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Gary Mayor, Police Chief Issue Statement on Report

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram today issued a joint statement regarding a newly-released state report critical of the city's police department. The mayor and police chief thanked the governor and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, and say they will review the input and make changes that they deem appropriate. The city Thursday received a 13-page report from a Special Task Force convened by Carter at the request of Governor Mike Pence after the governor was asked to send state help to assist in tackling an upswing in violent crime in Gary this year. Among the recommendations of the report was dedicating additional current officers to patrol duties. In the letter dated Thursday, Governor Pence offered assistance with training and processing evidence and said he has instructed Indiana State Police to work with the Indiana Department of Technology to review current information technology at the Gary Police Department and make recommendations to improve operations.  The mayor and police chief also said no further comment would be issued until officials have had the opportunity to review the findings and discuss next steps.
Here is the statement issued by Mayor Freeman-Wilson and Chief Ingram:
“Yesterday evening, we received the report of the Special Task Force convened by Indiana State Superintendent Doug Carter at the request of Governor Mike Pence.  We would like to thank Governor Pence and Superintendent Carter for their willingness to convene this group.  It is our intent to review this report in the context of the previous assessment of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the work of the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center and our work with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  We will review all external input and offers to assist as we move forward to access the help needed and make the changes that we deem appropriate.”...
 

Annual Governor's Ride Helps Military Families

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Motorcycles gathering in Indy this morning
Indiana Governor Mike Pence this morning [Friday Oct 4] is leaving on a one-hundred-mile motorcycle ride through east-central Indiana with members of ABATE of Indiana, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education. a non-profit safety and advocacy organization.
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Gov. Pence arriving at the Statehouse to greet motorcyclists prior to the ride

The Governor's Annual Motorcycle Ride was started by longtime motorcycle rider former Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to raise funds for military families. This year's trip includes three stops -- Rushville, Connersville and Liberty. Pence, not a regular on a motorcycle like his predecessor, has been taking lessons to ready himself for the event.
Governor20Motorcycle20Photo
Gov. Pence is shown here speaking with members of ABATE earlier about the upcoming ride   [All photos/Governor's office]...
 

State Report Critical of Gary PD

Newly-released details show a state report critical of the Gary Police Department, making a number of recommendations, including dedicating additional current officers to patrol duties. The assessment was conducted under the order of Governor Mike Pence after Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked Pence to send state help to assist in tackling an upswing in violent crime earlier this year. The thirteen-page review accompanied a letter to the mayor from the Governor dated Thursday in which Governor Pence offered state assistance to the Gary force with training and also processing of evidence. There has been no comment on the report from the city at this time. In the letter, Pence also said he has instructed Indiana State Police to work with the Indiana Department of Technology to review current information technology at the Gary Police Department and make recommendations to improve operations. ...
 

Hoosier Rep Ribbed Over Comments

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As the standoff and shutdown continue in the nation's capital, and both sides of the aisle issue comments, a congressman from Indiana has taken some ribbing for his statement on the Washington gridlock. Republican 3rd District Representative Marlin Stutzman was quoted as saying, "We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is." Stutzman's comment was made to the Washington Examiner earlier this week. ...
 

Council Narrowly Votes Down Funding for Jail Pod

The Porter County Council on Thursday voted four-to-three against a request for money to hire enough new jailers to open the third pod at the Porter County Jail to help relieve overcrowding. Council members are in the midst of assembling the 2014 budget, and Council President Bob Poparad, who was among those voting against it, suggested reconsidering it later. Porter County Sheriff David Lain says even if the third pod were to open, the jail would still be at capacity. Executive Director for sheriff and county jail operations at the Indiana Department of Correction Ken Whipker described the request for nine new jailers as "bare bones" to operate the currently unused pod. ...
 

Semi Strikes Cows Walking on Toll Road

Indiana State Police at the Toll Road say the driver of a semi was unhurt after his tractor-trailer struck cows walking on the westbound side of the highway near LaPorte last night. Police tell us there were several reports of cows walking around on county roads last night, but they were unable to be located. Around 9-o'clock last night police say a semi hit the animals, and the cows died in the crash. Officials say the scene was cleared by about 11:30 pm. ...
 

