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Valpo to Host First-Ever 'Monster Dash'

The Valparaiso Parks Department is introducing their first-ever "Monster Dash" at Central Park Plaza Sunday, October 27, 2013.  The event begins at 1 pm and costumes are encouraged.  "Our goal is to be the fittest city in Indiana and we'd like to see everyone get involved in running or walking or learning about fitness on October 27," said Mayor Jon Costas, who will lead the Family Fun Run at 2pm.  To encourage kids to get involved, the city was offering a $500 prize to the elementary school that brings out the most participants.  City officials say the money will go toward fitness or wellness programming at the school. For more info, visit www.valpoparks.org . You can hear more information online here at our website at News Audio on Demand....
 

Some Trains Cancelled due to Bridge Construction

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District [NICTD] is temporarily busing passengers between South Bend and Carroll Avenue in Michigan City because of bridge construction east of Michigan City. NICTD reports she following weekend trains operating exclusively between South Bend and Michigan City are cancelled: WB Train 710 & EB Trains 701 & 703. For complete construction related service details click on the following link: http://www.nictd.com/TempPDF/SERVICEALERT.pdf...
 

Region Prep Football Sectional Scores

The 2013 IHSAA Prep Football tournament began Friday night.. For the first time there will be 6 state champions in Indiana, as the state now features 6 classes.
Sectional scores from match-ups in the Region include Penn over Portage 28-7...Chesterton over Valparaiso 31-3.... Morton falls to East Chicago Central 26-21.... Andrean beating Knox 58-6.... Boone Grove over host Wheeler 7-6..... Whiting over LaVille 29-17.... Merrillville over Lafayette Jeff 39-18... Bowman Academy over River Forest in overtime 26-20 …. Mishawaka defeats La Porte 38-14.... West Side over Lowell 30-9... Culver Community over South Central 36-33... South Bend St. Joseph defeats Hobart 42-28.... Lake Central beats Crown Point 9-6.... Griffith 50, Clark 36..... Highland 55, Gavit 6.....Rensselaer 52, Bishop Noll 19.... Hammond 41, Roosevelt 0...New Prairie 62, Kankakee Valley 0...... North Judson 50, North Newton 6....

 

SR 49 Roundabout Landscaping Okayed

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Work on the new roundabout at State Road 49 and Vale Park Road is complete, but there are still some finishing touches ahead in the area of landscaping. Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers says the commission approved getting some of the work started this Fall.  Summers says permission for the work is necessary from the Indiana Department of Transportation because the land belongs to INDOT.  [Image provided]...
 

Governor Pence Gets Flu Shot

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence received his flu shot this week. 
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The shot was administered at the Governor's Office in Indianapolis Thursday, where Governor Pence was joined by a Kroger pharmacist who gave the shot and State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess. [Photos/Indiana Governor's Office]...
 

E-Chaplaincy Program Launched

Certified chaplains at Franciscan Alliance hospitals in northwest Indiana have expanded their spiritual care services to cyberspace. An E-Chaplaincy program launched this week in conjunction with the observance of Pastoral Care Week offers outpatients and the public a way to have their concerns address through an initial e-mail request.

The Rev. Anthony Janik, spiritual care services director at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, who was involved in formulation of the program, said it expands chaplains’ opportunities to deal with spiritual distress issues and assistance requests.

We can help people find answers to their grief and depression, to their concerns over chronic illnesses, end-of-life issues, crises of faith, or their intentions for loved ones who may be ill or have been in an accident. We can help by offering coping mechanisms; we want to help bring a resolution to their difficulty.”
Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer chaplain Augustine Duru, who originated the proposal locally, said he learned of similar programs being conducted elsewhere and thought the idea would well serve Franciscan Alliance, as time and technology have evolved.
I thought our system could benefit from electronic platforms for in-house and outpatients and the community in general. This creates a listening ear; another opportunity for engagement and outreach, for people we can’t reach physically,” Duru said, adding, “We offer prayer, support and confidentiality for people when they need it most.”
To become certified, chaplains must complete one year of clinical pastoral education training, followed by continuing education and recertification every five years.
E-mail contact forms are available by visiting the websites of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer and Hammond and Franciscan Healthcare-Munster. Visitors should click on “Patients & Visitors” and then on “e-chaplaincy,” found on the left side of the page, under “As A Patient.”
Chaplains are available daily to compile requests and to respond as needed....
 

