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South Shore Officials Say Pedestrian Hit Near Pines

Breaking News
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District officials this morning are reporting that a pedestrian was struck near the Pines.  Westbound South Shore trains 12 and 112 were delayed indefinitely.  More information as it becomes available.
www.nictd.com...
 

Hammond Police Investigating Homicide

In Hammond police are investigating an apparent homicide. The Lake County Coroners office reports 30-year-old Marchello Valliant of Hammond suffered gunshot wounds in the 75-hundred block of Chestnut Avenue in Hammond and was pronounced dead at Community Hospital in Munster shortly before 6-o'clock Tuesday evening. Hammond Police say shots were fired during an apparent altercation inside a parked vehicle, where the victim was found and two men described as young adults reportedly left the scene on foot. ...
 

IUN Professor to Discuss New Book on Dunes Region

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Gary native, Indiana author and IU Northwest Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Schoon has a new book... and you can check it out during a special presentation at the Lake County Public Library on US 30 in Merrillville this Thursday, September 26, at 3 pm. It's called, “Dreams of Duneland, A Pictorial History of the Indiana Dunes Region”.
Dr. Schoon will be available after his presentation to answer questions. Those planning to attend are asked to register online at the library's website , www.lcplin.org/branches/cnl.htm  or by calling (219) 769-3541 ext 335. Walk-ins are also welcome.
“Dreams of Duneland,” published by Indiana University Press, is Schoon’s fifth book and his second on the subject of the Indiana Dunes.
Schoon’s research interests center around local studies and misconceptions in science. His book, “Calumet Beginnings,” released in 2003, is now in its fifth printing. He is also the author of “City Trees: An ID Guide to Urban and Suburban Species.”
 
Schoon holds a B.A. in geology and an M.S. in secondary education, both from IU Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University in Chicago. In 1999, he was invited to join the IU Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET).
Schoon serves on the board of the Munster Parks and Recreation and the Dunes Learning Center. He also has been a member of the steering committee of IU Northwest’s Science Olympiad tournament since its inception in 2001....
 

Wheatfield Man Killed in Collision

Newton County Sheriffs Police have released details from the initial investigation into a fatal accident  Sunday. Authorities say it appears a pickup truck driven by 20-year-old Ezra Myers of Morocco was on State Road 14 and was attempting to make a left turn onto County Road 250 West when a motorcycle behind Myers tried to pass on the left and the two vehicles collided. Officials say the motorcycle lost control, throwing both the driver and his passenger off. The driver, identified as 40-year-old Chad Scolley of Wheatfield man was pronounced dead at the scene, and his wife, 44-year-old Teresa Scolley was transported to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee. No information was available on her condition. Police say Myers refused treatment at the scene....
 

Two Region Elementaries National Blue Ribbon Schools

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Two Region elementaries are among three-hundred across the U-S, and a dozen in the state, to be named 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Salk Elementary in Merrillville and Morgan Township Elementary in the East Porter County School District. Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Tuesday announced 286 schools as the 2013 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement. Secretary Duncan made this year's announcement live via the Department's USTREAM channel http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/39189722, viewed by recognized principals, teachers, and students assembled across the country.
The Department will honor 236 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. In its 31-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America's schools.
"Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers," said Secretary Duncan. "National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education."
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' levels of achievement.
The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. The first category is "Exemplary High Performing," in which schools are recognized among their state's highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. The second category is "Exemplary Improving," in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.
To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department requested nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
To see the full list click here: http://www.nationalblueribbonschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/2013-NBRS-school-list.pdf...
 

