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Governor Pence Signs Gaming Legislation

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today signed into law legislation he says will give gaming businesses within Indiana the tools to compete with surrounding states. Senate Enrolled Act 528 allows existing casinos and racinos and related businesses to improve their market competitiveness, without expanding gaming in Indiana. The legislation also makes adjustments in the gaming tax structure and codifies the limited use of mobile gaming devices approved last year by the Horse Racing Commission.
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Man Killed While Crossing US 30 Near the Mall

The Lake County Coroners office reports a Dyer man died from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident in the 19-hundred block of East 80th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say 32-year-old Jasmit Dang sustained blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight this morning. According to published reports a 40 year old Valparaiso man was heading east on U-S 30, near the Westfield Southlake Mall, and contacted police after he thought he had hit something. Police arrived and found the body of the Dyer man, who had been staying at a nearby hotel, and reportedly been crossing the highway when the incident occurred. Police report the wet weather and dark condition played a factor in the incident, and the Valparaiso man will reportedly not be cited since he stopped and reported the incident.
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Tri-Creek School Corp Board Looking to Fill Vacancy

The Tri-Creek School Corporation Board of School Trustees invites interested applicants to apply for a four-year appointment to fill a position which will be vacated at the end of June. Interested candidates may pick up the application packet at the Tri-Creek Administration Center, at 195 West Oakley Avenue, and must have it returned no later than 4pm, Monday, June 3rd. The Board anticipates conducting interviews during the month of June, and appointing a new member at the Board of School Trustees meeting on June 27th.  To be eligible for this seat, an applicant must (1) live in Eagle Creek Township and have been a resident in Eagle Creek Township for three years or more, (2) be a registered voter in the electoral district of legal residence, and (3) be 25 years of age.
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Finalists Announced for Influential Women of NW IN Awards

CROWN POINT – The Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet is set for May 23 at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, and finalists were recently announced for the annual event.
A 17-member steering committee chose a total of 90 finalists from 172 applications. Two women will be awarded in each of 11 industries, one for the Influential Woman Award and another for the Up and Coming Woman Award.
“We recognize women who are established in their industry, as well as rising stars who are newer to their respective fields but are making an impact,” Event Organizer Andrea Pearman said. “There is such a diverse group of deserving women in Northwest Indiana, and our committee works very hard to select the best and brightest.”
The categories for which women will be awarded include business, construction, economic development, education, finance, government, healthcare, law, media/marketing, nonprofit and service/tourism.
The committee will also choose a winner from 12 finalists vying for the Empowering Business of the Year Award. The honor is given to a company that demonstrates excellence in supporting the success of women.
During the past two years, Influential Women of Northwest Indiana has also donated more than $20,000 to area nonprofits. This year, four more organizations will receive funds during the awards banquet.
“The nonprofits that were selected have demonstrated a commitment to enriching Northwest Indiana,” Pearman said. “The funds from Influential Women of Northwest Indiana and its sponsors will go directly to a project that specifically benefits women and girls in the community.”
A full list of the women, organizations and nonprofits that will be honored at the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet can be found at www.nwiwomen.com. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be purchased at the Web site as well. Tickets to the event are $90 per person, or $800 for a table of ten.
For more information about the event, contact Andrea Pearman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 219-226-0300.
 
About Influential Women of Northwest Indiana
Influential Women of Northwest Indiana is an organization devoted to providing women with the resources, recognition and motivation necessary to be successful in the business world. Each year, Influential Women honors the area’s most successful women in eleven different industries, ranging from construction and healthcare to education and government.
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LaPorte Police Investigating Vandalism At Kesling Park

LaPorte PD
Police in LaPorte are investigating an act of vandalism at Kesling Park that reportedly occurred within the last week. Police report a subject or subjects poured or sprayed some type of substance on the grass of ball diamond number one, killing the grass to spell out profane language. Authorities ask anyone with information regarding this incident to please contact LaPorte Police, at (219) 362-9446, or http://lpcitypd.com.
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LaPorte PD Thanks Citizens for Keeping Lost Child Safe

LaPorte PD
Police advised the parents of a two year old, who let himself out of the house and was kept from wandering into the street by concerned citizens Thursday, to utilize different lock style and placement to prevent further incidents. LaPorte Police report they received a call just before 10am, of a child walking alone next to the intersection of Tyler Street and Lincolnway. Police say the parents of the child reported they had been cleaning in the basement of their home, in the 12-hundred block of Jefferson Avenue, and had not realized the child had let himself out.
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Law Enforcement Memorial Service Today in Dyer

Law enforcement agencies in the region have been remembering their fallen brethren this month and today in Dyer a gathering is scheduled to remember their fallen heroes. The Dyer Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 169 and the Dyer Police Department invite the public to attend their annual “Law Enforcement Memorial Service” at 5pm , at the Dyer Police Department.
The Highland Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 122 will be having their annual fallen officer memorial service on tomorrow, at 9:00 AM, at the Main Square Park Gazebo. Next week, Munster Police will hold their service at 3pm at the police department, and on May 17th, the Lake County Sheriff's Department will hold their memorial service at the department's Memorial Gardens, directly east of the Sheriff's Department building.
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Tom Ridge to Keynote PCSD Ceremony

