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Hoosiers Depressed, Unhappy With Work

Hoosiers are sad and unhappy with their jobs, according to a new Gallup Poll. The survey said Indiana is part of a 'sadness belt' in Midwest in part because they're depressed, overweight, and dissatisfied with work. Gallup looked at categories like emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors, and work environment to rank the states. The well-being poll said people were happiest in Hawaii, and saddest in West Virginia.
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Region Doctor Charged With Sexual Battery

Police in Valparaiso have arrested a doctor on felony charges of sexual battery and criminal deviate conduct. Police say they had been investigating a reported incident regarding alleged inappropriate behavior by a local doctor identified as Jose Agusti of Chicago. Officials say a female subject advised Dr. Agusti had groped and touched her in an inappropriate sexual manner during a scheduled appointment, and that during the same appointment he is also accused of exposing himself to her. Following a lengthy investigation, an arrest warrant was served Thursday at the doctor's office on South Valparaiso street, and he was taken to the Porter County Jail. Police say the alleged assault took place at that office.
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Lake Co Sees Biggest Drop in Population

New figures show Lake County had the state's largest population decline in 2012 at 1,535 residents. Lake was one of 54 of Indiana's 92 counties to lose population. Porter County gained about a -hundred people.... according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Lake is still the second-largest county in the state, at 493,618, next to Marion County (918,977),and  Porter is ninth-largest with 165,682 residents.
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Hammond Woman's Death Ruled Homicide

The Lake County Coroner's Office says the death of a Hammond woman who disappeared more than ten years ago has been ruled a homicide, caused by extensive skull fractures due to unspecified blunt force trauma. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller says Francine Carlson was 38 years old at the time of her disappearance in 1999, her remains discovered at the demolition site of a former bait shop in the 17-hundred block of Indianapolis Blvd, after a dog found one of her bones. Chief Miller says they spoke to over 30 people regarding the case, and identified a then 50 year old man as a suspect, who passed away five-years ago.
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Ind DNR to Hold Informal Hrg on Boat Race

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division will be holding an informal public hearing to accept comments on the proposed application for permit to allow a high speed motorboat race on Stone Lake in LaPorte County. The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday March 26th at 6 pm CDT at the LaPorte Best Western
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Sec of State Warns Hoosier Investors

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning Hoosier investors to beware of a company operating under the name Profitable Sunrise. Lawson says the England based company promises investors risk-free and insured investments with high returns, and people are instructed to wire money to financial institutions in Eastern Europe. Lawson also says the company is not registered to sell securities in Indiana, and multiple states are looking into Profitable Sunrise, including North Carolina, which has issued a Cease and Desist order.
News release:
INDIANAPOLIS (March 14, 2013) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning investors to beware of a company operating under the name Profitable Sunrise.  The Birmingham, England-based company promises investors risk-free and insured investments with high returns.  The company is not registered to sell securities in the State of Indiana.
Profitable Sunrise founder, Roman Novak, states that the investment model is based on providing short-term loans to small businesses throughout the United States.  Profitable Sunrise makes investments attractive by not only touting risk-free, high returns but also by stating that by helping these United States companies, investors are also helping revitalize the national economy and create more desperately needed jobs in the United States.  
The Profitable Sunrise business model promises investors that they will earn risk-free returns of 1.6 percent to 2.7 percent per day for investment periods ranging from 180 to 240 days.  The company offers 5 different investment plans which allow investors an increasing number of investment amounts and percentages of return.  The company also offers a referral program that provides an incentive for investors to earn a percentage of returns for all additional investors they refer to the program.  Victims in the investment scam are instructed to wire money to financial institutions in Eastern Europe, including banks in the Czech Republic. 
Multiple states are looking into Profitable Sunrise, including North Carolina which has already issued a Cease & Desist Order.  Investors should always carefully scrutinize any investment opportunity particularly if the offer comes from a foreign country or appears “too good to be true.”  Indiana constituents with questions and/or concerns about investment opportunities should contact the Secretary of State’s office.   
Anyone who has invested in Profitable Sunrise should contact the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-223-8791 or find us online at www.indianainvestmentwatch.com 
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Alleged Love Letters From Former Pastor

Documents filed in Hammond Federal Court reportedly show the 55-year-old ex-pastor of a Lake County megachurch wrote letters to a teenage girl, including one that allegedly said their relationship is “what Christ desires” for them, and that Jesus Christ wanted them to become “eternal lovers”. Jack Schaap, former leader of First Baptist Church of Hammond, is facing up to ten years at his sentencing next week after pleading guilty last year to interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
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Lowell Names Interim Police Chief

