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Repair Work Continues in Lowell, Cedar Lk, Crown Pt

Repair work continues into today (Wednesday) to address the extensive damage caused by Sunday’s severe storms, which resulted in more than 75,000 Northern Indiana Public Service Company electric customers losing service. As of Tuesday night, 760 remained without power. The storm damage was widespread, including three damaged transmission towers and more than 150 broken poles. Lowell, Cedar Lake and Crown Point were among the hardest-hit areas in NIPSCO's service territory.  NIPSCO says some individual outages could extend into Thursday.
For the outage map visit  ...

Red Cross Urges Winter Donations

Amer. Red Cross
Now through January 6th, the American Red Cross is encouraging you to participate in their “Give Something that Means Something” winter campaign through the donation of blood or platelets. Officials say historically during the winter months fewer donors take the time to give blood due to competing seasonal activities, celebrations and holiday shopping, so they want to remind you that by doing something like donating, which does not cost you anything, you can give an amazing gift and offer hope to a patient in need.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Monday, Dec. 2, from 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Temple Beth-El in the Sanctuary, located at 10001 Columbia Ave. in Munster.
Monday, Dec. 2, from 12:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Eagles Lodge in the Social Hall, located at 805 Elm St. in Valparaiso.  
Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Highland Parks & Recreation Center in Classrooms 108 and 109, located at 2450 Lincoln St. in Highland.     
Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Ivy Tech Community College, located at 3100 Ivy Tech Drive in Valparaiso.
Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Holy Spirit Church in the Parish Life Center, located at 7667 E. 109th Ave. in Crown Point
Thursday, Dec. 5, from 9:30 a.m. until noon at Purdue North Central, located at 600 Vale Park Road in Valparaiso.
Thursday, Dec. 5, from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Porter Starke Services, located at 701 Wall St. in Valparaiso.
Thursday, Dec. 5, 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.
Thursday, Dec. 5, from noon until 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus in the Social Hall, located at 325 E. Vine St. in Rensselaer.  This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Lowell Public Library in the Program Room, located at 1505 E. Commercial Ave. in Lowell.
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Washington Evangelical Free Church in the gymnasium, located at 3805 LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso.
Sunday, Dec. 8, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in the gymnasium, located at 638 N. Calumet Road in Chesterton.
Sunday, Dec. 8, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in the Hall, located at 218 S. Court St. in Crown Point.
Monday, Dec. 9, from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the VFW Post 717 in the Hall, located at 10400 W. 93rd Ave. in St. John. 
Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at MacArthur Elementary School in the gymnasium, located at 12900 Fairbanks in Cedar Lake.  This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.  
Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at First Christian Church in the Fellowship Hall, located at 1507 Glendale Blvd. in Valparaiso.

Thursday, Dec. 12, from noon until 6 p.m. at New Life Wesleyan Church in the Meeting Room, located at 75 East 1100 North in Chesterton.
Friday, Dec. 13, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Northview Elementary School in the gymnasium, located at 257 Northview Drive in Valparaiso. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive.
Friday, Dec. 13, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Portage Christian School, located at 3040 Arlene Street in Portage. This is a Pint Size Heroes blood drive. 
Friday, Dec. 13, from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Town Hall Municipal Building in the Community Room, located at 170 S. Grace St. in Wheatfield.  This Pint Size Heroes blood drive is sponsored by Wheatfield Elementary School.
Sunday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Nativity of our Savior in the Fellowship Hall, located at 2949 Willowcreek Road in Portage.
·         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.  




NIPSCO: 97% of Outages Reported Have Been Restored

As of 4:30pm this afternoon 97-percent of the 75-thousand outages reported in NIPSCO's service area have been restored. At last check, 19-hundred customers remain without power. NIPSCO reports a majority of the remaining outages are anticipated to be restored by Wednesday night, like for those in Crown Point, but in the hardest hit areas like Cedar Lake, Chesterton, DeMotte, Gary, Lowell and Valparaiso, restoration could extend into Thursday....

