WASHINGTON – In an effort to restore public confidence and accountability to the Gary, Indiana Housing Authority (GHA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a mutual agreement with the City to work together to reverse years of financial mismanagement, improve physical conditions and increase occupancy rates.
“HUD will stand with the City in addressing the shortcomings at the agency,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez, who announced the receivership today. “We respect the mayor’s commitment to the city and its public housing residents to take this bold and courageous step.”
Citing a decade of neglect, Henriquez and Freeman-Wilson signed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to address administrative, financial and management concerns at the agency. HUD will lead the effort to help get GHA back on track. Freeman-Wilson noted that this move was a resident-centered decision and is expected to improve the quality of life for the residents of GHA.
“Upon a lengthy assessment of operations at GHA, we have determined that the existing problems are beyond the scope of our resources and federal assistance is required,” said Freeman-Wilson. “This decision was made with the residents in mind, and I am appreciative of HUD’s partnership and look forward to this change resulting in the high quality of housing that Gary citizens deserve.”
In a separate letter, Freeman-Wilson acknowledged the hard work of the GHA Board of Directors and thanked them for their extraordinary efforts during her tenure.
Henriquez named two HUD employees who will assist the agency effective immediately. Willie Garrett was named executive director and Steven Meiss will serve as the one-person board of directors. Garrett is the Public Housing Director in HUD’s Detroit Field Office with 15 years of housing experience in both the private and public sector. He will work directly with the housing authority staff to manage day-to-day operations to ensure residents will continue receiving services. Meiss is the Public Housing Director in HUD’s Chicago Field Office and a HUD-veteran with more than 36 years of housing experience. He has also served in a board capacity for other housing agencies that are under HUD control, most recently the Detroit Housing Commission and earlier the East St. Louis (Ill.) Housing Authority.
Under the partnership agreement, HUD will first develop a detailed action plan to stabilize the housing authority’s operations. The second step will be to address specific problems HUD identified in a comprehensive review of the agency’s operations. The receivership period will be for at least two years. Interim GHA Executive Director Mary Cossey will remain at the agency to assist with the turnaround efforts.
This partnership with HUD will allow GHA to implement a new property management structure, modernize each of the housing developments and establish a well-defined business and operation plan, and adequate financial management systems.
“The challenges that plague the Gary Housing Authority did not occur overnight,” said Henriquez. “Despite HUD and the city’s efforts over the years, the agency is not where it should be. This agreement is the beginning to the agency’s path to recovery.”
The mayor also stated that town hall meetings for GHA residents will be held next week and will be open to the media and members of the public.
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IMPORTANT ALERT - I-94, Porter County: Eastbound traffic on I-94 will be severely restricted this afternoon (down to one lane) between the SR 49 exit and the U.S. 20 exit, near the town of Porter.
Pavement striping must be replaced ASAP in our construction zone there for the safety of drivers. As a result we have to reduce traffic to one lane until the work is complete. We'll work as quickly as we can, but this could cause long delays through the rush hours. Avoid this route if you can.
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The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant opened for applications today August 1, 2013. The deadline to submit proposals for grant funds is September 30, 2013.
The Indiana Secured School Fund was created to provide matching grants to school corporations and charter schools or coalitions of school corporations and/or charter schools to make schools safer by hiring school resource officers, conducting threat assessments, or purchasing equipment to restrict access to school property or expedite notification of first responders.
School corporations, charter schools or coalitions with an average daily membership (ADM) of at least 1,000 can apply for grants up to $50,000 per year. Eligible applicants with an ADM of less than 1,000 can apply for grants of up to $35,000 per year.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) administers the grant program.
§ Be located in a county that has a County School Safety Commission.
§ The Commission must have specific members and perform certain duties described in IC 5-2-10.1-10. There is still time for County School Safety Commissions to be organized prior to the application deadline.
