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Valparaiso Roundabout All Open

The new five-points roundabout on the north side of Valparaiso, at Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads, is now all open as of this morning.  It had been partially open for over a week as weather conditions delayed some of the finishing work.  Motorists are advised to look for temporary closures today as some painting and striping continues this morning, but the work is expected to wrap up by about noon today.
Click here for a video at the city's website on driving a two-lane roundabout:  http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1244...
 

Ind Dept of Revenue Names New Chief Financial Ofcr

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The Indiana Department of Revenue today announced Valerie Hunt as the department’s new chief financial officer. Hunt has served as deputy controller for the department since July 2012. Hunt will lead the department’s finance division, which includes accounting operations and reporting, electronic funds transfer and related banking functions, contracts and accounts payable, internal audit, and financial planning and analysis.
“Valerie has done an outstanding job of enhancing our accounting and budgeting process and reporting,” said Commissioner Mike Alley. “She is uniquely qualified to assume the role of chief financial officer for the department and build on our recent success.”
Hunt has experience in financial management at Brightpoint, Rolls Royce and Guidant Corporation.  Hunt is a CPA with a BS in accounting and an MBA in finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington. She replaces Mike Ashley, who was appointed chief financial officer by Governor Mitch Daniels in May 2012. Ashley is retiring at the end of the year.
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Valparaiso Police Warn of New Phone Scam

Valparaiso Police were notified of a potential scam that was occurring during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Police say a female subject reported to police she received a cellular telephone call from a male subject informing her that the caller was a gang member and that her husband had been involved in a traffic accident involving his vehicle. The male subject, who identified himself as “Ricky” had a strong Hispanic accent, authorities say, then said he was holding her husband as hostage until she could bring him money for damages to his vehicle. Police checked with the victims spouse and learned no such traffic accident had occurred. The Valparaiso Police Department contacted other police agencies throughout the region and learned they had also received similar complaints of the same type of scam being report to their agencies. Valpraaiso Police advise those who receive a similar call to disconnect the call immediately and contact your family member to confirm their condition. ...
 

Police Investigate Gary Homicides

Police in Gary are investigating as many as three possible homicides this morning. 
Police in Gary say they are searching for a white van involved in a shooting early today. Public Information Officer Corporal Gabrielle King says at about 3:30 am, a woman reported being in her van with her boyfriend and a friend of his, when the friend pulled out a gun and shot both of them, and she was able to jump out.  Investigators say they have since learned that a body found this morning in the 32-hundred block of Georgia Street in Gary, initially thought to have been the body of the woman's boyfriend, was someone else.  The woman's boyfriend may still be in the van, and may have been fatally shot, but that is unknown at this time.   The woman's vehicle was described as a white 1999 Chrysler van with Indiana In God We Trust license plate OFP 293.
Gary Police are also investigating a fatal shooting on the west side of the city overnight. Corporal King says shortly after midnight officers received a call of shots fired in the 62-hundred block of West 29th Avenue.  Investigators say it was determined that three masked gunmen came to the front door of the residence and tried to get in, then went around to the side door, where they came into contact with one of the occupants of the home.  Police say they led him back into the house at gunpoint, a struggle ensued and shots were fired.  Four people were shot, authorities say, and one individual, identified by the Lake County Coroners Office as 22-year-old Rolando Correa was pronounced dead at approximately 2 am at an area hospital.    Corporal King says the shooting incidents do not appear to be related.

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One-Vehicle Crash Injures Two

In Jasper County, Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say at approximately 6:22 p.m. CST Saturday (Nov 30)  they were advised of a one vehicle crash on I-65 southbound near the 225 mile marker (that is 5 miles south of the Roselawn exit) that sent two to area hospitals.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Brandon Bohling of the Indiana State Police at Lowell has revealed that a black 2001 Ford Taurus driven by Michael Haile, 27 years old from Aurora, IL was traveling northbound in the right lane. For an unknown reason, he drove off the outside shoulder and over corrected causing the Taurus to go across both northbound lanes and through the median. The Taurus continued through the median, crossing both southbound lanes going onto the outside shoulder where it rolled into the ditch and came to rest.

Police say Haile was not injured, and  the front seat passenger, Nur-Yusuf Ibrahim, 42 years old from Aurora was entrapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by the Keener Fire Department. He was then transported to the Jasper County Airport where Good Samaritan Helicopter flew him to South Bend Memorial Hospital in South Bend with severe leg and ankle injuries. The rear right side passenger, Marianela Cruz, 43 years old also from Aurora was transported to Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer, IN with complaint of neck, rib and back pain.

All were wearing their seatbelts which probably helped the injuries from being more severe Trooper Bohling said. Police said neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be contributing factors in the crash. The interstate was down to one lane for the investigation of the crash, attending to the injured and cleanup of the crash....
 

