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Fans Bear the Night Air, Pack the Park for Tailgate

valpo tailgate
Hundreds of football fans enjoyed a relatively mild November night in the Region to watch Monday night's Bears-Packers game outdoors. The Great Downtown Tailgate at Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso hosted by Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events featured tailgating, refreshments sold on site to benefit high school and pop warner, and a giant screen showing a live broadcast of last night's matchup... it was Chicago over Green Bay, 27-20... Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a shoulder injury in the game, but the team won't have an official injury diagnosis until Tuesday.   [Photo/Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events]


Not Election Day in Indiana for Most Hoosiers

Today is General Election Day for a number of states, but in Indiana, it's an off-year, and the only voters going to the ballot box in the Hoosier state are casting votes in a handful of local referenda. One of those is in northwest Indiana, for Michigan City Area Schools, a district in La Porte County that also includes two precincts in Pine Township in far northeast Porter County. School officials say the referendum is asking voters for a property tax increase to keep from possibly having to close schools and lay off teachers. Indiana voters return to the polls May 6, 2014, for primaries. Next year's midterm elections include all US Representatives, all Indiana State Representatives, half of Indiana's State Senators, Indiana Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and State Auditor....


219: Duneland Y Dancing Like The Stars

The Duneland Y is hosting their annual Dancing Like the Stars Fundraiser this weekend to raise much needed funds for their Family Assistance Program. If you love the TV show, you'll wanna come watch eight local community leaders battle it out on the dancefloor! To purchase tickets or vote for your favorite contestant contact the Duneland Y in Chesterton at 219.926.4204. Be sure to listen to Annie's full interview at News Audio On Demand here on our website....

Boy Scouts Recognized by Lowell Town Council

Boy Scout Troop 697 was recognized by the Lowell Town Council for their recent efforts toward beautifying the south Lake County community. Town Council President Edgar Corns says the MS4, or Stormwater Coordinator for Lowell, Greg White, his son is in the Boy Scouts, and the group recently cleaned up a drainage ditch.  "It was really littered," Corns told the Region News Team, "and it took a lot of work. You know, car tires and oil cans and just every kind of thing that you could think of."  Corns says the ditch is behind the Lowell Library, in between houses and the Lowell Cemetery.  The town council presented the troop with a certificate of appreciation at the most recent council meeting. ...

Police Investigate Homicide at Piatak Meats

Police in Northwest Indiana continue to investigate a shooting death and attempted burglary discovered at Piatak Meats near 61st and Broadway Monday morning. Authorities have identified the victim as 27-year-old Andrew Fugate of Hobart, son of the proprietor. Police say Fugate arrived at the business at 4 am to to do prep work before opening the store.
Detective Robert Byrd, spokesman for the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, speaks at a news conference Monday regarding the homicide at Piatak Meats
At last word, police said they had no suspects in custody and the investigation was ongoing.  Police say nothing was taken from the business, but physical evidence at the scene indicates an attempted burglary. Detective Robert Byrd, spokesman for the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force, says a previous burglary attempt occurred at the business this past June, in which an alarm sounded, but in this case, since an employee was on site, the alarm did not sound. Anyone with information is asked to call Merrillville Police at 219-769-3531.  [Photos/Karl Berner, Radio One Communications]...


Expansion at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer

dyer hospital
Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation project over the next year expanding its emergency, surgical and laboratory departments.
 “The goal of the project is to expand a comprehensive emergency center of excellence. We will remodel and expand the current surgical space, remodel and improve the surgical preadmission space and expand and improve the central sterile processing department for surgery, as well as improve the main corridor and flow to the Emergency Department on the main level,” John Mentgen, hospital executive vice president and chief operating officer said, adding, “The new design will be targeted at meeting the ever-growing population in south Lake County and to help achieve our continual growth in the emergency services and surgical services areas.”  
Work began in late October and is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2014.  For the Emergency Department the project includes:
     * A 3,500-square-foot addition.
     * Renovating existing space and optimizing patient care areas.
     * Designing new, specialized patient exam rooms.
     * Adding a five-bed observation unit.
     * Creating results-waiting triage space to make visits quicker.
     * A new state-of-the-art trauma room that will double the size of the current facility.
     * Addition of a private, behavioral health suite.
     * A new isolation room for infectious patients.

