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Valpo's Economic Development Director Moves On

Matt Muprhy, the current Economic Development Director for the City of Valparaiso

Matt Murphy will leave his position as Economic Development Director for the City of Valparaiso effective July 31st, according to an announcement made Monday afternoon by Mayor Jon Costas who said that Murphy will continue to contribute to the economic development of the city, but as a business owner.

The Mayor told Region News that Murphy made a big impact for the growth of the city, "Matt has served the city so well in helping us grow and build our business infrastructure."  The mayor added that Murphy, "came out of the private sector and now this is a wonderful opportunity (for Murphy) to grow a local business that he purchased from his father-in-law."  Beginning in August Murphy will lead Jifco Products Inc., a family-owned CNC precision Machine Shop located on Brown Street in Valparaiso.

While Mayor Costas expressed the city's appreciation for Murphy's contributions as the City's director of development, who joined the city in 2007, he said the city is grateful that Murphy "will remain in our city, leading a positive employer and continuing to serve on our Board of Works and Safety" in a volunteer capacity, said Costas.

According to a press release from the mayor's office, Murphy has been instrumental in assisting companies to expand and remain in Valparaiso, including the expansion of North Coast Distributing, UGN Inc. and Task Force Tips, as well as bringing in new companies, such as Paul Wirth, Inc. and AM Stabilizers.

As far as filling the position the mayor said, "it's a very important position, very close advisor to me in many ways so we're going to simply take our time and consider all sectors.  We're going to make sure we that we're able to find somebody that cna take the batton and take the city to new heights."


(photo from  and )



Berry Unanimously Elected Indiana GOP State Chair

Tim Berry Named Rep part chair
(Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Republican Party)
INDIANAPOLIS (July 22, 2013) - Today, during a meeting of The Indiana Republican Party State Committee, Tim Berry of Fort Wayne was elected unanimously as state chairman.  In addition, the committee unanimously elected Marsha Coats to serve as national committeewoman.
Governor Mike Pence, who spoke prior to the vote, said, "Tim Berry will be an outstanding Republican State Chairman and Marsha Coats will represent our State with distinction on the Republican National Committee."
Berry added, "I am excited about the opportunities before us to broaden our base of support around the State of Indiana.  In the past several years we have had great success but now it is incumbent upon us to not become complacent.  We must strive each and every day to continue building upon our great foundation for the betterment of every Hoosier."
Berry immediately appointed Misty Dees Hollis of Richmond as interim vice chair and Kyle Robertson of Indianapolis as executive director.  Pursuant to state party rules, following the resignation of Vice Chair Sandi Huddleston, which took place after the votes, there must be a ten day waiting period until a vote to replace her is called. 
"I look forward to hitting the ground running alongside Misty, Marsha and Kyle," added Berry.
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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Douglas Williams

douglas williams
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals, Great Lakes Task Force)
A 28 year old man wanted for attempted murder and attempted burglary resulting in serious bodily injury in Lake County Court is this week's U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force, Fugitive of the Week. Douglas Williams is described as a black male, 6'01”, weighing 190-pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and is last known to reside in the 21-hundred block of Shelburne Street, in Indianapolis.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Douglas Williams may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous.
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Valpo Police to Introduce Coffee with a Cop on July 26th

Valpo PD
The Valparaiso Police Department is introducing a new national community program called Coffee with a Cop.
It's a simple concept. Police and community members come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee. Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department's work in Valparaiso neighborhoods. In over 100 cities and towns in 24 states, Coffee with a Cop has done wonders for community trust, police legitimacy and partnership building.
Valparaiso Police will host their first Coffee with a Cop on Friday July 26th at two locations in the city. The first event is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Viking Chili Bowl on US 30 and the second event is schedule from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m at Suzies' Café, located on Southpoint Dr. 
Valparaiso Police Officers, including Chief Michael Brickner will be at both events on Friday morning. Community members are encouraged to attend one of the two events.
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INDOT: Expect Overnight Lane Restrictions on EB I-80/94

Indot Logo color
LAKE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces lane restrictions for eastbound I-80/94 traffic during overnight and morning hours for the next two weeks, between the Illinois/Indiana state line and the SR 912 (Cline Avenue) exit. Crews will be repaving sections of the roadway. Lane restrictions will be in place no earlier than 7 p.m. each night and will be lifted no later than 11 a.m. each morning.
Drivers are reminded to be alert when travelling through these work zones, for the safety of the highway workers and the drivers themselves.
For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Blackhawks to Open Training Camp in S Bend

The Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks will open training camp in a couple months at Notre Dame.  Here's the info released this morning:
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that the team will open their 2013-14 training camp in Notre Dame, Ind., at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, Sept. 12. All Blackhawks practices will be held at Compton Family Ice Arena from Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 15, before returning to the United Center on Monday, Sept. 16, for the team’s annual Training Camp Festival.
“We are thankful that Notre Dame is allowing us to host our camp at their new state-of-the-art, world-class facility,” said Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman. “Opening camp on the road offers our players and coaching staff a unique team bonding atmosphere. We look forward to bringing Blackhawks hockey to our fans in Northwest Indiana.”
“Notre Dame is honored to be able to host the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at the Compton Family Ice Arena,” said University Vice President/Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick. “It is great to have the best team in hockey spend time at what we believe is one of the best hockey facilities in the country.”
A complete training camp schedule, including practice times, will be released at a later date.

