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Ten Years Since Gov O'Bannon Passed Away

portrait
Frank O'Bannon (b. 1930)
Governor of Indiana
January 13, 1997 - September 13, 2003
It was ten years ago today that Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon passed away while in office. O'Bannon, a Democrat, was governor from 1997 until his death in 2003 at the age of 73. O'Bannon, Indiana's 48th governor, suffered a stroke while attending a trade conference in Chicago and died days later. He was succeeded by Lt. Governor Joe Kernan. O'Bannon was a native of downstate Corydon, Indiana's first state capital.
Indiana Governor's Portrait Artist - Michael Chelich
Michael A. Chelich (b. 1963)
Artist, Indiana Governors' Portrait Collection
Image of Portrait/Indiana Historical Bureau
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US 20 in La Porte Co Reopens

Traffic-Advisory
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office has re-opened  US Highway 20.  The crash that occurred in the 5600 East block of US Highway 20, east of Rolling Prairie, at approximately 6:34 am this morning has been cleaned and removed from the roadway.
La Porte County Sheriff's Police say the crash remains under investigation and information is limited at this time.  However, the road was closed as the result of a two (2) vehicle crash between a semi- truck and sport utility vehicle.  One of the occupants has since been transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
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Visclosky: We Need South Shore Expansion

VICLOSKY NIRPC edit
First District Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky wants forward motion on expanding the South Shore commuter rail line in Lake and Porter Counties, and he told state lawmakers here in the Region:  "I ask for your assistance in fashioning a permanent, non-federal source of matching revenue to expand the South Shore line to the communities of Lowell and Valparaiso." The Congressman said expansion is critical to keeping younger northwest Indiana residents living in the Region and working in Chicago: "Young people today simply are not driving as much, and we must recognize that preference," Visclosky said. " Young people today are more likely to want to live in urban areas and are more open to non-driving forms of transportation than older Americans".
Visclosky testified before the Joint Study Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions, as the committee held a field hearing at the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) offices in Portage Thursday.
You can hear his testimony here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
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US 20 Closed Near Rolling Prairie


Traffic-Alert
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a personal injury crash that has all lanes of US Highway 20 closed in far northeast La Porte County.  The crash occurred in the 5600 East block of US Highway 20, east of Rolling Prairie, at approximately 6:34 am this morning and as a result, the highway is closed between 500 East and the intersection of State Road 2/US Highway 20.  
Detour information:  Eastbound traffic is being re-routed south on County Road 500 East to State Road 2.  Westbound traffic is being re-routed east along State Road 2 to County Road 500 East and north along 500 East to US Highway 20.  
Kankakee Township Fire Department and La Porte County Emergency Medical Service is currently attempting to extricate an occupant of one of the vehicles and due to the wreckage and emergency vehicles on site, the road is closed. 
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Local Politicians' Email Accounts Hacked

The email addresses of at least three elected officials out of Lake County have reportedly been hacked, with thousands of people getting messages from them saying they're stuck in the Philippines and need money to get home. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr, and state representatives Linda Lawson of Hammond and Shelli VanDenburgh of Crown Point are all on each other's email contact lists. VanDenburgh tells the Times the problems for her started earlier this week when she clicked on a link sent from an email that looked like it was from Yahoo, then noticed in an email she got that the fake Yahoo had two exclamation points.
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Barn Fire in Boone Grove

No injuries are being reported in a barn fire overnight in Boone Grove.  Multiple departments responded to County Road 550 South, behind Boone Grove Elementary and Middle School.  Boone Grove Volunteer Fire Department President Paul Palleson says the fire broke out in a storage barn and crews got the call around 3:15 am.  The fire has been struck.  Boone Grove was assisted by several area fire departments.  No word on possible cause at this time.
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Public Meetings Next Week for Rail Corridor Program

