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LaPorte PD Issues Reminder on Use of Fireworks

LaPorte PD
With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, the La Porte Police Department issues the following friendly reminders regarding the use of fireworks within the city limits.
In the State of Indiana, if you are 18 years of age or older, you may legally purchase, possess and discharge Consumer and Section 8 (a) fireworks which include bottle rockets, roman candles, fire crackers, sparklers, ground spinners, cone fountains, wheels and cylindrical fountains.
Those less than 18 years of age may only possess and discharge legal fireworks when accompanied by an adult.
Fireworks may only be discharged on:
- The user’s property
- The property of someone who granted permission to discharge fireworks on their property
- At a special discharge location
The discharge of fireworks within the La Porte City limits is restricted to the following dates and times:
- Memorial Day: between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
- June 28th thru July 3rd: between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
- July 4th: between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight
- Veteran’s Day: between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
- From 10:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
The penalty for violation of the ordinance is a fine of $300.00
For more information about fireworks laws, visit:
Indiana Law Code
www.in.gov./legislative/ic/code/title22/ar11/ch14.html
Indiana Department of Homeland Security
www.in.gov/dhs
La Porte Municipal Code – Article 1. Sec. 70-4 Consumer Fireworks
www.municode.com
Brochure information is also available in the lobby of the La Porte Police Department.
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Valpo PD Enforcing Fireworks Ordinance During the Holiday

Valpo PD
The City of Valparaiso has a fireworks ordinance that will be enforced during the upcoming July 4th weekend.
Article 2: Discharging of Fireworks is Prohibited with the following Exceptions:
a. Public displays where a permit is granted.
b. Consumer fireworks can be used on the following dates and times:
                        
1. Between 5pm and 2 hours after sunset from June 29 to July 3rd.
2. From 10 am to midnight on July 4th.
3. Between 5 pm and 2 hours after sunset from July 5th to 9th.
4. On December 31st from 10 am to 1am on January 1st.
Article 4: It shall be unlawful for anyone under the age of 18 to fire, shoot off, or discharge any consumer fireworks within the city limits without the direct supervision of the minor's parent or legal guardian.
Article 7: Penalties:
a. Any person convicted of violating any provision under this Ordinance shall be subject to a fine in the amount up to $25 for the first occurrence, $50 for the second occurrence and $100 for the third occurrence.
Valparaiso Police will be enforcing this Ordinance during the upcoming July 4th weekend.
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BBB Warning of Virus Attack and Address Change Scams

BBB
The Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana is warning of two separate scams circulating. The first scam comes in the form of a phone call from a person who won't give their name and tells people a virus is attacking Microsoft software, which will destroy your computer from the inside out, and that that granting him access to your computer is the only way to remove the virus.
The second scam concerns the website, changemyaddress-dot-com, which is charging 25-dollars to change your address via the internet. The Better Business Bureau says instead, go to the US Postal Service's website, https://www.usps.com, where the fee is only one-dollar.
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Increased Patrols in Construction Zones for the Holiday

Indot Logo color
INDIANAPOLIS – Motorists travelling during the Independence Day holiday and weekend should practice safe driving habits—especially through highway construction zones. Indiana State Police (ISP) will be utilizing special unmarked pickup trucks provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in a visible construction zone enforcement blitz intended to maximize safety and mobility.
INDOT has directed contractors to pull back barrels and barricades to the safest extent possible during the heavily-travelled holiday, but Indiana State Police will continue to enforce construction zone safety utilizing all available tools, including pickups in construction zones (PICZ).
The pickup trucks resemble typical vehicles normally seen being used by contractors and INDOT inspectors.  Motorists are urged to comply with reduced speed limits, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid driving aggressively. Motorists that fail to do so may meet one of the troopers driving the special pickup truck police vehicles.
Indiana now has nine trucks patrolling various construction zones throughout the state. INDOT and ISP launched the PICZ program in 2011 with converted pickups for traffic enforcement in and near construction zones. INDOT provides the trucks to Indiana State Police as part of their efforts toward reducing crashes and injuries and enhancing safety and mobility.
The trucks are equipped with LIDAR, which is similar to radar but uses laser light to measure the distance between vehicles, allowing police to accurately and consistently determine if vehicles are following too closely. Statistical analysis shows the top cause of work zone crashes to be following too closely.
During the holiday enforcement blitz, Indiana State Police will be specifically looking for drivers who follow too closely, exceed posted speed limits, make unsafe lane changes, drive aggressively and fail to buckle up or to properly restrain children.  Troopers will also be aggressively looking for impaired drivers.
To help ensure motorists reach their holiday travel destinations safely, please remember these safe driving tips:
  • Make sure you are well rested before traveling. 
  • Avoid tailgating. Remember the two-second rule.
  • Obey posted speed limits, and always use turn signals when turning and making lane changes.
  • Make sure everyone is properly buckled up.
  • Never drink and drive. If you are going to consume alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver.
The statewide TrafficWise traveler information webpage includes updated reports for all state roads, U.S. highways and interstates across Indiana. Motorists can learn about traffic conditions, road closures, construction information, and crashes by going to www.TrafficWise.in.gov or calling 1-800-261-ROAD (7623).
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Temporary Evacuation of Animals after Humane Society Fire

