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Guilty Plea Given by Merrillville Man in Fraud Scheme

A 56 year old Merrillville man accused of defrauding friends in an investment scheme of one-point-five million dollars pleaded guilty today to two counts of wire fraud in Hammond Federal Court. The Times reports Eugene Wilson Sr. admitted to the charges and faces up to 20 years and fines of up to 250-thousand dollars. ...
 

Discrimination Complaint Filed Against GEO Foundation

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission today announced that GEO Foundation, which operates Gary Middle College in Gary, is accused of allegedly terminating former principal James Joiner because of his race and gender. Joiner, who was hired in March 2012, was terminated on January 25th of this year, despite never being subjected to prior disciplinary action. According to the termination letter, Joiner's behavior issues were increasingly harmful. The Commission reports there is evidence that GEO treated Caucasian and female counterparts more favorable by implementing Strategic Plans and affording them opportunities to have Performance Base Compensation Plan. The Commission goes on to say G-E-O was given an ample opportunity to answer Joiner's allegations and to uphold its burden to produce evidence of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for firing him, but since no evidence was provided, probable cause was found to believe Joiner was wrongfully terminated on the basis of race and gender as alleged. ...
 

ISP Announce New District Commander for Toll Road

sgt mike young
(Photo Courtesy of ISP Lowell Post)
Indiana State Police has announced a new District Commander of the Indiana Toll Road. ISP Superintendent Douglas Carter reports Sergeant Mike Young has been promoted to Lieutenant to serve as the Toll Road's District Commander. Lt. Young resides in Porter County with his family, and was assigned to the Toll Road where he worked Lake and Porter Counties for 12 years before being promoted to Corporal in 2002. He was then promoted again to the rank of Sergeant in 2005. Young has also worked as a Field training Officer for newly hired recruits, a Drug Recognition Expert and served on the North Zone Emergency Response Team for 12 years....
 

LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week: Brittney Rapoport

Brittney Rapoport
(Photo Courtesy of LaPorte Police)
A 21 year old woman wanted on a warrant from LaPorte Circuit Court for felony fraud and revocation of suspended sentence is the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week. Police report Brittney Rapoport is described as 5'8”, weighing 135 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on her immediate whereabouts is asked to contact 9-1-1, and you can remain anonymous....
 

Police K9 Conference in Hobart

K-9 teams from across Indiana and neighboring states converged on Valparaiso last week for the North Americna Police Workdog Association fall workshop ... this week, it's Hobart's turn, as the city is again welcoming the American Police Canine Association annual conference, an event Hobart hosted two years ago. The conference in Hobart showcasing more than fifty K-9 teams from around the U-S and Canada with training exercises throughout the city continues thru Friday. ...
 

Indiana State Representative Phyllis Pond Passes Away

pond3
After 35 years in office, Indiana's longest-serving female state representative in state history has passed away. Republican Phyllis Pond of New Haven in northeast Indiana died Sunday at the age of 82. “Today, the State of Indiana mourns the loss of a leader and a friend to all Hoosiers. Phyllis was a revered colleague, a strong voice for her district and a compassionate conservative who always stood by her principles,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).  Pond was the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row in the House Chamber, which is reserved for House leaders or representatives with the most seniority.
Pond was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and announced at the end of August that she would be resigning her seat. Pond worked as a kindergarten teacher prior to being elected to the legislature in 1978, and she eventually authored the Primetime Education Bill that capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18. Reminiscent of her days in the classroom, and for her last few years as a legislator, Representative Pond cast her votes with a ruler – which also allowed her to vote without reaching across the desk to push the buttons, "an idea which she couldn’t believe took her 30 years to think of," said a statement from Bosma's office.    “Phyllis has been a steadfast leader in our caucus and has forged a new path for women legislators in Indiana. Her dedication and service will continue to be fondly remembered by all. She will undoubtedly be missed,” said Speaker Bosma. Bosma's office says Pond was also very passionate about giving back to those who have served our country. During the holidays, she always encouraged people to send cards and words of encouragement to the service men and women fighting overseas.
Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement regarding the passing of former State Representative Phyllis Pond yesterday. “A devoted public servant for 35 years, Phyllis Pond led with integrity and passion, consistently placing the needs of those in her district before her own and influencing improvements to education for all Hoosiers. It is with heavy hearts that the First Lady and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers to her beloved family as we join them in mourning the loss of this extraordinary Hoosier leader.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) made the following statement today regarding the passing of former State Representative Phyllis Pond:  “Phyllis Pond was an historic leader for Allen County and for the people of Indiana. She was one of the first women to serve in the State Legislature from our area, and she served with great effectiveness, passion and distinction for 35 years. She never lost her zeal for the job, nor her focus on improving the lives of the people of our state.   It's hard to imagine our delegation without Phyllis. We will miss her greatly.”
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Public Input Sessions on Central Park Plaza