§ August 1, 2013 – Grant application period begins & Grant Program Guidance Released
§ September 15, 2013 – Deadline to submit notice of intent
§ September 30, 2013 – Deadline to submit proposal for grants funds
§ October 1, 2013 to October 31, 2013 – Proposal review
§ November 1, 2013 – Projected award start date
§ October 31, 2014 – Projected award end date
For more information on the Secured School Safety Grant Program visit www.in.gov/dhs/securedschoolsafety.htm.
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“Governor Pence believes in accountability and that students, parents and teachers deserve to know our state has a fair and impartial grading system that accurately describes the performances of our schools,” said Kara Brooks, Press Secretary. “The Governor supports our A-F grading system and believes that the people of Indiana should have confidence in the integrity of that system. Today, at the direction of Governor Pence, Claire Fiddian-Green, Special Assistant for Education Innovation and Reform, urged the Department of Education to conduct a thorough and timely evaluation of the questions surrounding the A-F grading system and to report their findings to the State Board of Education at the upcoming August meeting. After the Department of Education reports its findings to the State Board of Education, the Governor believes we will be able to make an informed decision about how we might best ensure public confidence in our A-F grading system going forward.”
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody released the following statement about the resignation of former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett as Florida Commissioner of Education in the wake of a scandal involving changed accountability grades for certain Indiana schools:
"Indiana schools and students deserved better than the disparate treatment they received during Tony Bennett's tenure, and it's a relief that Florida won't have to endure his approach to leadership.
"Unfortunately, this is the latest in a long line of stories that make it clear that Republicans have been in power too long and have let that power corrupt them and the way they govern. What's worse is that Governor Pence is still defending Tony Bennett and the mistakes he made instead of working with Supt. Glenda Ritz to improve schools for all Hoosier children. While prominent leaders from both political parties in the Statehouse, and even Bennett himself, have called for reviews and investigations into this controversy, Gov. Pence is saying nothing about it. Additionally, any individuals in the governor’s administration who were involved in this controversy should be held accountable.
"As Democrats, we're committed to recruiting candidates and supporting our elected officials, like Glenda Ritz, who approach government as public service and who intend to serve all Hoosiers equally, fairly and with dignity and common sense.
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INDIANAPOLIS—Thursday, August 1 begins World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and celebrate the efforts of all who embrace breastfeeding as the cultural norm. In conjunction with the worldwide celebration, Governor Pence has declared August 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week in Indiana.
"Breastfeeding protects babies by providing the ultimate infant nutrition," said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health. "Breastfeeding Week is a great way for Hoosiers to recognize the value and importance of breastfeeding and demonstrate support for breastfeeding moms."
Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development of infants. It reduces infant mortality by protecting the infant against infectious diseases and has been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of developing asthma, obesity, diabetes and other diseases in childhood and later adulthood. And the physical contact of breastfeeding provides comfort and security to infants.
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too. Breastfeeding provides a quiet time for mothers to bond with their babies and decreases the risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding is also economical because there is no formula to buy and healthier babies mean fewer visits to the doctor. In addition, breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes.
National estimates suggest that if 90 percent of U.S. babies were breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented, and the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care costs.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7 each year. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlights the importance of support for breastfeeding mothers from others such as family, friends and breastfeeding peer counselors.
The Breastfeeding Week proclamation will be read by Dr. Duwve at the Indianapolis 2013 Big Latch On, an event hosted by Indy Breastfeeding Moms that will attempt to break the World Record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously. The official “latch on” begins at 10:30 a.m. on August 3 at the Rivera Club in Indianapolis. Several Big Latch On events will take place around the state. For more information and to register, visit http://www.biglatchon.org/locations/indy-breastfeeding-moms-big-latch-on.
