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Mobile Home in Portage Destoryed by Early Morning Fire

A mobile home was a total loss after an early morning fire today in Portage. The Times reports the Portage Fire Department was called out to the 300 block of Camelot Estates, at 2:16am, and put out the fire about 12 minutes after they arrived at the scene. Published reports say the fire damaged two adjacent mobile homes on each side of it. No injuries were reported as the mobile home was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and an investigation continues.
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Firefighters On Scene of a Gas Co. Fire in Hammond

The Times is reporting a fire broke out but is being contained to one building of the Linde Gas facility in the 3900 block of Michigan.  According to the article, the building houses an acetylene tank which is used for welding.  Published reports say both directions of Michigan is closed around the facility including between  Kennedy Avenue and Cline Avenue.

Read more at:

Breaking News

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Bond Set at $1,000,000 for Robbins, Il Man Charged with Murder

(Photo Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Office)
A 27 year old Robbins, Illinois, man had his bond set at one-million dollars after he was arrested Monday and charged with first degree murder Tuesday in 2011 death of Scott Soderlund. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reports Harlandez Meals is accused of beating Soderlund, at two separate locations, on the night of July 22nd, 2010, after an argument began outside of a Robbins liquor store. Authorities say Soderlund was hospitalized for his injuries, but ultimately died due to the attack on March 9th, 2011. The Sheriff's Office reports Meals has 16 prior arrests, including battery causing bodily harm.
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Fomer Donnelly Staffer Sentenced to Jail

INDIANAPOLIS (May 1, 2013) - Today, Mike Marshall, a former Joe Donnelly campaign staffer, received his jail sentence from a Jennings County court after pleading guilty to absentee ballot fraud.
"It's been quite a busy week for the Indiana Democratic Party," said Indiana Republican Party State Chairman Eric Holcomb. "The rule of law continues to expose their Culture of Corruption."
Last Thursday, two Democrats in St. Joseph County, including a former county chair, were found guilty on felony counts of forging ballot petitions for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Two other Democrats had already pled guilty in the weeks leading up to the trial.  They each face sentences ranging from 11 to 75 years in prison.
"A former Joe Donnelly campaign staffer and a former county chair were both found guilty of election fraud. What does that say about today's Indiana Democratic Party? Senator Donnelly should condemn his former campaign staffer for violating the public's trust," Holcomb added.
Marshall appears on various campaign finance reports around the state including  Donnelly and current State Representative Terry Goodin.
"Election fraud is not a myth.  If Indiana Democrats are serious about protecting elections they should start by following the law."
Other cases of Democrat election fraud have been uncovered in Muncie, Austin and Lake County in recent years.
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Pence Signs Bill to Safeguard Women's Health

Abortion Bill
(Photo Courtesy of the Governor Pence's Office)
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today signed legislation into law he says will protect women's health. Senate Enrolled Act 371 says facilities that dispense abortion-inducing drugs must comply with standards for facilities that provide surgical abortions, and the drug cannot be administered after nine-weeks of pregnancy. The new law also requires the Indiana State Department of Health to post a brochure on its website, and requires Hoosier doctors who perform abortions to have the brochures available. In addition, a woman must indicate in writing that she does not want to view a fetal ultrasound and does not want to listen to the fetal heart beat.
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Warrant Leads to Pursuit

Lake County Sheriffs Police say a 34-year-old Calumet Township man is in custody after allegedly fleeing from officers trying to serve a warrant at this home this morning.  Lake County Sheriffs Department Spokeswoman Patti Van Til says the pursuit led officers into a wooded area, and a K-9 unit and the sheriffs helicopter were brought out. Authorities say the 34-year-old man was taken into custody without incident about 40 minutes later in the vicinity of 42nd and Rutledge. 

Fatal Crash on SR 149

Porter County Sheriffs Police responded to a fatal crash early this morning. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says 24-year-old Tera Ross of Valparaiso was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say her vehicle crossed the center line and struck a utility pole on State Road 149 about a mile north of US 6 and Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris was dispatched shortly after 1:30 am

Gary Shooting Investigated

Police in Gary continue to investigate a shooting Saturday where a man suffered a graze wound to his chin from gunfire. Police say the victim was on 19th Avenue at Grant Street around 2:45 in the afternoon when a vehicle pulled up next to him, and someone inside fired shots at him. Police say he drove himself to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.


