Police in Munster say River Drive closed this morning between Monroe and Jefferson Avenues due to a water main break. Repairs were being made.
The Gary Salvation Army ARC announced today that they will serve as the primary recyclers for electronic items for the City of Hobart. Residents interested in the service can have their unwanted electronics, working or not, picked up, just as long as they have an electric cord by calling 1-800-SA Truck. The Salvation Army ARC reports you can also recycle cloths and toys at the same time you are getting rid the electronics. You can also arrange for a pick up of your items online at http://satruck.org/donate-goods.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Westville Correctional Facility)
The gardens at Westville Correctional Facility (WCC) are producing thousands of pounds of vegetables for donation to local food pantries as the harvest hits the midway point.
Offenders can be seen carrying boxes of picked peppers, cucumbers, zucchini squash, cabbages and onions, while the tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon and others are still ripening for a banner year of produce. It is all part of an effort throughout the Indiana Department of Correction facilities promoted by Commissioner Bruce Lemmon.
At WCC, the inmates are in competition with each other maintaining five different gardens. Each has a different combination of vegetables and harvest schedule.
In May, offenders began the effort by tilling the soil where grass had predominated for years. Offenders used their backs to remove the sod and break up the soil beneath. Trucks of rich top soil and fertile loam were brought in to prepare the gardens. The recreation department provided the seed and young plants for the first planting.
As of this past week, 2,124 pounds of vegetables had been harvested before the gardens had even reached their peak. An estimated 500 pounds a week should be harvested over the next several weeks.
According to Superintendent Mark Levenhagen all the produce is donated to local food pantries. “This is truly a dividend that benefits many needy citizens throughout our communities,” he said.
Offender Damarlan Norris said, “It was great to work the garden from the start and see the fruits of my work.” Indeed, officials note that the labor seems soothing to offenders and the gardening has a positive impact. Norris said it felt good to work the earth by hand and create something that had not existed before.
Offenders whose first wish was to simply get off the dorm or get exercise soon found themselves involved in an on-going and very satisfying endeavor. Like Norris, they could see positive results from their work.
This was particularly gratifying to offenders who had never done gardening before. Offender Willis Peavey said, “It has been a learning experience that has taught me a lot.” Offender Rusty Land, proudly holding up a two feet long zucchini, said he was impressed with what he could do.
Meanwhile, nearly a dozen pantries in the community have been the beneficiaries of the garden produce. LaPorte Fellowship and Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Westville, St. Paul Lutheran Soup Kitchen and First Presbyterian in Michigan City and other community pantries in Knox, Rolling Prairie, Valparaiso and Hanna all have been receiving regular deliveries.
“For some inmates,” said Levenhagen, “the local food pantry is crucial in helping them get back on their feet when they get released. They can relate to the need on a personal basis.”
About Westville Correctional Facility:
Westville Correctional Facility was converted from a state mental health hospital to a prison in 1977. It is situated on over 700 acres in La Porte County, and contains minimum, medium and maximum security units. Nearly 3400 offenders are housed at WCC, and over 2400 are retuned to the community annually from WCC.
About the Indiana Department of Correction:
The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) employs over 8,000 staff and houses nearly 28,000 adult and juveniles in 20 adult and 5 juvenile facilities. About 1,000 more are housed in contracted facilities or contracted county jail beds. An additional 10,000 adults are monitored by 9 parole districts. IDOC collaboratively funds community corrections programs in 78 counties. Our internet home page can be found at: http://www.in.gov/idoc. Our Re-entry Site can be found at: http://www.in.gov/reentry.
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(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office)
A ten-thousand dollar reward is being offered for the return of 124 one-ounce platinum Canadian Maple Leaf coins, or information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in the theft. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports the coins were taken from a residence in Crown Point and is asking that anyone who may have seen the coins to please contact them, at (219) 755-3334.
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The Valparaiso Police Department in 2010, for the first time, achieved accreditation through The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
Every three years the department must be re-inspected and re-evaluated for it to maintain the CALEA accreditation. This past June the
department was re-evaluated and recently Chief Brickner and the department learned that the Valparaiso Police Department had earned their accreditation for the second time.
In 2010 after the department’s first accreditation Police Chief Michael Brickner explained the accreditation is not just a piece of paper, but rather means the department meets tough national standards on everything from how it uses deadly force, to whether it pursues a fleeing vehicle to how it recruits employees to make sure it gets the best police force.