Missing Menorah Returned

In Munster, a nine-foot tall metal menorah was taken from a rabbi's front lawn sometime Saturday night, police say, and discovered in a backyard a few blocks away not long after the fifty-pound menorah topped with red lights was reported stolen Sunday. There was no damage and police say the theft appears to have been a random act, possibly a prank....
 

Illiana Vote Tuesday

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's Transportation Policy Committee votes on the Illiana Expressway tomorrow (December 3rd), and the 9am meeting's been moved to Woodland Park in Portage in anticipation of a big turnout. The full commission is scheduled to vote December 12. The proposed highway would span 47-miles – 12 miles in Indiana and 35 in Illinois – connecting I-65 near Lowell to I-55 in Illinois. The Indiana Department of Transportation has proposed amendments to add both the Illiana and an expansion of I-65 to NIRPC's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan to move the project forward for federal funding.
Additional info from NIRPC: The Transportation Policy Committee consists of transportation stakeholders, transit operators, and transportation advocates from around the region. The NIRPC Full Commission consists of elected officials from all three counties, all 41 municipalities, and two townships. There is also a governor’s appointee. At the Full Commission, voting is normally one vote by each of the 53 Commissioners. A Commissioner may call for a weighted vote, in which case voting is weighted by proportional population....
 

Driving Through Cook County? Buckle Up

Drive Sober Illinois
The "Click It or Ticket" Thanksgiving weekend campaign is underway at various locations throughout Cook County, illinois. 
IDOT is partnering with Cook County Sheriff's Police, Illinois State Police and nearly 250 other local law enforcement agencies to crack down on seat belt law violators through Saturday, November 30th.
According to a media advisory, More than 700 Safety Belt Enforcement Zones will be conducted with half during night-time hours, when belt use is typically at its lowest.
To learn more about Illinois' "Click It or Ticket" program log onto:  http://drivesoberillinois.org...
 

Police Ask Public to Help Identify Shooting Suspect

East Chicago PD
East Chicago police investigating a shooting Saturday morning that took the life of a 23-year old man and injured his pregnant girlfriend who were both asleep at the time.
Published reports say shortly after 6:35 a.m. police responded to a shooting in the 35-hundred block of Grand Blvd. in East Chicago. A number of people, including four or five young children and a male adult were also in the home at the time of the shooting and escaped injury.
A family member reported seeing a large man lean into a bedroom window with a handgun but police say witnesses were unable to provide a clear description of the gunman.
The Lake County Coroner pronounced the victim, Rolando Munoz Cuevas III dead at 8:10 a.m. as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Chief Becker says an attempt by the deceased to sever previous gang ties may have been a motive of the crime.
Anyone with information about the shooting are asked to contact the East Chicago Police Department at (219) 398-COPS or the anonymous tip line at (219) 391-8500.
Read more about this developing story at:  http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/east-chicago/ec-man-killed-pregnant-girlfriend-wounded-in-shooting/article_ff110e22-3c13-5469-887f-8d68270fb565.html...
 

Indiana DNR Investigates ATV Rollover Accident

IN Dept of Conservation
Indiana Conservation officers are looking into an ATV accident that happened Saturday in downstate Morgan County that put the 71 year-old driver into the hospital with back and rib injuries.
The Indiana Department of natural Resources says the Brooklyn, Indiana man was attempting to maneuver up a steep hill on his property in the town of Bethany, about 50 miles west of Indianapolis, lost control and was thrown from the vehicle.  The machine then reportedly rolled back on top of Miller.
A preliminary report shows the driver had limited experience operating an ATV and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 
Indiana Conservation Officers urge riders to always wear a helmet and necessary safety equipment when operating an ATV.
For more information on using ATV equipment safely visit:  http://www.in.gov/dnr...
 

Two Joliet Men Charged in Black Friday Incident

A $400,000 bond has been set for a Joliet man who faces attempted murder and shoplifting charges in connection to a Black Friday incident at a Kohl's store in southwestern suburban Romeoville.
The Chicago Tribune reports that following an alleged shoplifting incident, police tried to stop 51 year-old Robert Russell Jr., from getting into a car driven by another man.
Russell allegedly closed the car door on the officer's arm as the car dragged him. According to the article, another officer fired shots at the car with one of those shots reportedly hitting the driver's arm.
The officer who was dragged was treated and released at a Bolingbrook hospital and the driver was also taken to a hospital but has not yet been charged.
Another Joliet man, 28 year-old Gerald Chamberlain Jr., involved in the incident reportedly stayed in the store and is in custody on a 100-thousand dollar bond.
Both Russell and Chamberlain have criminal histories will appear before a Will County judge on Tuesday....
   