Four Board Members Ask Ritz to Drop Lawsuit

Four members of the State Board of Education, including Gary attorney Tony Walker, have asked State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz to drop her lawsuit against the ten individuals who serve on the board. The open letter is also signed by Troy Albert, a principal from Henryville; David Freitas, a professor from South Bend; and Sarah O’Brien, a first-grade teacher from Avon. Ritz alleges the board held an illegal meeting by drafting and sending a letter circulated by email requesting a legislative agency calculate school grades instead of her department . Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is seeking to have the case dismissed.
The full text of the letter is below:
October 25, 2013
Dear Superintendent Ritz,
In the interest of transparent dialogue about the future of education in Indiana, we are offering this open letter requesting that you join us in starting anew to work on behalf of the students and schools that we all care about deeply.
We, the members of the State Board of Education, are teachers, school administrators, professors and professionals in higher education and business. We are bipartisan, and we don’t believe politics have any business in education. We work every day to give students new opportunities in our own classrooms, schools, institutions of higher education and communities.
We did not run for elected office, but when we were called upon to serve the students, teachers and schools in this state as members of the State Board of Education, we were humbled and honored to answer the call. We would have been happy to work to better education in Indiana in relative obscurity, as we have no higher aspiration than to ensure our state and our children have access to the best education possible.
Now we find ourselves embroiled in a lawsuit. Named individually as defendants and  accused of having a secret meeting that never took place. While you have access to in-house representation, we do not.
As you know, the State Board of Education has a statutory responsibility for developing education policy in this state. We appreciate your expression on Thursday of your respect for us as individuals. We respect your role as the chair of our board and your statutory obligation as the head of the Indiana Department of Education. However, the State Board of Education is a shared governance board, and we ask that you respect our duties as board members as well.
Superintendent, you have said repeatedly that you have worked to communicate openly with us.  And yet, we have been continually frustrated by our emails and requests that go unanswered, missed deadlines, and a lack of progress on issues that are critical to the success of our students and our schools. However, in the interest of our students—the future of our state—we are ready to set that aside and start over.
On Thursday in your press conference you stated: “I look forward to continuing to work to improve education for all Indiana students in a fair, transparent and collaborative manner.” We share that goal, but actions speak louder than words. If you truly want to work in a collaborative manner, then we ask that you drop this lawsuit, put politics aside, and come to the table ready to put the interests of students, teachers and schools first.
It is time to get to work. We welcome your assistance on education policy, and we look forward to your response....
 

Crisman Elementary Principal Honored

The principal of Crisman Elementary School in Portage has been named Elementary Principal of the Year for Indiana Association of School Principals District 1,which includes Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper Counties. Scott Hufford will be recognized November 24 during the association's annual fall conference, being held in Indianapolis. One principal is honored from each of twelve districts, and one is chosen as the 2013 State Elementary Principal of the Year. ...
 

Volunteer 'Actors' Sought for Reality Store

Volunteers are needed for a special event happening at Colonel John Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point next month. It's called the Reality Store, an exercise for eighth-graders to get a taste of reality through role-playing and making financial, educational choices and other 'life choices'. White says they go through an “interest inventory,” and come up with an area they think they might want to pursue. Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce says volunteers are basically asked to play a part, like an actor, to help guide kids through their decision making. The event is Friday, November 22nd.
Reality Store thespians will be able to attend a training session on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Indiana Wesleyan University starting at 5:30pm to help you become acquainted with your starring role.  
Volunteers are asked to sign up for any of the following shifts, 7:00am to 3:30pm or you may “Share the Day/Role” with a co-worker if that works best for you.  The following shifts are also available:  7am to 11am shift and 11am to 2:45pm. Contact Vicky at 219-756-4309 or by 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 with any questions.
Hear more information from Michael White, Indiana Wesleyan University, here online at News Audio on Demand....
 