Senator Tallian Honored as Small Business Champion

Karen Tallian
Indiana State Senator Karen Tallian, of Portage, was presented this week with the Small Business Champion Award by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Senator Tallian says she was honored to receive the award and hopes it will draw more attention to the critical role small businesses play in Indiana's economic recovery. Tallian was first elected to the state Senate in 2005 to fulfill an unexpired term and was reelected in 2006 and again in 2010.
Since 1993, the honor has been given to select legislators who demonstrate dedication to bettering Indiana’s business climate for small employers....

Crews to Attempt West Beach Prescribed Fire Wednesday

Fire crews from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will try again tomorrow to conduct a prescribed burn in the West Beach area of the park, near Portage. Officials, weather permitting, crews will be burning about 73 acres along the West Beach access road, between the parking lots and the West Beach entrance station. The prescribed fire is being done to reduce potential wild fire fuel and improve animal and plant habitats. The fire was scheduled for today but was called off due to the weather conditions and instead conducted small controlled burns around the Century of Progress Homes along Dune Ridge near Beverly Shores...

1st Ever Healthcare Associated Infections Report Released

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—This week, November 18-24, is National Get Smart About Antibiotics Awareness Week. The annual campaign, now in its fourth year, is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative that promotes the use of CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign and encourages state-based appropriate antibiotic use campaigns.
“Antibiotic resistance has been tabbed as one of the biggest threats to health today,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Infections that are resistant to antibiotics can be found in hospitals and increasingly in the community.”
In coordination with Antibiotics Awareness Week, Indiana has released its first ever Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) report. The report will be published annually and serve as a benchmark for infection prevention efforts in Indiana.
HAIs are infections that patients can get while they are receiving treatment in a healthcare setting. They are the most common complication of hospital care and are one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Some HAIs are highly resistant to antibiotics.
“We developed this report as part of a national effort to reduce healthcare associated infections,” said Dr. VanNess. “The goal is to increase overall awareness, encourage infection prevention efforts in hospitals and help consumers make more informed decisions about their healthcare.”

Key findings of the report include:
·        Indiana hospitals reported the overall number of central line associated bloodstream infections were 41 percent lower than predicted, based on national data. Indiana is on track to meet the national prevention target of a 50 percent reduction in infections.
·        Indiana hospitals reported surgical site infections associated with abdominal hysterectomies were 39 percent lower than predicted based on national data. Hospitals in Indiana have already exceeded the national goal of a 25 percent reduction by the end of 2013 and will continue efforts to reduce infections further.
To further address antibiotic resistance, the Indiana State Department of Health, in collaboration with many partners, convened the Indiana Antibiotic Resistance Advisory Committee earlier this year. This advisory committee is working to provide recommendations and guidelines for infection prevention and control measures, antibiotic stewardship, surveillance, laboratory testing and educational opportunities for healthcare providers, laboratories and the public.
Colds, influenza, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses and antibiotics do not help fight viruses. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases the risk of getting a bacterial infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics cure bacteria, not viruses. Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not cure the infections, help you feel better or prevent others from getting sick.

If you are ill, check with your healthcare provider to see if an antibiotic is necessary. If so, remember these important tips for taking antibiotics:
·             When you are prescribed an antibiotic, take it exactly as the doctor tells you.
·             Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you. This is also true for children so ensure all medication are taken as prescribed, even if they feel better.
·             Appropriately discard any unused prescription medication you may have. Drug take-back events are a great way to do this.
·             Never share your antibiotics with others.

The Indiana State Department of Health developed a State Plan for reducing HAIs and enacted the mandatory HAI reporting rule, which required all hospitals to report HAI data to the Indiana State Department of Health beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Additionally, the Indiana State Department of Health created the Healthcare Associated Infections Resource webpage located at which includes educational materials and resources for healthcare workers and patients. Three online educational modules featured on the website have earned CDC honors.
The 2012 Healthcare Associated Infections Report may be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at
The Healthcare Associated Infections State Plan may be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health, go to Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at ...