central park
The City of Valparaiso and the planning firm of Design Organization want to hear what you have to say about completing Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza. City Administrator Bill Oeding says the park has already been an overwhelming success. "Having this public gathering space," Oeding said, "a quality public gathering space in our downtown has been so well-received by our residents, it's been amazing. I hear it all the time how much they appreciate the park."
The public will have two opportunities to offer their thoughts - there are two public input sessions this Thursday, September 26, the first from 4-to-6 pm, then another from 7 to 9 pm, both at Valparaiso City Hall, 166 W. Lincolnway. The city is thinking about putting an open-air pavilion on a huge area just west, across the street from the park, that would be used year-round, but in particular, for ice-skating in the winter, for about five months out of the year.
To hear more of our interview with Valparaiso City Administrator Bill Oeding, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website. [Photo/Courtesy City of Valparaiso]...
 

Hobart Paint Recycling Honored by SWANA

WLJE NIRPC Hobart 9-24-11 8
Hobart's latex paint recycling facility, the first of its kind in the state and marking three years in existence this month, has gotten an industry honor. The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has presented Hobart with a silver excellence award in the category of Special Waste Management. Latex paint, which has traditionally been put to the curb for regular trash-pick-up, is recycled at the Hobart plant on South Shelby Street, where the city's public works facility is, then the paint is resold for three-dollars a gallon. The recycled paint, which is a neutral beige color, is free for government and nonprofits.  [Photo/Laura Waluszko, Radio One Communications]...
 

Indiana State Police in Six State Trooper Project

sixstate
The Indiana State Police will be joining forces with five other state police agencies in the Six State Trooper project this week. The enforcement campaign will combine efforts on marijuana eradication and highway patrols targeting the movement of marijuana. Michigan State Police, Ohio Highway patrol, Kentucky State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and West Virginia State Police are also participating.
The Indiana State Police will be participating in this effort statewide. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter commented, “The Indiana State Police welcome the opportunity to partner with neighboring state police and highway patrol agencies as part of our continued commitment to highway safety and criminal interdiction efforts.”

The four day, multi-state operation is scheduled for September 26-29 and the focus of the enforcement efforts will be on criminal patrol and highway interdiction targeting the movement of marijuana and other illegal substances throughout Indiana and the five other participating states.
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Police: Bones May Have Belonged to Homeless Person

hobart bones
Authorities say initial findings are leading them to not suspect foul play in human bones found behind the Crossings at Hobart strip mall on the north side of US 30. Officials say the 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. Investigators say it's possible that person was homeless, and living in the wooded area. 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. [Photo/Courtesy Hobart Police, Commander Jeremy Ogden]
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Baby Injured in Lightning Strike Upgraded

A nine-month-old child rescued from fire when lightning struck a Gary home last week was reportedly upgraded to stable condition. The baby was taken to a Chicago hospital after crews responded to the one-thousand block of Jefferson Court early Thursday afternoon. A 45-year-old resident of the home found shielding the child from flames later died. Lightning also struck a billboard on the Borman Expressway in Gary minutes earlier, claiming the life of a 28-year-old Hobart man.
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Gary Unveils Historic Streetcar Line Marker

streetcar 1
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation)
streetcar 2
The City of Gary and the Indiana Department of Transportation unveiled a historic marker on Friday to commemorate the city's historic streetcar rail line. The marker features an authentic photograph of streetcars rumbling down the bustling intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway, circa 1913, along with a brief history of the rail line, which first began operation in 1908 to transport thousands of workers to the mills....

   

8 Year Old Shot by His Brother in Gary

Gary PD
Police in Gary report an 8 year old child was shot by his 11 year old brother Thursday afternoon. Police report the children's mother sent the boys to the neighbor's, in the 200 block of Hanley Street, and while there, the 11 year old saw the gun which he thought was toy and fired it, striking his brother in the shoulder. The child has taken to the hospital for treatment and an investigation continues....