Indot Logo color
Fast Facts:
-          Illinois, Indiana and Michigan departments of transportation are holding a series of public meetings to obtain feedback on the route alternatives being evaluated between Chicago and Porter, Ind., including the area known as South of the Lake (SOTL). This is for a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Chicago Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor.
-          The Tier 1 EIS will help evaluate passenger rail improvements along a 300-mile corridor through three states.
-          Public comments must be received by Oct. 28 and can be submitted in multiple ways.
-          Check the website www.GreatLakesRail.org for more details.
September 4, 2013 – The Illinois, Indiana and Michigan departments of transportation, in association with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), are announcing a second series of public meetings for the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor Program. The meetings are being held to:
-          Update the public on the Program,
-          Present the route alternatives being evaluated between Chicago and Porter, Ind., including the area known as South of the Lake (SOTL), and
-          Obtain feedback to help determine the route alternatives to be evaluated in the Tier 1 EIS.
The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate passenger rail improvements along a 300-mile rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac, Mich. The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate the effects of upgrading rail infrastructure and facilities to safely accommodate potential passenger rail service improvements. Effects on the natural environment, jobs, the economy, air quality, traffic, and neighborhoods will be considered. State and federal transportation partners are seeking input from residents, business owners and other stakeholders. Staff will be available to answer questions at four upcoming meetings. Exhibits and other reference materials will be on display and presentations made.
All comments must be received by Oct. 28 to be included in this step of the Tier 1 EIS process. Multiple options for submitting comments are available including:
-          Fill out a comment form at a public meeting,
-          Use the online comment form at www.GreatLakesRail.org,
-          Call toll-free number 877- 351-0853, and
-          Mail your written comments to Bob Parsons, MDOT, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909.
Public meetings will be held in each of the three states and will be open to the public between 4 and 7 p.m. A presentation will be held at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on attendance and interest. The same information will be presented at each meeting. Meeting materials will also be posted to the program website on Sept. 13, 2013.
Illinois
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Chicago Union Station in the
Union Gallery Room (off the Great Hall)
500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL
Indiana
Wednesday, Sept 18, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Genesis Convention Center, Lake Room
One Genesis Center Plaza, Gary, IN
Thursday, Sept 19, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (CDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Porter Town Hall, Main Floor Meeting Room
303 Franklin St., Porter, IN
Michigan
Tuesday, Sept 24, 2013
4 to 7 p.m. (EDT); Presentation at 4:30 p.m. and repeated based on request.
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
5801 Southfield Expressway, Dearborn, MI
Information about the program and how to participate can be found at the project website www.GreatLakesRail.org. Sign up for program e-mail updates on the website or call toll-free at 877-351-0853.
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Alcohol a Factor In Fatal LaPorte Co Car/Train Collision

LapPorte County Sheriff logo - this one
The La Porte County Sheriff's Office issued a statement today saying a 40-year-old La Porte man killed in a car/train collision overnight near Union Mills had a blood alcohol concentration of point-393, or nearly five-times the legal limit.
Police say the collision occurred at a closed crossing on State Road 39 south of US 6, and the driver, who was the lone occupant, was found dead inside the minivan. La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan says 40-year-old Brian Massengill was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say the crossing was closed due to construction. According to the La Porte County Sheriff's Office, lights and crossing arms were working properly and barricades were in place. Deputies say it appears the victim had driven off the roadway and around a set of barricades that had been across State Road 39. Police say the train crew sounded the horn on the train but the van appeared to be stuck on the rails.
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AG Appeals Unconstitutional Right-to-Work Verdict

Indiana OAG Official Seal
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office today appealed a Lake County Superior Court order that found the state's right-to-work law unconstitutional. The September 5th ruling in Sweeney versus Zoeller involved a legal challenge filed by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 to House Enrolled Act 1001 of 2012. The Lake County ruling said the law violated part of the state constitution that forbids services “without just compensation”. The law remains in effect while the ruling is under appeal.
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NWIBRT Raises $1,500 for the Food Bank of NWI