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Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge will be the keynote speaker at the Porter County Sheriffs Department's annual Inspection and Memorial Service next Friday in Valparaiso. Both the inspection and service are open to the public. The annual tradition during National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Week honors the men and women whose lives have been lost. Ridge, who has since re-entered the private sector, served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 through 2001, and resigned the governorship after President George W. Bush announced that Governor Ridge would become the director of a new U.S. Office of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks in September 2001. Ridge served as US Homeland Security Advisor, then later became the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, serving in that position from 2003 to 2005 . He was also a longtime member of the US House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, from 1983 to 1995.
Details:
The Porter County Sheriff’s Department will be holding its annual Inspection and Memorial Service on Friday May 17, 2013 at the Sheriff’s Department, 2755 State Road 49, Valparaiso, IN. The inspection will start at 9:30 AM and the Memorial Service will start at 11:00 AM, and both are open to the public.
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Valpo PD Arrest Suspect in Break-In

A Crown Point man was arrested early today in Valparaiso after allegedly breaking into someone's home. Valparaiso Police were called out just after 2:30 this morning to the 200 block of Chestnut Street. A person sleeping inside heard a bell ring attached to the door, awoke and heard footsteps inside and immediately called police. Police found a glass pane was also missing from the door, and upon searching found a male subject in the alleyway directly behind the residence. During an interview with police, the 22-year-old male subject allegedly admitted to breaking into the home while walking in the area. Burglary charges are pending.
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Vehicle Break-ins in La Porte

In La Porte, police are investigating several vehicle break-ins in the 900 Block of Division Street early Thursday. Police say one of the victims spotted a dome light on in her vehicle and heard someone climb her fence, then found some change had been taken. In checking the area, officers found several other vehicles had also been entered and ransacked, with items stolen. An 18-year-old La Porte man, located underneath a vehicle in a garage a couple blocks away, was taken into custody on a trespass charge. Police say no stolen items were found in his possession at the time of arrest
About a mile-and-a-half away, police in La Porte Police report that someone's vehicle was broken into that same night and an I-Pod was stolen from the center console, in the 400 block of Pulaski Street. The victim said it's the third time his vehicle has been entered in three weeks. Police urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to contact them.
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Teen Accused of Dealing Heroin

A La Porte teenager is accused of dealing heroin. La Porte Police say Thursday their officers located a vehicle in the Stone Lake Beach parking lot, and after checking it, called on investigators from the La Porte County Metro Operations Unit to assist. A subsequent on-scene investigation led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man who was taken into custody without incident, on a Class A Felony charge of Dealing in a Schedule Two Controlled Substance. He was being held on 100-thousand dollar bond, and is scheduled to appear in court today .
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Funeral Services for Former Gov Bowen

Funeral services are in Bremen today//Friday for former Indiana Governor Otis “Doc” Bowen, who died last Saturday at the age of 95.  In Bremen, police say Center and 2nd Street will be closed from approximately 12:00p to 1:30p today for the funeral.
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No Veto, Lake Tax Stays

Breaking News

The Lake County Commissioners determined the fate of Lake County's one-and-a-half percent local income tax this morning, but not the way it was thought would happen. Our Karl Berner was there and reports that Commissioner Gerry Scheub made multiple motions to veto ordinances for the income 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 at 8:30 this morning.    A few days ago, 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. If commissioners had vetoed it, the county council could have overridden that, but it would have taken a super-majority, at least five votes, to do so. Lake was the only county in the state without a local income tax.  Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor President Dan Murchek called the outcome a win for Lake County municipalities, saying the tax increase will help to offset already strained police, fire and EMS services due to state funding cuts.
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Dyer Man Killed in Crash

The Lake County Coroners office reports a Dyer man died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in the 19-hundred block of East 80th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say 32-year-old Jasmit Dang suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight this morning   No other details were available at this hour.
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Two Lake Bills Await Signature

The clock is ticking on a couple of bills with lots of Lake County interest that at last word have yet to be signed by Governor Pence... Senate Bill 585 among other things lifts the Lake County property tax levy freeze, and House Bill 1585 provides a way for Griffith to leave Calumet Township under certain conditions. If the governor doesn't sign or veto them by Saturday, they automatically become law without his signature.
Senate Bill 585 was written by Valparaiso State Senator Ed Charbonneau. In our recent Region Newsmakers interview with State Senator Charbonneau, he talked to us about the measure, which he says he drafted to deal with economic development opportunities for Lake County, "but the ramifications of this from an economic development standpoint, from an investment standpoint, from a job creation standpoint," Charbonneau said, are "regionwide", and he added if the Gary Airport could be brought up to its full potential, "it would have statewide implications".  The measure changes the composition of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, and also requires studies of a possible new Lake Michigan port in Gary, and the need for a level-one trauma center in the Region.
You can hear our Region Newsmakers interview here at our website.
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Tax Bills Due

