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Sketch Released of Man Wanted for Sexual Assault

Scan-Patti-Lexmark 2013 11 08 10 03 40 642
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office)
The Lake County Sheriff's Office has released a composite sketch of the suspect accused of forcing a 14 year old female student to perform a sex act on him. Sheriff's Police report the girl was walking to school in the area of 45th and Grant Street in Gary, just before 8am, on Monday, when she accepted a ride from the suspect who was reportedly driving a silver colored vehicle. The alleged incident was said to have occurred in a church parking lot, in the area of 47th and Pierce Street. The suspect is described as an older black male, with caramel colored skin, who is older, heavy-set and balding, with black facial hair on his chin, wearing a gray t-shirt, blue jeans and black shoes. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Detective Traci Harbin at (219) 755-3355.
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Help Restore the Landscape at Good Fellow Camp

Volunteers are needed next weekend to restore the landscape around the historic Good Fellow Club Youth Camp at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials report those who are interested in volunteering need to meet at the Good Fellow Camp, on November 16th, from 9am to noon, in the seven-hundred block of Howe Road in Porter. Volunteers will help remove vines, shrubs, and small trees that are growing up around the camp's fruit trees, which date back to when the camp operated over 40 years ago, and hand tools and work gloves will be provided. The volunteer effort is part of the stewardship program for November and was originally scheduled for Mt. Baldy, but had to be moved while an investigation continues to determine why a hole opened up on the giant sand dune, swallowing up a six-year-old boy for nearly four hours before he was rescued in July.
For more information on this or other programs at the national lakeshore, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit or contact the park’s information desk at 219-395-1882....
 

Gary Man Faces Numerous Felony Charges

Valpo PD
In Valparaiso, a 20-year-old Gary man was arrested after an alleged disturbance. Valparaiso Police say they responded to a call for help in the 12-hundred block of Chicago Street Thursday morning, where a woman had just been battered by male friend who used a handgun to batter the victim. Valparaiso University Police were informed of the incident due to the campus being near the apartment and a short time later the male subject was located by Valparaiso University Police at the entrance to Valparaiso University on US 30. Authorities say a police search of the apartment located a handgun, ammunition and a sawed off shot gun. Authorities say Kevin Brown was arrested and charged with Battery with a Deadly Weapon (C-Felony), Intimidation with a Weapon (C-Felony), Possession of a Sawed Off Shotgun (D-Felony), Strangulation (D-Felony), Domestic Battery with a Child Present (D- Felony), Criminal Recklessness with a Firearm (D-Felony) and Domestic Battery (A- Misd), and was being held at the Porter County Jail. ...
 

Grant Awarded to Build Homes in Gary

Group pic with Check 2
(Photos Courtesy of the City of Gary; Group photo: (L-R)  Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Lisa Benko and Dan Klein of Habitat for Humanity, and Mike Lisac of JP Morgan Chase Foundation)
GARY, Ind., November 8, 2013 -- Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana today received a $74,500 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation that will help the nonprofit serve an underserved area of the Gary community.
Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana owns several lots on the 1700 block of Adams also referred to as “The Field of Dreams.”  Habitat plans to break ground in early spring of 2014 on two of the six homes planned for the area. The nonprofit is hoping to secure additional funding to build two more homes for families in 2015.
The presentation took place at Gary City Hall where Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson served as host.
“This generous donation is another example of how corporate partnerships with non-profits and municipalities help build communities,” said Freeman-Wilson. “I applaud the JP Morgan Chase Foundation for their support, and I look forward to seeing the finished homes that will be occupied by some deserving families.”
“I am pleased that Chase stepped up to help this community,” said Lisa Benko, Habitats’ Director of Development and Community Relations.  “This project will provide for two hardworking families and is just a start to the plans for that area.”
Mike Lisac of JPMorgan is always looking for ways to help the community.  “JPMorgan Chase hopes our contribution will serve as a catalyst for other corporations to invest in the community,” Lisac said. “Habitat provides hope, not only for the family that is helped, but for all families living in poverty housing in our community.”
For more information about Habitats projects, contact Lisa Benko, director of development and community relations, 219-923-7265 Ext.304.
Press Conference shot
(Dan Klein of Habitat for Humanity addresses the crowd)...
 

Pipeline Breach Reported at Dyer Park

A notice at the Town of Dyer's website reports BP was testing a pipeline at Northgate Park today [November 7th, 2013] with high pressure water when the pipeline breached. Town officials say there was no loss of petroleum product but BP employees are attending to the breach and they closed the park down for precautionary reasons. It was expected that the breach would be repaired by this morning....
 

One Killed in Crash South of Francesville

One person was killed and another injured in a two-vehicle crash in Pulaski County this morning, south of Francesville.  Deputy William Bryson from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office says a car appears to have run a stop sign on County Road 1600 West at State Road 114, just east of the Jasper/Pulaski County line, at approximately 7-o'clock Eastern Time this morning.  Deputy Bryson says the car struck a semi-trailer from Chicago hauling garbage to a landfill in White County, Indiana.  The driver of the car died at Jasper County Hospital, and police say the semi-driver was treated and released.  State Road 114 was shut down in both directions for nearly six hours for investigation of the accident and clean up of the crash scene....
 