NWIBRT foodbank check 2013
(Photo Courtesy of Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable)
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 – CROWN POINT, IN –The Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable (NWIBRT) is honored to have raised $1500 for the Food Bank of NWI by way of their annual NWIBRT Golf Outing. This year’s event was held at White Hawk Country Club in Crown Point, IN where NWI’s top professionals and businesses united for a day of networking on the golf course.
Being the largest golf outing in the region with well over 300 in attendance, NWIBRT takes this great opportunity to give back to its community. Each year they donate proceeds and focus awareness on one of the areas non-profit organizations. This year’s organization is the Food Bank of NWI.
“NWIBRT appreciates any chance we get to give back to our community,” said NWIBRT’s Interim Executive Director Andrea Pearman. “It’s very important to us to lead by example. What better way than giving back?” she added. Along with this kind donation, a truck full of food was donated to the Food Bank of NWI in the name of NWIBRT member Manta Industries.
Information for the 2014 outing is still to be announced, but more information can be found at nwibrt.org/golf-outing and donation information for the Food Bank of NWI can be found at foodbanknwi.org
ABOUT NWIBRT
The Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable (NWIBRT) is an independent, non-profit council of local firms committed to the improvement of construction and maintenance projects in Northwest Indiana. Its purpose is to promote safety, quality and cost-effectiveness by all parties associated with the local area construction and maintenance industry.
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Highland Man Charged with Felony Burglary of Pharmacy

Highland Police
A Highland man has been charged with felony burglary after being arrested Wednesday night at a pharmacy in the 29-hundred block of Highway Avenue. Highland Police report a call from a concerned citizen was received by disptach at approximately 10:30pm, who stated they observed a suspicious vehicle parked near a side window, heard glass breaking, and then saw someone crawl through the window. Officers set up a perimeter and ultimately apprehended 32 year old Edward Hylek, who was taken into custody.
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Coats Continues Fight to Delay Obamacare Mandates

coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today urged passage of his legislation to delay the individual and employer mandates included in Obamacare until 2015.Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered Coats’ legislation as an amendment to the Energy Efficiency Bill, currently under consideration in the Senate.
“I am pleased to have the support of Leader McConnell and will work with him to attach this language as an amendment to any legislation coming before the Senate,” added Coats. “This bill passed the House of Representatives with the support of both Republicans and several Democrats. If Democrats, Republicans and a majority of Americans agree this law is not working, then let’s do something now before Obamacare’s full impact on our economy takes effect.”
The Obama administration announced this summer that it will delay penalties for employers who do not provide health insurance coverage to workers, but penalties on individuals not purchasing insurance would still apply.
“Hoosier families and individuals deserve the same relief from Obamacare that the administration has given businesses,” said Coats. “I believe the best way to prevent this approaching train wreck from hitting Americans is to delay the Obamacare mandates so we can work to replace the health care law with a plan that actually reduces costs and puts patients in the driver seat of their health care decisions. I urge the Senate to allow a vote on this legislation so we can remove the burden of Obamacare from the backs of all Americans.”
In July, the House of Representatives passed legislation offered by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) that officially delays these two mandates. Coats’ legislation mirrors the House-passed bill.
The Coats legislation is supported by the Senate Republican leadership team and co-sponsored by 33 senators: Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jeff Chiesa (R-N.J.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Click &feature=youtu.be">here  to watch Coats discuss his legislation on the Senate floor.
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9 Year Old Boy Reports Being Threatened with a Gun

porter co sheriff dept
A 9 year old boy was allegedly chased down, pushed off his bicycle, dragged across the ground and had a gun pointed at his face this afternoon at 6 Canterbury Circle. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports officers were dispatched to the scene just before 1:30pm, who searched the area for the suspect, which produced negative results. Authorities report there were no signs or evidence of a “scuffle” in the area of where the alleged incident took place and no one in the park witnessed the incident. The boy informed officers he did not know the suspect, who is described as a white male, 5'9”, weighing 170 to 180 pounds, approximately 15 to 16 years old, with dark hair, sideburnswearing a brown shirt and light blue shorts. The Sheriff's Office reports the boy never deviated from his original version of what had occurred, and while there were no marks or reddness consistent with being dragged on him, or grass stains on his clothing, the frames of his glasses were bent, and there was a large tree in the yard where the boy alleges he was dragged to, where the suspect reportedly pointed the gun at him, and stated, “stay there or else you'll be dead.” Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Porter County Sheriff's Office.
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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and State health officials want Hoosier parents to be aware of the risks and symptoms. Although childhood cancers are rare, representing less than one percent of all new cancer diagnoses, cancer is the second leading cause of death among children.
“Cancer is a dreaded diagnosis and is especially difficult when it strikes a child,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess. “Parents should be aware that early symptoms for cancer in children are usually nonspecific. It is important that children have regular medical checkups and that parents address any unusual symptoms that persist.”
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be nearly 12,000 new cancer diagnoses among children (0-14 years) this year in the United States. Fortunately, with recent advances in cancer treatment, long-term survival rates for children continue to improve. Childhood cancers can be treated by a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, chosen based on the type and stage of cancer.
Children should have annual well-child exams during which their health care provider will ask about any unusual symptoms. Parents should discuss any of the following symptoms with a health care provider:
  • Unusual mass or swelling
  • Prolonged, unexplained fever or illness
  • Unexplained paleness or loss of energy
  • Frequent headaches, especially if accompanied by vomiting
  • Sudden tendency to bruise
  • Sudden eye or vision changes
  • Persistent, localized pain
  • Excessive, rapid weight loss

