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Chiefs Choose Iowa Official for 911

[Photo provided/Times/Quad-City Times]
Lake County police and fire chiefs are recommending a man with experience in E-911 consolidations elsewhere in the midwest to lead Lake County's efforts to make it happen by the end of next year. 50-year-old Brian Hitchcock, a Minnesota native, got the unanimous nod from law enforcement leaders to be the new E-911 director – their choice still has to be approved by county officials. He'll be facing the task of consolidating the E-911 services of seventeen city, town and county law enforcement agencies by the end of 2014 –as mandated by state law – to prevent the county from losing millions in public safety dollars from the state. The former director resigned three months ago.  Since 2008, Hitchcock has been working in Iowa as director for the Davenport Emergency Communications Center, where he helped guide consolidation of E-911 services for 30 public safety agencies in the Quad Cities area.

Foreclosure Sales Down

More good news for the housing market: Foreclosure sales have reached their lowest level in five years, down to about 21-percent during the first quarter of 2013, according to RealtyTrac. Earlier this week, we spoke to Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Peter Novak, Jr, about some recent numbers in the Region housing market... including 22 months of consecutive growth. But Novak says distressed sales, like foreclosures, impact the local median selling price... so even though foreclosures have fallen, from more than forty-percent of all home sales in the U-S four years ago, there's still a ways to go. Experts say foreclosures were averaging around five-percent of all sales around 2005, before the housing bubble burst. You can hear more of our conversation with Peter Novak Jr online at News Audio on Demand here at our website....

Ruth Heinold, 1919-2013

Funeral services are Saturday in LaCrosse for Ruth Heinold of Francesville, formerly of Kouts. Heinold served as a secretary for Heinold Elevator in both Kouts and at the Kingsbury Poultry Plant. Radio One Communications founder Uncle Len Ellis says Heinold was the very first advertiser on the air with him in 1964. Heinold, who passed away Tuesday, was also a longtime volunteer for the American Red Cross of Porter County. Her husband of 51 years preceded her in death in 1991. Ruth Heinold was 93.

Pence to Attend Council of Great Lakes Governors

Indiana's Governor and First Lady will be spending weekend in northern Michigan, not to enjoy the Wolverine State's majestic beauty, but to attend a leadership summit. Governor Mike Pence and his wife Karen will travel tomorrow to Mackinac Island for the 2013 Council of Great Lakes Governors. On Saturday morning, Governor Pence is scheduled speak on strengthening the Great Lakes region in the global economy and attend multiple sessions and roundtables relating to advancing regional priorities before heading back to the Hoosier state Sunday.
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Director of MC Animal Shelter Charged with Forgery and Theft

The Director of Shelter Operations at the Michiana Humane Society and SPCA is charged with felony forgery and theft for allegedly embezzling over 100-thousand dollars from the animal shelter that relies strictly on donations. According to court documents, 41 year old Jennifer Westphal is accused of writing and cashing checks from the shelter for various amounts between January 2007 through April of this year.
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Residents Displaced After Schererville Condominium Fire

A lightning strike reportedly caused a structure fire at a condominium in the 200 block of West Joliet Street. The fire caused Joliet, from the junction to US 30, to be closed off to traffic for much of early afternoon and into the evening hours. The Times reports the fire began around 3pm at the complex, which houses 24 units, and that a total of 31 residents were displaced, after lightning struck the roof, destroying the second and third floors. No further information is available at this time.
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NB Tri-State Closed at Bishop Ford Due to Bad Crash

A multi-vehicle crash involving several semis and a separate jackknifed semi has closed all lanes northbound on the Tri-State (294/80) between the Bishop Ford (I-80/94) and the Thornton Quarry.  I-DOT is reporting solid congestion and at least a two hour backup.  westbound traffic on 80/94 is backed up to around Kennedy Avenue.  Traffic tipsters are reporter a gaper's backup from about the Dixie Highway to the quarry.
WB Borman backup 05-30-13
Traffic backed-up westbound I-80/94 due to multi-vehicle crash northbound Tri-State just before Thornton Quarry.
(photo from INDOT)

Joliet from the Junction to 30 in Shererville Closed Due to Fire

Schererville Police report Joliet from the junction to US 30 is closed off to traffic and most likely will stay that way for the next couple hours as crews as reportedly dealing with a structure fire. Authorities says crews have been on scene for the last several hours. No further information available at this time.
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IN Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Reform