Retailer Opening New Store in the Region

Gordmans Purple Logo
In local business news... a Nebraska-based apparel and home décor retailer makes its debut in the Region Thursday. Gordmans will open a new 50-thousand square foot store at Porter's Vale Shopping Center in Valparaiso.  The Valparaiso location marks Gordmans’ seventh store in Indiana.
“We are excited to extend the Gordmans experience to Valparaiso. Our mission is to delight guests with big savings, big selection and fun, friendly associates,” said Jeff Gordman, president and CEO. “We offer compelling value with our name brand merchandise for the entire family and invite Valparaiso citizens to visit the new store and enjoy our unique shopping environment that’s well-organized, infused with fun and entertainment, and features outstanding service.
Grand Opening activities begin Friday, October 4 with a 9 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony. CEO Jeff Gordman will present a check for $2,500 to Valparaiso Community Schools to launch the retailer’s Partners in Education fundraising events. Partners in Education is a program through which businesses make additional educational resources available to local public school systems. Gordmans’ guests may join in by purchasing “helping hands” for $1 each. Every dollar raised will directly benefit Valparaiso Community Schools. Since its involvement with Partners in Education, which began in 2000, Gordmans has contributed more than $1 million to public school systems in markets where Gordmans has stores. The new Gordmans store has selected Parkview Elementary School as its partner school.
“Through Partners in Education, we’re able to make a difference in the lives of many area schoolchildren,” said Gordman. “The collaboration is also a great volunteer opportunity for our associates, and it reinforces our commitment to giving back to the communities where our stores are located.”
Gordmans will open ten new stores in 2013. Seven of them opened earlier this year in Albuquerque, N.M.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee; Minot, N.D.; Peoria, Ill.; and Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah. In September, in addition to the Valparaiso location.
...
 

Dedication Ceremony in Gary Thursday for Senior Facility

A dedication ceremony will take place in Gary on Thursday for a 38 unit affordable housing facility, serving low-income seniors in the Gary area. City of Gary Director of Communication Chelsea Whittington says it was just under a year ago when groundbreaking began on the Gardens on Carolina, located in the five-hundred block of Carolina Street.
Whittington says the facility is another comfortable place for the city's seniors who have invested in the community, lived, worked and raised their children, which is new and filled the amenities they need to live on their own.  The public is invited to the dedication ceremony for the opening of the facility, which takes place Thursday, starting at 2pm.
The Gardens on Carolina is eligible to residents where at least one member of the household is age 62 or over and meet income eligibility requirements of at or below 50 percent of median income. The facility is located on the corner of East 5th Avenue and Carolina Street.  The facility  is comprised of a single three-story building including 38 one-bedroom/one-bath units for elderly residents, and one two-bedroom apartment for the site manager.  This facility is made possible by a capital advance of $5,464,200 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as project rental assistance contract funds.  ...
 

Hoosier State Negotiations Between INDOT and Amtrak

Contract negotiations have begun between Amtrak and INDOT over continuation of the Hoosier State passenger rail service. That route, which operates four-days a week between Indianapolis and Chicago, could be terminated as of October 1st, unless funding can be arranged. In 2008, Congress voted to end federal support for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. INDOT reports there is still a number of hurdles to clear, but there is a common interest among state and local officials to ensure the route is accountable for the tax dollars being invested. A estimate Amtrak provided in May to keep the Hoosier State passenger rail service in operation is almost three-million dollars annually. INDOT has also funded a cost-benefit analysis of the existing service and four options Amtrak provided for improved frequency and departure times, the result of which will be presented on Thursday before a joint study committee of the legislature. ...
 

Hungry Inc. Drives to Curb Hunger in Porter County

Hungry Inc
The food truck craze is sweeping the nation and a northwest Indiana resident has gotten in on the action. Phil West, owner/operator of Hungry Incorporated Food Truck, and a Valparaiso native, says to his knowledge, his operation is the first full-time food truck in the Region, with a self-contained commercial kitchen, 75 gallons of fresh water and a great water holding tank.
West says he offers quite a variety of food options, but at this time his stops are mostly based in Porter County, in Chesterton and Valparaiso, but he does bring the truck to other venues like weddings, private events and even to people's driveways with a menu catered to fit.
For more information regarding the Hungry Incorporated Food Truck, visit http://hti.cmsdesignstudio.com/ or like them on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hungry-INC/115896751776464....
 

Previous LaPorte Wanted Person of the Week in Custody

Allan Best
(Photo Courtesy of LaPorte Police)
A 22 year old man listed as the LaPorte Police Department's “Wanted Person of the Week” back in April has been taken into custody by law enforcement authorities near Detroit, Michigan. LaPorte Police report Allan Best was wanted through a LaPorte Circuit Court warrant for felony forgery and is scheduled to be extradited back to LaPorte County sometime this week. ...
 

