experience at translating kids and community input into building a unique and custom playground complex.”
The immediate next steps of Valpayso: The Next Generation are:
1. November 7 – Valpayso: The Next Generation is one of several options to which individuals and companies can gift on GIVE Day for Kids, organized by the Porter County Community Foundation.  www.PorterCountyGiveDay.org
2. November 30 – Volunteer Leadership team will be selected and approved
3. December 1 – Leathers & Associates will start working with Valplayso Park site planners The Troyer Group not only to start designing a playground, but also continue developing plans for a new shelter, restroom, parking lot, landscaping and site drainage.
4. January 2013 – Design Day will be finalized in January, where Leathers & Associates architects will meet with 600 plus Valparaiso elementary students to discuss their ideas about what a next generation playground should look like.
Follow Valplayso: The Next Generation updates on the web at www.ValpoParksFoundation.org, Facebook, Twitter, the Department website at www.ValpoParks.org and through news media.  For more information, contact Parks Director John Seibert or Administrative Assistant Barbie Johnson at the Valpo Parks Department....
 

Hobart Educator Pens Children's Book on Alzheimer's

carolie62
The Principal of Hobart Middle School has a story to share with kids and grownups. Carolie Warren is the author of recently-published book called, “But, Mama, How Come Grandpa Gets To?”, a children's book from Laredo Publishing about the challenges of caring for elderly parents.   To hear our interview with Carolie visit News Audio on Demand here at our website.
caroliebookcover
"The book is written from the perspective of a young child who's trying to be taught by his parents all the social rules, 'don't put your feet on the couch', 'flush the toilet'. And he's watching and realizing that Grandpa is allowed to break those rules," Warren said, "So he questions, 'But, Mama, how come Grandpa gets to put his feet on the couch?" And Mama responds, 'Because those are the feet that took Grandpa to the steel mill for forty years to earn a living for your father." 
leeza
Carolie with Leeza Gibbons
Warren says her father-in-law, who has Alzheimer's, has been living in her home for the past five years, and the book came out of a particularly stressful day at work and at home.   Warren is former principal at River Forest Elementary, which she attended, and assistant principal at Hobart High. Warren will be speaking at Leeza Gibbons' Care Connection symposium in Joliet, Illinois, November 16. [Photos courtesy Carolie Warren]

For more information on Warren and the book, visit www.butmama.com
For more information on the upcoming symposium:   http://www.leezasplace.org/locIL.html
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Indiana Addresses Infant Mortality Rate

Indiana's State Health Commissioner says the state is making up to a million dollars in competitive grants available to organizations across the state that come up with plans to tackle Indiana's infant mortality rate. Dr. William VanNess says Indiana ranks 45th out of 50 states, with more than seven deaths per every one-thousand babies born.  "We've only been below seven once in 113 years, and it was 6.95 in 2008 that we were barely below seven" VanNess said,"so unfortunately Indiana has a long history of not being great at infant mortality."  A summit was held in Indianapolis over the weekend to find ways to decrease the number of infant deaths. ...
 

219: The Empty Bowls Project

logo
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is holding a Soup Dinner this Sunday and you are invited. The Empty Bowls Project will be held Sunday at Temple Israel (601 N. Montgomery) in Gary from 1-3pm. Tickets are $5 and all money raised will benefit The Food Bank's mission. Last year the Food Bank distributed over 5.1 million pounds of food, and served over 5,000 individuals a week. For more on the Empty Bowls Project check out today's 219 or our full interview with Food Bank Advocacy Manager, Megan Sikes at News Audio Audio On Demand. 
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Methodist Hospitals CEO Resigning

mcfadden
The CEO of Methodist Hospitals in Gary and Merrillville has announced he is resigning at the end of the month. Ian McFadden, who served in the post since September 2008, says he wants to pursue an academic career and other consulting and business opportunities. Dr. Michael Davenport, vice president of medical affairs, is assuming the role of interim president and CEO.
"I am very proud of what we have accomplished here at Methodist during the past five years, from undergoing a $73 million turnaround to placing Methodist as one of the top-rated hospitals in Indiana and the Chicagoland area," McFadden said in a statement Tuesday.
“During this time, I have had the opportunity to see Methodist become a leader in technology and a top provider of quality specialized medicine in the NWI region and, more importantly, develop a culture that is focused on employee and physician engagement and patient service excellence,” McFadden said. “We have been fortunate to receive numerous awards and accolades during the past five years, and I am confident that Methodist will continue to excel at being one of the premier health care providers in the region. “  [Photo/Methodist Hospitals]...
 