Indy, Chicago Areas on 'Most Dangerous' List

Four areas of Chicago and two on the north side of Indianapolis are among the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America according to real estate search website NeighborhoodScout, which looked at FBI data to assemble the rankings. Some common threads they found - high poverty rates and vacant buildings. The top three neighborhoods were all outside Detroit.
A couple of neighborhoods outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, also made the list, but not a single city on the western half of the US, including a giant like Los Angeles, showed up. New York and DC didn't make the list either.


Region Gas Prices Up

Gas price averages for Illinois and Indiana are continuing on a high streak. Illinois and Indiana drivers are currently paying on average, $3.91 and 3.67 respectively for a gallon of regular unleaded. While much of the rest of the U.S. has dropped in prices, Illinois, Indiana and the Midwest prices are increasing. Illinois averages are currently the highest in the continental U.S., and with a price of $4.32, Chicago has the highest city average in the continental U.S. Triple-A Chicago Motor Club says as Midwest refineries switched over to use a summer blend of gasoline, the markets were much more sensitive to unexpected disruptions in production such as the recent storms and flooding.

Local Doctor Killed in Crash

Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say a driver lost his life in a crash on Interstate 94 near Chesterton after being ejected from his vehicle. Troopers say it appears the car was eastbound at a high rate of speed around 9:30 last night when for unknown reasons struck the rear of a semi, flipped and rolled multiple times, going over the concrete barrier wall and coming to rest on the westbound side. Police say 62-year-old Dr. Sridhar Mothkur of Chesterton, reportedly a radiologist in Michigan City, was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force trauma. The semi driver was not hurt. Traffic was being diverted at State Road 49 until lanes were re-opened just before 2 am.  The semi was loaded with 6,980 pounds of miscellaneous auto parts, no load was lost.

Murder Trial of Alleged Gang Member Begins

The murder trial of an alleged gang member began Tuesday in Lake County Criminal Court. 23 year old Kevin Strong is accused of killing Jose Melendez, of East Chicago, in July of 2010, and is alleged to have played a role in the shooting death of Cordell Allen, also of East Chicago. The Times reports both shootings occurred just minutes from one another and few blocks apart. 22 year old Jeremy Brazill, a co-defendant, entered a plea agreement in 2011 to reduced charges, and is expected to testify against Strong.
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President and CEO of Goodwill to Retire at Year's End

J Larry Neff
(Photo Courtesy of Peterson Media)
A man who has expanded Goodwill throughout Northwest Indiana and the state announced today he will retire at the end of the year. President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Michiana, J. Larry Neff began his career with Goodwill in Flint, Michigan, and came to St. Joseph County in 1973, where at that time there were only 41 employees. Today Goodwill has expanded to over 600 employees, 22 retail stores, and 14 workforce development locations in 16 Indiana counties. In 2012, over five-thousand people received training in Goodwill programs, and over 750 were placed in jobs in the community. An open house celebrating Neff is scheduled for August 10th, at the Windsor Park Conference Center.
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Region Parents Raising Funds for Daughter's Operation

Imagine being the parents of two happy, active and normal teenage daughters and then getting the news no parent ever wants to hear--one of your daughters is seriously ill.

About a year ago the parents of 17 year-old Amy Bullert of LaCrosse was worried that her daughter had pneumonia but it turned out to be much worse. Amy's mother Lisa, sensed it might be something more so both her and her husband, Austin took their daughter to ER for a second opinion and discovered that Amy was in congestive heart failure brought on by a virus that infected her kidneys.
The mother said, "we found out at Riley's last summer that the whole time we were told she had an upper respiratory infection that she was in congestive heart failure yet she went to school and worked hard." Amy was immediately flown to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis where the family received an even "bigger blow," her kidneys had shut down.

Lisa said Amy was on a ventilator for 17 days and the entire family including her close sibling Kimmy, stayed at the hospital for two months. There the family was told that Amy needed a kidney transplant. Luckily, a suitable donor was found right away and close by, "My amazing husband is a perfect match, said Lisa."