FRANKFORT — With members of Congress home for the week and the full Senate expected to begin debating the immigration reform bill in early June, Indiana faith, law enforcement and business leaders came together this afternoon for a roundtable discussion on the urgency and importance of commonsense immigration reform.
At the roundtable debate sponsored by the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network, influential leaders gathered to highlight the importance of immigration reform for local faith communities, law enforcement officers and businesses.
The following quotes can be attributed to speakers at the event:
Susan Brouillette, Program Director for Healthy Families and Sustainable Communities, Lafayette Urban Ministry
“It is important to keep in mind that comprehensive immigration reform addresses legal as well as illegal immigration and poses job creation opportunities through investment and start-up businesses to jump start our economy and maintain our competitive advantage around the world.”
Rev. Joshua Burkholder, Pastor, St. Paul's Lutheran Church:
“Regardless of creed, all peoples of faith believe that there is a central call for core values, respect, and human dignities—these are things which we are all entitled to which immigration reform will help immigrants achieve.”
Levi J. Huffman, Partner/Owner, Huffman & Hawbaker Farms
“By fixing the immigration system, Indiana has an opportunity to increase its agricultural output, become a major exporter, and strengthen its economy.  Also, with more documentation and reform, food safety, a high priority in this country, can be better ensured.”
Susan Tharp, County Extension Director, Purdue Extension Network of Clinton County:
"The bottom line is that we need human capital that is more than laborers to build our community. People living in the shadows cannot live up to their full potential as contributing members of our communities."
Greg Zoeller, Attorney General, State of Indiana
“To those who say that this immigration effort undermines the rule of law, the rule of law has been undermined for the past thirty years by the Federal government’s refusal to take a stand on this issue. We must hold our representatives accountable for the current mess and make them vote between this possible immigration solution and the broken status quo.”
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Gracie's TLC Operators Charged with Abuse of Residents

The Lake County Prosecutor's Office has charged the operators of Gracie's Tender Loving Care in Gary with abusing and neglecting residents. Gary Police Corp. Gabrielle King says 40 year old Gracie Hathaway and Eldon Johnson both of Gary, are accused of illegally operating four group homes and each face eight felony charges, including neglect of a dependant, criminal confinement, and battery. Corp. King says, according to the affidavit, the people inside of these homes were locked inside, left alone, and stunned with stun-guns, as well as taking money from the residents and just giving them a small stipend to live off of. Corp King says, at last check, Hathaway and Johnson remain at-large.
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Thousands Without Power in NW Indiana

NIPSCO's Outage map is reporting many customers without power at this time most likely due to the severe thunderstorms that rolled through the region this afternoon. At last check, almost one-thousand customers are without power in the Munster area, almost 900 in the Hammond area, and just over 50 in Portage. While an exact cause has yet to be determined, crews have been assigned or are in the process of being assigned, with restoration times anticipated sometime this evening. For more information visit
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Davenport Man Could Possibly Be Named New E-911 Director

The current E-911 Director of Davenport, Iowa, has been unanimously approved today by Lake County police and fire chiefs to possibly become Lake County's new E-911 director. The Times reports Brian Hitchcock could be named director during a June 11th meeting of the Lake County Council. If named, Hitchcock faces the task of consolidating the 911 services of seventeen city, town and county law enforcement agencies by the end of next year –as mandated by state law – or face losing millions in public safety dollars from the state. The former director resigned at the end of February.
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IN SOS Moving to Electronic Reminders for Business

Secretary of State
INDIANAPOLIS (May 30, 2013) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson today announced technology upgrades to her office’s customer services. Secretary Lawson launched an online tool to allow Hoosier businesses to receive e-mail notices when it is time to file business entity reports. All Indiana businesses are encouraged to update their e-mail address with her office immediately. The Secretary of State’s office is in the process of phasing out paper reminders for business entity reports and moving to e-mail notifications. This change may save as much as $100,000 a year, allowing Indiana to continue to have some of the lowest business filing fees in the country.

“Your Secretary of State’s office has been on the leading edge of smart government services online, and this upgrade is overdue,” said Secretary Lawson. “Moving to e-mail notifications is the next step in modernizing our system and keeping fees low.”

All businesses are required to file a Business Entity Report with the Secretary of State’s office. Currently, the Secretary of State’s office sends out a paper reminder when a business entity report is due. Starting January 1, 2014, e-mail reminders will replace paper reminder. Businesses that wish to continue receiving reminders to file their report should update their e-mail address immediately at

“Indiana was one of the first states to allow businesses to register and file their business entity reports online,” said Secretary Lawson. “Former Secretaries Sue Anne Gilroy and Todd Rokita brought this office light years ahead of other states and today’s launch continues that tradition.”
For-Profit Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (domestic and foreign) are required to file biennial reports.  The filing fee is $30.00 and the report is due during the month the entity was formed.  Nonprofit Corporations (domestic and foreign) are required to file annual reports.  The filing fee is $10.00 and the report is due during the month the entity was formed. Failure to pay a business entity report will result in the business being administratively dissolved or revoked.