For more information on breastfeeding or to see a copy of the Breastfeeding Week proclamation, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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Portage Police are seeking the public's assistance in locating three black male suspects being sought in the armed robbery of a tobacco store on Sunday evening. Police report an investigation found two of the three suspects had ties to Gary, but while neither suspects could be located, authorities were able to find the vehicle used in the robbery. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of 42 year old Garland Jeffers Jr. and 49 year old Roscoe McClendon is asked to contact Detective Captain Joe Reynolds at (219) 762-3122. Police say a third unknown suspect is also being sought. No one was injured in the armed robbery that took place in the 34-hundred block of Willowcreek Road, in which the suspects reportedly stole cigarettes and cash.
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State environmental officials will be in the Region today to present the results of the Lakeshore Air Toxics Study. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management analysis evaluated air monitoring data and performed modeling of industrial, car and truck emissions in Northwest Indiana to assess potential health risks.
Also at today's NIRPC Environmental Committee meeting this morning... the Indiana Department of Transportation is returning as a followup to an overview presentation in May, when committee members had a number of questions about water-related impacts of the proposed Illiana Expressway. Meeting is at 9 am.
More info from NIRPC:
Jeffrey Stoakes, Senior Environmental Manager with the Office of Air Quality at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will present the results of the Lakeshore Air Toxics Study. This study was introduced at EMPC in May of 2012. The study evaluated ambient air monitoring data and performed modeling of industrial, car, and truck emissions within Northwest Indiana to assess potential health risks.
In addition, Jim Earle of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will return to EMPC as a follow up to an overview presentation in May of this year. “The EMPC members had numerous questions about water related impacts of the proposed Illiana expressway,” said Kathy Luther, NIRPC Director of Environmental Programs, “I’m pleased that the Illiana team requested an opportunity to come back and address these concerns.”
The Environmental Management and Policy Committee (EMPC) is one of the primary advisory bodies to NIRPC. The group includes elected local officials, environmental managers, regional environmental activists, industry leaders, and academics with expertise in environmental and ecological areas.
City and community leaders in Gary continue to search for ways to combat crime. At a meeting of the Gary Public Safety Committee Wednesday, Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram stressed the importance of economic development and jobs as part of the solution. He also said he is hoping to hire ten to eleven additional officers in the next few weeks and is planning another gun turn-in August 24th. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has asked the Governor for State Police to assist the city in fighting the recent surge in violence, a request Governor Pence is currently reviewing. A man shot and killed Tuesday morning marked the 33rd homicide in the city of Gary this year. Wednesday morning police say a 63-year-old Gary man was shot and wounded in a carjacking when he stopped to check on his tire at 5th and Wabash.
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is pleased to announce that it has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the contribution NIPSCO has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection.
Created in 2008, NIPSCO’s Residential New Construction Program offers incentives to local builders and developers who construct homes to ENERGY STAR standards. To earn the ENERGY STAR label, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are up to 30 percent more efficient than typical new homes built today.
Together, families living in ENERGY STAR certified homes saved nearly $626 million on their utility bills and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 686,000 vehicles last year alone.
Since NIPSCO’s Residential New Construction Program began, 1,527 homes across northern Indiana have earned incentives. Nationwide, more than 1.4 million ENERGY STAR certified homes have been built to date, with more than 100,000 constructed in 2012.
“We thank ENERGY STAR for recognizing NIPSCO’s efforts to help our customers build efficient homes,” said Victoria Vrab, director of conservation programs for NIPSCO. “Together with local builders we are helping encourage the adoption of energy-saving features, including insulation and duct sealing systems, high performance windows and efficient heating and cooling equipment that will help our customers achieve long-term energy savings.”
Additional energy efficiency programs
In addition to the Residential New Construction Program, NIPSCO customers have access to a wide range of energy efficiency programs which can help them identify ways to manage energy usage at home and the office, including:
· Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: Save even more when you replace old, inefficient equipment with new, high efficiency natural gas and electric equipment as well as insulation and duct sealing.
· Energy Efficiency Incentives for Businesses, Schools: Businesses and organizations of all size can take advantage of rebates and other incentives on renovation and new construction projects.
· Home Energy Assessment: Learn how you can raise your home’s performance, lower energy bills and improve in-home air quality with an in-home assessment.