Semi Lands on State Trooper's Car

semi1
Indiana State Police say it appears everyone involved will be okay after a semi landed on top of a trooper's car on the east side of Indianapolis about 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. 
Preliminary investigation and witness statements indicate that the 2007 marked State Police car, driven by 45-year-old Sergeant Terry Treone of McCordsville was eastbound on I-70 in the left lane when a 2001 Kenworth semi-tractor trailer, driven by 68-year-old Daniel Edmands of Maryland, in the left center lane next to the police car, went to the right, then abruptly veered back to the left, striking the police car. Both vehicles spun with the truck overturning and spilling a load of 4x8 sheets of steel, and the cab of the truck came to rest on top of the police car.
semi2
Treone and his front seat passenger, Senior Trooper Bill Dalton, of Greenfield, were transported to Methodist Hospital for observation. The truck driver was also transported to Methodist Hospital with a complaint of pain in his chest. All involved are expected to fully recover.  Investigating officers think that the truck driver’s medical condition may have been a contributing factor in this crash. Police say Edmans was issued a traffic citation for unsafe lane movement.
semi3
Eastbound I-70 was completely closed for approximately two hours and traffic was diverted onto Emerson Avenue. Eastbound I-70 reopened three lanes opened by 5:00 p.m. as the spilled sheet metal was moved to the left lane and left emergency shoulder.  [Photos/Indiana State Police]...
   

Michigan City Voters Say No to Prop Tax Increase

Voters Tuesday said no in a referendum asking residents of the Michigan City school district for a property tax increase. The vote was 57-percent against, and 43-percent in favor. School officials in seeking the increase had said there's the possibility of schools closing and teachers being let go. Along with the precincts in La Porte County, two precincts in far northeast Porter County's Pine Township also voted in yesterday's referendum. ...
   

NIRPC Illiana Open House in Lowell is Well Attended

Mitch Burloga NIRPC


Residents and concerned citizens alike attended the second of four remaining open houses hosted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission on the Illiana Expressway at Lowell Middle School Tuesday night.


Mitch Bargola, (photo) Transportation Planning Manager for NIRPC says its important that the planning commission continue to receive public comments concerning the Illiana Expressway, the proposed 47-mile corridor that joins Interstate 55 in Illinois to the west with I-65 near Lowell in the east.  Bargola says that this is a very "impact full project that most likely is the largest infrastructure project this region has seen since the interstate highway system."  He adds, "so it's going to be a lightning rod of discussion and we hope that people can lend their voices to it and that's why we are holding these meetings."   

NIRPC 2040 Regional Plan  


(Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission booklet of their 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan, Illiana B3 route map and other materials given out at the open house in Lowell, on Tuesday, November 5, 2013)


Bargola says the public comment period which started October 14th runs during the remaining open houses (Michigan City, November 13th and Portage, November 19th) after which next month NIRPC will vote on deciding to include the Illiana in it's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan for Northwest Indiana. 

 He says from the commission's perspective and the planning perspective the open houses will be, "our end of the road for us."  On December 12th of this year, NIRPC will vote to amend their 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan that was adopted in June of 2011, to possibly include the Illiana Expressway if approved by the commission, as well as widening I-65 between US-30 and US-231.

crowd


Hundreds of people attended Tuesday's open house which was held from 6p.m. - 8p.m. which Bargola attributed to the proposed Illiana corridor going through the Lowell area.

Sandra Linden of Lowell


Those attending included supporters of the coalition group, "No Illiana for US" and concerned area residents like Sandy Linden (photo above) who said, "There are thousands of people who have voiced their opinion...we have thousands of (signed) petitions" against the expressway. 


Linden said, "People supporting this Illiana keep talking about the NIMBYS (acronym for Not In My Backyard) like they're wrong.  There's hundreds of NIMBYS in my backyard that don't want it of course, but there's thousands of taxpayers who are going to be paying for this road. Doesn't matter whether you live in Lake County, if you live right along the road, if you live in Porter County, La Porte, Indianapolis you're going to be paying for this road."