Man Sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography

An East Chicago man is sentenced to 17-in-a-half years of jail time with an additional 25-years supervised release after pleading guilty this week in Hammond Federal Court to the felony offense of distribution of child pornography.
According to court documents, during an online Internet investigation to identify persons possessing and sharing child pornography, an IP address belonging to the residence of 37 year-old man was found to be sharing files containing material depicting minors under the age of 16 engaged in sexual acts of poses. A search warrant executed at his home found that he possessed at least 60 child pornographic videos. 
The man also has a prior conviction for possession of child pornography in Marion County in 2005, according to reports.   

This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Highland Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster....

 

Overnight Road Work on SR-2 On Ramp to SB I-65

Overnight road work Saturday, October 26,2013 that will cause overnight closures near the Lowell State Road 2 exit on I-65. INDOT announces the overnight closure of the State Road 2 entrance ramp to southbound I-65 starting around 8p.m. Saturday night through 5a.m. Sunday morning for ramp repaving work. In addition, the right lane of southbound I-65 will be closed near the State Road 2 exit. Traffic looking to access southbound I-65 from State Road 2 will detoured east on State Road 2, south on US 231, west on State Road 10, and back to I-65.
Traffic wishing to access southbound I-65 from SR 2 will be detoured east on SR 2, south on U.S. 231, west on SR 10, and back to I-65.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like them at www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest  and  follow INDOT  at www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest....

   

CNN to air 2nd Showing of Controversial Movie on Sunday

The Cable News network will feature a second showing of the controversial film "Blackfish" this weekend. The movie that the Orlando Sentinel has called an "anti-SeaWorld documentary," offers a dark perspective on the highly publicized story of a killer whale taking the life of it's trainer during a show at SeaWorld in Orlando early in 2010--that trainer being Cedar Lake native and 1987 Andrean High School graduate Dawn Brancheau.   According to the Times, Brancheau's death is prominently featured along with interviews from former marine trainers, court testimony and comments from animal experts. The late trainer's sister, a region resident is also interviewed with the last 10 minutes of the film dedicated to the annual local Dream Big Walk, started in her memory by her family, according to the article.  Blackfish airs on CNN Sunday, October 27,2013 at 8p.m. local time.
Read more about the story at:  http://www.nwitimes.com/entertainment/movies/cnn-airs-whale-movie-focusing-on-death-of-region-native/article_b581e3dd-5262-52f3-938b-e707d75a82f9.html...
   

Five Rescued After Running Aground in Lake Calumet

The Coast Guard assisted two adults and three children between the ages of 11 and 16 back to safety Thursday afternoon after their boat ran aground in Lake Calumet. Just before 4-o'clock a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor answered a phone call from the operator of the 36-foot vessel. Due to the shallow water in Lake Calumet, the 25-foot response boat stopped at the mouth of the Calumet River and the lake , and two rescue crew members approached the stranded boaters with a 7-foot skiff propelled by a portable outboard motor, making three separate trips to rescue the boaters, who were then transported to Sunset Bay Marina, which is about ten miles northwest of Hammond.
“This was one of many similar cases this boating season that we used this rescue approach to reach stranded boaters in Lake Calumet,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class John Palmer, the officer of the day for Station Calumet Harbor. “We encourage all boaters to make sure they are aware of proper navigational channels in this area, and to be sure they follow navigational charts.”...
   

