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DNR: Drivers be alert to seasonal increase in deer

Indiana DNR
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, this is the time of year deer are the most active in Northwest Indiana and the rest of the state.  Drivers need to be extra extra cautious because as the days shorten, the chances of encountering deer on region roads goes up significantly.
Chad Stewart, Deer Biologist with the DNR says, "historically about 40% percent of deer/vehicle collissions in Indiana occurr between October and December."  Stewart says the reason for the jump in instances is "strictly due because they're (deer) are a lot more active this time of year."
Indiana Crash Facts, an annual report compiled by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Center for Criminal Justice Research and the IUPUI School of Public & Environmental Affairs, reported 15,205 deer-related collisions in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.
"With the number of deer and the number of vehicles out there, deer-vehicle accidents will happen," Stewart said. "The best thing drivers can do is to take measures to keep them to a minimum.”
Knowing the following information and practicing defensive driving will help reduce your chances of becoming a deer-vehicle collision statistic:
Deer are most active between sunset and sunrise.
Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one, another is likely nearby.
Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic; scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.
Exercise extreme caution along woodlot edges, at hills, or blind turns.
Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer; most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer but hit something else.
Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs warning of deer crossings and may want to steer clear of gimmicks sold to keep deer away.
"Deer crossing signs have proved effective, but motorists tend to get acclimated to such signs, and their efficiency can be reduced over time," Stewart said. "Fancy whistles or reflectors can be placed on your car to scare deer away, but truth be told, they are not proven to be effective."
Stewart said that even when practicing safe driving, sometimes hitting a deer is inevitable. Caution is also the best approach after the fact.
"If you hit a deer, remain calm," he said. "Do not approach the deer unless you are sure it has expired. Despite their gentle nature, their hooves are sharp and powerful, and can be extremely dangerous."
Stewart said that, like cars and people, deer can be found anywhere, so drivers should be on the lookout no matter where they are....

Grants allow for new officer hires in Gary and E.C.

pete visclosky
The cities of Gary and East Chicago will soon be able to add additional officers to their police forces thanks to Grants awarded through the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program--of the U.S Department of Justice.  1st District Congressman Pete Visclosky says "these awards represent an investment in Northwest Indiana's law enforcement and will allow for the hiring of at least 15 officers."  According to a press release from Congressman Visclosky's office, a grant of $1,230,383 will enable ten officers to be added to Gary's force and the other grant for $625,000 will allow for the hire of five officers for East Chicago.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says the grant is  a "welcomed addition" to measures already implemented by the city to combat and prevent crime and that"Community policing is extremely important when it comes to buidling strong neighborhoods and healthy relationships with those who serve and protect us every day."
East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker says, "this award is verification that the City of East Chicago is making progress with our proactive and innovative concepts."  Cheif Becker also says, "We are proud of what we've been abe to achieve and look forward to leading additional community oriented programs."
According tot he U.S. Department of Justice, grantees fo the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their commnity policing plans.
(provided photo: Congressman Pete Visclosky)...

Cedar Lake FD May Soon Become a Municipal Dept

Cedar Lake

The Cedar Lake Volunteer Fire Department could soon become an official town department. Town Council President Randy Niemeyer says it means an opportunity to sustain the fire department's growth, which has become a necessary focus due to the rise in population growth over the last 20 years.
Niemeyer says the volunteer entity of the fire department would remain and be able to continue to hold fundraisers and community activities, with the full-time EMS, paramedic and fire staff that are currently there full-time under their independent entity becoming town employees. Niemeyer says with the town's involvement, the fire professionals can focus on the public safety aspect, while they deal with the business end of things.
The process is currently underway and the fire department is anticipated to be a municipal department by January 1st.


How Shutdown Would Impact IN Dunes Nat Lakeshore

The threat of a federal government shutdown could soon become a reality, and if so, that means the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore would have to close its doors as well. Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says a government shutdown would mean their visitor facilities, services, beach areas, trails would all close and no longer be available to the public. Also those at Dunewood Campground would be given 48 hours notice to vacate.
Rowe says if the government shutdown occurs and then starts back up again, the length of the shutdown itself would determine how long it would take to prepare things to then reopen facilities and services. House Republicans have refused to pass a budget unless President Obama's Affordable Care Act is delayed for a year....