fire at humane society
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A fire in the laundry room of the Humane Society in Munster was contained Tuesday night, but as a result of smoke throughout part of the building, a temporary evacuation of the animals occurred. The Times reports firefighters were called out earlier that evening for the smell of smoke, but a source of the smell could not be located, and then just before 11pm, crews were once again dispatched to the four-hundred block of 45th Avenue, this time for a fire. An investigation continues.
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Tips from Citizens Lead to Arrest of Two Hammond Men

James Edwards
(Photos Courtesy of the Lake Co Sheriff's Office)
Leon King
(Top Photo: James Edwards, Bottom: Leon King)
Citizens reporting suspicious activity led to an investigation and subsequent arrest of two Hammond men. The Lake County Sheriff's Department says the Lake County Drug Task Force executed a search warrant Tuesday morning in the 61-hundred block of Ray Avenue and found the men.  66-year old Leon King has charges pending for allegedly dealing Heroin, and 59-year old James Edwards was arrested for an active warrant for Failure to Appear for Resisting Arrest. The Sheriff's Department urges citizens to always report suspicious and seemingly unlawful activities to their Crime Hotline, 1-800-750-2746.
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Porter Co Assessor Takes Porter Regional Hospital to Court

Legal action is being taken by Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder against Porter Regional Hospital for lack of cooperation. Snyder on Tuesday filed a Petition for a Writ of Production of Books and Records, in what he called a last ditch effort to obtain the necessary and relevant information to accurately assess the hospital campus, which is located on Route 6, in Liberty Township. Snyder says he asked for additional information in 2012, but only received a small amount of what was asked for.
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Vermont Man Confesses to Homicide in Jasper County

Jasper Co Sheriff Dept
A 49 year old Vermont man is being held in custody after confessing to killing the owner of the vehicle he was driving. The Jasper County Sheriff's office reports a deputy observed Peter Lavalette in a parked vehicle in the parking lot of Family Express Monday night, at State Road 10 and U-S 231, after they had closed, and the subject told the deputy he was lost. After giving the man directions, the subject's vehicle left and the deputy then received a return on the license plate and learned it did not match the driver's name. The deputy then pulled over the vehicle, which was reportedly driving erratically on U-S 231, and while conducting a field sobriety test, the man allegedly told the deputy the car's owner was dead and that he had killed him. The Sheriff's Office reports Vermont State Police on Tuesday confirmed the location of the dead body, with initial evidence indicating a homicide scene. Lavalette is charged with felony operating while intoxicated charges and is awaiting further charges from Vermont authorities.
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Porter-Starke Services Awarded Grant to Fund Program

porter-starke
Congressman Pete Visclosky announced on Tuesday that the Center for Mental Health Services has awarded $399,918 to Porter-Starke Services to fund the collaborative Strong Mind, Strong Body Wellness Program.

The program will be based on a framework devised by Porter-Starke Services and HealthLinc, whereby patients with serious mental illnesses have access to medical care at their community mental health center (CMHC).  Through this program, HealthLinc will offer on-site medical services for patients at Porter-Starke Services, the Swanson Center, and Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, giving patients with serious mental illness the attention and added care they need.

Aileen Wehren, Vice President of Systems Administration at Porter-Starke Services, said of the grant, “For the past three years we have operated a clinic out of our facility in conjunction with HealthLinc.  We have had tremendous success improving overall health by providing on-site medical services and focusing on wellness, not illness.  In joining with our partner CMHCs we expand our knowledge base to other organizations that can improve patient wellness throughout the region.  The purpose of this program is to help the people that we serve feel better and live longer, and this grant will allow us to do just that.”

Congressman Visclosky said, “Each of the organizations involved in this program has a proven track-record of improving the quality of life for their patients, and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those they serve.  I thank them for working together to secure this vital funding, and for their good work on behalf of their clients.”