· Appliance Recycling Program: Recycle your old refrigerator or freezer with us – it’s free and we’ll give you a $35 reward.
· Air Conditioner (AC) Cycling Program: Help reduce energy demand on the hottest days of the year and earn bill credits during the summer.
· Instant Savings on CFL Bulbs: Take advantage of instant, in-store discounts when purchasing CFL bulbs at participating retail locations. No coupons or forms needed.
A full list of energy efficiency programs available to NIPSCO customers can be found at www.NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy.
About ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).
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(Above Photo: Michael Reid; Below: Christopher Chandler)
(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A 37 year old Alsip, Illinois man, wanted in connection with a Harvey murder was apprehended this morning in Dolton. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports Michael Reid was taken into custody at 5:40am, at a hotel room in the 13-hundred block of Sibley Boulevard on a warrant issued back in May. The Sheriff's Office reports while searching for Reid Tuesday in Harvey before getting a tip he was Dolton, officers arrested 22 year old Christopher Chandler of Harvey, who was wanted for concealment of a homicidal death stemming from a Harvey Police Department case.
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“It has been an Honor to work with Chief David Pastrick for one year. He accepted the position as Chief temporarily when I was elected, to help with my transition into office as Coroner. Chief Pastrick has my support in returning to his family owned Funeral Home. Together Chief Pastrick and I choose our new Chief Leo Finnerty”
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A Crown Point home that has been sitting vacant since a fire in February of 2012 has been approved for demolition. City officials today (Wednesday) approved allowing the demolition of the burned-out home and put a lien on the property, located in the 95-hundred block of Johnson Street. Officials say it poses a health and safety risk to the community, and will prevent property values on other homes in the vicinity from being impacted.
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World-famous comedian Jim Gaffigan is in The Region this week preparing for a stop at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville with his current act “The White Bread Tour”.
Save the Dunes is pleased to announce that registration for an upcoming workshop on naturalized detention basins on August 14th is now open. Space is limited, so they request that interested parties or individuals please register soon to reserve their seat. Registration is required for this event. This full day workshop is free, but there is a $10 charge to cover a light breakfast, lunch, and drink service throughout the day. The deadline to reserve a lunch for this event is August 7th, however registration will still remain open until the workshop is full (food options will be available on and adjacent to the Valparaiso University campus). This workshop will feature presentations by Dr. Kristopher Bass from North Carolina State University. Dr. Bass has years of experience designing and installing naturalized basins, making him a national expert on this stormwater practice that improves water quality and provides urban habitat.
Topics and activities for the workshop include:
A brief introduction to Save the Dunes and watershed management, an overview of traditional detention basin design, design options and considerations, cost and economic considerations, benefits and pollutant load reductions, maintenance, naturalized basin case studies, what these practices mean in the context of the Salt Creek Watershed planning efforts, Thorgren & Wall Street basins case studies, and a tour of those two naturalized basins in Valparaiso, Indiana.
This workshop is part of the Salt Creek Watershed Management effort. The naturalized basins are also part of Save the Dunes’ Salt Creek efforts as well as the Valparaiso Stormwater master plan. Save the Dunes received financial support to naturalize the Wall Street Basin through the Salt Creek Cost Share and Education program, which was funded by a Clean Water Act section 319 grant in 2011. The Thorgren Basin was naturalized and expanded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant program in 2012 in partnership with the City of Valparaiso.
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- Man Shot During Carjacking Incident in Gary
- Scneider Man Arrested on Warrant for Dealing Rx Meds
- Dentist from LaPorte Arrested for Heroin Formally Charged
- Monon Man Killed in I-65 Crash
- Corn Maze Celebrates Stanley Cup Champs
- 'Nursing Mothers' Nook' at Lake Co Fair
- UPDATE: NB 65 Reopens After Fatal Crash
- Back-to-School Immunization Reminder
- Woman Sentenced in Death of Child
- One Person Killed in I-65 Crash
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