Region Home Sales Up in June

Newly-released data from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors show combined single-family home sales across the Region last month were up 25-point-seven percent compared to last June, marking 24 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. Across the five counties covered by GNIAR  … Lake, Porter, La Porte, Newton and Jasper Counties... the overall median selling price of homes in June was up four-point-four percent compared to June 2012, at 139-thousand-450-dollars....

Unseasonably High Waves Could Batter Shoreline

Unseasonably large and battering waves are expected Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service says strong northerly winds behind a strong summer cold front are expected over Lake Michigan and near the lakeshore here in northwest Indiana and Chicago. Forecasters say this will result in unusually large waves for summertime, ten feet or higher, and could inundate vulnerable locations along the shore, including a few spots along the Chicago lakefront bike path. Meteorologists also say the large waves will make venturing into the lake very dangerous, even for experienced swimmers.


Silver Alert Canceled, Teen's SUV Found

A statewide Silver Alert issued Friday for a missing teenager from Fishers, Indiana, was canceled Sunday after investigators found the girl's SUV submerged in about eight feet of water at Geist Reservoir in Fishers, which is just northeast of Indianapolis. Reports say a body was inside the vehicle, but positive identification had not yet been made.

Police Add Motorcycle Patrol

Portage Police have added a motorcycle to traffic patrol. Chief Troy Williams says the leased 2013 Harley Davidson will also be used in seat belt and aggressive driving enforcements. The motorcycle has radar and will also have technology that's in squad cars letting officers write electronic citations. Sgts John Ryan and Keith Hughes were named the first two members of the new unit.

Vigil Held in Crown Point for Dogs

A vigil was held in downtown Crown Point last night after two Siberian Huskies were fatally shot by Crown Point Police last week. Chief Pete Land says his officers did all they could to prevent the shooting after getting a call from a woman who said the dogs, described as “wolves”, dragged her cat to a nearby creek and were cornering her husband who was trying to get the cat. The Times today reports a local rescue group wants legislation to mandate police receive training on how to handle wild and companion animals, and that the family is awaiting the release of the police report. Published reports say police initially thought the dogs were coyotes.

New Policy for Governor's Social Media

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has a new policy regarding social media, and among other things it prohibits profanity, obscenity, nude images and other objectionable content, and violators may be banned from accessing the governor's Facebook, Twitter or YouTube accounts. The policy also directs visitors of the sites to refrain from discussing political views and philosophies, saying these online channels are meant to share information about the governor's programs and activities. The governor recently apologized after comments about gay marriage were deleted from his Facebook page a few weeks ago.

Portage Schools Discuss Facebook Policy

In Portage, school officials are discussing whether or not teachers should be allowed to "friend" students on Facebook. The topic came up after a member of the Portage Township School Board recently proposed changing school policy to allow teachers to set up classroom Facebook pages, which differs from a personal page in that readers would "like" the page instead of sending in "friend" requests. The Times reports the discussion prompted the superintendent to say the district should take a "strong position" against teachers friending students on their personal Facebook pages.

Pilot Killed in NW Ind Plane Crash

The FAA and NTSB are trying to determine what caused an ultra-light aircraft to crash in a La Porte County cornfield Sunday morning, killing the pilot. Police say 36-year-old Benjamin Hubbard of South Bend was found dead in the wreckage of his airplane, which was about a half-mile east of county road 600 east, south of Division Road. Deputies say the pilot who found the wreckage reported he and Hubbard both left the Niles, Michigan airport in separate aircraft at approximately 6:30 (CST) Sunday morning on their way to Plymouth. When his friend failed to arrive he left Plymouth and retraced his route. He remained in the air, circling the crash site until emergency responders arrived.
More information from La Porte County Sheriffs Police:
On Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7:03 am (CST), the La Porte County Regional Dispatch Center received a single 911 call from a resident who lived in the area of Division Road and County Road 600 East in reference to a possible plane crash. Deputies responded and the complainant reported that he believed a crop duster airplane had crashed. Deputies observed a crop duster in the area, still flying and because no wreckage or evidence of a plane crash could be found, they cleared the area.
At 1155 am (CST), the Dispatch Center received another 911 call from a pilot of an aircraft who reported that he had just located the wreckage of an ultra-light airplane in a field east of County Road 600 East, south of Division Road. Deputies arrived in the area and the pilot who had reported the discovery circled over the wreckage until it was located. Sheriff’s Deputies located the wreckage in a field located approximately 2,100 feet east of County Road 600 East, south of Division Road. The crashed plane was located 235 feet south of the roadway in a corn field that contained corn that was approximately six to ten feet in height. The wreckage could not been seen from the road.

