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Popcorn Fest Traffic Alert

Detours in and around Valparaiso begin early this evening for the 35th annual Popcorn Fest Saturday (Sept 7). Valparaiso Police Sgt. Michael Grennes says many road closures start around 6-o'clock tonight (Friday Sept 6). Valparaiso Police also say there's a slight route change that takes this year's Popcorn Panic run/walk a litte further north, and it'll end a little closer to Central Park in downtown Valpo.  Police also remind festival goers that skateboards and bicycles are not allowed at the fest, and all dogs must be on a leash, though police strongly encourage visitors to not bring dogs to the fest. Here's more info from Valparaiso Police:
The Valparaiso Police Department is issuing a traffic alert for Saturday due to the annual Popcorn Festival downtown Valparaiso. Many roadways throughout the city will have heavier than normal traffic and many roadways especially in the morning will be closed for the Popcorn Panic Run and Popcorn Parade.
Downtown roadways will begin closing Friday evening. Starting at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Lincolnway from downtown west to Campbell St. then north on Campbell to Glendale will be completely closed to traffic for the Popcorn Panic race/walk. Roadways will re-open shortly after the race/walk concludes and then re-close just prior to the parade starting at 10 a.m.  The parade route includes Calumet from Evans south bound on Morgan Blvd. to Lincolnway then west bound to Campbell St and northbound to Park Ave.
Bicycles and skateboards are not permitted in the downtown area during the festival. Individuals with these items will be asked to leave the festival by police. All dogs must be on a leash and individuals are strongly encouraged not to bring dogs to the festival.
Residents should expect traffic delays during the morning hours and plan alternate routes of travel on Saturday.
[Photo courtesy Valpo Parks Department]
For more info about the Popcorn Fest:

Underwater Preserve Proposed

Plans are in the works for the state's first underwater nature preserve off the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana. The Natural Resource Commission is scheduled to vote on the “J.D. Marshall Preserve” September 17, and if approved, an official dedication ceremony would happen at the end of the month. The J.D. Marshall, a 154-foot wooden commercial vessel built for the lumber trade then converted to a sand barge, capsized in a storm, killing four crew members. The site of the June 1911 shipwreck is north of the Indiana Dunes State Park. The preserve would be marked by buoys to protect the remains of ship and keep boats from dropping anchor there. The Marshall's huge cast-iron propeller is at the park, and other artifacts are on display at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center.

Pursuit in North Lake County

A carjacking suspect who led police on a chase through north Lake County last night has reportedly been arrested in Illinois. Police say a man stopped along Cline Avenue in Gary fled on foot, ran into Hammond, where he reportedly first stole a bicycle, then allegedly held up a motorist in the 74-hundred block of New Hampshire in Hammond around 8:30, then was last seen on the expressway heading toward Chicago.

IN Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Retired

Constantine Dillon
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
After 35 years of service in the National Parks System, and six years as the Superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Superintendent Costa Dillon has officially retired. We recently spoke to Dillon during a recent Region News Makers interview who says the aspect of park service he anticipates missing the most is working with the visitors of the parks.
Indiana Dunes Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says while Dillon was Superintendent he made a lot of progress on a wide variety of projects and helped to improve facilities, and pointed out specifically Portage Lakefront, which he says opened up during his time as Superintendent and is the single most popular spot in terms of attendance in the entire National Lakeshore.
Dillon has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Stephen T. Mather Award from the National Parks Conservation Association. Now that he has retired, Dillon says, starting in January, he'll be joining the faculty of the University of New Hampshire teaching Recreation Management and Policy, and says he is still involved in the movie business, as a part owner of Killer Tomato Entertainment, the company that brought us four “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” films. To hear more of our interview with Costa Dillon, visit
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NWI Food Bank Kicks Off Hunger Awareness Month

hunger action month
The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana officially kicked off Hunger Action Month at Wicker Park Pavilion in Highland this afternoon opening a Mobile Market. It was set up like a farmers market and the Food Bank gave clients 25-dollars worth of “Food Bank Bucks” they could use to shop for items. The Food Bank reports 600 families attended last years event and planned for 700 this year. Executive Director Arleen Peterson presented Strack and Van Til the organization's “Hunger Champions Award” for 2013 at the Mobile Market, which was also attended by the Mayor of Gary and Munster State Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon.
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NWI Doctors Call on Congress to Intervene in Syria