Guiding You Through New Healthcare Marketplace

MUNSTER – Specially-trained staff at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System are ready to help those who are uninsured obtain health insurance that meets both their needs and budget. In-person assistance is available at Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart to help area residents complete the application and enrollment process beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.
With these new insurance options, the promise of healthcare for all is becoming a reality. In the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace, consumers can go to one place to find health plans that cover a comprehensive set of benefits, and they cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. All health plans offered through the marketplace cover costs associated with physician visits, hospital stays and prescriptions.
To obtain insurance coverage through these new plans, you must enroll between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Coverage can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2014. Many people, based on their income and family size, will qualify for help in paying the costs of these new insurance plans.
“We know there are a lot of questions and concerns about these new programs and we want to be a resource to people in our community,” said Karen Schneider, Regional Director of Patient Financial Services of the Community Healthcare System. “In addition to exploring options through the new Healthcare Marketplace Insurance program, we can also look at coverage that may be available through other programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or the state of Indiana’s HIP program.”
To help guide consumers, in-person, through the application and enrollment process, Community Healthcare System has 16 licensed, certified Indiana Health Navigators. Call 219-934-9888 or 800-210-9776 for an appointment to meet with a Navigator at Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital or St. Mary Medical Center. Assistance is also available in Spanish.
In addition to enrolling through navigators, consumers can complete this process online at ( or call a government representative at 1-800-318-2596 available 24 hours a day and able to assist in 150 different languages.
If your employer is not offering insurance in 2014, the Marketplace can provide you with new options. Under the Affordable Care Act, you may need to pay a penalty beginning in 2014 if you don't have health insurance.
The plan you choose will determine how much you will pay each month and what portion of the bill you will pay for, like hospital visits or prescriptions. In general, if you choose a plan with lower monthly costs, you will pay a higher share of the costs when you get care. If you need a lot of medical care, you may want to select a plan that carries a higher monthly cost so you pay a lower share of the cost of the care you receive. You will be able to see the premium, deductible and out-of-pocket costs of each plan before you enroll.
More information on the Health Insurance Marketplace is available by visiting the Community Healthcare System website:

E-911 Meetings Delayed

The signing of inter-local agreements to consolidate Lake County's E-911 service has been delayed until further notice. The Times reports meetings to reach some sort of consensus has been delayed until at least Thursday due to scheduling conflicts between state legislators, and police and fire chiefs. The law mandates consolidation by the end of 2014. ...


Portage PD Investigating Death of Man Hit by Train

portage pd
A Portage man's death remains under investigation at last check after he was struck by a train early Saturday morning. The Portage Police Department reports C-S-X Railroad notified them of a body on the tracks, just west of the Crisman Road crossing, just after 4:30 Saturday morning. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says the deceased has been identified as 26 year old Troy Johnson, who according to Harris, was laying on the tracks and never moved when a train struck him.
Portage Police ask if anyone has any information on Johnson's whereabouts Friday or during the early evening hours on Saturday, to please contact Detective Nick Grynovich at (219) 762-3122....

Garden Fresh Foods Recall for Possible Listeria

Garden Fresh Foods of Milwaukee has recalled 19,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and ham products because of possible Listeria bacteria contamination. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says the foods were distributed to retailers and food services nationwide. They include several kinds of chicken and ham salads sold under the Market Pantry, Archer Farms, D'Amico and Sons, Finest Traditions, Garden Fresh and Weis brands. No illnesses have been reported due to consumption of these products. For a full list of affected products, visit
Consumers with questions may also contact the company from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-800-645-3367....

Morton Grove, IL Man Injured in Roll Over Crash

Indiana State Police logo
A 54 year old Morton Grove, Illinois, man is in serious condition at last check after falling asleep at the wheel Sunday afternoon while heading north on I-65, one-mile south of the Lowell exit. Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports Chester Tanaka fell asleep while in the right lane, and his vehicle drifted off the roadway, and he awoke when it was off in the gravel off the outer shoulder. State Police say he over-corrected while attempting to regain control of the vehicle, but the vehicle ultimately went off the road to the right and rolled over twice before coming to rest in a corn field fifty feet east of I-65. The Morton Grove man had to be extricated from the vehicle and he was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. His wife and 14 year old son were also taken to the hospital where they were treated and released. Authorities say the vehicle was a total loss and all three were wearing their seat belts. ...