Coalition members on both sides of the border say taxpayers could unknowingly contributing to the project because of Illinois' decision to use a public-private partnership to pay for the project.  That because the project could overrun costs by millions of dollars and according to a Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) report, could require a public subsidy of between $440-million to $1.1-billion.


(photos:  courtesy of Jay Stevens/Radio One Communications)    ...

   

Proposal to Open 3rd Jail Pod Tabled

A proposal to relieve overcrowding at the Porter County Jail by opening the vacant third pod was tabled today by the Porter County Commissioners. According to the study by the DLZ engineering firm, the county could have to pay anywhere between 146-thousand to 158-thousand dollars to make the third pod, which has been vacant for 11 years, ready for use. Commissioners tabled the proposal to find out if opening the pod can be done for less money. ...
   

Bill to Allow Same-Sex Marriage in IL Goes to Gov's Desk

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage now heads to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's desk after state senators today approved changes to the approved House legislation. Governor Quinn has already stated he would sign Senate Bill 10 into law, and when that happens, Illinois will become the 15 state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry. ...
   

Pence to Visit Jasper and Starke Counties Wednesday

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be joining Hoosiers in Jasper and Starke Counties tomorrow (Wednesday). The Governor's Office reports he'll present a Secured School Safety Grant at Knox High School at 10am followed by a noon stop in Remington where he will lead a jobs roundtable at Advanced Auto Parts on West US 24.

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Rear End Crash Claims One Life in I-65 Crash

Indiana State Police logo
An investigation continues after a fatal crash this morning on northbound I-65, one mile south of the Rensselaer exit. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports a vehicle driven by a 24 year old man from Michigan was rear ended by a pick up truck in the left lane of I-65. The impact ultimately caused the pick up, driven by 44 year old Jason Spears, of Indianapolis, to slide sideways and roll over several times. Both Spears and his passenger, 20 year old Jason Spears II were ejected from the vehicle. The elder Spears was pronounced dead at the scene, while his son was transported to Jasper County Hospital and later life-lined to St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis with life-threatening injuries. The Michigan man whose vehicle was struck from behind was not injured. State Police says seat belts were not in use in the pick up and both vehicles were a total loss. It is unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs were a factor in this crash. ...

   

All Lanes SB I-65 Backing Up Due to Crash

11-05-13 I-65 crash
 
INDOT is reporting the left lane is blocked southbound I-65 before US-30 due to an earlier crash that is backing up traffic to the Borman (I-80/94) at this hour.  INDOT traffic cams are showing all southbound lanes of I-65 are backing up to Ridge Road due to the crash, which one traffic tipster reports involves a semi and a pickup truck on the inside wall right under the 73rd Avenue overpass.  Drivers should expect 10-15 minute delays and should merge into the right lane.

11-05-13  backe dup to the Borman
(photos: Crash backing up SB I-65 to the connector ramp onto SB I-65 from EB Borman (I-80/94)/INDOT)


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Sunday Fire in Gary Claims Another Victim

Authorities report a second person has died due to a house fire in Gary on Sunday morning. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office reports 64 year old Danny Hill died due to injuries sustained in the fire, in the four-thousand block of Louisiana Street, but an exact cause of death remains unknown at last check. Hill's wife, 71 year old Essie Hill was pronounced dead Sunday. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is believed to be accidental in nature....

   

LaPorte/Michigan City Seeking Ice Sculpture Sponsors

LaPorte and Michigan City are seeking businesses to sponsor ice sculptures for their respective winter events in January. City of LaPorte Downtown Director Tiffany Bley says January is an extremely slow month for their downtown business merchants and this is a way to enhance the downtown experience. She says last year, in LaPorte 12 to 15 ice sculptures were sponsored while 25 or so were sponsored in Michigan City, but the artists can do up to 40 in a day, so they'd love to get to that number.
Bley says the ice is provided by City's Pure Ice and she would like interested businesses to let her know if they want to participate by mid-December. Michigan City's ice sculpture day is January 11th, while LaPorte's Downtown Winter Fest runs from 4pm to 7pm on January 24th.  For more information on the ice sculptures, or how you can get involved in downtown events in 2014, contact Tiffany Bley at (219) 362-3178 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ....
   

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