Merrillville – As with all doctors of medicine, a cadre of eight Northwest Indiana physicians of Syrian and other Middle Eastern descents, came together earlier this week to put the oath they take before becoming doctors into a most unique practice. They are out to save lives and as such, these physicians who care very much about their fellow countrymen and the current crisis in Syria, want to do something about it. They want the United States to help free the Syrian people from a tyrannical regime of deadly intolerance and cruelty. 
In this meeting the 8 doctors drafted a ten-point discussion as to why Congress should support President Barack Obama in his request to have the United States military intervene in the crisis. The document includes:
1. The United States cannot avoid being pulled into the conflict; 2. Each day the United States waits to act, the number of extremists entering Syria increases; 3. Intervention in Syria is not comparable to Iraq or Afghanistan (rather it’s like Kosovo or Rwanda); 4. The conflict in Syria is not a civil war; sectarianism inside Syria has been introduced by the (Bashar al-) Assad regime and other regional forces; 5. Inaction by the United States risks breeding extremism among the more vulnerable Syrian youth; 6. What is stopping the Assad regime from repeating the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) against the Syrian people and American allies in the region? 7. Rouge governments; namely Iran and North Korea, are closely watching the U. S. response to Syria’s use of chemical ways; 8. The United States has tried diplomacy over the past 30 months, and it has not worked; 9, Lack of action by the United States will embolden the Assad regime and 10, Americans cannot expect the Syrians to make progress towards their ultimate goal of political, civic and economic freedoms without additional U. S. and international support
Led by Doctors Abdul Kawamleh and Wayel Kaakaji, the physicians are concerned for the safety of their fellow Syrians. "The Syrian people cannot tolerate any more of the Assad regime, which is killing hundreds of civilians every day," says Dr. Kawamleh who goes on to explain,. “It is now confirmed that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people on at least 24 occasion. For example, on August 21, 1429 people died in the regime’s latest attack using sarin chemicals, which included 426 children who died from suffocation when they sought to find shelter from the attack." The latter was the largest in scare and number of fatalities.

Secretary of State John Kerry agrees. In his September 3 testimony before the U S Senate Foreign Relations Committee Kerry said, “This attack against some 1400 Syrian people is a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons.”
But many more "innocent civilians" are being killed by missiles, air attacks, artillery fire, and sniper attacks, and over 2 million Syrians have become refugees as a result of the conflict..
Attending the meeting with Kawamlehand Kaakaji were Doctors H. Safadi, A. Safadi, Alnahass, Ghaith Atassi, Faleh Atassi, Bassel Shughoury, Firas Zeitoun, Yaser Alobeid and Elian Shepherd. Of those attending, a few have traveled to Syria and Jordan to see for themselves the atrocities inflicted by the Assad forces on the Syrian people. Those physicians who have traveled to the Middle East have also provided free medical care and supplies to as many as they could manage in a two to four week visit.
“The Syrian people have a long history of acceptance and tolerance among religions and sects," says Dr. Kawamleh, “The Assad regime has showed that they are willing to use WMD’s to stay in power.” He adds, “By not intervening, Syria grows more unsettled and unstabilized.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has drafted a resolution in support of given Mr.Obama the powers he is requesting, and the full Senate is expected to adopt the resolution. The same powers may face more difficulty in the U. S. House of Representatives when it takes up the resolution next week.
Kawamleh says, "Over one million Syrian are living in absolute squalor in refugee camps throughout the Middle East, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. If the United States does not act to stop the Assad regime, and help these children return home to their families, this society will risk lose a generation of Syrians to extremism. That then could be a social nightmare for all civilized nations of the world."
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MC PD Investigating Attempted Murder

michigan city police
Police in Michigan City are investigating an attempted murder that took place Tuesday morning. Authorities report at approximately 4am, 25 year old Mark Higgins was shot with a handgun numerous times in the parking lot of Canterbury Apartments, in the five-hundred block of Herring Gull Lane. Michigan City Police report at last check, they have no suspect identified or suspect description. Higgins is reportedly recovering at an area hospital and anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Michigan City Police.
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National Initiatives Highlight Importance of Blood Donations