East Chicago Woman Killed in Crash

A 77 year old East Chicago woman was killed Saturday afternoon as the result of a car vs. train crash. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Minnie Brisco died due to blunt force trauma in the crash that occurred at Chicago and Kennedy Avenue in East Chicago. The 76 year old driver of the vehicle, whose name is not yet available, was transported to the hospital, and no word at last check on his condition. The crash remains under investigation....

Gas station clerk is not foiled by alleged thief

Valpo PD
A “drive-off” from a Valparaiso gas station on Thursday led police directly to the suspect—a 31-year-old Merrillville woman--after following “her” directions. According to the Times, a clerk told police that only after giving directions to the local Social Security office did she realize that a passenger in the woman's car had pumped 42-dollars worth of gas into her car. The clerk then gave chase but the woman had left. An immediate search of the area by police turned up nothing. But upon discovering that the woman asked the clerk for directions, police went to that location and found the car and two suspects matching the description.
Read more about this story at:

Governors endorse Illiana Expressway at Summit

In a display of solidarity Friday, both the governors of Illinois and Indiana endorsed the Illiana Expressway during a three-state regional summit at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The Times is reporting that the summit brings Northwest Indiana, Chicago and Milwaukee together as one region. Illinois governor Pat Quinn says that regardless of the type of transportation it is, “you have to go where the demand is.” Meanwhile Indiana governor Mike Pence says that when it comes to thinking regionally infrastructure matters, “because roads don't stop at state borders.” The two governor's approval of the expressway continues to face mounting opposition from Chicago, where in two weeks a vote takes place, according to the article.

Read more about the summit action at:

Chesterton man dies in overnight crash on I-80/94

Indiana State Police logo
A preliminary investigation reveals that a Chesterton man who crashed his vehicle early Saturday morning on the Borman, may have died as a result of some sort of medical emergency.  Sgt. Ann Wojas of the Indiana State Police says at around 1:45a.m. a Toyota Camry driven by 54-year-old Timothy Knight of Chesterton was eastbound on I-80/94 just west of Calumet Avenue when he suddenly veered right crossing lanes of traffic hitting the outer barrier concrete wall and coming to rest in the deceleration lane. Knight was reportedly found unconscious and not breathing after the crash and pronounced dead at Munster Community Hospital. An autopsy has been scheduled.

Amish Buggy crash kills buggy's driver downstate

Amish buggy crossing
State police in downstate Indiana are trying to determine what caused an Amish buggy to cross the center line and go into the path of a pickup truck, killing the buggy's 18-year-old driver.  Police reports say the crash occurred Thursday night on U.S. 421 near the southeastern Indiana town of Versailles.  According to reports, the victim, identified as Daniel Stoltzfus, was ejected from the carriage and thrown onto the highway and might have also been struck by other vehicles.  The horse was also killed in the crash.  No other drivers were reported injured.

State to dedicate 1st Nature Preserve Shipwreck Site

jd marshall
The Indiana Department of Resources will be dedicating the state's first ever nature preserve at a shipwreck site 11 a.m. Monday, September 30th at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Ginger Murphy, Director for Stewardship, Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs says, "We're going to talk a little about the history of theJ.D. Marshall, we will have some comments from our Department of natural Resources Director Stan Clark.  and then we are also going to honor the men who dies as a result of the shipwreck."
Murphy says a program illustrating the shipwrecks on Lake Michigan will also be given by the park's Interpreaive Naturalist, Brad Bumgarder.  She adds that  refreshments will also be served.   The dedication ceremony will be held at the historic beach pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park.
According to a press release from the DNR, the J.D. Marshall Nature Preserve in Porter County is 100 acres in Lake Michigan, 600 yards offshore from the park. The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot long, steam-powered sand barge built in 1891, sank in a storm on June 11, 1911. Four crew members died and seven survived.
Nature preserve status aims at help promote public understanding and appreciation of the J.D. Marshall and Indiana shipwrecks in general. The status also offers new protections to the site in addition to existing protections offered under Indiana’s archaeological laws. 
Fishing is permitted in the preserve by canoe, kayak or any boat with a draft less than 8 feet. Anchoring in the preserve is prohibited. Mooring buoys will be provided for dive and fishing boats to tie off. 
Preserve boundaries will be identified by seasonally placed buoys. NOAA nautical charts will be updated to show the preserve.
J.D. Marshall information and artifacts are available at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center. The park also offers regular educational programs on shipwrecks in Lake Michigan.
The whereabouts of 14 shipwreck sites in Indiana’s portion of Lake Michigan are known and have been documented by archaeologists. Many more ships sank in Indiana’s 241 square miles, but most underwater wreckage has been swallowed by sand or flattened by waves and ice.
(J.D. Marshall: photo courtesy of DNR Division of Historic Preservation)