Brickner said the department, which he deemed already excellent before beginning the accreditation process, had to re-think every aspect of how it does business
and is much stronger because of it, "One of our goals was to become one of the elite police departments ... one of the most professional and innovative," Brickner said. "It (accreditation) has elevated us to the level we wanted to get
In addition, departmental policies that fall in line with national guidelines should decrease lawsuits or the department's exposure in lawsuits. "Once again, this is a wonderful accomplishment for our department," Chief Brickner said.
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Indianapolis, IN – Governor Mike Pence today received the findings of the school safety study group regarding improved school safety efforts in Indiana.
“The safety and security of schools in Indiana remains a top priority for our administration,” said Governor Pence. “As we begin a new school year, I am grateful to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, our state agencies and local law enforcement and mental health professionals for their leadership in helping Indiana’s agencies, schools, law enforcement personnel, and organizations work collaboratively and cohesively for the good of all students. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to work and pray for a safe and successful school year for Hoosiers across the state.”
The report recommends the State centralize, house and maintain pertinent information such as best practices, legislative updates, resource links and training opportunities in a multidisciplinary website dedicated to school safety. In an effort to provide thorough preparedness and response training, it suggests that seminars or exercises related to student safety or school security that are carried out by an agency or division be made available to all entities or individuals who regularly and directly interact with schools and Hoosier students. In addition, the Department of Child Services, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, and the Department of Correction will continue to strive toward developing a process to aid in the seamless transition for Hoosiers among agencies and service providers, as well as a parental consent form to release all pertinent information to schools.
The group endorsed the final report and accepted a report from the Department of Homeland Security on SEA 1, the Secured School Safety Grant Program passed earlier this year. The group also accepted the Safe School Active Shooter Training Overview from the Indiana State Police.
Pence serves as chair of the school safety study group. Additional members include Glenda Ritz (Department of Education), John Hill (Department of Homeland Security), Doug Carter (Indiana State Police), Mary Allen (Indiana Criminal Justice Institute), Bruce Lemmon (Department of Correction), Marty Umbarger (Indiana National Guard), Kevin Moore (Department of Mental Health & Addictions), Mary Beth Bonaventura (Department of Child Services), Chris Atkins (Office of Management and Budget), Jeff Cardwell (Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives), Larry John (East Central Educational Services), Ben Hunter (Butler University), Steve Luce (Indiana Sheriffs Association), and Michael Ward (Indiana Chiefs of Police Association).
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(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Dept)
LaPorte County Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer on Monday announced the third and fourth arrest in the last week that involve heroin. Sheriff Mollenhauer says the County's Metro Operations Unit will continue to actively pursue those who are involved in the heroin problems in the LaPorte area. Investigators from the Metro Operations Unit arrested a LaPorte couple on Monday related to possession of heroin, 31 year old Gabral and Dawn Robinson, who were arrested without incident Monday at their home in the three-hundred block of Jefferson Avenue. Both had been wanted on warrants issued through LaPorte County Circuit Court
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(A white rod marks the location on Mt Baldy where a 6 year old boy became trapped in the dune)
The National Park Service, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, began an on-site investigation Monday morning at Mount Baldy, in Michigan City, using ground-penetrating radar equipment to determine why an incident occurred one month ago to-the-day when a six-year-old boy was swallowed up on the giant dune, and buried under eleven-feet of sand for three-and-a-half hours before being rescued. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe says Mt Maldy will remain closed for reasons of public safety until they understand the science behind what caused the incident to occur in the first place. Rowe thanked the E-P-A for providing the equipment necessary to conduct this portion of their investigation, which Francisco Arcaute, EPA Region Five Spokesman, says provides a series of images up to 30 feet under the ground, much like an ultrasound.
Rowe says after the incident received so much publicity, they received information of two similar incidents, one from a man who stepped into a hole at Mt Baldy many years ago that went up to his knees, and another from a person in southwestern Michigan, who was on a private dune, who reported seeing a hole similar to the one on July 12th a couple of years ago, but in both cases, the incidents had not been reported until now.
Authorities say the equipment will be at the site as long as necessary, and will cover a vast majority of the 42 acre dune, but until a reason for why a hole opened up in the first place can be ascertained, Mt. Baldy remains closed to the public. To hear the press conference, click News Audio On Demand at http://regionnewsteam.com/
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