Board Adopts New Rule for Indiana Doctors

The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana voted Thursday to adopt a new rule concerning physicians who prescribe addictive pain medications to nonterminal patients. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says beginning December 15, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system to help prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians. Zoeller also says the board adopted a new rule giving his office the ability to more efficiently review physician records regarding controlled substances, which he says helps in investigations of physicians who may be overprescribing.
News Release from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller:
INDIANAPOLIS – The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana voted Thursday to adopt a new rule concerning physicians who prescribe addictive pain medications to nonterminal patients.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the rule aims to ensure patients are well informed about their prescriptions and physicians closely monitor patients to identify cases of misuse and abuse. A recent study by Trust for America’s Health revealed the number of deaths caused by overdoses in Indiana has quadrupled since 1999.
This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation charging the board with developing new rules regarding prescribing controlled substances and strengthening the authority of the Attorney General’s office to inspect physician records in overprescribing cases. The two emergency rules stem in part from recommendations made by the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force which Zoeller launched last year.
“Thanks to the hard work by the state’s Medical Licensing Board and to the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, Indiana is making great strides in the battle against prescription drug abuse,” Zoeller said. “By ensuring physicians are educating and closely monitoring patients and Hoosier patients are well informed, we can help stop cases of doctor shopping and even overprescribing.”
Beginning Dec. 15, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT which reveals what medications have been prescribed to a patient. Zoeller said this check can prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians.
The board also adopted a new rule giving the Attorney General’s office the ability to more efficiently review physician records regarding controlled substances. Zoeller said this helps his office during investigations of physicians who may be overprescribing. 
Since January of last year, Zoeller’s office has filed complaints or summary suspensions against more than 15 doctors for overprescribing.
The goal of the task force is to significantly reduce the abuse of controlled prescription drugs and to decrease the number of deaths associated with these drugs in Indiana. The task force also makes recommendations for new rules, regulations and state statutes to the Indiana General Assembly.
The task force in conjunction with the Indiana State Medical Association will soon release a physician toolkit which will help doctors navigate the new emergency rules. Zoeller’s office will also host the fourth annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium on Nov. 1 where health officials will discuss Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic and learn more about the impact of the new rules.
Zoeller also thanked the Indiana State Medical Association for their work on developing the emergency rules and physician toolkit.
This year, Zoeller and the task force launched a new website, www.BitterPill.IN.gov, and a statewide public awareness campaign which includes radio and TV commercials about prescription drug abuse. The website serves as a one-stop-shop for consumers to find information about the epidemic and how to get help....
   

Special Spruce Heading to Five-Points

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The city of Valparaiso is making plans to replant a particular spruce tree at Forest Park and give her a new home at the new five-points roundabout. Valparaiso Director of Project and Facility Management Don McGinley says the tree is in the way of a path that's being built, and parks officials want to move the tree to the island at the roundabout rather than lose the tree. McGinley says they're trying to coordinate removing the tree possibly as early as this weekend and transplanting in the middle of next week. The twenty-foot tree is one of the trees that were in downtown Valpo back in the 1980s decorated during the holiday season and later planted in the city parks. The city is now planning to decorate her again this holiday season, after she's moved, in a special tree-lighting and roundabout opening ceremony in late November.  [Photo Courtesy/Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission]
...

   

Indiana Prep Football Tourney Getting Underway

Cue the Friday Night Lights! The 2013 IHSAA Prep Football tournament begins this evening. The tournament begins with all of the state's 322 teams participating, but some sectionals feature teams waiting until next Friday to begin play. This includes Munster and Michigan City, who will wait until next Friday, while the rest of the Region's teams start tonight. Big match-ups this evening include Portage hosting Penn, Morton hosting East Chicago Central, Andrean hosting Knox, Wheeler hosting Boone Grove and Whiting hosting LaVille. For the first time there will be 6 state champions in Indiana, as the state now features 6 classes.
The opening round 4A high school football sectional game tonight [Oct 25] between Lowell and Gary West Side was recently moved from West Side to East Chicago Central High School, due to concerns over field conditions, including reportedly problems with some lights. A representative from the Indiana High School Athletic Association traveled up to Gary last week....
   

Cedar Lake's 2nd Annual Trunk Or Treat Food Drive

The Clerk/Treasurer's Office in Cedar Lake is holding their second annual Trunk Or Treat Food Drive this Saturday! Be sure to bring you ghosts and goblins to the Government Complex for some Trunk or Treating fun. They only ask you bring a non-perishable food item to donate to those in need to participate. For more on the event, check out Annie Fox's interview with Cedar Lake Clerk/Treasurer Amy Gross at News Audio On Demand here on our website....

