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US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Richard D. McClure

MCCLURE
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 45 year old man wanted by the Porter County Sheriff's Department for probation violation and dealing in a narcotic drug is the U-S Marshals Service, Great Lakes Task Force, “Fugitive of the Week”. Richard D. McClure is described as a white male, six-feet tall, weighing 210 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes, with a tattoo of a devil on his left arm and a panther on his right arm. Richard McClure was last known to reside in the 42-hundred block of West 41st Avenue, in Gary, and in the 100 block of North 750 West, in Valparaiso. Anyone with information on Richard McClure's whereabouts 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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Munster, Muncie Banks to Merge

firstmerchants
A bank merger making news in the Region today. First Merchants Corporation out of Muncie and Munster-based CFS Bancorp have announced plans to merge Citizens Financial Bank into First Merchants Bank. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. The combined company, doing business as First Merchants Bank expects to complete the integration during the first quarter of 2014, with nearly 100 banking offices in twenty-six Indiana counties, and two counties in Illinois and Ohio.
First Merchants and CFS will have combined assets of $5.4 billion and create the second largest financial holding company headquartered in Indiana. The combined company will have nearly 100 banking offices in twenty-six Indiana counties, as well as two counties in both Ohio and Illinois.
Michael C. Rechin, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Merchants, said, “Like First Merchants, Citizens has a long history of deep-rooted commitment to community banking and we are excited that it will become the newest member of the First Merchants family. We believe that our strategy to be a service-driven alternative to our super-regional bank competitors will support the acceleration of the Citizens’ current initiatives while furthering our goal of becoming a more efficient higher performing company. The Citizens franchise is a logical geographic extension for us given the 20-mile proximity of our nearest branch locations. Citizens’ markets in Northwest Indiana, and specifically Valparaiso, Merrillville, Schererville, Crown Point and Munster, are very similar to Lafayette, Plainfield and Greenwood Indiana markets. We believe our partnership will provide our business and consumer customers with broader services, greater access and expanded product offerings, while maintaining our legacy of local community banking.
Details at:
https://www.firstmerchants.com/latest_news/citizens
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Valpo 5-Points Roundabout Update

valporoundaboutfivepoints
The city of Valparaiso says the contractor’s tentative schedule is to begin construction of the five-points roundabout on May 13th, which will require the closure of Roosevelt Road. Traffic on Roosevelt will be detoured.  For details, visit the city's website at this link:
http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1243
The roundabout is scheduled to be complete by the fall. The work will take place in phases, so the entire intersection won't be shut down. To hear Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas discuss the roundabout project, visit Region Newsmakers here at our website.  You can also  hear our interview with Valparaiso City Engineer Tim Burkman on the five-points roundabout at News Audio on Demand here at our website.
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School Closed Due to Water Main Break

Breaking News
David Harmon of Portage Schools has announced that Paul Saylor Elementary will be closed today due to water main break.  No other details are available at this hour.
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No Suspects in Quadruple Homicide

Investigators say right now they have no suspects in a quadruple homicide in a rural Indiana home in Waynesville, about fifty miles south of Indianapolis, over the weekend. In a news conference yesterday (Sunday), Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett said officials received a 9-1-1 call Saturday night, the caller saying he lived at the residence with his mother and stepfather. "Dispatchers had the caller leave the residence until officers arrived at the scene," Gorbett said.  Authorities discovered the bodies of three men in the living room of the house as well as the homeowner in the bedroom all with gunshot wounds.
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New Park Planned for Munster

A new park is being planned for Munster, in an area where some older homes stand now. The town is acquiring some duplexes and a few single-family homes along Manor Avenue, between Ridge Road and Broadmoor, with the intent of putting in some green space in the northwest part of town, a park that'll include a community garden and playground.
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LOFS Clubhouse Damaged

The clubhouse at Lakes of the Four Seasons was damaged Sunday. According to the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Force, a resident accidentally put his car into reverse, and the vehicle crashed into the building. There were no reports of injuries. Crown Point's Fire Department was at the scene to help get the vehicle out of the structure.
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Officer Injured in Crash

A Merrillville police officer was treated and released for injured sustained in a motor-vehicle accident as he was responding to a call Saturday night, authorities say. A spokesperson for the Lake County Sheriffs Department says the officer was heading south on Taft Street with emergency lights on when he swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle that pulled out from 65th Avenue, and the police car jumped the curb, hit a tree and flipped.
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Two Hurt in La Porte Co Crash

A single-vehicle crash on I-94 in La Porte County Sunday afternoon sent two women to the hospital with injuries. Indiana State Police say a preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 2 pm a westbound car one mile west of the LaPorte exit was in the middle lane when an SUV made an abrupt lane change from the right lane to the middle lane causing the first driver to swerve and lose control, striking the concrete wall twice before going across all lanes of traffic. Troopers say two women, age 57 and 61 from Lake County, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and police say having their seatbelts on, along with the airbags deploying, greatly reduced the severity of injuries. Police say the SUV continued west bound without stopping.
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Bullet Strikes Vehicle on I-65