Officials in Lowell named veteran officer Corporal Erik Matson interim police chief at a special town council meeting Thursday. The decision followed a special police commission meeting that was also held yesterday. Matson will replace Chief John Shelhart, whose resignation that was tendered last week takes effect tomorrow. Shelhart had been chief since 2006.
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Last Defendant in Latin King Rico Conspiracy Pleds Guilty

The last defendant of 23 charged in the Latin King Rico Conspiracy indictments pled guilty today in Hammond Federal Court. The U-S Attorney's Office reports 35 year old Dante Reyes, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to the felony offense of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. Authorities say also charged, but still at-large, is 30 year old Paulino Salazar, of Chicago, and a total of six of the 23 charged who have entered guilty pleas have been sentenced. According to the indictment, the Latin Kings were responsible for at least 19 murders in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Springs, Texas.
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Undercover Sting Results in Robbery Team Bust

Cook County Sheriff
An undercover human trafficking investigation Tuesday evening in Lansing, Illinois, ended up resulting in the bust of a robbery team. The Cook County Sheriff's Office reported on Thursday that their Vice Unit, responding to a Backpage-dot-com advertisement for a female escort, set up a meeting at a Lansing motel. Authorities report an undercover officer entered the motel room and encountered two-men dressed as women, who attempted to rob him. The Sheriff's Office reports the suspects attacked the officer, who was able to apprehend both suspects, despite breaking his right hand, and sustaining cuts and bruises to his body.  Both suspects, who are from Chicago, were arrested, and authorities ask anyone who may have additional information, or been a victim of this team to contact the Cook County Sheriff's Office Investigations Unit.
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EPA Orders More Dredging of Enbridge on K-Zoo River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued an administrative order requiring Enbridge to do additional dredging in Michigan's Kalamazoo River to clean up oil from a pipeline spill in July of 2010. The EPA reports they have repeatedly documented the presence of recoverable submerged oil in sections of the river, and Enbridge now has five-days to respond to the order, and 15-days to provide the EPA with a work plan. Enbridge officials are currently holding an open house that started at 5pm this evening in Schererville on a proposed Enbridge Energy Pipeline project, from a terminal near Pontiac, Illinois, to one near Griffith.
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NIRPC to Hold Region Wide Public Meetings

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The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning is wrapping up the development of the revision of the 2007 Public Participation Plan. The new Plan reflects NIRPC’s continuing commitment to reach out to and engage residents in the regional planning and decision-making processes relative to NIRPC’s three planning domains of transportation, economic development and the environment. 
NIRPC is now holding public meetings in each of the three counties to:
  • Share information about NIRPC, the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan, and the Public Participation Plan 2013.
  • Discuss with other participants ways to strengthen NIRPC’s outreach and engagement strategies.
  • Reach a shared consensus on the most pressing questions and comments NIRPC should be considering for future outreach.
The public meetings will take place as follows:
  • March 25th Michigan City City Hall.
    • An opportunity to engage with staff from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • The 90-minute program will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m.
  • March 27th Valparaiso City Hall
    • An opportunity to engage with staff from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • The 90-minute program will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd Hammond Public Library
    • An opportunity to engage with staff from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    • The 90-minute program will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m.
  • April 2nd Hammond Public Library
    • An opportunity to engage with staff from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • The 90-minute program will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m.

The comment period has been extended to include any comments received during the meetings listed above and will close Tuesday, April 2. The Public Participation Plan draft and the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan are available on NIRPC’s website at www.nirpc.org. Find us on Facebook at Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and INvolve Northwest Indiana.

NIRPC is a regional council of local governments serving the three counties of Northwest Indiana. It provides a forum that enables the residents of Northwest Indiana to address regional issues relating to transportation, the environment and community and economic development. NIRPC is the voice of regionalism in Northwestern Indiana, and a developer of consensus-backed solutions.
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Coroner Rules Missing Hammond Woman's Death Homicide

The Lake County Coroner's Office today announced the body of a Hammond woman, missing since 1999, and discovered in 2011, is that of Francine Carlson. The Coroner's Office reports Carlson's death has been ruled a homicide, caused by extensive skull fractures due to unspecified blunt force trauma. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller says Carlson was 38 years old at the time of her disappearance, and that her remains were discovered underneath a condemned bait shop on October 5th, 2011, in the 17-hundred block of Indianapolis Blvd, after a dog found one of her bones and took it back to its owner, who notified police. Chief Miller says they spoke to over 30 people regarding the case, and identified a then 50 year old man as a suspect, who passed away five-years ago. Chief Miller says he believes the suspect was a friend of the victim, and was probably the last person seen with her.
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NIPSCO Offering Assistance to Customers with Bills