Pope Francis Speaks Out On Respecting the Elderly

The pope is speaking out about care for the elderly. ABC News reports Pope Francis said a society that does not respect its grandparents has lost its memories and has no future. The pope said it's often grandmothers who transmit religious faith, when parents may be swayed by other ideas. He lamented the fact that older people often don't count, when instead, should be considered a societal "treasure."...

Report on How Illiana Will Affect Congestion

NIRPC's Transportation Policy Committee today voted 8-to-3 to approve a staff report on how the proposed Illiana Expressway and the widening of I-65 would affect congestion on roads in the region. According to the report, building the Illiana would reduce traffic on Borman by eight-point-six percent by 2040 and reduce traffic on U-S 30 by point-eight percent and cut down the miles driven by trucks on main local arterials by between 25 and 34 percent.
The Transportation Policy Committee will hold a vote on December 3rd on whether to include the Illiana and I-65 project in its transportation plans, with the full NIRPC Board to vote on it December 12th. ...


RDA Aproves $17 Million Grant for East Chicago

RDA Meeting 111913
(Photo Courtesy of the Northwest Indiana RDA)
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority's Board of Directors today approved a 17 million dollar matching grant to fund the first phase of East Chicago's Waterfront Revitalization Initiative. The initiative includes improvements at Jeorse Park Beach and the East Chicago Marina, street and overpass work and the demolition of vacant properties.
The Directors also approved a 200-thousand dollar Challenge Grant for Kouts, which combined with 445-thousand in local funding, will be used to extend infrastructure to 63 acres of land at State Roads 49 and 680 South. The location links the Dunes Kankakee Trail with the national American Discovery Trail. The Board also approved a two-point-four million dollar grant from it Deal-Closing Fund to support Tec Air's move to Munster. The company is investing approximately 15-million dollars and will employ about 258 people at its new headquarters....

Pence Continues Push for HIP Expansion

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence continues his push to allow the Healthy Indiana Plan to bring health coverage to more Hoosiers. Last week the Governor sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting a meeting to continue discussion about the state's pending waiver to use the Healthy Indiana Plan as an alternative to the traditional Medicaid model for expansion, citing the program's high satisfaction rates, positive outcomes and lower healthcare costs over time. Indiana was granted an expansion for the current Healthy Indiana Plan in September. ...


5 Pts Roundabout in Valpo Set to Open Late Friday

City of valpo
Sunday's storm caused damage throughout northwest Indiana, but it did not setback the timetable for the opening of the new Five-Points Roundabout in Valparaiso. Lori Good, with the City of Valparaiso, says the new roundabout at the five-points intersection of Calumet Avenue, Vale Park and Roosevelt Roads is anticipated to be opened by the end of the work day on Friday. A dedication ceremony for the new roundabout and a tree-lighting event is scheduled for Sunday, November 24th, at 4:30pm, in the Kmart parking lot. The event is free and open to the public....

Valpo Educators Town Hall Meeting on Public Education

Indiana State Teachers Association
Local educators and leaders from the Indiana State Teachers Association, or ISTA, will be holding a town hall question and answer session this evening about public education in the Valparaiso area. Mark Shoup, Communication Subs-Person for the ISTA, says the purpose of this town hall meeting is to gathering information from educators, their concerns, and what the ISTA can do to help them do their jobs more effectively.
The educators town hall begins at 6pm, at the Faith memorial Lutheran Church, in the 700 block of North Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso....

ISP to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoint in Jasper County

Indiana State Police logo
Indiana State Police Lowell Post reports they will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint this Friday evening in Jasper County. State Police say drivers who encounter a checkpoint will be required to produce a valid license and registration and those whose information is correct, and who are not impaired, can expect a short delay of two-to-three minutes. Troopers will also be conducting roving saturation patrols, aggressively seeking impaired drivers throughout the district.
State Police encourage all motorists to contact 911, or their closest State Police Post, when they observe another motorist that may be impaired and be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, location and direction of travel. ...

