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Toll Road Construction Halted for Thanksgiving Holiday

intollrd
Officials with the Indiana Toll Road report seasonal road construction projects will come to a halt prior to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. All mainline lane restrictions will be removed as of 5am EST Monday, November 25th, to accommodate motorists. The only exceptions to this will be made for any emergency repairs on the Toll Road and for the westbound exit ramp at the Lake Station interchange, which remains closed for reconstruction. Any remaining construction projects will resume after 8pm EST Tuesday, December 3rd....
 

Valpo Five-Points Roundabout Opening Delayed

City of valpo
The opening of the new Five-Points Roundabout in Valparaiso, which was to occur this evening has been delayed due to the weather. Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers says the weather has delayed the contractor's ability to apply the pavement markings, but they hope to have the new roundabout, at the five-points intersection of Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads, open next week.
Summers says the tree-lighting dedication ceremony though will still take place as planned on Sunday, November 24th, at 4:30pm, in the Kmart parking lot. ...
 

Highland PD Offers Tips to Avoid Scams

Highland Police
Police in Highland are reminding residents to be wary of unknown subjects at your door or in the neighborhood with no identification after receiving several recent complaints of attempted scams. Highland Police report all of Highland's Public Work employees wear badges and uniforms with the Highland emblem and they drive town vehicles that are clearly marked with the Highland logo. Police say if someone claims to be from the water department or lawn service and requests access to your home, ask for proper identification, and if they cannot provide it, call 911 immediately. ...
 

New Study: Keep the TV Out of Your Child's Bedroom

Here's another reason to keep televisions out of your kids' bedrooms: A study from Ohio State University says, in preschoolers, TV can impair social development. ABC News reports TV can be really bad in a preschooler's bedroom (It's disruptive to sleep, it's linked with poor eating habits) And Ohio State professor Amy Nathanson says regardless of a 3-to-5-year-old's socioeconomic status - too much TV can weaken that kid's social development skills (another recommendation would be to limit the amount of time that a television is just on in the household) Even in the background, TV can be disruptive. ...
 

Snowmobile Stickers are in for Porter County

2013 – 2014 snowmobile stickers are here -- The Porter County Sheriff's Department is reminding the public that snowmobiles that operate on the traveled portion of public highways in Porter County must be registered with the Porter County Sheriff’s Police.
To register your snowmobile come to the Sheriff’s Dept. Monday thru Friday from 8am – 3:45pm (except holidays). Please bring:
State snowmobile registration card
Evidence of existence of an in-force policy of insurance covering personal property damage in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) and personal liability in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00)
A new weather resistant registration sticker will be provided and must be attached to the vehicle. There is no charge for the sticker. The penalty for failure to properly register your vehicle is a $50.00 citation.
For the complete county code for snowmobiles go to:  http://www.porterco.org/DocumentCenter/View/1817
For information on obtaining a state snowmobile registration go to: http://www.in.gov/dnr/4278.htm...
 

Preparing for Winter in the Region

This is officially Winter Preparedness Week in Indiana... a week that started with severe weather and tornadoes more akin to Spring. The National Weather Service is encouraging Hoosiers to prepare for what could be a cold and snowy winter.
"Tornadoes and floods are also concerns for Hoosiers during winter," said Meteorologist in Charge Dan McCarthy of the NWS Indianapolis office.  "Indiana had two tornadoes and more than a half dozen flooding events last winter so being prepared and taking action for any hazard are keys to safety"."
Officials recommend assembling and maintaining a disaster kit, and including items like food and water for three days for everyone in the family including companion animals, a battery-operated or hand-crank all-hazards radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, and cash (Small bills. Power outages can limit use of ATMs and credit cards).
The INDOT YouTube channel (YouTube.com/IndianaDOT) is debuting two new winter weather videos.  In one of them, the Indiana Department of Transportation talks about how they pre-treat roads with brine they make themselves, by recycling the water they use to wash their trucks.  The trucks are salty after hours on the road plowing snow, and when they're cleaned up, the salty water runoff is collected, checked for salt levels, and used to pretreat the roads before snow and ice --for less, INDOT says, than standard de-icers.
Check out the video here:   http://youtu.be/zeHB5bQdw0A
Drivers can also learn about road conditions in winter weather, INDOT plow progress, and snow forecasts through the INDOT social media pages? Learn how in this new video: http://youtu.be/Ns8P3BJlQYI
For more info on winter weather, visit www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter  ....
 