That all happened almost a year ago and now Lisa said the family is concentrating on raising funds to help defray the cost of Amy's transplant, which will be scheduled as soon as their goal is reached. The family has set a 45 day time limit to reach their goal so their daughter can have the operation on the one year anniversary of her illness. That way Amy will be all healed up and ready for her senior year at school. And when asked what her daughter would like to do when she got own, her mom Lisa said that Amy wanted to be a surgical nurse, now she would like to be a kidney surgical nurse. Lisa said both her daughters are amazing and have a very bright future, "destined to do good things and help many."
If you would like to help contribute toward Amy's transplant the family has set up an online donation site at under "Amy's Answer":
Or you can checkout Lisa's Facebook page by at Lisa Vaughan Bullert. Hear our interview with Amy's mom at News Audio On Demand:
Kimmy Bullert (L) with sister Amy (R)
(photo courtesy Lisa Bullert)
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Visclosky Re-Introduces American Steel First Act

pete visclosky
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Visclosky has re-introduced the American Steel First Act of 2013, a bill to require the Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security to exclusively use American-made iron and steel in infrastructure projects.
“We must reject unfairly-subsidized foreign steel and use American-made materials in taxpayer-financed projects,” Congressman Visclosky said. “I am re-introducing the American Steel First Act to send a clear message to American workers: I stand with you and will never stop fighting to give you the tools you need to strengthen our economy.”
Visclosky, Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, was joined by Steel Caucus Chairman Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) in support of the measure. Murphy is an original cosponsor of the bill.
“Building projects financed with taxpayer dollars must use American-made materials, not foreign,” said Chairman Murphy. “With the nation facing trillions in needed infrastructure development, using domestic top-of-the-line iron and steel produced right here in the United States will not only ensure the highest quality materials are used in the next great American building boom but also will keep all the jobs here at home.”
Visclosky has long been a staunch supporter of American steel. He authored a successful Buy America provision that passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 and joined with leaders in both parties in a successful effort to require the Department of Defense to use American-made steel in armor plating.
The legislation will be referred to a relevant committee in the House.
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Prescribed Fire Wednesday at Tolleston Dunes Near Portage

Fire crews from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will be taking advantage of what is suppose to be another beautiful day Wednesday with a scheduled prescribed fire. Officials say approximately 193 acres will be burned at the Tolleston Dune area of the park near Portage, on a parcel of land along County Line Road, south of U-S 12, to improve animal and plant habitats. Crews burned approximately 100 acres near West Beach on Tuesday.
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Unwanted Appliance, Electronics, Tires Drop Off on 5/18