The award, a Mental Health & Substance Abuse Service grant, is distributed by the Center for Mental Health Services.  The Center for Mental Health Services leads federal efforts to treat mental illnesses by promoting mental health and by preventing the development or worsening of mental illness when possible.
(article provided)

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I-DNR: Fireworks at Dunes Postponed to Friday Night

Due to large swells on Lake Michigan, the fireworks show scheduled for 9 p.m. (CDT) today at Indiana Dunes State Park has been postponed and rescheduled for 9 p.m. (CDT) Friday. Contact the park office for more informationat (219) 926-1952....

 

Gary/Chicago Int'l Airport Runway Expansion Stalls

gcia-header
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson today joined officials from the Gary/Chicago International Airport and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) to announce that final-phase construction of the airport’s large-scale runway expansion program will be postponed this year in order to clean up higher than expected quantities of ground contamination.     

The new expanded runway is now expected to be done in September 2014.

The mayor also called on railroads whose tracks operate near the airport to quickly settle legal negotiations of utility easements under railroad rights-of-way so that trains can be relocated to new tracks to make way for final-phase runway construction. Two railroads must also resolve separate agreements between themselves. The Airport Authority is not a legal party to the railroad negotiations. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) are working closely with the City of Gary, the Airport Authority and the RDA on environmental remediation strategies.

“The City of Gary and Northwest Indiana have heavy industrial legacies which bring a lot of sensitive and unexpected environmental issues to resolve,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, City of Gary. “We are all working together to tackle the problems quickly and effectively so that final-phase construction can swiftly move forward.”

The RDA and the FAA are the primary funders of the $166 million runway expansion project to extend the main 7,000-foot runway by 1,900 feet.

"Delays are unfortunate but common on construction projects of this scope and complexity," said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. "We remain confident that the expansion will be completed and will fuel economic growth in Gary and across the region."

Clean up of environmental issues is essential as the FAA and the Airport Authority work to decommission navigational equipment and relocate aircraft navigational aids for the expanded runway.

In addition to the runway expansion, an Ad Hoc committee established by the Airport Authority recently received a number of responses from private sector interests to the airport’s Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications (REIQ) to gather a broad array of approaches and ideas to invest in the airport and the surrounding area through a potential public-private partnership (P3). The committee anticipates following up the REIQ with a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) later this summer.

The airport’s active exploration of a potential P3 to invest in the airport and the surrounding area began in March.  A team of a highly qualified financial experts, project managers and legal advisers were engaged by the Airport Authority in April to assist in the P3 exploration.  The team includes A.C. Advisory Inc., JClark Consulting Group, LLC and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

The third airport of the Chicago Aviation System, the Gary/Chicago International Airport is less than 30 minutes from the heart of the tri-state region – the city of Chicago. The airport is directly connected to Chicago’s transportation network through rail and maritime freight, interstate and mass transit integration.

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Clock is ticking on Hoosier Lottery's Independence Day Millionaire Raffle

hoosier lottery INDIANAPOLIS (July 2, 2013) -  There is still time would-be millionaires can take advantage of the Hoosier Lottery Independence Day Millionaire Raffle's amazing odds and purchase their shot at the $1 million grand prize.  Only 300,000 tickets were made available - and now time is running out!  Tickets are only available until 11:59 p.m. July 4. 

"These aren't just good odds.  They aren't just great odds. They are the very best odds of winning a million dollars from the Hoosier Lottery," said Connie Laverty O'Conner, Hoosier Lottery CEO of Business Operations.
Independence Day Raffle tickets cost just $10, are terminal-generated like Powerball and Hoosier Lotto tickets, and can be purchased at any of the approximately 4,100 Hoosier Lottery retailers statewide simply by asking the sales associate for a raffle ticket.  
Hoosiers may also want to be on the look-out for Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty as they are out-and-about the next few days.  Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty will be making appearances and selling raffle tickets at random Lottery retailers and other high traffic locations around the state.
One retailer that has seen a lot of raffle sales is Silver Express on the west side of Indianapolis, a store which is consistently a top Hoosier Lottery retailer.

"I've been telling my customers it's the best odds.  It's really good odds," said Noshey Mourkos, owner of Silver Express.  "The great odds are what has been motivating players to buy."

In total, more than 2,400 players will turn red, white and blue into a stack of green this holiday weekend in the Hoosier Lottery's Independence Day Millionaire Raffle.  The game also offers ten $10,000 prizes and 2,000 $100 prizes.  Winning numbers will be available at hoosierlottery.com on July 5 around 12:00 noon.

The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.
  