Indiana Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2008

Indiana's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in five years. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the state's jobless rate for October was seven-point-five percent. Governor Mike Pence issued a statement in response to today's announcement, saying the news was encouraging, but that there are still too many Hoosiers struggling in this economy, and the state needs to continue efforts to make Indiana even more attractive for jobs and investment.
“Indiana’s pro-growth policies of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and less red tape are giving Hoosier businesses the confidence to grow and attracting new investment and jobs to our state. Our progress in education and workforce is attracting renewed interest in investment in Indiana. Because of our efforts, Indiana’s private sector job growth continues to significantly outpace the national average,” Governor Pence said.
“I am grateful to our partners in the Indiana General Assembly who helped us make the state even more business-friendly for the companies that power Indiana’s economic engine every day, but there is more work to be done.”
Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped by nearly one percentage point over the past three months to 7.5 percent. The decrease in unemployment in the Hoosier State signifies the largest three-month drop in more than 20 years (September 1993). Indiana began the year with a rate of 8.6 percent and was at 8.4 percent in July.
Private sector employment in Indiana grew by 6,600 jobs in October, with gains concentrated in the manufacturing (+3,600), construction (+1,700) and private educational & health services (+1,300) sectors. Indiana’s rate of private sector growth (8.4 percent) has continued to significantly outpace the national average (6.5 percent) since July 2009, the low point of employment in Indiana.
“Indiana’s unemployment rate is more than one percentage point below where it was in January, which is definitely significant” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “The steady private sector job growth the Hoosier State has been experiencing for some time now is finally beginning to be reflected in the unemployment rate, which many businesses and individuals rely on to make important economic decisions.”
Sanders also noted the number of unemployed Hoosiers has decreased by more than 27,000 over the past three months, while Indiana’s labor force has grown by 6,000. Claims for unemployment insurance this year remain at their lowest levels since 2000.
Employment by Sector
Sectors showing gains in October include: Manufacturing (3,600), Construction (1,700), and Private Educational & Health Services (1,300). The Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-800), Professional and Business Services (-100), and Leisure and Hospitality (-200) sectors showed declines. Total non-farm employment increased in October (7,300).

...
 

Man Dies After Falling onto Interstate

Police say a 72-year-old man died Thursday after falling off a bridge and onto Interstate 80 in Illinois, a few miles west of the Indiana/Illinois state line. South Holland Police say the man fell just after 11 am from an overpass bridge near Chicago Road and onto traffic. The man, identified as Jerry Jones of Moline, Illinois, was found dead at the shoulder of the westbound lanes. Police continue to investigate....
 

Prep Football Semistate Games

Several Region prep football teams hope to be working off their Thanksgiving meals on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  The East Chicago Central Cardinals, Andrean 59ers, Rensselaer Bombers and Winamac Warriors are all vying for semistate victories tonight, and a chance to compete for a state championship next weekend.  Here's the line up for Region teams playing in semistate action this evening  All kick-off times listened are Region (Central) Time.
4A
(11-2) East Chicago Central vs (10-3) Forte Wayne Dwenger at Zollner Stadium in Forte Wayne, 6:30pm
3A
(12-1) West Lafayette at (13-0) Andrean, 6:30pm
2A
(11-2) Rensselaer at (10-3) Tipton, 7pm
1A
(12-1) Tri Central at (13-0) Winamac, 6:30pm...
 

Police Plan Patrols for 'Blackout Wednesday'

Law enforcement from Indiana State, Lake County, Lake County's Traffic Safety Partnership, and Hammond gathered at the Hammond Police Department Thursday to get the word out to the Region – to stay safe on the roads as we head into the holidays – and to let motorists know, they'll be out in force looking for impaired drivers.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich told the Region News Team his department's patrols include some very heavily-traveled and well-known highways in the Region. "We're stepping up our efforts starting next week," Sheriff Buncich said, with concentrated efforts in the rural and unincorporated areas, as well as the heavily-traveled Cline Avenue corridor and Route 41.
Police are in the midst of an Operation Pull Over blitz that began November 8th and continues through December first that combines high-visibility seatbelt and impaired driving patrols. Extra patrols are also planned for Thanksgiving eve, referred to at “Blackout Wednesday” by law enforcement who say it's becoming the biggest drinking holiday of the year, surpassing New Year's Eve.  
Thanksgiving Eve, or "Blackout Wednesday," is "quickly becoming the biggest drinking holiday of the year," said Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller, surpassing New Year's Eve, and with so many motorists on the roads for the Thanksgiving travel period, Chief Miller says they feel it creates "a deadly mix".
Also in Hammond, City Court Judge Jeffrey Harkin has raised the bond to $2000.00 cash for anyone arrested for driving while intoxicated.  Arraignment will be Monday morning (December 2, 2013) following the holiday.     "It’s my hope that by announcing these patrols and making our presence known, we will deter people from driving drunk," Miller said. "Please plan your partying with safety in mind. Always use a designated driver, and if that fails call a friend or a cab."
Hammond Police Lt. Patrick Vicari says in Hammond the ongoing crackdown also includes pedestrian traffic safety enforcement.  "The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times in Indiana," Vicari said, "and It's the goal of the law enforcement agencies in this area to keep travelers safe while driving on our highways and our city streets."
Police also want to make sure motorists and their passengers are buckling up.  "It's the best way to protect yourself against injury in a crash as well as your loved one," said Indiana State Police Trooper Glen Fifield.  Fifield also said if you see someone driving in a manner you suspect of being impaired, there's" a high probability you're right," and people are encouraged to call 911 immediately.
Commander of the Lake County Traffic Safety Partnership, St. John Police Officer Steve Rudzinski added, "We just want to make sure people in this county and throughout Indiana are safe."...
 