To learn more about childhood cancer in Indiana, visit the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana, by visiting www.indianacancer.org.

Organizations interested in impacting the burden of cancer in Indiana should participate in the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC).  The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that address cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. Participation in the ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues. To become a member of the ICC and find additional information about cancer prevention and control in Indiana, visit the ICC’s website at www.indianacancer.org.
For more information, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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Cause of Death Released for Woman Who Drove into Lake

Preliminary autopsy results of the 83 year old Valparaiso woman who died at an area hospital after being pulled from her vehicle after it went into Lake George Wednesday indicated she died from complications of a pre-existing medical condition. The Lake County Coroners Office reported Shirley Gronlund was pronounced dead about four hours after her vehicle entered the lake, near Front Street, behind the Hobart branch of the Lake County Public Library.
Hobart Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Jeremy Ogden says officers were dispatched to the scene around 3pm and a witness informed them the woman was driving on Cleveland Avenue when she reportedly struck something, along her way towards the downtown area of Hobart. Once in the downtown area, the woman continued down Center Street and ultimately drove into the boardwalk area, through a guardrail and into the lake where her vehicle slowly submerged.
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Pence Meets with More Automotive Industry Leaders

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
(Photo Courtesy of the Governor's Office)
NAGOYA, Japan – Governor Mike Pence spent the day in Tokyo and Nagoya meeting with the leaders of several major Japanese automakers that currently employ thousands of Hoosiers to thank them for choosing to do business in Indiana and discuss possible plans for expansion.
“Indiana’s skilled workforce is the best-in-the-nation option for automotive companies looking for advanced manufacturing expertise,” said Pence. “Jobs are job one, and this is just another step that’s driving us toward increased employment. After multiple meetings today with automotive executives, we discussed what the companies are seeking for their next expansion and what Indiana can provide them as a state that works for business.”
The governor joined Mr. Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president and chief executive officer of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., the parent company of Subaru, for a meeting at the company’s global headquarters in Tokyo where the group discussed the success of the Lafayette production facility. Yesterday, the governor met with Subaru leadership and toured its facilities in Ota City.
The governor also met with Honda Motor Co., Ltd., president and chief executive officer Mr. Takanobu Ito, to discuss Honda’s Greensburg operations. Pence presented Mr. Ito with a scale model of the 2013 Dallara IndyCar with A State That Works detailing. Honda Racing provides engines and is a major sponsor of the Indianapolis-based IndyCar Racing League.
During the afternoon, the governor traveled southwest of Tokyo by train to Nagoya where he met separately with executives from three Japanese companies. Pence first visited with executives from Toyota Tsusho Corp., which has Indiana locations in Columbus, Lafayette and Princeton. He then met with leaders of Sugiura Seisakusho Co., Ltd., the parent company of Columbus-based Sunright America, and another company currently considering operations in Indiana.
In July, Pence joined executives from Sunright America to break ground on the company’s most recent expansion in Columbus. The company recently announced plans to invest $34.7 million to construct and equip two additional facilities on its Columbus campus, creating up to 103 new jobs by 2016. Sunright is a tier one supplier to Toyota, with most of all nuts on Toyota cars in America manufactured – 5 million pieces per day – at the Columbus facility.
Japan-based companies are large contributors to the Indiana economy- more than 44,000 Hoosiers are employed by the more than 200 Japanese companies in the state with investments totaling more than $10 billion. Indiana is the only U.S. state that is home to three Japanese original equipment manufacturer (OEM) automotive companies (Subaru, Honda and Toyota).
The governor will conclude the jobs mission tomorrow, meeting with executives at Toyota Motor Corp. in Toyota City and Toyota suppliers before flying back to Indiana on Saturday.
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State Senate Dems Roll Out Universal Pre-K Proposal

