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Indiana Meningitis Still On the Rise

The number of Indiana fungal meningitis cases linked to contaminated back and joint pain steroid injections has increased yet again. The State Department of Health said Wednesday that there are now 48 cases, up two from Tuesday. Officials also say Indiana has three deaths attributed to the tainted medication, and that number remains unchanged....

 

Northwest Indiana Blood Drives

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From American Red Cross, Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region:

Hurricane Sandy hinders blood and platelet donations

Red Cross urges blood donations in unaffected areas

Ft. Wayne, Indiana October 30, 2012 — Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of more than 300 American Red Cross blood drives in 14 states along the East Coast, resulting in a shortfall of more than 9,000 units of blood and platelets thus far.

The shortfall is expected to grow as Sandy is causing power outages and flooding in many areas. All eligible donors in unaffected parts of the country are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and give blood or platelets.

“Just as Red Cross volunteers have mobilized to provide disaster relief and other emergency assistance, we are mobilizing blood and platelets donations to ensure patients have access to the potentially lifesaving blood products they need,” said Karen Kelley, Red Cross Division Communications Director. “When you donate blood or platelets through the Red Cross, you can help patients in your local community and patients across the country, including those in Hurricane Sandy’s path.”

The Red Cross partners with more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country, providing blood products donated by giving individuals, and specialized laboratory services. While Hurricane Sandy affects the number of people available to donate, patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather. 

All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply is available during a disaster, especially type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

UPCOMING AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES IN YOUR AREA:

Thursday, Nov. 1, from 12:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthias Church in the Hall, located at 101 Burell Drive in Crown Point.  Please go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code “stmattcrp” to schedule your blood donation appointment.
Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Lakeside Barber Shop, located at 111 E. Third St. in Hobart.    Please call (219) 942-5035 to schedule your blood donation appointment.  This blood drive is held In Honor Of Jack Ryan. 
Sunday, Nov. 4, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Ridge United Methodist Church, located at 8607 Columbia Ave. in Munster.    Please call 838-4770 or go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code “ridgeumc” to schedule your blood donation appointment. 
Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Highland Parks & Recreation Center, located at 2450 Lincoln St. in Highland.  Please go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code “hprec” to schedule your blood donation appointment. 
Monday, Nov. 12, from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Bethel Church, located at 13620 Wicker Ave. in Cedar Lake.  Please call 663-9200 or go to redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code “commbc” to schedule your blood donation appointment. 
The Merrillville Donor Center, located at 791 E. 83rd Ave. in Merrillville, is open every Monday from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of each month from     8 a.m. until noon.
 

The Red Cross has mobilized disaster volunteers and is providing safe shelter from Hurricane Sandy to thousands of people in the storm’s path. The Red Cross is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, as well as community partners to coordinate response efforts.

To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to a local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Red Cross Apps

The free Red Cross Hurricane App for mobile devices provides real-time hurricane safety information such as weather alerts and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. The Hurricane App is available in Spanish. Users just need to make sure the language setting on their smart phone is set to Spanish before downloading.  The First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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Fatal Crash in Michigan City

(5am) Michigan City - US 35 closed in both directions between US 20 and Johnson Road due to an earlier crash involving a fataility. This is an accident scene investigation, and INDOT is expecting it to be closed for the next 2 hours.

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1 Dead in 2 Vehicle Crash Tuesday

Newton County Sheriff Dept A 55 year old semi truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene in Newton County Tuesday afternoon, after a two-vehicle crash that closed down the northbound lanes of U-S 41 for approximately six hours. The Newton County Sheriff's office reports the semi of 50 year Joseph Gregory, of Harvey, Illinois, was partially parked in the right lane of U-S 41, near County Road 600 North, with reflective triangles set out, when a semi driven by 55 year old Eugene Williams, of South Bend, failed to see Gregory's truck, and drove into the back of it. Authorities report both Williams, and his passenger, 42 year old Rosemary Eason, also of South Bend, had to be extricated from their vehicle, with Eason being transported to Saint Anthony's in Crown Point for abrasions to her face, and a possible back injury. Officials report an investigation of the crash continues.