The pilot, who was the lone occupant of the single engine plane was found deceased. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was immediately contacted and they made contact with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The FAA currently has an investigator on scene and are awaiting NTSB investigators. The investigation has since been turned over to the FAA and NTSB.
Deputies have learned that the pilot who made the discovery had reported that he and the deceased had departed the Niles, Michigan airport at approximately 6:30 (CST) this morning, in route to Plymouth, Indiana where the two were going to meet. Both left in separate aircraft, he in a Cessna and his friend in his ultra-light. That pilot arrived in Plymouth and when his friend failed to arrive he departed Plymouth and retraced his route and discovered the wreckage of the ultra-light and called 911 via his cellular telephone. He remained in the air, circling the crash site until emergency responders arrived on scene.

59 Year Old Journalist Dies After NW IN Mudathlon

A local journalist passed away Saturday after completing the Northwest Indiana Mudathlon. Longtime journalist Rick Richards was pronounced dead after the three-mile obstacle course that took place at Gambler Family Farms, in the 200 block of South County Road. The Corner's Office reports, due to Richards history of heart issues, no autopsy will be conducted. Richards career included time at Lakeshore Public Television, the Michigan City News-Dispatch, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, and the Post Tribune.
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Duneland Sierra Club Urges No Build Option for Illiana

The Duneland Group of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club has opposed the building of the proposed Illiana Corridor Toll Road, from I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana, and is urging NIRPC board members to vote for the no-build option. The group states that while the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan does have some good aspects, it also fails in many others. The group notes that building the Illiana would add more flooding and pollution into the Kankakee watershed, could foster Illinois' Peotone airport and casino development which conflicts with the regional priority of expanding the Gary/Chicago International Airport, associated new sprawl development would draw investment, residents, business, and jobs away from already developed urban areas creating more blight, and would foster more fossil fuel intensive transportation and land use which adds to global climate change.
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Fire Destroys Two-Story Outbuilding at Meyer's Castle

Dyer fire
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
In Dyer, a fire destroyed a two-story outbuilding at the historical Meyer's Castle. The Times reports firefighters were called out sometime around 6:15 Friday evening and no injuries were reported. According to the article, the castle itself was not damaged and US 30, between Indianapolis Boulevard and Calumet Avenue, was closed while crews worked to extinguish the flames. No further information is available at this time.
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Lake County Sheriff Dedicates New Boat

new boat
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Department)
On 7-19-13 Lake County Sheriff John Buncich dedicated a new vessel for use by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit. The vessel is described as a 2013 Silver Ships AM 800 Rigid-hull inflatable boat with a three sided pilot house. It is equipped with the latest marine electronics and side scan sonar. It is 28 feet long with a beam of 9.4 feet.
The vessel was obtained through a FEMA 2009 Port Security Grant. The Sheriff’s department provided a trade in of a 1995 Silver Ships 28 foot aluminum patrol boat valued at $20,920.00. The vessel that was traded was obsolete and outdate in its equipment and ability to effectively respond. The Port Security grant dollars provided were $219,149.00, bringing the total cost for the vessel at $240,068.00. Officers assigned to the Marine Unit will attend training in the use of the electronic sonar provided by the manufacturer.
Sheriff Buncich stated, “We are afforded an opportunity to respond to critical incidents on the water with this boat in an effort to save lives and provide effective response particularly with the use of state of the art equipment this boat has. It is especially important during this summer season. The boat was used to assist in response to a drowning victim just yesterday at Wahala Beach. We hope to continue to provide a safer boating and swimming environment through marine patrols and rescues. This boat will help us in that effort.”
“During these difficult economic times, we are thankful to the grant dollars that allowed us to make this purchase without the use of any additional county funding,” Sheriff Buncich added.
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US 24 Closure in Newton County Starts Monday

Indot Logo color
GOODLAND, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the closure of U.S. 24, a half mile east of SR 55, in Goodland beginning Monday, July 22nd through August 15th. Crews will be replacing a culvert.
Drivers wishing to travel east on U.S. 24 will be detour north on SR 55, east on SR 16, south on U.S. 231, and back to U.S. 24. Drivers wishing to travel west on U.S. 24 will be detoured north on U.S. 231, west on SR 16, south on SR 55, and back to U.S. 24.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Benefit Ride for Anna Orlando on July 21st

A benefit ride for Anna Orlando will be held on July 21 at Leroy’s Hot Stuff, 333 West US Hwy 20 in Porter. The event begins with a breakfast buffet at 10 a.m. for $6/person. The ride begins with the first bike out at 11 a.m. and the last bike in at 4 p.m. Cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple and includes lunch. Though you must be 21 to attend, you don’t need to have a bike to enjoy the day. Entertainment will be offered all day, compliments of Tommy Thompson Band, Train Wreck, Ron Buffington, and Christina Mayes. The event will take place rain or shine and will also include a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.
This benefit will raise funds to help fund cancer treatment for Anna (Sandy) Orlando who is bravely battling advanced cervical cancer. For updates on the event and Orlando’s journey, visit and search “Anna’s Healing Hearts,” where you may also give directly to the fund. The event is graciously organized by Joanne Spicketts-Cooper and Mary Chavez on behalf of the Anna and Philip Orlando family.
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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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