Amer. Red Cross
Fort Wayne, IN — The American Red Cross is urging blood donations during September to help support the initiatives of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
“Our blood donors help make a difference for many types of patients, including children with cancer and those who need ongoing treatment for sickle cell disease,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region. “Blood transfusions are crucial to both groups of individuals and play an important part in helping to extend and save their lives.”
According to the American Cancer Society’s webpage, about 11,630 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013. Cancer patients need frequent transfusions, often involving multiple blood products, particularly during chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
Blood transfusions also help those who have sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited blood disorder that occurs more commonly in African Americans, but can also affect other ethnic groups. The distorted red blood cells in SCD patients can cause physical pain, stroke, anemia and organ damage. Although there is no cure at this time, multiple red blood cell transfusions can help protect SCD patients from some of the complications of the disease.
“Steady and consistent blood donations are key to a strong blood supply,” said Whitman. “There is a wide variety of medical conditions requiring blood transfusion, and the only source are volunteer blood donors.”
Residents have the opportunity to donate at these local blood drives:
·         Monday, Sept. 16, from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Teresa of Avila in the Catholic Student Center, located at 1604 Lincolnway in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.
·         Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at The Gathering Place in the Meeting Room, located at 131 N. Main St. in Hebron.
·         Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Heritage Lutheran Church in the Fellowship Hall, located at 308 Washington St. in Valparaiso.
·         Monday, Sept. 23, from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at St. Peter Lutheran Church in the Kitchen & Social Hall, located at 6540 Central Ave. in Portage. 
·         Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, located at 753 N. Calumet in Valparaiso.
·         Thursday, Sept. 26, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in The Gathering Space, located at 505 Bullseye Lake Road in Valparaiso.
·         Friday, Sept. 27, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Portage in the Fellowship Hall, located at 2637 McCool Road in Portage. 
·         Sunday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Walmart, located at 2400 Morthland Drive in Valparaiso.  Come to donate and receive a coupon for a free Varsity haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.  This blood drive is sponsored by Woodforest National Bank.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossIO.
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LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week: Edward Holman

edward holman
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A man wanted on a warrant out of LaPorte Circuit Court for the charge of felony criminal sexual deviate conduct is the LaPorte Police Department's Wanted Person of the Week. LaPorte Police report Edward Holman is described as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes and multiple tattoos on both arms. Holman is considered armed and dangerous, and believed to be in possession of multiple weapons, including a 410 sawed-off shotgun. Anyone with information on the immediate whereabouts of Edward Holman is asked to contact 9-1-1, LaPorte Police, or the LaPorte Metro Operations Unit, and you can remain anonymous.
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Moderate Drought in NW Indiana

Dry conditions are intensifying in parts of northwest Indiana. The latest US Drought Monitor released this week shows the far southwest tip of Lake County, almost all of Newton County, and over half of Benton County experiencing moderate drought. About a third of the state is now considered abnormally dry, including the rest of Lake, almost all of Porter, about half of Jasper County, along with the South Bend/Elkhart and central Indiana areas.

Drive-In Movie Night at Marquette Park

In Miller, Gary's Marquette Park is being transformed into a drive-in movie theater Friday night (Sept 6). For ten-dollars per car, moviegoers can catch two family friendly films – “The Croods” and “The Tree of Life”. Gates at 6918 Oak Avenue open at 6 pm with the first film starting at dusk. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who came up with the idea, says the city doesn't currently have a movie theater, and this is a chance for families to see a couple films with Lake Michigan as a backdrop.
Vendors will be selling movie snacks, and attendees will tune in to the film using their car radios. The mayor's office says going forward, the goal is to feature drive-in movie night the first Friday of each month from May to October.
There are also advertising opportunities. Local businesses and organizations can promote their message on the silver screen for $500. The message will be looped in 30-second intervals for approximately 1 hour before the movie starts and during the event’s 20 minute intermission.
Going forward, the goal is to feature drive-in movie night the first Friday of each month from May to October. For more information contact LaShawn Brooks at 219-938-7363 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


IBLC Legislative Symposium at IUN Friday

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus will feature a wide range of subjects at the 2013 Annual Legislative Symposium, being held tomorrow [[Friday, Sept. 6]] on the campus of Indiana University Northwest in Gary. Former Merrillville Community School Corporation superintendent Dr. Tony Lux, and Group Director for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Health Program Martha King will be the featured keynote speakers.  The cost of the symposium is $50 per person. Scholarships for the symposium are available upon request.
This year’s theme is “The Critical Importance of Education, Healthcare, and Jobs for All.”  The registration form can be found on the IBLC’s Website, at Http:// One can also register in person on the morning of the symposium.
“We will be exploring areas that dramatically affect the entire state, but, in particular, the African-American community,” explained State Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago), who chairs the IBLC. “Those specific areas are children’s issues, economic development, pre-school through 12th grade (P-12) education, higher education, and health. In addition, we will hold a special youth forum to talk about college preparedness, job skills, and internships as well as share explanations about the legislative process.”


ABATE Hosts 'Scooter Summit'

Indiana is the site of a 'scooter summit' today. ABATE, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, is hosting the moped meeting this morning to gather info from law enforcement and others on finding a solution. Indiana law considers mopeds "motorized bicycles," which don't have to be insured or registered in the state. A number of Hoosiers concerned about the safety of mopeds sharing the roads with much larger, more powerful motorized vehicles.