 

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Gary Man Sentenced for Gas Station Shooting

A Gary man involved in a shooting at a Gary gas station, on or about April 3rd of this year, was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday. The Lake County Prosecutor's Office reports 30 year old Evan Hodge pled guilty to the felony charge of carrying a handgun without a license. Prosecutor Bernard Carter says Gary Police found that the gun Hodge had in his possession was not licensed.

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Election Day Emergency Preparedness Guide

Well if election day had been this past Tuesday, the inclement weather definitely could have reeked havoc on voters, but voting would have still taken place. Valarie Kroeger, with the Indiana Secretary of State Office, says an election and polling place preparedness guide has been distributed to the Election Security Task Force, county clerks, and election boards, so officials can promptly respond to any situation which could disrupt voting, by establishing alternate polling place locations, or allow extra ballots to be ready if a precinct had to be moved on the day of the election. Kroeger says the guideline created works as a template for each county to go by at the state level, so each county can meet its own unique needs.

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Porter County Tax Deadline Extended

The second installment for Porter County taxes is usually due on the 10th of November but this year taxpayers will have two extra days--well sort of.  Mike Bucko, Porter County Treasurer says the deadline has been extended to November 13, 2012 as a result of election day and Veteran's Day, "November 6th the buidling is closed for voting, and November 12th is a veteran's holiday, that's why we moved it to the 13th because it normally was the 10th and November 10th is a Saturday, so we had to go to Monday and Monday was Veteran's Day so we had to go to Tuesday." 

Treasurer Bucko reminds tax payers that payments can be made online, as long as payment confirmation is received by Midnight on November 13th.  "So pay early by mail to beat the dead line for paying your Real Estate, Personal and Mobile Home taxes in Porter County without incurring penalties," according to Bucko.  Additionally, November 13, 2012, post marks will be considered on-time mailed payments and on-line payment confirmation emails dated November 13, 2012, up to 11:59:59 CST, will be considered on-time FREE E-Check payments and Credit Card payments (a fee of 2.5% will be added to all credit card payments by the credit card companies). 

Over the counter payments will be on-time if paid at the counter by 4:30pm November 13, 2012.  According to the county website, Treasurer's Office hours are 8:30 a, to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday except holidays.  Payments can also be placed in the RED TOP Drop Box, located in the lobby, if desired.  Envelopes will be available for payments.  Tax payers should also bring a self-addressed stamped envelope and put it in the payment envelope for a mailed receipt or your cancelled check will be your receipt.

When mailing payment the Treasurer's Office says to be sure to includ your tax remittance coupon to Porter County Treasuer, PO Box 2150, Valparaiso, IN. 46384-2150.  Your cancelled check can be your receipt for taxes.  You are also able to get a receipt on line at www.porterco.org.   Bucko adds that post-dated checks will be returned to taxpayers and late penalties will apply if payments are then received late.

E-Check payments are FREE and tax payers have until 11:59:59 pm on November 13, 2012 to be on-time, at www.porterco.org at PAY YOUR TAX BILL "Click Here."  Enter your Duplicate Number from your tax bill.  If you do not have your Duplicate Number, change the drop down from "Pay Your Bill" to "General Search," select "Last Name" and enter your last name only.  Click on the Credit Card or Checkbook Icon to proceed with the payment process.  Read all instructions before and during the process.  According to the Treasurer's Office, Payments are not REAL TIME.  Do not look to see if the balance has changed after paying, instead, Bucko adds, just keep the receipt ass proof of payment.  Finally, only enter your Bank Routing Number and Bank Account Number when prompted, do not include your check number.  When asked to enter your zip code for verification use the first 5 digits of the zip code from the mailing address on your tax bill, according to the Treasurer's Office.

More information on paying your Porter County taxes can be found at:  http://www2.porterco.org/home/faq/faq-taxes/

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     (photo from porterco.org)

Mike Bucko, Poprter County Treasurer.