NIPSCO Logo
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – While the state’s winter moratorium ends March 15 for customers enrolled in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) offersa number of assistance programs, payment arrangements and energy efficiency programs to help customers with their utility bills.
During winter heating season (December 1 through March 15), Indiana natural gas providers do not disconnect service to LIHEAP customers who are behind on their bills.
Households in need of bill payment assistance are urged to contact NIPSCO at 1-800-4NIPSCO (464-7726) Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST to be connected with available assistance options, including:
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Program: LIHEAP support is available to households falling within 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and is fully funded by a federal block grant offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Applications for heating assistance will be taken through May 17, 2013.
  • NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy (CARE) Discount Program: The NIPSCO CARE Discount Program is designed to provide further bill reductions to LIHEAP-eligible customers. Once enrolled in LIHEAP, customers are automatically enrolled in the program, and reductions range from 11 to 26 percent, depending on the same criteria used by the state in determining the level of assistance. Applications for heating assistance will be taken through May 31, 2013.
  • NIPSCO Hardship Program: For customers just outside the federal poverty guidelines for LIHEAP, the NIPSCO Hardship Program offers up to $200 in gas bill assistance to households between 151-200 percent of the federal poverty level. Hardship funds are available through many of the same local Community Action Agencies where LIHEAP funds are distributed. Applications for Hardship assistance will be taken through May 31, 2013.
  • Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices via tax revenues. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help is available.
  • Payment Arrangements: A NIPSCO payment arrangement allows eligible customers to make an initial payment within four days of the agreement, then spread the remaining unpaid balance over three months, plus current bills as they are due.

For more information on billing options and payment assistance, visit NIPSCO.com/BillingPayment.
NIPSCO Reminds Customers of Bill Payment Assistance Options at End of Statewide Winter Moratorium
In addition to offering a number of payment assistance options, all NIPSCO customers have access to a wide range of energy efficiency programs, which can help them identify ways to manage energy usage, and in turn bills, including:
  • Appliance Recycling Program: Recycle your old refrigerator or freezer with us – it’s free and we’ll give you a $35 reward.
  • Energy Efficiency Rebate Program: NIPSCO's Energy Efficiency Rebate program offers an opportunity to save even more when you replace old, inefficient equipment with new, high efficiency natural gas and electric equipment. New in 2013: rebates on insulation and duct sealing.
  • Home Energy Assessment: Learn how you can raise your home’s performance, lower energy bills and improve in-home air quality with a free in-home assessment.
  • Income-Qualified Weatherization: An energy advisor will come to your home to perform a complete assessment and install multiple energy-saving measures.
  • Air Conditioner (AC) Cycling Program: By enrolling, you can help reduce energy demand on the hottest days of the year, help the environment and earn bill credits during the summer.
  • Instant Savings on CFL Bulbs: Take advantage of instant, in-store discounts when purchasing CFL bulbs at participating retail locations. No coupons or forms needed.

Visit NIPSCO.com/SaveEnergy for more information on available energy-saving programs and other ways to save.
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Several Possible Causes in Downtown Fire

Valparaiso fire officials say they don't ever want to walk away from a fire scene and not be able to pinpoint the cause -- but even though that's the case right now with the downtown fire that destroyed a two story century-old brick building March 4th, they have been able to determine where it originated and a number of possible sources. Valparaiso Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lamb says the blaze began in the southeast corner of the basement in about a twenty-by-twenty foot area that included a water heater and boiler, fuse panels, a block of electric meters, a gas meter, a refrigerator and several plastic wheeled trash containers for tenants -- some melted to nearly floor level. The floor level, however, was not burned, down low, toward the north. He says the fire burned up and out, and though they're not sure how it traveled, he says it did go up a stairwell. Lamb, who was among the local, state and privately-hired fire investigators for property owners analyzing the damage at Lincolnway and Michigan, says there are too many things that could have started the fire to say with absolute certainty which one it was. The case is still open in the event one day something can help point to the exact spot....
   

Suspect in Custody After Stand Off with Sheriff's Department

moser eric
(Photo Courtesy of the Porter County Sheriff's Office)
A former Hobart Police Officer and Porter County Animal Control Officer is in custody at last check after an incident Wednesday night. The Porter County Sheriff's office reports they responded to the 13-hundred block of Gilleevan Drive for a welfare check on a suicidal man with a weapon, who allegedly fired a shotgun out the back door as officers approached the residence.  Authorities report during the negotiations, the suspect, Eric Mosher, made death threats toward the negotiator. Officials say after finally agreeing to come out of the residence, Mosher reportedly became non-compliant with officers, and he was shot with non-lethal rounds until he complied. Mosher was taken to Porter Regional Hospital for treatment, and later to the Porter County Jail, charged with intimidation, and criminal recklessness, both felony charges, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting law enforcement.
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Series of Open Houses for Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Disabilities Awareness Month, and a series of open houses/program fairs for The Arc of Northwest Indiana gets underway today in Hobart, at the East Center on West Old Ridge Road. Sue Crisman, Director of Public Relations for The Arc of Northwest Indiana; says it's about giving people choices.  Other open houses are coming up next week.