One Stop Drop
(Photo Courtesy of the Recycling & Waste Reduction Dist of Porter County)
Porter County, Indiana – The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County will help Porter County residents with their spring cleaning by providing a One Stop Drop collection event that will accept old and unwanted appliances, electronics, tires and household hazardous waste.
The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Porter County Expo Center/Fair Grounds, 215 E. Division Road, Valparaiso.
Restrictions or fees may apply. For more information, call the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, 465-3694, or visit to learn more.
The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission will be at the event to present new environmentally friendly 2.5-gallon gas cans to residents who bring their old gas cans in for disposal at the collection. Limit one new gas can per vehicle/family, while supplies last.
The One Stop Drop is an opportunity for residents to properly discard materials that are harmful to the environment. Appliances accepted include refrigerators, stoves, dish and clothes washers, dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, freezers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, furnaces, and just about anything metal. Water softener holding tanks will not be accepted.
Not only do old appliances contain hazardous components, including used oil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury, they are much less energy-efficient. Additionally, the refrigerant used in refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, water coolers and air conditioners is extremely harmful to the environment and must be extracted safely.
Many companies certified to remove refrigerants from appliances often charge for the removal of this toxic substance, leaving residents to dispose of the remaining appliances. Once old appliances are brought to the One Stop Drop, the refrigerant is extracted and properly discarded. The appliances will ultimately be taken apart and recycled.
According to Indiana law, households can no longer mix unwanted computer monitors, computers, televisions, printers, computer peripherals (such as keyboards and mice), DVD players, video cassette recorders, or fax machines with trash that is intended for disposal at a landfill or intended for disposal by burning or incineration.
Electronics can contain lead and other toxic materials that pose serious threats to human health. Porter County residents can bring their old electronic devices to the May 18 event for safe disposal. Accepted items include anything with electrical cords or run by batteries.
Porter County residents also can drop off electronics at the Valparaiso and Boone Grove compost sites any time during their hours of operation. Additionally, Porter County residents can drop off their electronics at the following locations: Portage Street Department: 2302 Hamstrom Road, 762-4564; Valparaiso Public Works: 406 Don Hovey Drive, 462-4612; Porter Street Department: 550 Beam Street, 926-2771. Residents should call the departments to determine hours of operation. Visit for more information, or call 465-3694.
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients are considered to be “household hazardous waste” or “HHW,” and require special care when they are discarded.
Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash, which can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.
HHW items accepted at One Stop Drop include aerosols; anti-freeze; oil; batteries (household and automotive); corrosives; mercury containing products (fluorescent tubes, CFLs, thermometers, thermostats, etc.); oil-based paint, thinners and solvents; pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and other poisons; diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, other flammable liquids; ammunition and expired medications.
Explosives, commercial hazardous waste and radioactive materials (like smoke detectors) will not be accepted. Old smoke detectors should be sent back to the manufacturers for recycling. Though latex paint is not considered household hazardous waste, it will be accepted at the collection thanks to the district’s intergovernmental agreement with the City of Hobart for paint recycling.
Approximately 300 million used automobile and truck tires are discarded by Americans annually. At landfills, tires take up large amounts of space and have been known to damage landfill linings. Around town, discarded tires become prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rodents that carry diseases such as West Nile virus and encephalitis.
Tire storage piles pose fire hazards that are extremely difficult to extinguish.  Burning tires release toxic gases into the air and leave behind a hazardous oily residue that pollutes streams and ground water. Once recycled, the rubber in tires can be used for paving material, fuel, mulch, floor mats, drain pipes, and more!
Porter County residents can dispose of their first four tires up to 20 inches for free at the One Stop Drop. The disposal fee for each additional tire up to 20 inches is $3. Residents can dispose of tires from 20 to 25 inches for $5 each, and tires over 25 inches for $15 each.
The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County is a government agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life for Porter County residents by providing convenient, voluntary waste reduction services. Visit for more information or call 465-3694.
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Tips Lead to Arrest of 3 Gary Residents for Dealing Drugs

Sylvia Branch
(Sylvia Branch)
Randy Martin
(Randy Martin)
Melvin Walker Junior
(Melvin Walker Jr. Photos Courtesy of Lake Co Sheriff's Dept)
Three Gary men involved in drugs and gangs were each arrested today after search warrants were executed based on tips from the public. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports warrants were issued in the 44-hundred block of Buchanan Street and in the 19-hundred block of West Ridge Road. Arrested were 43 year old Sylvia Branch and 48 year old Melvin Walker, both charged with dealing in narcotics, and 29 year old Randy Martin, charged with dealing a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. Sheriff John Buncich they will continue to conduct raids on a weekly basis, says thank you to those who called their anonymous hotline, 800-750-2746, and encourages others who desire to clean up our communities to do the same. ...


Family Attacked in Porter County Home Invasion

A man, his girlfriend, and two children suffered bruises and declined medical treatment after an alleged home invasion early this morning. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports the incident occurred just before 4:20am, in the 15-hundred block of North County Road 375 East, in Pine Township, where two men reportedly forced their way into the residence and attacked those inside using a crowbar. The Sheriff's Office says the suspects fled the scene empty handed, and an investigation continues.
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ISTEP Testing Suspened Again Today, Maybe Tomorrow

For the second consecutive day system errors have prevented students in the region and across the state from taking their I-STEP Plus testing. Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, says they monitored the situation this morning, and while 150-thousand test session were completed, a spike in test interruptions occurred at approximately 11:15 this morning, causing the suspension of testing for the rest of today. Ritz says the test suspension was done to minimize further disruptions for schools, and at last check CTB McGraw-Hill believes testing will be able to continue tomorrow. Ritz called the testing interruptions "frustrating and unacceptable" and says they will conduct a thorough review to determine the exact cause of this issue.
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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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