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NIPSCO to Provide Mutual Aid Crews

The 40 to 50 mile per hour winds that blew through the region as a result of Hurricane Sandy had a number of energy customers without power at times. NIPSCO Spokesman Nick Meyer says at it peak six-thousand to 65-hundred customers were without service, with areas along the lakefront, like Michigan City, being the hardest hit. Meyer says now that outage issues related to the remnants of Sandy have been dealt with, NIPSCO will be sending 60 crew members to eastern areas of Ohio and Cleveland, to lend a hand to the restoration efforts there, at the request from other utilities to support the nearly five to six million customers still without power. Meyer says the mutual aid is part the close relationship they have with other utilities.

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Two More Meningitis Cases Confirmed

Another Indiana case of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated back and joint pain steroid injections has been confirmed. The State Department of Health said Tuesday there are now 46 cases, up one from Monday. Officials also say Indiana has three deaths attributed to the tainted medication, and that number was unchanged.

Two More Meningitis Cases Confirmed

 

 

 

 

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Indiana School Report Cards Out

The report cards for Indiana schools are out today. The Indiana Department of Education released Public Law 221 A through F school category placements at today's State Board of Education meeting.  Here's the news release:

Indiana Schools Make the Grade; Most Earn As and Bs

More than 61 percent of Indiana’s schools received A or B letter grades for the 2011-2012 school year, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett announced at today’s State Board of Education Meeting. In total, 40.9 percent of schools earned As, 20.1 percent of schools earned Bs, and 20.3 percent of schools earned Cs. Only 18.6 percent of schools earned D or F grades, similar to last year’s percentage and lower than in the 2009-2010 school year. This year, 207 schools received As for the first time.

“These fair and comprehensive measures of school performance demonstrate that school leaders and teachers are focusing on the skills our students need to succeed in their academic and professional careers,” Bennett said. “The results of our new approach to grading schools are already making a measurable difference in student performance, and Indiana’s educators should be celebrated for their hard work and success.”

In addition, 28 schools receiving Fs for the 2010-2011 school year earned Cs or higher this year; eight of those schools each moved from an F to an A. Overall, 43 schools moved up at least three letter grades. Since 2009, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has increased support for struggling schools, dedicating almost $128 million to low performing schools to help them implement dramatic and comprehensive improvement plans.  

This year, new metrics making use of the latest advances in measuring student academic performance were used to calculate school grades. At the elementary and middle school level, the Indiana Growth Model factored heavily in to the scores of many schools demonstrating progress toward closing the achievement gap or strong overall academic growth. At the high school level, college and career readiness indicators, such as Advanced Placement success and industry certifications, factored in to the grades.

The U.S. Department of Education granted Indiana a waiver for increased flexibility from certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act based on the quality of IDOE’s application, which included these new accountability metrics.  This waiver allowed Indiana to remove the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) cap that kept many successful schools at the C level year after year.

Highlighting Excellence

The new category placements provide several relevant examples of local success that should guide school leaders looking to focus on the skills and instructional priorities that drive academic results. Of particular interest is the large number of high poverty schools making significant gains this year over 2011. Overall, 84 percent of schools improving at least three letter grades met federal free and reduced lunch Title 1 requirements. Many of these schools earned bonus points for driving student growth—a measure not considered in Indiana’s previous school accountability metrics. 

Dickinson Fine Arts Academy in South Bend Community School Corporation and CSA Fodrea Campus in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation each moved from an F grade to an A grade in just one year. Each school was honored for significant achievement gains during the IDOE’s annual ISTEP+ ceremony this summer and received several high growth bonuses under the new metrics.  Dickinson spent four consecutive years in the lowest category of school performance before today’s announcement.

“The new letter grades bring this summer’s recognition full circle,” Dickinson Principal Thomas Sims said. “Our school leaders and teachers took a ‘no excuses’ approach to school improvement and never blinked as we implemented dramatic and student-centered changes to create a results oriented learning atmosphere.”

Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) was lauded for moving from an F to a B. Just one year ago, the State Board of Education (SBOE) intervened in the school after it was an F school for six consecutive years. After carefully considering the school’s most pressing needs, the SBOE chose Scholastic Corporation as a Lead Partner (LP) to assist Broad Ripple in areas such as personnel, operations, discipline and instruction. Broad Ripple High’s school leaders and teachers worked proactively with the LP to implement a significant and successful improvement plan.  This successful partnership has driven strong gains in several key college and career readiness indicators.