Current operations will not be affected while the work is taking place, Dan Ratko, hospital project manager of construction, said.  “The project will be done in phases – everything will remain open while it is being completed,” he said, adding the result will optimize capabilities and offer patients the best possible care.  The department also will receive new monitors and an improved nurses’ station that will provide visibility of all exam rooms. A new nurse call and tracking system and staff assistance tags will help patients better communicate with caregivers, Ratko said.
Surgery department improvements will include a new, 760-square-foot advanced surgical suite, new preadmission testing space, expanding the sterilization process for surgical instruments and physician locker room upgrades, Marla Hoyer-Lareau, hospital chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services, said....


Parental Involvement Helps Kids do Better in School

Bill Stanczykiecz
Despite educational reform, the reassessment of schools and teachers and the increased popularity of charter schools and vouchers, research continues to indicate that high levels of parental involvement lead to high levels of academic achievement. 

Bill Stanczykiewicz president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute says parents need to be active on two fronts when it comes to their child advancing in school.  Stanczykiewicz says parents or guardians need to be active at both the school by "going to parent teacher conferences and other school activities as well as checking in at home checking in on the homework, asking how the school day went, asking about school activities, what they're doing in school tomorrow" and other things like that.
Stanczykiewicz says, "We need to make sure parents know they're uniquely responsible and uniquely influential in the lives of their kids and it is up to them (parents) to be proactive in the schooling of their children." 
He adds that there on some steps schools can take to be even more inviting " so that those parents do take advantage of all the opportunities and help that are available to their kids in that school from talented educators."
You can discover more about parental involvement, November's topic of the Indiana Youth Institute by visiting:

(photo:  Bill Stanczykiewicz president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute visit the Region News Team Studios last month)...


Chicago Blackhawks Honored at the White House


Five-time Stanley Cup champions ... the Chicago Blackhawks ... were at the White House today . President Obama says he's proud to have welcomed the hockey players twice since he's been in office ... and put a shout out to his other hometown teams saying he is term-limited, so to the Bulls, Bears, Cubs, White Sox, get a move on it.
The Chicago Blackhawks spent Monday morning visiting with wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center....

Pence Proclaims November Adoption Month

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today issued a proclamation declaring the month of November as “Adoption Month” in the Hoosier state. Governor Pence says, “With increased awareness for adoption opportunities in Indiana, we strive to achieve permanent placement and successful adoption for Hoosier children, helping them to grow and develop to their full potential in a safe and loving environment.”
Currently, the Indiana Department of Child Services is actively recruiting adoptive families for nearly 100 children, and more than 100-thousand children in the U-S foster care system are waiting to be adopted. The proclamation coincides with an Information and Awareness Adoption Fair that Governor Pence will help to kick off Wednesday afternoon at the Indiana Statehouse...

Senator Coats' Staff Holding Office Hours in Rensslaer

Senator Dan Coats
US Indiana Dan Coats' staff will be in Jasper County this Thursday afternoon to meet with local residents and assist them with any problems they maybe having with a federal agency. If interested feel free to stop by from 1pm to 3pm at the Rensselaer Public Library, located in the two-hundred block of West Susan Street in Rensselaer. ...

Quary Blast Rattles West Suburban Chicago

Residents in West suburban Chicago got an unexpected rattle this afternoon. ABC News says initial reports from the US Geological Survey show a 3.7 magnitude earthquake centered 20 miles southeast of Chicago....but the agency retracted that, saying it was the result of a quarry blast. Witnesses say the rumbling lasted about five seconds. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries....

LaPorte Police Seek Help in Located Wanted Man

marcus koehn
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Dept)
Police in Laporte are seeking the public's help in located a 28 year old man wanted on warrants issued by LaPorte Superior 3 Court for battery, two-counts of failure to appear for battery and invasion of privacy. LaPorte Police describe Marcus Koehn as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
If you know his immediate whereabouts, call 911. If you have any other information on Koehn, please contact the La Porte Police Department at 362-9446, or La Porte Metro Operations at 325-9022. You can remain anonymous....