MARCH IS DISABILITIES AWARENESS MONTH
Be a part of Disabilities Awareness Month. Access, engagement and relationships presents “The Choice Is Yours”!
The Arc Northwest Indiana will be hosting Open Houses/Program Fairs at the following location, dates, and times:
On Thursday, March 14th, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the East Center, 2395 West Old Ridge Road, Hobart, Indiana.
On Thursday, March 21st, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the North Center, 2660 West 35th Avenue, Gary, Indiana.
On Wednesday, March 20th, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the South Center, 550 East Burrell Drive, Crown Point, Indiana.
On Wednesday, March 27th, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the West Center, 9600 Kennedy Avenue, Highland, Indiana.

Information regarding Respite Care, Supported Living, Residential Services, Pre-vocational Training, Group Habilitation, Social Integration Programming, Volunteer Services, Behavior Management, Self Advocates, Family Support, Community Connections, Recreation, Job Placement and Supported Employment Follow Along Services, Medicaid Waivers, Master Trusts, and Northwest Indiana Adult Guardianship Services will be available.
For more information please call The Arc Northwest Indiana at (219) 884-1138 to speak with Sue Crisman, Director of Public Relations at extension 6562 or Mike Mayden, Transition Services Coordinator at extension 6368.
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Moseley Vows to Continue Fight for Hoosier Steel Industry

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Chuck Moseley (D-Portage) vowed today to continue fighting for legislation that would assist Indiana’s steel industry, even as Republicans who control the Statehouse continue to reject those efforts.
            Moseley attempted to ignite debate on the issue this week by offering an amendment that would have provided reduced income tax rates and additional economic incentives to encourage the manufacture of wind turbine components using steel produced in the United States in general and Indiana in particular.
            However, the Republicans who control the Indiana House refused to allow debate or a vote on the amendment, which was offered to Senate Bill 529, legislation that calls for creation of an Indiana Office of Energy Development within the governor’s office.
            “They said that my amendment was too similar to legislation I filed for consideration (House Bill 1193) that didn’t get a hearing in a House committee earlier this session, and so to consider the matter was against their rules,” Moseley said.
            “I fail to understand how the same people who claim that they are concerned about creating more jobs for Hoosiers can turn around and refuse to even consider talking about a proposal that will create a ton of jobs in our country and in this state,” he continued.
            In recent years, Indiana has expanded its commitment to alternate energy sources, such as wind power. Moseley noted that commitment is reflected in the numbers of wind turbines located along Interstate 65 in the northwest part of the state.
            “Those turbines are being built overseas in China and shipped to Indiana for installation in our state,” Moseley said. “Each one of those turbines contains 200 tons of plate steel. Why shouldn’t we be manufacturing that steel here in Indiana, instead of China?”
            Senate Bill 529 is designed to consolidate most of the state’s efforts at expanding alternative energy sources, including proposed incentives to attract developers to Indiana.
            “This is a rapidly growing industry, and we have the potential to take full advantage of many of the wonderful resources that are within our state’s boundaries, including the hard-working men and women who produce our steel,” Moseley noted.
            “Today’s action shows an unwillingness to move toward a policy that creates more jobs for Hoosiers,” he continued. “It is a slap in the face of working folks in this state.”
            Despite the setback, Moseley said he would continue to pursue passage of his proposal through the rest of the 2013 legislative session.
            “I have been working on this plan for a couple of years now, and I know it is the right thing to do,” he concluded.
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Crash Had I65 Closed

Southbound I-65 was shut down for a time in Jasper County last night. Indiana State Police Lowell Post say a preliminary investigation shows a northbound semi went out control and through the median cable barriers, up onto southbound I-65 traveling across both lanes. The semi came to rest upright on the outer shoulder of southbound I-65 facing north. Troopers say a car southbound on I-65 then hit the cable barriers that were strung across southbound I-65 lanes still attached to the semi. The semi driver was treated at the scene, and the other driver was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his arms.
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PUC Ending Classes at South Lake Co Center

Purdue Calumet has announced they will not offer classes next fall at their south Lake County facility – and they're considering their options for future use of the two-story building two miles south of US 30 on Broadway in Merrillville. The Chancellor says the decision is due to declining enrollment, and will save the campus 280-thousand dollars a year. The ALC opened in fall 2005 as a feeder facility to the Hammond campus, and offered primarily freshman and sophomore level classes.
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