"The dedication of our educators at Broad Ripple High School as they work diligently with the Scholastic Corporation, the lead partner assigned by IDOE, was the major driver of the success,” IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White said. “Authentic support from our community partners and alumni groups assists teachers and students on the path to improvement. Our students certainly are the beneficiaries of this powerful partnership between IPS and IDOE. "

About Indiana’s A through F Accountability Model

Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, the SBOE changed labels for school categories based on student performance from the terms Exemplary Progress, Commendable Progress, Academic Progress, Academic Watch and Academic Probation to easy-to-understand letter grades (A, B, C, D and F).  The A through F labels have improved transparency by allowing parents and community members to better recognize how Indiana schools are performing. 

Following the move to A through F letter grades, the SBOE also adopted a new methodology for determining grades for schools and school corporations.  This new methodology holds schools and school corporations to higher standards and provides a more accurate picture of their performance by incorporating student academic growth and graduation rates as well as college and career readiness indicators.

Letter grades for high schools are calculated based on performance (Algebra 1 and English 10 End of Course Assessments), student improvement, graduation rate, and college and career readiness indicators (such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and industry certification exams or earning college credits).  Letter grades for elementary and middle schools are based upon English/Language Arts and Math ISTEP+ performance, participation and improvement as well as student growth.

View letter grades for individual schools, a statewide breakdown of this year’s grades and helpful resources on A through F school accountability HERE.   

The Indiana Growth Model tracks the progress of students from year to year and recognizes dramatic gains in proficiency regardless of whether students “pass” or “fail” a test. For more information on the Growth Model, click HERE.

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Extra Officers Out in Porter Co Tonight

News Release from the Porter County Sheriffs Department:  The Porter County Sheriff’s Department will be putting extra manpower out on the streets during trick or treating time to ensure the safety of all the children that are out on Halloween.  The extra officers who are out will be checking that registered sex offenders are living at the address they have reported, and are not dispensing candy if prohibited from doing so.  Officers will also be making sure that motorists are obeying traffic laws in communities that have an abundance of children out walking door to door.  This will be the 3rd straight year that the Porter County Sheriff’s Department has done this initiative.

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Porter Co Property Taxes Due Soon

News release from Porter County Treasurer Mike Bucko:

The Porter County Administration Building will be closed November 6th for voting and November 12th for Veterans Day.  So pay early by mail to beat the dead line for paying your Real Estate, Personal and Mobile Home taxes in Porter County, Indiana without incurring penalties.  November 13, 2012, post marks will be considered on-time mailed payments.  On-line payment confirmation emails dated November 13, 2012, up to 11:59:59pm CST, will be considered on-time.  FREE E-Check payments and Credit Card payments.  Over the counter payments will be on-time if paid at the counter by 4:30pm November 13, 2012.  Treasurer’s Office hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm M-F except holidays. You may put your payment in the lobby RED TOP Drop Box if desired.  Envelopes will be available for payments.  Bring a self-addressed stamped envelope and put it in the payment envelope for a mailed receipt or your canceled check will be your receipt.

When mailing your payment include your tax remittance coupon to Porter County Treasurer, PO Box 2150, Valparaiso, IN 46384-2150.  Your canceled check can be your receipt for taxes. You are also able to get a receipt on line at www.porterco.org.  Post-dated checks will be returned to taxpayers and late penalties will apply if payments are then received late.

E-Check payments are FREE and you have until 11:59:59pm on November 13 to be on-time, at www.porterco.org at PAY YOUR TAX BILL (Click Here).  Enter your Duplicate Number from your tax bill.  If you do not have you Duplicate Number, change the drop down from “Pay Your Bill” to “General Search”, select “Last Name” and enter your last name only.  Click on the Credit Card or Checkbook Icon to proceed with the payment process.  Read all instructions before and during the process.  Payments are not REAL TIME. Do not look to see if the balance has changed after paying.  Just keep the receipt as proof of payment.  Only enter your Bank Routing Number and Bank Account Number when prompted, do not include your check number. When asked to enter your zip code for verification use the first 5 digits of the zip code from the mailing address on your tax bill.