Some Region Outages Could Extend into Thursday

As of midday today Northern Indiana Public Service Company says 95-percent of customers who lost power in Sunday's severe weather have been restored, but some outages in the hardest hit areas – like Lowell, Cedar Lake, DeMotte, Gary, Chesterton, Valparaiso, and Monticello – would be extending into Thursday, and for some outages in Crown Point, into Wednesday. As of the latest update today about 37-hundred customers were without electricity.
All available NIPSCO crews, with assistance from support contractors from neighboring states, continue to respond.
Kankakee Valley REMC reports progress continues to be made across their service territory, with 18 outages remaining as of this morning. Some outages were requiring additional time due to the severity of the damage.

UChicago Medicine, Franciscan Announce Partnership

The University of Chicago Medicine and Franciscan Alliance have entered into a new partnership. Franciscan has four hospitals in Northwest Indiana -- Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond and Dyer and Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point and Michigan City.  The announcement from the two institutions says the affiliation creates a "novel partnership between a prominent academic medical center and a leading regional health system".
“By combining the world-class tertiary and quaternary care and research capabilities of the University of Chicago Medicine with Franciscan Alliance’s extensive network of community-based hospitals and ambulatory centers, we will enhance patient care locally and provide seamless access and continuity for patients needing care at any level,” said Kevin Leahy, Franciscan Alliance’s president and chief executive officer.
Franciscan Alliance is one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the Midwest. The University of Chicago Medicine, an academic medical institution that includes the Pritzker School of Medicine, ranked eighth among medical schools in the country, attracts patients regionally, nationally and internationally for its specialty care services.
“This partnership brings together two health care systems that share both a dedication to excellence in patient care and a desire to develop new models of care in a rapidly changing health care marketplace,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago and dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. “We are committed to continually improving access, efficiency and outcomes, and to extending clinical research into new arenas. Our goal is to provide a coordinated system of value-based care for patients across the region.”...

Central Elementary Wins 'Valpo Mayor's Cup' for 2013

Central Elementary is the winner of the Valparaiso Mayor’s Cup for 2013 for having the highest participation in the recent Monster Dash 1K Family Fun Run. Mayor Jon Costas, members of the Fit City Council, and Valparaiso Parks presented a $500 check to Central Elementary School principal Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz and students, for wellness programming at Central. Pictured are (left to right) front row: Jack Smiley, Jori Smiley, Hanna Rigg, and Hailey Rigg, who ran the Monster Dash. Back row: Linda Mapes, Central Principal Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz, Phil Blasko, Mayor Jon Costas, Dan McGuire, Ryan Smiley, and Tristan Leonhard.  [Photo/Valparaiso Parks Department]
The inaugural Monster Dash was held at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso October 27. The event included both a 1K Family Fun Run, led by Mayor Costas; and a 5K run. Hundreds attended and ran in their Halloween costumes. The Monster Dash was a Fit City event. Mayor Costas created the Fit City initiative in 2005 to encourage residents to maximize their health and be more active. Since then, city parks officials say over 5,000 Valparaiso people have participated in Fit City programming. Next up will be the Fit City Challenge to Change competition in January 2014, offering prizes and incentives for losing weight and adding healthy habits. For more information, visit or call Valparaiso Parks at 219-462-5144....

West Beach Burn Called Off, Smaller Burns Planned

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore officials announced this morning that weather conditions have changed and they are no longer going to burn the West Beach Unit today.  Instead, they will be conducting small burns around the Century of Progress Homes along Dune Ridge near Beverly Shores. The small burns are used to remove fuel near structures in preparation for a larger prescription burn at a future date.  They anticipate the burn to begin about 10:00 a.m. ...

UPDATE: West Beach Burn Called Off

Prescribed Burn Scheduled at West Beach

UPDATE: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore officials announced this morning that weather conditions have changed and they are no longer going to burn the West Beach Unit today.  Instead, they will be conducting small burns around the Century of Progress Homes along Dune Ridge near Beverly Shores. The small burns are used to remove fuel near structures in preparation for a larger prescription burn at a future date.  They anticipate the burn to begin about 10:00 a.m.