ABOUT THE HOOSIER LOTTERY: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to Police and Firefighters Pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. The remainder of Lottery earnings are applied to reduce  excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.
(article provided)

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Police Investigate 3 Vehicle Crash in St. John

The Crash Reconstruction Units of the Lake County Sheriffs Police are investigating a Tuesday morning crash that occurred at Wicker Avenue and 97th Lane in St. John. The crash reported at 10:57 a..m. Involved a city truck, a semi hauling dirt and a passenger car. While no serious injuries were reported, police say the semi driver and driver of the city truck were transported to an area hospitals while the driver of the car was treated and release on the scene. The names of the drivers involved were not available at this time. The crash is still under investigation.
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Hospital in Munster Changes Its Name

As of July 1st, Franciscan Physicians Hospital, 701 Superior Ave., changed its name to Franciscan Healthcare-Munster “to better reflect the hospital as an evolving, full-service, health care center,” according to Barb Greene, hospital president.
“The new name is more reflective of the high-quality, broader-scope, medical center it represents today and will into the future, while serving Munster and the surrounding communities,” she said.  The change also was made in light of the hospital’s changeover from a previously, for-profit partnership between Franciscan Alliance and a number of physician shareholders, to a nonprofit. 
“Over time, an agreement was made with the physician partners to sell their shares of the hospital to Franciscan Alliance,” Greene said.  As a result of that process, the hospital is now fully owned by Franciscan Alliance and its status has changed to a nonprofit.”
“The new name fully supports our unique system brand, Franciscan, as our anchor and foundation. The term, Healthcare, represents the comprehensive array of medical services we offer and plan for the future,” Greene said. “Adding the town to the name identifies our geographical location to the patients and communities we are privileged to serve.” 
The growth will continue, according to Greene.      “A major master facility plan to enlarge the Franciscan Healthcare-Munster campus also is on the horizon. It includes the addition of an emergency department, bed tower, chapel and other expanded services,” Greene said.
(article provided)
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IN Dunes Tourism Announces Photo Video Contest

northernindianagetawayscom
Indiana Dunes Tourism is seeking photos and videos that capture the beauty and adventures that can be found in the Indiana Dunes and the many great sites beyond the beach.
The “Share Your Beyond the Beach Adventure and Win” contest runs from now to Aug. 30.
People are encouraged to share their outdoor adventures along the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail. The trail, which can be found at www.BeyondTheBeachDiscoveryTrail.com, features 60 sites in the Dunes Region, Moraine Region and Kankakee Region of Northwest Indiana.
Photos and video can be taken on land, in the water or even from the air. People can visit www.indianadunes.com/contest to learn more about the contest or to upload a photo or video.
“We’re sponsoring this contest to encourage people to explore the sites along the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail and to share photos and videos that will highlight the wide array of adventures that can be experienced,” said Christine Livingston, Indiana Dunes Tourism assistant director.
The contest prizes include an overnight stay and Memorial Opera House tickets, as well as an Indiana Dunes State Park season pass and a $50 dinner gift certificate. The Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail is a collection of natural, historical and cultural sites throughout Northwest Indiana.
(article provided/photo from http://www.northernindianagetaways.com )
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Traffic Hazard Southbound I-65 at US-30

SB I-65  at US-30  07-02-13
Looking toward southbound traffic on I-65 just past US-30, spilled contents can be seen in the left lane.
Traffic southbound I-65 is slowing down approaching US-30 in Merrillville because an dump truck reportedly lost it's load just past the US-30 overpass.  Drivers should merge into the left lane.  Traffic tipsters are reporting that the dump truck is off to the right hand shoulder.  Drivers should expect delays southbound on I-65 near mile 253.2.
(photo from INDOT)
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Operation C.A.R.E Campaign Over 4th of July Holiday

Indiana State Police logo
To help ensure the safety of all motorists during this heavily traveled holiday, Indiana State Police will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) from July 3rd through
July 7th. Operation C.A.R.E. is a federally funded program and will allow more than 100 additional troopers to patrol area roadways in an attempt to reduce the number of crashes, fatalities and injuries over the holiday weekend. Troopers will be targeting impaired drivers, motorists who speed, follow too closely, make unsafe lane changes, drive aggressively and fail to buckle up or properly restrain their children. Troopers also encourage motorists to stay off their cell phones while driving.
The Indiana State Police encourage all motorists to observe the following safety tips:
• If you’re planning to travel a long distance, make sure you are well rested. A fatigued driver is a dangerous driver.
• Avoid tailgating. Remember the two-second rule.
• Obey all speed limits and always use your turn signals when turning and changing lanes.
• Avoid using cell phones while driving. Distracted driving is dangerous driving.
• Never drink and drive.
• Make sure everyone is buckled up.
The Indiana State Police would like everyone to remember that driving comes with important responsibilities to yourself, your passengers and other motorists.
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Traffic and Street Restrictions in LaPorte July 4th for Parade