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23 Jailed in Lake County Sweep

jail Lake County Sheriffs Police say twenty-three people were taken to jail in a recent “street sweeps” initiative in north Lake County. Officials say about sixty officers took part looking for criminal activity in Hammond, East Chicago, Whiting and Gary last Friday night between 6 pm and 1:30 am.

Participating departments included; Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Hammond Police Department, East Chicago Police Department, Gary Police Department, Whiting Police Department, Indiana University Police Department, Portage Police Department, Odgen Dunes Police Department, Indiana State Police, and the U.S. Marshall’s Service....

   

Region Trick or Treat Hours

Get Trick or Treat hours from Northwest Indiana cities and towns by clicking our community link HERE....

   

Northwest Indiana Ghost Stories

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Northwest Indiana ghost stories - there are many and plenty of them -- and one person who has collected a lot of them and assembled them into a series of several "Haunted Indiana" books is Merrillville native Mark Marimen.  Marimen has authored several books, which include:

Haunted Indiana (Volume 1)
Haunted Indiana 2
Haunted Indiana 3
Haunted Indiana 4
Haunted Travels of Indiana
School Spirits
Weird Indiana (authors Mark Marimen, James A. Willis and Troy Taylor)

To hear a number of special features on Region ghost lore with Mark Marimen... including Diana of the Dunes, the Hammond Circus Train, and the Ghosts of Cline Avenue...  visit my blog here (and scroll to the audio player).

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Multi-Vehicle Crash in Winfield

We are getting reports of a multi-vehicle crash in the Winfield area this morning. The crash scene is on 109th Avenue near Deer Creek Drive, which is between Randolph Street and Grand Boulevard (just west of Lakes of the Four Seasons). More information as it becomes available

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SOS: Disregard Voting Record Audit Letters

Indiana's Secretary of State is warning Hoosiers to disregard letters claiming to be neighborhood voting record audits. Connie Lawson says they are not aware of any improper use of Indiana's resources to conduct such an “audit”, and does not treat lightly its role to strictly limit access to voting records. The letter lists an individual's name, address and voter participation for 2008, 2010, and 2012, as well as listing neighbors of the individual and their voter participation history. Indiana law restricts the availability of voter participation records, and only provides the information to state political parties and legislative causes; however, voter participation records can be accessed from county voter registration offices.

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Coast Guard Says Stay Away from Shoreline

coast guard Due to the high winds, dangerous surf conditions, and rip currents, authorities are urging you to stay away from the Lake Michigan shoreline for the next several days.. The Coast Guard says residents and curiosity seekers are being asked to stay off rocky terrain, beaches, piers, because as they may appear safe, the waves and winds are strong and unpredictable, and could cause onlookers to slip and get pulled into the surf. The Coast Guard is also warning water enthusiasts to remain off the water, as conditions could prohibit them from assisting individuals in distress. Authorities say those living along the lakefront should, if you haven't already, secure your personal property, but that if they are blown into the water, do not attempt to retrieve them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wind Ban Canceled for Indiana Toll Road

Operators of the Indiana Toll Road report the wind ban has been canceled for the Indiana Toll Road, effective at 4pm Central/5pm Eastern. Th ban had been in effect since 1pm Monday, for all triple, long double, and high profile oversize permit loads, excluding low profile steel haulers.

Traffic-Advisory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coast Guards Says Stay Away from Shoreline

coast guard Due to the high winds, dangerous surf conditions, and rip currents, authorities are urging you to stay away from the Lake Michigan shoreline for the next several days.. The Coast Guard says residents and curiosity seekers are being asked to stay off rocky terrain, beaches, piers, because as they may appear safe, the waves and winds are strong and unpredictable, and could cause onlookers to slip and get pulled into the surf. The Coast Guard is also warning water enthusiasts to remain off the water, as conditions could prohibit them from assisting individuals in distress. Authorities say those living along the lakefront should, if you haven't already, secure your personal property, but that if they are blown into the water, do not attempt to retrieve them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
LAURA WALUSZKO
Region News Team
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BRENT BROWN
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Jay-WAKE Karl-WAKE Annie-WAKE
JAY STEVENS
Region News Team
KARL BERNER
Region News Team
ANNIE FOX
Region News Team

Recent-Newscast

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