Indiana State Police say just before seven-thirty Sunday night, a pickup truck about thirteen miles north of Lafayette was struck by a bullet on I-65. A preliminary investigation revealed the four-door vehicle with three occupants was northbound when the bullet entered the front right passenger door window, traveled through the cab area, and exited out the rear window on the driver's side. No one in the truck was injured. State Police are trying to determine whether anyone might have been target shooting in the area, and the investigation is continuing.
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Homicide in Hammond

Hammond Police are investigating a fatal shooting. The Lake County Coroners office says 21-year-old Jeffrey Morgan of Hammond suffered gunshot wounds and died at the scene, in the 600 block of Sibley, just before 1:30 am Sunday. Authorities say the shooting occurred inside a house where a party was being held with about fifty people present.
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Proposed Budget Increase for PNC

A public hearing and vote are scheduled later this month on a proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 that reduces spending at the Purdue Calumet campus in Hammond by more than two-percent, and provides increases for Purdue North Central in Westville. The nine-point-four increase for PNC includes debt-service funds for a student services-activities complex. The spending plan for the West Lafayette campus would decrease by just over two-percent. Purdue President Mitch Daniels says the budget proposal was designed to “keep Purdue affordable for students and families, ensure the continued high quality of a Purdue education and use internal savings to cover the frozen tuition at West Lafayette and balance the budgets at the regional campuses.” The proposal moves to the Board of Trustees' Executive Committee, which will take a final vote on the plan following a public hearing on proposed tuition and fees Wednesday, May 22.
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Visclosky Named 'Champion of Science'

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Region Congressman Pete Visclosky is one of 28 members of Congress to be named a “Champion of Science” by the Science Coalition, a non-profit group of fifty US research universities that advocate for federal investment in scientific research.
“Americans have long recognized the vital role that scientific research and innovation play in fostering economic growth and job creation,” Congressman Visclosky said. “We must not forget that local investments in science and technology development like Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation have the potential to create not only new jobs, but new businesses and new industries that benefit all of us. We need to invest in our future to strengthen our manufacturing base and build upon it.”
The First Congressional District is also home to the Center on Logistics, Distribution, and Transportation at Ivy Tech, the Purdue Technology Center, and several key regional institutions of higher learning, including Purdue University North Central, Purdue University Calumet, Valparaiso University, and Indiana University Northwest. 
Visclosky is also a 2011 recipient of the Gerald I. Lamkin Fellow Award for Outstanding Achievement for Innovation & Service, the top individual award of The Society of Innovators. 
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Letter Carriers 'Stamp Out Hunger'

stampout
Letter carriers around the Region and the country are encouraging their postal customers to help them 'stamp out hunger' as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive today (Sat May 11, 2013), the largest one-day food drive in the world. Over the past twenty years, the effort has resulted in the delivery of more than one-point-three billion pounds of donations to community food banks and pantries.  Included in that amount is 170-thousand pounds shared by the Portage Township and Nativity of Our Savior Parish food pantries in the Portage area.   Those wishing to participate are asked to leave non-perishable food items attached to or beneath their mailboxes today.  Please do not include items that are expired or are in glass containers.
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Off-Road Vehicles a Concern in Merrillville

The town of Merrillville is considering its options concerning off-road vehicles. Town Council President Carol Miano says they've gotten multiple complaints about people riding dirt bikes near railroad tracks on Taft Street. Safety and noise issues have been raised. Miano has proposed an ordinance prohibiting the use of off-road vehicles on public properties as well as residential and agricultural areas of town.
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Funeral Monday for Former Mayor Billings

Visitation is Sunday with funeral services Monday for Armed Forces veteran, former judge, and former Mayor of Valparaiso, Bryce Billings. Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas says he admired the former mayor for making a lot of tough decisions to grow the borders of Valparaiso in a uniform fashion. Billings was among those instrumental in developing cable television service in Valparaiso, when the industry locally was in its infancy, along with Radio One Communications founder Leonard Ellis. Billings was appointed to the bench of the Superior Court where he served from 1976 until his retirement in 1988. he was also instrumental in founding the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County in 1971.  Moeller Funeral Home says visitation for Bryce Billings will take place Sunday, from 1 to 4pm, at the funeral home, with a funeral service scheduled for Monday morning, at 10:30, at Heritage Lutheran Church in Valparaiso. Billings served as Mayor of Valparaiso from 1968 through 1972.  Billings passed away last Monday, May 6, at Porter Regional Hospital at the age of 88.
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Lake Tax Takes Effect in Fall