All business entity reports may be filed online at By filing online you will receive a discounted filing fee.
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Door Still Open for Allegiant to Comeback to Airport

Allegiant Air reported a lack of demand led to its decision to end service in a few months at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Airport Marketing and Communications Liaison James Ward says while the last Allegiant flight to Florida out of Gary/Chicago is scheduled August 10th, there is a possiblity once the runway is completed, Allegiant may re-evaluate, and noted the door is still open for discussion for future opportuntities.
The airport's 166-million dollar runway expansion, extending the seven-thousand foot main runway by 19-hundred feet, is scheduled for completion in December, which gets the airport ahead of a 2015 Federal Aviation Administration's mandate that all airports have at least one-thousand feet of safety area for planes. Meanwhile, Ward says they are looking at bringing in other airlines to fly out of Gary.
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Kieft Resigns from EDCMC for IEDC

Kieft Resigns from EDCMC for IEDC
(Photo Courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City)
Economic Development Corporation Michigan City announced today the resignation of Executive Director Kevin Kieft as Kieft leaves to accept an opportunity with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Kieft served the organization for nearly seven years, and was promoted to Executive Director last year. The group recently began developing a long-term initiative to highlight local economic development opportunities and build an action plan for a sustainable business environment, and they say that won't be interrupted during this interim period.
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Alcohol a Factor in Motorcycle Crash that Injured Hobart Man

Indiana State Police say a 41-year-old Hobart man was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash late Wednesday evening on I-94. Troopers say a preliminary investigation revealed the motorcycle driver, was in the right lane when he lost control of his 2001 Harley Davidson. Police say the man was not wearing a helmet, and fell off his bike and slid across the eastbound lanes of I-94 until he came to rest on the inner shoulder. He was taken to a local hospital then later airlifted to Oak Lawn. Police say he tested positive for alcohol with a point-1-3-percent [.13% ]Blood Alcohol Content; and only had a motorcycle learner’s permit endorsement, and was cited for both.
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Gary Begins Neighborhood Revitalization

mayor WinCE
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson today announced a project she's been collaborating on with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley for nine months – the Neighborhood Revitalization Project. Also working with Gary Councilwoman Carolyn Rogers, along with Carol Brown with the University of Chicago and her students, the community wide neighborhood-by-neighborhood cleanup is intended to engage the entire community for the collective good of the city. Sarah Taylor, a Marshalltown Terrace resident, spoke about the need for residents to band together for the good of their neighborhood, and that this pilot project was a reinforcement of that effort. The pilot project kicks off this Saturday in the Marshalltown neighborhood with cleanup , beautification activities, city-provided services, signmaking and abandoned buildings tracking. Residents are meeting at Peppermint Park, Marshalltown Terrace, off of East 23rd Avenue, between Wisconsin Ave and Marshalltown Dr, starting at 9am.

Road Closed for Fire Cleanup

Officials report a road closure having to do with the major fire in downtown Valparaiso in early March. Michigan Street is scheduled to be closed for fire debris cleanup from Lincolnway south to alleyway, from 7am to 5 pm on May 30, 31, open for the weekend (June 1 and 2), and re-closed Monday June 3-Wednesday June 5.

Persons of Interest in Home Invasion

Merrillville Police say they have two persons of interest in connection with a home invasion Sunday night. Merrillville Detective Commander Robert Wiley says no charges have been filed at this time, but interviews have been taken and they expect charges to be filed soon. Officials say police were investigating the report of five masked men entering a home in the 74-hundred block of Bigger Street about 9-o'clock Sunday night, allegedly using the victims' credit and debit cards to withdraw cash and taking jewelry and other personal items, and the victims' cell and landline phones.

Stores Sue Over 'Lookalike' Law

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Indianapolis on behalf of four Hoosier aromatherapy stores to repeal Indiana's new law that makes it illegal to possess or deal “lookalike” synthetic drugs. The National Association of Aromatherapy Product Producers and Vendors contends the 'lookalike' law is too vague and unconstitutional. State Senator Jim Merritt has said Senate Enrolled Act 536 closes a critical loophole in the state’s previous ban on drugs like 'spice' and so-called 'bath salts' and gives police and prosecutors new tools to fight the synthetic drug epidemic.

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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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