   

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday

Region residents can dispose of expired or unwanted medications Saturday during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. There are more than eighty collection sites across the state, and several drop off sites listed around northwest Indiana, including the Porter County Sheriffs Department, Lake County Sheriffs Department, Indiana State Police Lowell Post, and police departments in Lowell, Hebron, Porter, Portage, Highland, Munster, Cedar Lake, Dyer, Griffith, Michigan City, St. John and Valparaiso.
For a list of sites visit www.dea.gov .
“State and local efforts alone won’t be enough to end Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic,” Zoeller said. "That’s why we are calling on Hoosiers to do their part and safely dispose of their unwanted medications. This can help keep pills off of the streets and out of the wrong hands.”
“During the past take-back initiative, Indiana residents turned in 11.5 tons of medication at 83 locations and we hope to surpass that number this time,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dennis Wichern, who oversees DEA operations in Indiana. “We are urging residents to clear out expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs in the home so that they will be properly disposed of and not be potentially diverted to illicit use and abuse.”
Zoeller provided four tips for Hoosiers when storing or disposing of unwanted medications:
  • Do not keep medications past their expiration date or intended period of use. Young children or pets might ingest medication if they find it which can lead to accidental poisoning. Avoid an accident by keeping unused medications out of your house;
     
  • Avoid throwing medications away in the trash. As the epidemic of prescription drug abuse grows, theft becomes more common. This includes identity theft from the personal information on prescription bottles. Dealers and addicts will even go through your trash;
     
  • Do not flush medications or pour them down the sink. Flushing your unused medication or pouring it down the drain contaminates Indiana’s waterways. This can have devastating results on the fish and aquatic wildlife of these ecosystems; and
     
  • Never give or sell your prescribed medication to others as it is not only misuse, it is illegal. Legally prescribed medication is not permitted to be shared or transferred to others, because many of these drugs have harmful side effects and their use can lead to addiction. Misuse and abuse come with significant risks — including death.
The Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force is focused on ending the prescription drug abuse epidemic including finding ways to increase availability of disposal sites for unused controlled substances. Duwve, who co-chairs the task force with Zoeller, said members are currently working towards a pilot pharmacy-based take back program.
This year, Zoeller and the task force launched a new website, www.BitterPill.IN.gov , and a statewide public awareness campaign which includes radio and TV commercials about prescription drug abuse. The website is described as a one-stop-shop for consumers to find information about the epidemic and how to get help....
   

Region Invited To Coast To Coast Bully Walk

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Putbulls once know as the nanny breed for their loyalty and family friendly demeanor have now been miscatigorized as bullies. Now "Bully" is not just a term used to describe human behavior, but to mislabel dogs. Breeds like Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and especially Pitbulls are often stigmatized as dangerous or agressive and put in the "Bully" category. The Annual Coast to Coast Bully Walk is an all-breed national walk held to fight for the rights of families and their dogs who are sterotyped as bullies. 

Listen to Audio On Demand here on our website for information on The Porter County Animal Shelter's local Bully Walk.  You can take part this weekend and help end the negative sterotypes associated with these loveable pets....
   

Indiana Toll Road Project at Lake Station to Begin

Lake Station Interchange map
Look for extended restrictions at the Lake Station Indiana Toll Road exit beginning this Monday [Oct 28 2013] at Milepost 21 as ramp bridges will be replaced where the Indiana Toll Road, Borman Expressway and State Road 51 converge. The project begins with the closure of the westbound exit ramp to Interstate 94, marking the start of ITR Concession Company’s extensive reconstruction of the Lake Station ramp structures. The closure of the Lake Station westbound exit ramp will last about a year-and-a-half. The entire existing bridge deck and superstructure, along with the concrete pier caps, will be removed. Traffic seeking to exit at Milepost 21 will be diverted to Exit 17, Gary East to take I-65 south and reconnect with I-94. Exits 17 and Exit 21 on the toll road are both free exits. The entire project is expected to be completed in April 2015. [Image/ITC Concession Co.]
News Release:
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.
“ITRCC is pleased to announce the necessary improvements being made to the Lake Station Exit,” said Fernando Redondo, ITRCC CEO. “The rebuilding of these structures will undoubtedly make for smoother travel for patrons.
“We ask that drivers please be patient during this closure, as we believe the end product will be well worth the wait,” he said.
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....
   

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