No veto from the Lake County Commissioners, so Lake County becomes the 92nd out of 92 counties in Indiana to have a local income tax, and it takes effect this October. Commissioner Gerry Scheub made multiple motions to veto ordinances for the tax, but each motion failed to get a second from either of the other two commissioners, Michael Repay and Roosevelt Allen, Jr..  There had been widely publicized speculation, based on earlier published comments by Repay that he could not support the tax, that the income tax would be vetoed by commissioners during the board's special meeting early Friday. Early in the week, the Lake County Council voted four-to-three to approve a one-and-a-half percent local income tax for county residents and out-of-staters who work in Lake County.
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Officials: Cr Pt Man Sought in Home Invasion Dead

Authorities say a Crown Point man who was being sought in connection with an Illinois home invasion apparently fatally shot himself inside an East Chicago home Friday night.  Police say they had been searching for 27-year-old Anthony Espinoza in connection with a violent home invasion in Orland Park, Illinois, earlier in the day. The Lake County Coroners office reports his death was the result of an apparent suicide in the 400 block of Liberty Street in East Chicago and that he was pronounced dead at the scene. The FBI, Lake County Sheriffs Department and Crime Lab, and Orland Park Police Department are also investigating.
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Two Horses Hit by Train Found in Rural Union Twp

Authorities say they do not know when two horses discovered Friday morning in Porter County's Union Township were killed, but they do know they died after being struck by a train. The Times reports the horses were hit by a train in the area of County Road 375 West and 400 North and Porter County Animal Control is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Porter County Sheriff's Office.
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Airport Road Overpass Named for Quentin P. Smith

KFW with QP Jr and Bill Hanna
(Photo Courtesy of the Gary/Chicago International Aiport Authority)
GARY, IN, May 10, 2013– Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined the board of directors of The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority and other city and regional dignitaries today to dedicate the new $11.6 million Airport Road overpass in honor of World War II Tuskegee Airman Quentin P. Smith, long-time Gary leader, educator and recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal.
The new Quentin P. Smith Tuskegee Airman Memorial Bridge marks a significant milestone in the airport’s $166 million expansion project scheduled to be completed this year and is emblematic of the commitment of city and regional leaders to develop the airport – Chicago’s real third airport – and the surrounding area for good-paying jobs and sustainable growth.
“In war and in peace, Quentin P. Smith was a hero; he bravely defended our nation, stood up against segregation, and throughout his stellar career he unselfishly served the community as a civic leader, educator and mentor,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “For his significant contributions to our nation, our state and our city, we dedicate this new overpass in his name – Quentin P. Smith – and celebrate a major milestone in the expansion of the Gary/Chicago International Airport.”
Mayor Freeman-Wilson thanked leaders of the City of Gary, the Airport Authority, Lake County, Indiana and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) for their leadership in making the Quentin P. Smith Tuskegee Airman Memorial Bridge a reality.
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority funded construction of the $11.6 million overpass.
“When I think of the Tuskegee airmen and a man like Quentin P. Smith, I can’t help but think of hard-fought progress and the need we all have to gain opportunities to prove ourselves,” said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. “As inspiring as Mr. Smith’s life story is, his legacy sets the bar very high. It will be incumbent upon us to honor his memory by doing our part to develop Gary/Chicago International Airport to its fullest potential.”
A B-25 bombardier with the legendary black World War II Tuskegee Airman Army Air Corps, 1st Lieutenant Smith and 100 black officers were arrested at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana for defying orders not to enter the officer’s club. After his military career, Smith went on to become the first principal of West Side High School in Gary. Smith was born in Weldon, Texas on July 30, 1918 and died January 25, 2013 at the age of 94.
Throughout his distinguished career Smith also served on the boards of numerous colleges, military, religious, and civic organizations including service on the Gary Common Council, chairman of the board of trustees of Calumet College, and president of the board of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority.
“We honor Quentin Smith for his dedicated service to the Airport Authority and salute him for his unwavering commitment to education and service to others,” said Nathaniel T. Williams, president of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority Board.
In addition to the opening of the Airport Road overpass and the major runway expansion underway, the Airport Authority is currently conducting an exploration of a potential public-private partnership to invest in the airport to accelerate the competiveness of the airport, the City of Gary, and the region in the global economy.
“We are diligently examining the potential for a public-private partnership to infuse more economic development into the airport and the surrounding area to create quality jobs in Gary and throughout the region,” said Williams. “We are looking at the best ways to attract private sector investors and maintain local public control.”
The Gary/Chicago International Airport is less than 30 minutes from the heart of the tri-state region – the city of Chicago. The airport is directly connected to Chicago’s transportation network through rail freight, interstate and mass transit integration.
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