US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Reuben James Love

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(Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service)
A 32 year old man wanted in Porter County Court for parole violation in a voluntary manslaughter case is the US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, “Fugitive of the Week”. Reuben James Love was last known to reside in the seven-hundred block of Carolina Street in Gary and is described as a black male, 6'00”, weighing 195 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Reuben James Love may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous....
   

Merrillville Alzheimer's Walk Raises Nearly $115,000

Walk to End Alzheimers
Over 750 northwest Indiana residents joined the Walk to End Alzheimer's on Sunday at Hidden Lake Park in Merrilville. The Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter reports that, while totals are still being finalized, nearly 115-thousand dollars was raised which goes to support people affected by the disease as well as fund critically needed research. Participants also learned about the latest research and current clinical trials, how they can become involved in advocacy efforts at home and in Washington D.C.
Alzheimer's disease is now the nation's 6th leading cause of death, and in Indiana, over 120-thousand people live with the disease. Another opportunity to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's comes on October 6th, at Washington Park, in Michigan City, with registration to begin at 12:30pm. For information on how to start or join a team, or to make a donation, visit http://www.alz.org/indiana/. ...
   

IUPD-NW to Host First Coffee With a Cop Oct 1

iunpd
IU Police Department – Northwest is inviting the campus and community to have 'Coffee with a Cop'.  The inaugural IU Northwest Coffee with a Cop will take place from 8 until 10 a.m. in the RedHawk Cafeteria in the Moraine Student Center.
The morning’s meet-and-greet will be an informal conversation providing campus and community members the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work, both on the IU Northwest campus, as well as in the community, most specifically in Gary.
“We hope that the campus and community will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said IUPD-NW Chief of Police Patricia Nowak. “It is important that the campus, and community, have an awareness of what we do, and how we serve. Building relationships builds trust.”
Most often, the interaction that law enforcement officers traditionally have with the public occurs during emergencies, or emotional situations, which are not the most effective times for relationship building, Nowak explained.
A commitment to community engagement efforts, such as Coffee with a Cop, has become more greatly embedded into the mission of IUPD-NW since Chief Nowak joined the squad in July 2012.
IU Police Department - Northwest Lt. Wayne James says the department's very first 'Coffee with a Cop' event October 1st is a chance to meet police officers in an informal setting.  Lt. James says the IUN event is one of several that have been taking place around the country, including here in the Region, where Valparaiso Police have held a similar event, as part of a US Department of Justice initiative.  Hear our interview with Lt. James online at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
Similar community-based efforts include the Citizens’ Police Academy, the Youth Citizens’ Police Academy, and the annual Shop with a Cop program, among others.
IUPD-NW is also actively involved in community-wide policing efforts by assisting in the crime analysis conducted by Joe Ferrandino, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice in the IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
The Region STOP team, a regional team of officers who work collectively to attack criminal violence and property crimes, also has the cooperation of IUPD-NW.
“The concept of community policing efforts is to build trust with our constituents,” Nowak said. “The IUPD-NW sees great value in getting to know, and serving the needs of not only the IU Northwest campus, but also the citizens of Northwest Indiana.”
IU Northwest sends out thanks to Comfort’s Catering and Darlene Adams for donating the coffee and facilities for Coffee with a Cop.
For more information, contact the IU Police Department-Northwest at (219) 980-6501....
   

Comments Taken on Ogden Dunes Water Rate Case

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting written comments from Ogden Dunes municipal water customers on the utility's pending rate case. Under the town's request, water rates would increase by about twenty-percent due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants. Ogden Dunes water customers pay on a quarterly basis, and if approved, the typical bill for a three-month period for a residential customer would go up about 17-dollars.
The OUCC – the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC is currently scheduled to complete its review and file its report with the Commission on December 11, 2013.
Current base water rates for the Town of Ogden Dunes were approved in 2008, with adjustments in 2008 and 2010 to recover increased wholesale water costs. According to its filing, the utility is seeking the pending rate increase due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants.
Ogden Dunes bills its municipal water customers on a quarterly basis. Under the town’s request, the water bill for a residential customer using 15,000 gallons over the three-month period would rise from $85.85 to $103.28, including the fire protection surcharge. (If viewed in a monthly context, this would equate to an increase from $28.62 to $34.43 for 5,000 gallons.)
Ogden Dunes is seeking the rate increase through the state’s Small Utility Filing Procedure, which is available to utilities with fewer than 5,000 customers and is designed to reduce the time and expense involved with regulatory filings. Savings are gained by allowing utility staff to use standardized forms and the utility’s resulting need for less assistance from rate consultants or attorneys.
The standard for OUCC and IURC reviews on small utility filings is the same that applies to traditional utility filings. The OUCC conducts its review on behalf of consumers and presents its written report and recommendations to the IURC with regard to the utility’s request. The IURC then reviews the evidence and determines what is in the public interest regarding the filing (a balancing of utility and customer interests). A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding; such an agreement would require IURC approval. The OUCC attempts to reach a compromise where possible in each IURC case on behalf of ratepayers.
More information on this case, including the utility’s filing, is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2519.htm.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
    Mail: Consumer Services Staff
    Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
    115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    Fax: (317) 232-5923
Written comments the OUCC receives by December 4, 2013 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44384-U.”
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
(IURC Cause No. 44384-U)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC...
   