INDOT Hosts Job Fair in Gary

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The Indiana Department of Transportation says as many as thirty jobs will be available locally for winter work, with opportunities based out of Gary, Rensselaer, Winamac, and Monticello. INDOT Northwest is hosting a job fair for winter program workers. Potential employees are urged to attend the event happening today, Friday, October 4th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Central Time), at the INDOT Gary Subdistrict, on Melton Road. Positions available include seasonal INDOT maintenance crew staff, and plow drivers during snow events this winter. INDOT also says priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance.
INDOT says priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance at  http://www.in.gov/spd/2334.htm under the Job Bank ID #586315.
Applicants Must Have
• Valid CDL
• High School Diploma or equivalent
• Ability to pass a drug test successfully...
 

C-MAP Committee Vote on Illiana Friday

A critical decision is coming up on the Illinois side of the proposed Illiana Expressway. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's transportation committee is expected to take a vote on the Illiana Expressway tomorrow morning, at 9:30 am. Mitch Barloga, with NIRPC, says if approved, the process moves forward and C-MAP could take up the issue as early as next week with their board, and NIRPC's full commission could take up the issue for approval on December 12th.
Barloga says online public comment peroid will commence on October 14th and they are looking to extend it until November 20th. Four open houses will begin in early November, two in Lake County, with one in Porter County and another in LaPorter County, but at this time, dates and locations are not yet available.
Barloga says a link to make comments should be available on their website, http://www.nirpc.org, next week. A public-private partnership deal is in the works for the Illiana, which he says is the reason they're able to bring the financing to bear.
An influential Chicago area group called the Metropolitan Planning Council has come out against it, saying it would put other needed road work at risk, and would not be used by enough vehicles. The Illiana, as currently 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. ...
 

West to be Honored During Colts Game

jacob west
A LaPorte High School football player who collapsed during practice last week and died later that evening of a genetic heart condition will be honored this Sunday by the Indianapolis Colts. The Times reports Dan Bigg, a LaPorte resident who is a liaison with the Colts, says the team will show a picture of Jake West, along with a 45 second video narrative about his life on the Jumbotron during halftime of the Colts-Seahawks game at Lucus Oil Stadium. According to the article, the family will also be presented with a Colts jersey, with the number 26, which is the number Jake wore playing for the Slicers, and plans are also being made to bring Jake's teammates to the game as well....
 

AG: Beware of Health Insurance Enrollment Scams

Indiana OAG Official Seal
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is warning Hoosiers against scammers taking advantage of the federal health insurance enrollment period that began on Monday, October 1st. Zoeller says never provide personal financial information or a social security number to anyone that shows up on your doorstep or contacts you by phone to enroll you in the federal insurance program. Zoeller also says beware sales people that aggressively pressures you into buying insurance by saying you could face jail time if you don not have health insurance, because that is not true.
Tips to Avoid Scams and resources for assistance include:
•         The government will never call or e-mail consumers to solicit enrollment plans. Marketplace options and additional information is available at www.HealthCare.gov or at the Help Center, available 24/7, at 1-800-318-2596.
•         Anyone claiming to be enrolling consumers in coverage through the Marketplace before October 1 is not legitimate. Be wary of individuals contacting you with a “limited time special.”  Rates will remain the same from October 1 to March 31, 2014.
•         Navigators, by law, may not charge a fee for service; however, licensed health insurance agents and brokers receive commission from insurance companies for plan enrollment.
•         Navigators are there to assist you during the enrolment period.
•         Navigators will ask you question about your income, family size, and other relevant personal information to help you make a decision about the type of coverage you want.
•         Navigators will ask for the size of the family to determine coverage options and for income information to determine eligibility for tax credits or Medicaid
•         Navigators WILL NOT call you to enroll you in health insurance.
•         Navigators WILL NOT notify you about special limited time offers.
•         You can find your local Navigators at:  http://www.healthcare.gov/, and  http://www.sircon.com/resource/layout.jsp?page=indianaLps&type=indiana. ...
 

Visclosky: Shutdown Threatens NWI Steel Industry

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First District Congressman Pete Visclosky today is urging the leadership in the House of Representatives to reopen the government after a hearing scheduled today before the US International Trade Commission was cancelled due to the partial government shutdown. Visclosky says the cancellation of this hearing, which he was set to testify on behalf of the domestic steel industry, is just one example of how the shutdown impacts our economy, costs American jobs and threatens northwest Indiana's steel industry. Vosclosky says this gives foreign nations and companies free reign to continue to violate our trade laws and jeopardizes the livelihood of American workers. ...
   