Porter County Property Taxes are due today. Porter County Treasurer Mike Bucko says they must be postmarked by today to be considered an ontime payment. Bucko says you can also pay online, but credit and debit cards have a fee. You can also pay in person.  Additional information: You can pay on line at www.porterco.org.  Just click on (pay my tax bill).  You will need the duplicate number so have the tax bill handy.     Bucko says if you pay on line  E-check is free but credit and debit cards have a fee.  Provide your email address and check the box to get a receipt that a payment was made.   The Treasurers Office in Porter County says taxpayers have until 11:59:59 on May 10, 2013 to be on time when you pay on line. If you are paying at the Treasurer's Office  at 155 Indiana Ave. Valparaiso IN  our office hours are Mon-Fri. except holidays 8:30am to 4:30pm.  Call 219-465-3470 to for information.
The Lake County Treasurers Office has announced extended office hours for their Crown Point, Hammond and Gary offices again today (Fri May 10 2013), from 8:30 am to 7 pm, for the Spring property tax installment due May 10. A number of local banks in Lake County will continue to collect payment until closing today. Credit card and check payments are accepted on the Lake County Treasurer's Page at  www.lakecountyin.org .  
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Tax Bill Vetoed

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has issued his third veto-- a measure having to do with taxes. House Enrolled Act 1546 would have allowed the collection of local income taxes in Pulaski and Jackson Counties after the legal authority to do so had expired. Governor Pence has directed the Office of Management and Budget to develop options for refunding or crediting the revenues in question. The Governor earlier vetoed two measures requiring licenses for diabetes educators, anesthesiologist assistants and dietitians, and state certification for music therapists.
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Lake Tax Goes Before Commissioners

A few days ago, 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. Now it goes before the Lake County Commissioners, who are expected to consider it – and veto it – at a special meeting this morning [May 10th, 8:30am.] If commissioners veto it, as the speculation has been based on comments from the commissioners, the county council could override that, but it would take a super-majority, at least five votes, to do so. Lake is the only county in the state without a local income tax.
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Abused Dogs Found During Eviction in Harvey

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(Photos Courtesy of the Cook County Sheriff's Dept)
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A 37 year old Harvey, Illinois, man is facing numerous counts of animal cruelty after Cook County Sheriff's deputies enforcing a court-ordered eviction found a number of abused dogs, including one found dead in the basement of the home. The Sheriff's office reports William Roberson was named in the eviction order for the home located in the 50 block of West 151st Street. The Sheriff's Police Animal Crimes Unit found in total seven pit bull type dogs and one Chihuahua, and reports there was no indication of dog fighting at the location. The South Suburban Humane Society took custody of the dogs, which were taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
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SOS Warns of Scams to Con Hoosier Homebuyers

Secretary of State
INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2013) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning potential homebuyers about scam artists who use authentications from the Secretary of State’s office to swindle Hoosiers into fraudulent real estate transactions. The scam artists are domestic terrorists who refer to themselves as sovereign citizens and believe the government is illegitimate. They are using authentications from the Secretary of State’s office to create the illusion they own vacant property to trick Hoosiers into illegitimate home sales.
“Today, a judge sentenced Shela Amos of Indianapolis to 34 years for defrauding victims using the vacant home sale scheme,” said Secretary Lawson. “While this will stop Amos, unfortunately, others are waiting to pick up where she left off. Hoosiers should use extreme caution when dealing with sovereign citizens. They have no regard for the law and are master manipulators.”
The vacant home sale scheme is popular among sovereign citizens. At first, they identify abandoned homes and create documents claiming they own the property. Then they have a notary sign the document. They bring the signed document to the Secretary of State’s office and request an apostille, a gold seal for overseas authentications, to certify the notary’s signature is authentic. After the document has an apostille, they file it with the county recorder’s office. Once the document has the seal and is on file with the recorder’s office, the scam artists bring prospective home buyers to the recorder’s office to show them the document they created as proof they own the real estate they are selling.
In a majority of cases, sovereign citizens target Hispanics with a language barrier. They lead their victims to believe they have legitimately purchased property even though they don’t own the property or have the legal authority to sell.
The Apostilles and authentications they use are exclusively for international business and other transactions, specifically, in patent and trademark registrations and foreign adoptions. They have nothing to do with property.
“Con artists target members of the Hispanic community, but all Hoosiers should be cautious when dealing with sovereign citizens. Because of their disregard for the law, they concoct many schemes using phony authority and even retaliate against law enforcement and government officials who work to stop them.”
After sovereign citizens like Shela Amos are sentenced for their crimes, many harass the law enforcement officers, judges or prosecutors they believe wrongly convicted them. They often file fraudulent Uniform Commercial Code financing statements or real property liens against the law enforcement officer or civic leader for millions of dollars. These fraudulent filings cause issues when the victim attempts to buy or sell a home or open a line of credit. Many victims don’t even realize they have been targeted until they go to sell or buy property, but it can take years to have the statement or lien removed causing major headaches.
Just last month, the General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1054, giving the Secretary of State’s office the ability to prevent the filing of these deceitful documents. Previously, the Secretary of State’s office did not have the authority to reject financing statements or liens. The ability to reject fraudulent filings will protect those in law enforcement and civic leaders from the harassment of criminals. 
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