Woman Approached by Man with Gun at Outlet Mall

Police in Michigan City are said to be investigating the report of a man trying to rob someone at gunpoint in the parking lot of Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets around 2-o'clock Wednesday afternoon. Officials say a 60-year-old woman was approached by a man who started by asking questions, then demanded money when a 20-year-old employee of one of the stores told the suspect to “leave her alone”, and the man went up to her with a gun before fleeing on foot, climbing over a six-foot high chain link fence on the northwest side of the outlet mall facing US 12. The suspect was described as white, in his 20s or 30s and wearing a dark colored jacket....
   

Superceding Indictment Charges Two-Six Gang Members


Hammond, Indiana - United States Attorney David Capp announced that a Superseding Indictment was returned yesterday charging Jesus Valentin Fuentes, 39, of Chicago and East Chicago, Kiontay Kyare Pennington, 34, of Gary, Indiana, Oscar Cosme, 41, of East Chicago, Indiana and Adron Herschel Tancil, 36, of East Chicago, Indiana, for the May 16, 2003 murder of Julio Cartagena in East Chicago, Indiana.
The indictment alleges that Fuentes was one of the local leaders of the Two Six Nation, a violent criminal enterprise. In November 2003, Fuentes directed members of the Two Six to kidnap the family of Julio Cartagena (Cartagena was also a member of the Two Six), in an effort to recover a large quantity of cocaine stolen by Cartagena from Fuentes. Henderson, Pennington and other Two Six members allegedly kidnapped Cartagena’s children and mother of his children at gunpoint from their home in Hammond, Indiana. Hammond Police soon were able to rescue the family, none were harmed.
Thereafter, the indictment alleges that Fuentes directed Two Six members to kidnap Julio Cartagena. On May 16, 2003, Louis Henderson, Pennington, and Tancil, all alleged Two Six members, and Oscar Cosme, an associate of Henderson, shot and killed Cartagena in East Chicago during an attempted kidnapping. After the shooting these four individuals sped away in a vehicle driven by Henderson. The vehicle crashed and Henderson was killed.

  • Count 1 of the indictment charges Pennington, Tancil and Fuentes with murder in aid of racketeering and kidnapping.

  • Count 2 of the indictment charges Pennington, Cosme, Tancil and Fuentes with the use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (distribution of cocaine) and crimes of violence (murder and kidnapping).

These charges were filed as the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Merrillville Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives HIDTA Taskforce, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the East Chicago Police Department and the Hammond Police Department. This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Nozick.
The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. ...
   

Lowell Teacher Named 2013 IN Art Teacher of the Year

An elementary art teacher in Lowell recently received the 2013 Indiana Elementary School Art Educator of the Year award. The Art Education Association of Indiana made the announcement today that Jill Sayers won the award during the annual convention in Indianapolis last month. Sayers teaches art at Lake Praire Elementary and is also the school's Building Technology Leader. Principal Lisa Patton calls Sayers a “grant writing machine”who is on a never-ending quest to find innovative projects and units, which are engaging and highly creative. ...
   

Sketch of Chesterton Burglary Suspect Released

chesterton suspect sketch
Police in Chesterton continue to investigate a report of a woman being robbed in her home on Tuesday in the 11-hundred block of Pam Street. Chesterton Police today released a sketch of the alleged suspect who, according to police, approached the victim from behind and pushed her inside, implying he had a weapon, though none was displayed. The suspect was described as a black male, about 6-feet tall, weighing 190 pounds, with short curly hair. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Chesterton Police at (219) 926-1136....
   

Coroner's Office ID's Homicide Victim Found in Gary

A Hispanic man whose body was discovered in a burned out vehicle in Gary on November 4th, in the 27-hundred block of Maryland Street, has been identified. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports the deceased was identified late this afternoon as 30 year old Emmanuel Dominguez, of Chicago. The Coroner's Office reports Dominguez sustained multiple stab wounds and his death has been ruled a homicide. ...
   