   

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Sunday

indiana state department of health
The first day of Fall is tomorrow and while the thought of football or yard work may cross your mind, state health officials would also like you to consider celebrating National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The Indiana State Department of Health reports falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Indiana. In 2011, Hoosiers ages 65 and older suffered over 82-hundred falls that resulted in hospitalizations and there were 340 fatalities due to falls.
Five easy ways to prevent falls include:
·         Increase your physical activity. Exercises like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs that increase strength and improve balance also help.
·         See your eye doctor once every year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is critical to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
·         Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
·         Remove environmental hazards. Search your home for anything that could cause falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture.  Remove or modify these hazards.
·         Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing.
Thirty percent of adults age 65 and older who live in the community fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number increases to 50 percent for older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes.
Indiana is part of the Falls Free© Coalition, which includes several states and national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults.
For more information on injury prevention, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov. ...
   

Man Convicted in Indiana to Chicago Gun Sale Case

A 23 year old South Holland man was convicted on Friday of buying hundreds of guns at Indiana gun shows and illegally selling them in Chicago. David Lewisbey was convicted of dealing firearms without a federal license and two counts each of illegally transporting firearms across state lines and interstate travel to sell guns without a license. Lewisbey faces up to 35 years in prison and one-point-two-five million dollars in fines. The guns were purchased at gun shows in Crown Point, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and in LaPorte between January 2008 and September 2012. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10th. ...

   

Vote for New Gary Airport Leader Ends in 3-3 Tie

A motion to appoint an executive director to the Gary/Chicago International Airport ended in a three-three tie Friday during a special meeting. The motion was to appoint Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson's chief of staff, B.R. Lane, to the post immediately, as the current interim director Steve Landry is resigning and his last day is scheduled to be Monday. At question was whether Lane has enough aviation experience to be the airport's executive director, but Mayor Freeman-Wilson says Lane has been working closely with the airport in the last year and that the job now involves dealing with regulatory agencies, which she has prior experience in as the head of regulatory compliance with a major gaming company....

   

Federal Funds for Local Airport Improvements

pete visclosky
First District Congressman Pete Visclosky announced on Friday the FAA has awarded federal funds to two northwest Indiana airports. The Griffith-Merillville Airport received almost 411-thousand dollars which will be used to continue the ongoing effort to extend its parallel taxiway. The Michigan City Municipal/Phillips Field Airport received almost 473-thousand dollars which will go towards replacing approximately one-point-five miles of perimeter fencing, supplanting shorter fences with a ten-foot wildlife fence, which is recommended in heavily forested areas to keep the wildlife off the runways. ...

   

7 Year Sentence for Valpo Man in Child Porn Case

A Valparaiso man who pleaded guilty to felony possession of child pornography was sentenced in US District Court to seven years in prison and ten years of supervised release. According to court documents, 33 year old Jeffrey Smith “friended” the victim on MySpace and asked the victim, who he knew to be 15 years old at the time, to send him sexually explicit photos of herself. Smith also transported the victim from Ohio to Indiana, with the intent that she engage in sexual activity. ...
   

Human Bones Discovered in Hobart

Not much is known at this time about the discovery human bones found on Friday in Hobart. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports an investigative team was dispatched just before 5:30pm to the 21-hundred block of East 79th Avenue in reference to the human bones being found. An investigation is being conducted by the Coroner's Office, Hobart Police and Lake County Police....

   

Walk to End Alzheimer's in Merrillville

Walk to End Alzheimers
A movement to reclaim the future for millions takes place Sunday in Merrillville with the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's Association Communications Director Leah Shattuck says the Merrillville walk has expanded to become the third biggested in the state, which in 2012 raised nearly 115-thousand dollars, an incease of 20 percent from 2011. About 120-thousand Hoosiers are affected by Alzheimer's, a number that continues to rise. Shattuck says the funds raised at these events go towards education, research and to help families with services.
The Merrillville Walk to End Alzheimer's is Sunday, at Hidden Lake Park, registration begins at 12:30pm, or you can sign up online at http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk/IN-GreaterIndiana?fr_id=3350&pg=entry. Opening ceremonies start at 1:30pm, with the walk beginning at 2pm. Shattuck says people with dogs are encouraged to bring them out too. To hear more of our interview, click News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/....
   

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