Fund Set Up for Hanover Central Football Program

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It's been a long time since Hanover Central has fielded a varsity football team. In August, the Wildcats stepped out onto their field in Cedar Lake for the first football practice in over 40 years as they play a junior varsity schedule this fall and begin varsity again next year. The Hanover Community School Board recently set up a bank account thru Centier for donations toward their high school football program.  School officials say the last team to take the field for Hanover Central did so in 1972....
   

Troopers Respond to Medical Emergency

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Master Trooper Dave Eggers; Master Trooper Tom Mechling
A 68-year-old LaPorte man was in critical condition after veering off eastbound Interstate 94 near Portage Monday afternoon on his way home from a doctor's appointment at the University of Chicago. Indiana State Police say Charles Morgan began to feel ill and his Ford Fusion hit the concrete median barrier wall twice before his wife was able to lean over and press the brake pedal to stop the car. Police say Tim Mark of Trail Creek witnessed the crash and pulled over to help. Indiana State Police Master Trooper David Eggers, of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Master Trooper Tom Mechling from the Bremen District were in the area escorting a superload-- a windmill blade – when the dispatch came over the police radio. They responded and performed CPR until Portage EMS arrived. Also assisting were Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers and Trooper Nathan Wolfe.  [Photos/Indiana State Police]...
   

Remember to Take Care, We're Farming Around Here

Take Care Picture 2013
Harvest time means Region residents will be sharing some roads with large, slow-moving farm vehicles. Take Care Founder & Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski, Porter County Sheriff David Lain and Porter County Farm Bureau President Jack Rust have once again teamed up with Radio One Communications to sustain a public safety awareness campaign featuring road signs that have become a familiar sight designed to keep the roads safer for local farmers and motorists. Wichlinski founded the “Take Care, We're Farming Around Here” program in 2003. ...
   

Police Find ID Card Near Unidentified Remains

In Hobart, police have recovered an ID card not far from where human bones were discovered behind the Crossing at Hobart strip mall on US 30 over the weekend. Police say other items they've found suggest the person may have been homeless and living in the wooded area on the north side of US 30, in the 21-hundred block of East 79th Avenue. The cause of the death is not yet known, but police have said at this point they're not suspecting foul play. Remains were initially discovered by someone riding their bike through the Friday evening, then Hobart Police conducted a daytime search Saturday and found additional bones near the same area, believed to belong to the same person.  A forensics expert at the University of Indianapolis is expected to take a closer look at the bones to try and determine when and how that person died. ...
   

Possible Water/Sewer Rate Increase for Valpo

The city of Valparaiso has been looking at the possibility of switching to Lake Michigan, but after a year-long study of water needs, utility officials have recommended staying with groundwater. Either option would have meant higher bills, but lake water would have nearly doubled the rates, reports say. Infrastructure improvements needed to keep up with demand could mean about a thirty-percent increase in water and sewer services, and officials may float a proposal early next year to phase it in over a three-year period....
   

Air Conditioning Units Stolen from Area Churches

An alert for churches in South Haven where Porter County Sheriffs Police say thieves have been stealing air conditioning units, apparently for the metals. Police have taken five reports since August, the most recent this past Friday from the South Haven Church of the Nazarene, and The Way of Holiness Church the day before.  Police are asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact the Porter County Sheriffs Department.  ...
   

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