NWI Mobile Food Pantry to Visit Hammond Monday

Mobile Food Pantry NWI
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana mobile food pantry will be making a stop to distribute food Monday afternoon in Hammond.
All Region residents in need of assistance can receive food food bank officials say participants should bring valid proof of Indiana residency and bags or boxes to carry food.
The mobile pantry will be at the North Township trustee's Circle of Services building located at 2835 165th Street in Hammond from 3 to 5 o'clock Monday, December 2, 2013.
You can hear more about programs offered by the food bank by downloading our recent Region Newsmakers interview with the food bank's executive director Arlene Peterson at http://www.regionnewsteam-dot-com. ...
   

Gary Man Dies in Friday Shooting

Gary Police and the Lake County Sheriff Crime Lab continue to investigate a shooting that resulted in the death of a Gary man Friday afternoon.
According to the Lake Count Coroner's office, shortly before 4 o'clock, investigators were called out to the 4400 block of Virginia Street in Gary, where they found 33-year old Eugene Jackson with multiple gunshot wounds.  The death has been ruled a homicide....
   

Congratulations! Andrean 59ers are 3A State Champs!

Capping off a 14-0 season, Andrean just brought back to the Region the Class 3A state title with a final score of Andrean 35, Brebeuf Jesuit 27.  Congratulations to coach Phil Mason in his sixth year at Andrean and the entire Andrean Football team in their victory. ...
   

Outage Affected Hammond, Highland Area

Northern Indiana Public Service Company reports about three-thousand customers, both businesses and residents, lost power for about ninety-minutes this busy Black Friday morning in and around the Hammond/Highland area, just a little east and west of Indianapolis Boulevard and both north and south of 175th Street due to an apparent problem with a transformer at a substation. Power was restored by about 11 am. The outage also affected traffic lights along a stretch of the Boulevard....
   

Gary Event Paying Tribute to Historic Game

This year's CN Lakeshore Classic at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary tomorrow (Sat Nov 30) is featuring a tribute to two high schools that made history when they met at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis more than half-a-century ago. In 1955, for the first time in the Hoosier state, and the US, two all-black schools – Gary Roosevelt and Indianapolis Attucks – played each other for a state basketball title. Attucks won that game 97-74. Members of that groundbreaking game scheduled to be in Gary for this weekend's ceremony include NBA legends Oscar Robertson from the Attucks and Dr. Dick Barnett from Roosevelt. The National Basketball Retired Players Association says TNT, one of the NBA's home cable television networks, is sending a crew to cover the reunion. ...
   

Public Invited to Hobart Doughboy Ceremony

Today is the final Friday of the month, the day of the Hobart Marine Corps League Howlin' Mad Detachment Number 93 Doughboy ceremony where the names of fallen soldiers are read out loud – three names are being read tonight. The public is invited to the service, which starts at 5 pm at the Hobart Doughboy statue at 7th and Main. Doughboy was a term used to describe U-S infantrymen of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I....
   

Valpo HS Students Set Up Walk-Thru Roundabout

Here's a new spin on training for the new Five Points Roundabout. A mock walk-through roundabout was marked out using blue tape on the floor of a hallway at Valparaiso High School to designate and simulate how vehicles would flow through the new roundabout at Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads. It was part of a safe-driving activity sponsored by the school's chapter of SADD , Students Against Destructive Decisions, formerly called Students Against Drunk Driving....
   

Lowell School Buildings Damaged in Severe Storms

Administrators with Tri-Creek Schools in Lowell say some of the district's property was damaged in the severe weather outbreak that struck the Region and the Midwest November 17th. Part of the roof was compromised at the administration center, but officials say only storage areas were affected. There was also some damage reported to roofing and vents at the high school and Lake Prairie Elementary....
   

Historic Stained Glass Tours Return to Michigan City

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The Historic Stained Glass Tours are returning to Michigan City. Michigan City Mainstreet Association Executive Director Tiffany Bley says the downtown, better known now as the Uptown Arts District, is home to several of the area’s finest pieces of stained glass, and most of the stained glass is housed within the district’s churches.  [Photos courtesy Michigan City Mainstreet Association]
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The Stained Glass Tours are self-guided tours featuring the Uptown churches. Each church will showcase the story, provide refreshments and tour the historic stained glass pieces they hold. Churches participating include Trinity Episcopal Church, 600 Franklin Street; First United Methodist Church, 121 E. 7th Street; St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, 818 Franklin Street; and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 411 W. 11th Street.
Each church will have a resident tour guide, as well as the Stained Glass Tour Brochure which lists the other locations on the self-guided tours. Free horse drawn wagon rides and Santa visits will also be taking place in Uptown both of those days from 12noon to 2pm, as well as on December 7th an Arts and Crafts Bazaar at Barker Hall behind Trinity Church from 2pm to 5pm. For more information on these Winter Wonderland events, visit www.uptownartsdistrict.org  ....
   

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