Alert Cancelled, Child Found Safe

An AMBER Alert issued by police in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers Tuesday night was canceled Wednesday evening after the eight-year-old girl was found unharmed. Officials say Sophia Snow was found with her mother, 37-year-old Jennifer Curtis Ansari, at a home in Louisville, Kentucky. Reports say Ansari was taken into custody in connection with her daughter's disappearance.

Gov Pence Japan Trip Begins

govpence usethisphoto
Indiana Governor Mike Pence leaves this morning to lead his first gubernatorial overseas economic development and jobs mission to Japan. First Lady Karen Pence and a delegation of Hoosier business leaders and elected officials are traveling with him. Indiana counts Japan as its largest Asian trading partner. Nearly 44,000 Hoosiers are employed by more than 200 Japanese companies located in the state. Indiana is the only U.S. state that is home to three Japanese original equipment manufacturer automotive companies, Subaru, Toyota and Honda. The Governor's office says the cost of the state delegation is being covered entirely through private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation. The governor is scheduled to return September 14.

Plea Deal in 'Sexting' Case

A former middle school teacher at Fegley Middle School in Portage has pleaded guilty to charges related to “sexting” and sending inappropriate sexual photos to three former female students, all around 14 to 15 years old.  Under the proposed plea deal, 45-year-old Brian Tyman would receive six years probation, including a year on home detention. Some of the parents of the girls told reporters they hope Porter Superior Judge Mary Harper rejects the plea agreement because they want to see him do jail time. A court hearing is set for November 13.

Chicago Group Opposed to Illiana

A critical decision is coming up on the Illinois side of the proposed Illiana Expressway, and one influential Chicago-area group is opposed to it. The Metropolitan Planning Council says the project would put other needed road work at risk, and produce far fewer jobs that supporters claim. The group also contends it wouldn't be used by enough vehicles, would do little to reduce congestion, and could cost much more than current one-point-three-billion dollar estimates.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is expected to vote October 9 on whether or not to include the Illiana Expressway in the GO TO 2040 regional plan – something that would have to happen to receive federal funding and move the project forward. The Illiana as proposed would be a 47-mile tollway between I-65 near Lowell and I-55 in Will County, Illinois to provide an alternative to the busy Borman.


More Craig's List Robberies Reported in Gary

In Gary, authorities are reporting more cases of people answering Craig's List ads and being robbed, and again, each instance has taken place in the five-hundred block of Lake Street. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says on Tuesday, at 1:30pm, a 71 year old responded to an ad at that location, and was instructed to go to the second floor where he was robbed at gunpoint of his cell phone and cash. Corp. King says this was the fifth or sixth incident at that location.
Corp. King says on Labor Day, three Fort Wayne residents were also robbed, responding to a Craig's List ad for a car, but this time in the five-hundred block of Pennsylvania, by a male subject with a gun who took their cell phones and wallets. Gary Police urge caution when purchasing any items off Craig's List and suggest conducting the sale in a public place.
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Remains of Missing Gary Man Found

Gary PD
Gary Police report the body of a missing 43 year old Gary man was found Wednesday morning, deceased in a vehicle, at a local towing company. Public Information Officer Corp. Gabrielle King says Patrick Bush was last heard from by a family member on September 1st, just before 1am. About a half-hour later, a 1996 Cadillac registered to a Mrs. Bush was towed from the front of the 27-hundred block of Jefferson Street. Corp. King says on Wednesday morning, officers were dispatched to Bennie's Towing, in the 21-hundred block of West 10th Avenue, after receiving a missing person's report on Mr. Bush. Officers opened the locked vehicle and detected a foul odor and Mr. Bush's remains were found in the trunk.
The Lake County Coroner's Office reports the cause and manner of death are pending autopsy results, and anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Gary Police.
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Beam from WTC Mounted at Schererville 9-11 Memorial

sville 911 beam
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A beam from the World Trade Center was mounted on Wednesday at the Schererville 9-11 Memorial. Schererville Police Department Commander Brian Neyhart says a lot of work was done by the 9-11 Memorial Committee, with community support from Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council, who was very instrumental in mounting the beam, along with local unions, construction, and businesses groups.
Commander Neyhart says the beam will be officially unveiled during the town's annual 9-11 service, in the police department parking lot, on September 11th at 6pm. In the meantime, Neyhart says the placing of the beam was just the first phase of the memorial and other portions will be added to it once funds have been raised. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Schererville Police Chief David Dowling or Fire Chief Joe Kruzan at their respective departments. To hear more of our interview, click News Audio On Demand at
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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
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