Meetings Scheduled for Proposed Limestone Quarry

A couple of meetings are coming up that could move a proposed limestone quarry closer to reality in south Lake County. Singleton Stone has asked permission for work on a couple of ditches for a quarry at their 600-acre site southeast of the I-65 and Route 2 interchange, east of Lowell. The drainage board's advisory committee will hear the matter next month, at an 8am meeting December 18th. A special meeting of the county's drainage board has been scheduled for January 29th, 2014 to consider the committee's recommendation. Board member Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub won't have a say because a judge ordered Scheub to remove himself from the proceedings after Scheub's public opposition to the proposed quarry which has been in the courts since 2010. The drainage board is typically made up of Lake County's three commissioners. ...
   

Miracle on Mt. Baldy First Responders Honored

mt baldy honors 2
(Photos Courtesy of State Senator Jim Arnold's Office)
Tuesday was Organization Day for Indiana legislators to kick off the 2014 legislative session, a mostly ceremonial day featuring the annual first roll call of all state lawmakers, but legislators also honored emergency workers who played a vital role in the July rescue of a 6 year old boy at Mt. Baldy. State Senator Jim Arnold, of LaPorte, authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 honoring the first responders, and Michigan City mayor Ron Meer, Police Chief Mark Swistek and Fire Chief Ronnie Martin were in attendance. Senator Arnold says, “the time, effort and professionalism that these first responders exhibited are no doubt the reason that a 6-year-old boy now has his whole life ahead of him...and for that, they deserve all of our respect and gratitude.”
mt baldy honors 1
The General Assembly will return to the Statehouse on January 7th. ...
   

LaPorte Police Seek Help in Locating Wanted Man

brett tanksley
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
Police in LaPorte are seeking the public's help in locating a 26 year old man wanted on a warrant for failure to appear on a possession of a controlled substance charge and maintaining a common nuisance. LaPorte Police report Brett Tanksley is described as a white male, 5'8”, weighing 190 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Police say Tanksley has a large tattoo of the grim reaper on his chest and the letters T-A-N-K tattooed across the fingers of his right hand. Anyone with information on Brett Tanksley's immediate whereabouts is asked to contact 9-1-1,  the LaPorte Police Department at 362-9446, or La Porte Metro Operations at 325-9022. You can remain anonymous....

   

3.5 Pounds of Crystal Meth Found During Traffic Stop

Loki with Meth
(Photos Courtesy of the Lake County County Sheriff's Office)
Two North Chicago men are in custody after police recovered three-point-five pounds of crystal methamphetamine from their vehicle on Wednesday. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports officers pulled the vehicle over around 4pm for speeding and making unsafe lane movements while heading southbound on I-65, near Lowell. Authorities say while approaching the vehicle, their drug dog indicated on the engine area and upon investigating the engine compartment the drugs were allegedly located. 26 year old Alejandro Murilla and 18 year old Alexander Molina were each charged with dealing a controlled substance.
Alejandro Murillo
(Above: Alejandro Murilla. Below: Alexander Molina)
Alexander Molina ...
   

South Shore Air Show Moving to Fair Oaks Farms

air show announcement 1
(Photos Courtesy of Nick Russ and the South Shore CVA)

This morning at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, officials welcomed back the South Shore Air Show... which is heading to a new location.  Speros A. Batistatos, President and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, and Gary Corbett, CEO of Fair Oaks Farms, announced that Fair Oaks Farms will play backdrop to the event at a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 21.
air show announcement 2
Fair Oaks Farms is a 33,000 acre attraction, allowing the two organizations ample room to make additions to the family-fun event.  “Hosting an air show at a tourism destination, like Fair Oaks Farms, has yet to be done in the United States,” said Batistatos. “We have a real opportunity to bring in new facets to an event that is already a ‘must-attend’ for residents and visitors.”  Additionally, Batistatos believes hosting the air show at Fair Oaks Farms will challenge conventional thinking on space used for events along the South Shore.  “Northwest Indiana is such a unique area. There are many different features that can be highlighted and tailored to make an event truly special and successful,” said Batistatos.  According to Batistatos, Fair Oaks Farms enthusiastically agreed to partner for the 2014 air show.
air show map
(An aerial view of Fair Oaks indicating the event space in 2014)
South Shore Air Show attendees will be able to enjoy the traditional, exciting aerial acrobatics in addition to exploring all Fair Oaks Farms has to offer. With the recent addition of The Pig Adventure, Fair Oaks Farms has numerous educational and entertaining activities for all ages. Proposed additions to the air show include a car show and live music entertainment.
air show logo

Previously, the South Shore Air Show had been held on the beaches of Marquette Park in the Miller Beach section of Gary. Officials say this year's show was canceled due to the impact of automatic federal spending cuts, or sequestration.  Dates for the 2014 South Shore Air Show will be announced in the coming months....
   

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