Fire crews from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore plan to burn approximately 73  acres, in the West Beach area of the park, near Portage, Indiana today (Tuesday November 19, 2013) as part of a prescribed burn plan.  As long as weather conditions remain good, crews say they will be burning the parcel of land along the north side of West Beach Access Road between the parking lots and the West Beach entrance station to reduce potential wild fire fuel, and improve animal and plant habitats.
[Prescribed fire conducted Friday, November 15, 2013, looking south across Long Lake in the Portage/Ogden Dunes area. The burn was on the south side of the lake, west of Ogden Dune and north of US 12. Photo/Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore]

The prescribed fire program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced National Park Service fire personnel. Smoke dispersal is a primary concern and park staff will do everything possible to limit smoke in the area by monitoring wind and atmospheric conditions prior to ignitions. However, smoke drifting in and around park lands and roadways is possible.
Before burning, National Lakeshore officials say a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the duration of the burn to ensure the fire is completed safely.  More photos


Man Charged with Felony Stalking

In Portage, police say a 44-year-old Valparaiso-area man who reportedly admitted he has a foot fetish has been arrested and charged with felony stalking after allegedly following a mother and daughter from the Portage Library to a restaurant, Friday afternoon, and then to the police station. Police say at one point the subject stepped on the daughter's foot as she exited the library, causing her shoe to come off, and afterwards he apologized. Police say the man, a registered sex offender who has committed several acts of violence against women in Michigan, denied any intentions of harming the women. Portage Police say they believe the man has done this in the past and any women who may have had a similar experience at the library or any other business in Portage are asked to call Portage Police.  [Photo - Dustin A. Jolly]
Here is the news release from Portage Police:
On Friday, November 15th Portage Police arrested a 44-year-old Valparaiso man (Dustin Jolly) on Felony Stalking charges after he began following two Portage women around the cit y in his car as the women were headed home after they left the Portage library.
The incident began shortly after 2 pm on Friday afternoon when two women (mother and daughter) went to the library to rent a movie. While inside looking for a movie, the daughter noticed that a male subject kept walking around the area in the library near her. At one point the male came into the same aisle as the female and stood next to her. The daughter advised that when she was unable to find a movie to rent, she began exiting the library. While headed to the main entrance, she heard someone walking fast behind her and observed it to be the same male subject. The daughter stated that as she was exiting the buildings doors, the male stepped on her foot which caused her shoe to fall off. After the incident, the male apologized and both then went their own way and walked into the parking lot to their cars.
The female advised that after leaving the library, she and her mother then went to a restaurant to eat. While getting their food, she observed the males car drive by twice which she thought was odd. On the second drive by, the daughter wrote down the cars license plate number. While driving home after they left the restaurant, they observed the same car following them. Both females were aware of this and continued to drive around the city instead of going directly to their home. When the car continued to follow them after they tried to get away it, they drove to the Portage Police Department to report the incident.
While officers were taking the report from the women, they found out that car was registered to a Dustin A Jolly of Valparaiso. Officers learned that Mr. Jolly was a registered sex offender who had committed several acts of violence against women in the past in Michigan. As officers were leaving the police department to go to Mr. Jolly’s residence to speak with him about the incident, they observed Mr. Jolly’s car drive past the police department and stopped him.
When questioned about the incident at the library, Mr. Jolly admitted to it and stated that he was “sorry and needs help”. He told officers that he has a foot fetish and never meant to harm anyone. He stated that he was simply following the women and denied any intentions of harming them. After further questioning by detectives at the police department, Mr. Jolly was charged with class D Felony Stalking.
We believe that Mr. Jolly has done this in the past and if any women have had a similar experience at the library or any other business in Portage, they are asked to contact Detective Cpl. Janies Regnier at 219-764-5706....

Body Found Near Interstate

Indiana State Police from the Indianapolis District are investigating a body found on the west side of Indianapolis near I-465. Monday afternoon, at approximately 4:30 p.m. EST, police were notified by a person walking on the exit ramp from northbound I-465 to Crawfordsville Road of a male body just off the interstate near the 17 mile marker.  The Marion County Coroner was called to the scene. No other information is available at this time....

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