Lanane
INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) laid out a plan to enroll students around the state in early childhood education programs. In announcing the initiative, Sen. Lanane cited a number of far-reaching benefits as reason for fast-tracking a comprehensive, statewide early education program.
“The payoff is clear,” said Sen. Lanane. “High-quality pre-k programs produce students who are more likely to graduate from high school, earn a higher income, own a home and less likely to require remediation or commit crimes. With this initiative, we can put all Hoosier children on the path toward success.”
Sen. Lanane described the program as a vital element for facilitating sustainable, long-term economic development and promoting the development of key workforce skills from an early age. The proposed legislation would allow local school corporations to develop their own programs in conjunction with the Department of Education and would rely on a framework developed by the General Assembly utilizing additional funding. That framework would be in addition to resources already appropriated to fund K-12 education and Sen. Lanane noted he was open to debate on how the state could most efficiently fund the program. The proposal would also lower the mandatory school age to 5 and allow schools to create partnerships with early education providers that meet criteria set forth by the Department of Education.
“It’s time to be proactive; 40 other states have recognized the value of high-quality early learning opportunities,” said Sen. Lanane. “By partnering with the Department of Education and incorporating community input, I believe we can rapidly put in place high-quality pre-k programs that meet unique community needs and maximize the return on investment.” 
A number of academic studies have confirmed the economic and educational benefits of robust early education programs. For example, researchers examining the economic impact of a long-term, high-quality education program concluded that for every public dollar invested, the examined program generated nearly $13 in benefits. These benefits are the result of reduced expenditures on remediation and grade retention, reduced reliance on social services and reduced costs associated with crime and incarceration.
“You’re talking about a tried and true method for improving outcomes for students across the state,” Sen. Lanane noted. “Indiana is in a position to make a fiscally-prudent investment today that will continue to reap dividends for years to come.”
Sen. Lanane and members of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus will offer legislation creating the state’s early education program during the 2014 legislative session.
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .
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Man Killed in Car/Trash Crash

The La Porte County Sheriff's Office says a car/train crash at a closed crossing in the Union Mills area overnight claimed the life of a La Porte man. Just before 2 am, deputies responded to the Canadian National Railroad crossing on State Road 39 south of US 6. Police say a Dodge Caravan had been struck by a westbound train, and the driver, who was the lone occupant, was found dead inside the van. La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan says 40-year-old Brian Massengill was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police say the crossing had been closed due to construction at the State Road 39 crossing. According to the La Porte County Sheriff's Office, lights and crossing arms were working properly and barricades were in place. Deputies say it appears the driver of the van had driven off the roadway and around a set of barricades that had been across State Road 39. Police say the train crew sounded the horn on the train but the van appeared to be stuck on the rails.
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New Concern Over Proposed Shelter Site

There's a new wrinkle in a proposal to build a new animal shelter on park foundation land at Sunset Hill Farm County Park near Valparaiso. Opponents say the land would have to be taken out of a federal conservation program, which could mean the loss of some funds, and the old county home across from the current shelter has been suggested as an alternative. The Porter County Parks Foundation board is scheduled to discuss the issue September 19 at the county administration building in downtown Valparaiso.
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Fatal Car/Train Crash Near Union Mills

The La Porte County Sheriff's Office says a car/train crash in the Union Mills area overnight claimed the life of a La Porte man. Just before 2 am, deputies responded to the Canadian National Railroad crossing on State Road 39 south of US 6. Police say a Dodge Caravan had been struck by a westbound train, and the driver, who was the lone occupant, was found dead inside the van. Police say the crossing had been closed due to construction at the State Road 39 crossing. According to the La Porte County Sheriff's Office, lights and crossing arms were working properly and barricades were in place. Deputies say it appears the driver of the van had driven off the roadway and around a set of barricades that had been across State Road 39 prior to becoming stuck on the tracks. The man's name has not yet been released, pending notification of next of kin. The crash remains under investigation by the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and the Canadian National Railroad Police.
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