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Until 6:45pm

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The National Weather Service in Chicago has extended its Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 6:45pm for southern LaPorte County and northern Starke County


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Three Arrested for Multiple Thefts from Vehicles

Valpo PD
Three subjects have been charged in connection with multiple thefts from vehicles. Valparaiso Police report they responded to a report of a physical disturbance Saturday in the 22-hundred block of Yorktown Drive and upon arrival the subjects fled the scene but were located a short time later. Police say the subjects that fled were in possession of stolen property and an investigation determined the subjects had been involved with numerous incidents involving thefts from vehicles that had been occurring throughout Valparaiso over the past 30 days. Arrested were 36 year old Brian Oliver, 18 year old Thomas Sutton and a 17 year old Valparaiso resident. Police are attempting to return many of the items recovered and request individuals who recently had items taken from their vehicles to contact them. ...
   

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Until 6pm

1 breaking-news
The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 6pm for northwest Indiana. ...
   

Amtrak to Continue Hoosier State Rail Until 10/16

The Indiana Department of Transportation continues contract negotiations with Amtrak over the Hoosier State passenger rail service, which operates four days per week between Chicago and Indianapolis. INDOT Spokesman Will Wingfield says at this time, they know for certain Amtrak service will continue until at least October 16th.
Wingfield says meantime, contract negotations continue on a short-term plan to keep service running for a few months to allow for long-term discussions to happen.
In 2008, Congress voted to end federal support for Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. Seven of the 19 states impacted had signed operating agreements as of the middle of September. ...
   

Man Falls Asleep at the Wheel, Crashes Vehicle

i-65 lowell car fire
(Photo Courtesy of INDOT's Facebook Page)

A Dephi, Indiana, man fell asleep at the wheel just before 12:30 this (Thursday) afternoon while heading north on I-65, two-miles south of the Lowell exit, causing a crash that closed all northbound lanes for less than hour.  Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports 20 year old Lucas Hunt fell asleep, causing his vehicle to go off the road and hit the concrete bridge abatement, which flipped the vehicle onto its passenger side and caused it to catch fire.  State Police say the passenger, 22 year old Thomas Storey, of West Lafayette, was able to free himself from the vehicle, while Hunt was removed by some Good Samaritans who stopped at the scene.  Hunt was hospitalized with broken bones and minor burns, while Storey was hospitalized after complaining of body pain.

   

Lock Down In Capital Lifted, Female Gunman Killed

1 breaking-news
Shots were fired outside the US Capitol this afternoon, with a capitol policeman injured and a female gunman reportedly killed. ABC's Ann Compton described the scene near where the incident occurred as the kind of protective response that Washington is now all to familiar with conducting. ABC's Jim Avila is outside the Capitol building and says access is still restricted, but the lockd own has been lifted on Capitol Hill - following reports of gunshots fired outside.

Sources say someone tried to ram a barricade near the White House with a car - and that the suspect - a woman - is dead at the scene. ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas - Our guidance is a female may have been neutralized in the car crash or by police fire - we're trying to get clarity on that. I think the fact that you're seeing the all clear means that law enforcement believes they have this largely under control. They will do additional checking just to make sure there is no suspect but this is starting to wind down. ...
   

US Capital in Lock Down

1 breaking-news
The US Capitol is in lock down after shots were heard Thursday afternoon. ABC's Jeff Zeleny reports he's talked to three senators who told him that they in fact heard gunshots outside of the Capitol building around the Dirksen Senate Office Building...just to give you a sense of where that is just across from the street from the Capitol. And Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said he heard three pops. Didn't think they were gunfire at first but Sen. Sherod Brown of Ohio walking nearby said he knew they were gunshots initially. He said there was all types of commotion after that. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona confirmed the account, also heard shots. These senators we're told were told to get behind vehicles so they hid in place for a while and then were brought back in to the capitol. ...
   

Cappas Named Lake Superior Court Judge

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today named Sam Cappas as Judge in the Lake Superior Court Criminal Division. Governor Pence says Cappas has the legal skills and background necessary to serve the people of Lake County as Lake Superior Court Judge. Cappas has nearly 20 years experience as a public defender in the Lake County Superior Court System and worked for nearly five years as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Office....
   

I-65 Reopened After Closure

i-65 lowell car fire
(Photo Courtesy of INDOT's Facebook Page)
INDOT reports all lanes of northbound I-65 are now open after crash forced a closure south of the Lowell/Route 2 exit. No further information is available at this time on the cause of the accident that forced the closure, but there was a vehicle on fire....
   

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