Body Found in Burned Out Vehicle in Gary

Gary PD
Police in Gary investigating another homicide, one-block from where a couple was found stabbed to death Friday afternoon. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says an officer on patrol discovered a burned out vehicle, in the 27-hundred block of Maryland Street, and upon further inspection, found legs sticking out of it. Corp. King says Chief Wage Ingram is going to have the GRIT Federal Task Force make an identification of the body and see if the recent mid-town homicides are related.
A 62 year old man and his 54 year old wife were found stabbed to death inside their home on Friday in the 25-hundred block of Delaware Street. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to please contact Gary Police. ...

Utility Work to Close Highland Intersection Tuesday

The Highland Police Department want motorists to know that Garfield Avenue will be closed at Kennedy Avenue from 8a.m.-4p.m., Tuesday, November 5th so NIPSCO can perform utility work. The police department says Kennedy Avenue will not be accessible from Garfield Avenue and that the outside lane of northbound Kennedy Avenue will also be closed at Garfield Avenue.


Press Conference on Murdered Hobart Man at Piatak

piatak murder chief Byrd
At a press conference this afternoon the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force Spokesperson Robert Byrd released more information regarding the murder of a Hobart man found at a Merrillville business. Bryd says the victim has been identified as 27 year old Andrew Fugate, of Hobart, whose body was found by Merrillville Police inside a cooler at Piatak Meats. Byrd says Fugate, whose father is part owner of the business, arrived shortly after 4am to begin his daily food preparation duties and died due to a gunshot wound. Byrd says although nothing was taken, evidence suggests a burglary had taken place. A burglary had been previously reported at the business in June. Authorities have obtained some leads but there are no suspects at last check. Anyone with information regarding this homicide is is asked to contact Merrillville Police.
piatak murder site 1 ...

INDOT: Deck Replacement of SR 49 Bridge Near Kouts

Indot Logo color
The State Road 49 Bridge, at the Porter/Jasper County line, near Kouts, is scheduled to possibly have some work done next year. INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley says the deck of the bridge will be replaced so they can preserve the historical aspect of the truss bridge, which allows them to access federal funds. Deitchley says they are looking to put the project out for bid in early 2014.
Deitchley says the way bridge was constructed, doing one-side at a time is not an option and would take longer to finish construction, so it will have to be closed during the reconstruction, which is anticipated to last one construction season and expected to be reopened later in that year. ...

Hobart Man Found Murdered at Piatak Meats

Authorities are investigating a murder that took place this morning at a Merrillville business. The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force reports a burglary was discovered by another employee arriving for work at 7am, who also found the body of 27 year old Andrew Fugate, of Hobart, on the cooler floor of Piatak Meats. Authorities say Fugate, whose father is part owner of the business, arrived at the business shortly after 4am to begin his daily food preparation duties and died after being shot. Anyone with information regarding this homicide is asked to contact Merrillville Police. More information is expected to be made available at a news conference this afternoon at 3pm...


Woman Killed in Gary Fire Sunday Identified

Gary fire officials say one person is dead and three others injured after a residential fire Sunday morning. Crews were called to the four-thousand block of Louisiana Street shortly after 6:30 am. A 71-year-old woman was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The Lake County Coroners office has identified the woman who died as 71-year-old Essie Hill. Authorities continue to try to determine the cause of the fire.


Death Investigation Reported in Merrillville

Police in Merrillville are at Piatak Meats at 61st and Broadway investigating reports of a death. The Lake County Coroners office has reportedly been called out. The Major Crimes Task Force is on scene. Authorities were dispatched this morning. No other information was being released at this hour....

GOP Caucus Chooses New Lake County Assessor

Lake County begins this week with a newly-named county assessor. 46-year-old Jolie Covaciu of Cedar Lake was selected in a county Republican caucus of precinct committee members Friday to fill a post formerly held by the late Hank Adams. Adams passed away early last month at the age of 77 shortly after stepping down from his elected post for health reasons. Covaciu, Lake County's first female county assessor, defeated Debra Johnson by a vote of 56-52. Adams was the first Republican elected to a countywide seat in Lake County in over half a century....

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