LaPorte PD
LaPorte Police have announced traffic and street restrictions for the LaPorte Jaycees Fourth of July Parade next Thursday. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and starts at Tipton St., running east to west on State Road 2, (Lincolnway & J St.), to Andrew Av.
Beginning at 8:30 AM on July 4th, traffic will be diverted off of State Road 2. No traffic other than the parade units will be allowed on State Road 2, (Lincolnway & J St.), between Philadelphia Street and Andrew Avenue on the day of the parade between 8:30 AM and the end of the parade.
Regarding the parade route; there will be no parking allowed on the street or in the tree lawns along State Road 2. No citizens will be allowed to sit in the street along the parade route, and no pedestrians, bicyclists or skaters will be allowed in the street along the parade route while the parade taking place. No vehicles will be allowed to be illegally parked in the middle of the cross streets along the parade route during the parade.
Emergency routes for LaPorte County Emergency Medical Services and the LaPorte Fire Department will be Michigan Avenue and US 35, so any citizens wishing to stand in those streets must be prepared to move quickly. People who illegally park along the parade route will receive citations and have their vehicles impounded.
Access to the staging area for the parade will be restricted well in advance of the parade by barricades, as will access to the parade route when it is closed. All motorists should remember that driving around barricades is against the law and they will be cited if an officer observes them doing it.
For events like the Fourth of July Parade pedestrian safety is the number one priority of the La Porte Police Department and any dangerous or illegal driving behavior will not be tolerated.
Parade spectators are reminded to adhere to the city ordinance which prohibits the placement of blankets, chairs and other items along the parade route more than 24 hours before the official start of the parade. No blankets, chairs or other items may be placed along the route before 10:00 AM on July 3, 2013.
Spectators attending the parade are asked to be considerate of everyone around them during the event. Since the parade is first and foremost a family event, officers have been given orders to arrest any intoxicated, unruly or belligerent persons. Fireworks violations that occur along the parade route will also be aggressively addressed due to the public safety issues involved.
Citizens are reminded that due to the crowds, noise and confusion, the parade is definitely not a good place to bring pets. Parents are also strongly encouraged to closely supervise their children and perhaps attach a note to the clothing of younger children indicating where the parents are along the parade route, in case a child wanders off.
The detour route around the city for SR 2 will be Boyd Boulevard to US 35 to Crescent Drive to 18th Street. All east-west streets north and south of the parade route will be open.
The main detour route for east-west traffic through the downtown area will be along Factory Street, Brighton Street, Washington Street, State Street, L Street, Second Street and Colfax Avenue to and from State Road 2.
The detour for US 35 from the north will be to exit the US overpass and then travel either east or west from there.
The detour for US 35 from the south will be either Boyd Boulevard or Crescent Drive as previously mentioned.
We are reminding motorists that the traffic on the Fourth of July is always very slow and congested. If you have a low tolerance for these types of traffic conditions, you may want to avoid the downtown area.
The La Porte Police Department wishes everyone a fun and safe July 4th Celebration!
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IN Ranks 22nd in Overall Hwy Performance and Efficiency

The Reason Foundation has released their latest annual highway report and Indiana ranked 22nd in the nation in overall highway performance and efficiency, up from 23rd in their previous report. According to the report, Indiana ranks first in rural instate pavement condition, 10th in fatality rate, 10th in urban interstate congestion, 21st in deficient bridges, and 28th in urban interstate pavement condition.
Indiana has the 23rd largest highway system in the nation, with 11-thousand-175 miles under state highway control, and the state's administrative costs are three-times the national average, ranking 43rd, bu the report says that is possible due to accounting decisions associated with the Indiana Toll Road Concession.. For more information on the annual highway report, visit http://reason.org/studies/show/20th-annual-highway-report.
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Communities Pull Together During Last Week's Storms

tree down
(Photo Courtesy of Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller)
Last week's storms hit the region hard, knocking out power to over 100-thousand energy customers and causing numerous trees to be uprooted, as well as other damage, but it also showed how communities and law enforcement agencies can come together for the greater good. Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller says he was very impressed by the way neighbors in Hammond helped each other out moving trees and branches. Chief Miller says after Tuesday's storm, the City of Gary lost their ability to field 9-1-1 calls, so Hammond covered for them, and returned the favor after Hammond lost their 9-1-1 call ability during Friday's storms....
   

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