Region Schools Remember LaPorte Football player

jacob west
High schools all across Northwest Indiana paid tribute with a movement of silence before their football games last night for 17-year-old Jacob West, the LaPorte Junior and football player who collapsed during practice Wednesday and dying later of a genetic heart condition. The Times is reporting today that West's team, the LaPorte Slicers, who played at Merrillville High School last night, received a standing ovation from the Merrillville Pirates fans as they ran onto the field. For the coin toss before the game, four slicer team members walked to the center of the field carrying West's jersey. West's mother, father and sister, who were present at the game, received the white number 26 jersey. In addition, a flag displaying West's number flew in the south end zone of the field to be given to the LaPorte after the game, according to the article.
Read more about this story at:
(photo:  Jacob West)...

Gary Neighborhood Community Clean Up Continues

City of Gary
The former Mayor of Chicago will be joining the Mayor of Gary tomorrow for another neighborhood revitalization community clean-up. The five-by-five-by-five program initiative began back in early June and since then cleanups have taken place in the Marshalltown, Roosevelt and Froebel/Norton neighborhoods, with tomorrow's cleanup taking place in the Tolleston neighborhod. The initiative was born out of partnership developed with former Mayor Richard Daley and graduate students from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy and is intended to engage Gary residents, community leaders, City of Gary staff and other volunteers to work together to clean up and improve the city, neighborhood by neighborhood. The clean-up begins at 9am, at the Tolleston Park Pavilion and runs until 1pm...

Goodland Man Killed in Jasper County Crash

Jasper Co Sheriff Dept
A 36 year old Goodland man was pronounced dead at the scene of single vehicle crash early Thursday morning on the north side of County Road 700 South, two-miles southwest of Rensselaer. The Jasper County Sheriff's Office reports they were dispatched to the scene at 12:30am on a report of a vehicle off the roadway. The Sheriff's Office reports Fire Rescue was called in to extricate a lone male victim, identified as Jason Hopkins, who suffered extreme head and neck trauma as a result of the crash. Authorities say an investigation revealed Hopkins was traveling east when for unknown reasons the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree, causing the vehicle to rollover, coming to rest on its roof. An investigation continues pending toxicology results. ...

Former Teacher Gets 12 Years for Child Pornography

A former teacher at Morton High School in Hammond has been sentenced to twelve years in prison. In June, 28-year-old Jon Erik Lilly of Cedar Lake pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving child pornography. At his sentencing hearing in Hammond Federal Court Thursday, Lilly apologized to his victims and his family. In a joint Hammond Police Department and Homeland Security Investigation announced earlier this year, the former math teacher was accused of asking underage female students to text sexually explicit pictures of themselves to him by cellphone....

Parent Charged for Child's Excessive School Absences

moina lucious
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A Portage woman faces anywhere from six-months to three-years in prison as the result of a child's repeat absences and tardiness. The Times reports Moina (moe-E-nah) Lucious, of Portage, has been charged with felony neglect of a dependant. According to the article, boy in question is a fifth grader, who racked up 19 unexcused absences and was tardy 30 times in the 2011-2012 school year, and 15 unexcused absences and was tardy four times the prior year. In the 2012-2013 school year, the child accumulated 10 unexcused absences and was tardy 18 times by March 12th 2013....


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