Saturday is Larry Bird Day in Indiana

Indiana Governor Mike Pence today issued a proclamation declaring tomorrow, Saturday, November 9 as Larry Bird Day in Indiana. The proclamation coincides with the official dedication of a 15-foot bronze statue of Bird at Indiana State University in Terre Haute earlier this week. Bird led the school to the national championship game in 1979, but the Sycamores lost the NCAA title to Michigan State and Magic Johnson. Bird went on to the NBA to star for the Boston Celtics.
Video of the statue arriving on campus (courtesy Indiana State University):
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SR 114 Closed Near Jasper/Pulaski County Line

Traffic-Advisory
Authorities say both directions of State Road 114 remain closed at the Jasper/Pulaski County line due to an earlier motor vehicle accident.  The crash is on the Pulaski County side, which is south of Francesville.  No details were being released on the accident at this time.  No word on how long the highway will be closed at that location....
 

Hoosiers Attending Chicago EPA Session

smokestack
Citizens and activists from Indiana are joining hundreds from around the Midwest in Chicago today to give the Environmental Protection Agency their thoughts on reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. Today's public listening session wraps up a total of eleven held around the country. Katy McFadden with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign says the EPA is asking for the public's ideas before going to the drawing board.  A new rule is being issued in June 2014. The EPA is also accepting comments online. The session is from 9am to 4 pm at the Metcalfe Federal Building on Jackson Boulevard. [Photo courtesy/EPA]...
 

Public Comment Sought on NIPSCO Plan

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is seeking feedback from the public on Northern Indiana Public Service Company's 713-million-dollar plan for improvements in the utility company's natural gas transmission, distribution and storage system. Under a new state law approved this year, NIPSCO is seeking a rate increase that would amount to just below one-and-a-half percent annually through 2020, with no increase next year, and a one-percent rate increase in 2015.
This is separate from NIPSCO’s proposed one-billion dollar plan to improve its electric infrastructure, which would raise electric rates through 2020, with the first increase of 0.4 percent taking effect in 2015, and increases growing each year, reaching 1-point-7 percent in 2020.
Here's more info from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor:
(News Release) The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting written comments from Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) customers on the utility’s $713 million plan for natural gas transmission, distribution and storage system improvements. NIPSCO intends to seek incremental gas rate recovery of the costs as the projects proceed, through a new rate adjustment mechanism. 
The OUCC – the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility’s plan and has not yet taken a position in the pending IURC case. The OUCC anticipates completing its review and filing testimony on January 10, 2014.
NIPSCO has filed its request under a new Indiana law (Senate Enrolled Act 560) approved earlier this year.
  • The law allows an investor-owned electric or natural gas utility to seek IURC approval of a seven-year infrastructure improvement plan.
  • If the plan is approved, the utility may then adjust rates every 6 months, subject to IURC and OUCC review, to recover project costs as they are incurred.
  • The rate adjustments – under a new Transmission, Distribution, and Storage System Improvement Charge (TDSIC) mechanism – may not exceed two percent of the utility’s total retail revenues each year.
  • Twenty percent of the costs must be deferred until the utility’s next base rate case, which must be filed before the end of the seven-year period.
NIPSCO’s testimony and exhibits in IURC Cause No. 44403 state that:
  • The proposed projects throughout its natural gas service territory would be built from 2014 through 2020.
  • Projects would include replacement of aging infrastructure, installation of new transmission mains, the installation of automated valves, and expansion into rural areas that currently do not have natural gas service.
  • NIPSCO plans to file its first TDSIC natural gas rate increase request in September 2014.
  • If the 7-year plan is approved by the IURC, NIPSCO’s first natural gas TDSIC rate increase of approximately 1.0 percent would take effect in 2015. The annual rate increase amounts from 2016 through 2020 would vary annually, ranging from 1.5 percent to 1.9 percent each year. The average annual percentage increase over the 7-year term is 1.4 percent.
  • Under the new law’s timing requirements, the IURC must issue a final order on the 7-year plan no later than May 1, 2014.
A group of NIPSCO’s industrial consumers (including ArcelorMittal USA and BP Products North America, Inc.) has formally intervened in this case and is also expected to file testimony on January 10, 2014.
For more information on this case and the new law, please visit www.in.gov/oucc/2750.htm.
This proposal – referred to by NIPSCO as its Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Plan – is separate from the utility’s electric infrastructure plan. For information on NIPSCO’s electric plan and cases, please visit www.in.gov/oucc/2747.htm.
An IURC technical evidentiary hearing in the natural gas case is scheduled to start February 10, 2014 at the PNC Center (101 W. Washington St.) in Indianapolis. While evidentiary hearings are open to the public, participation is typically limited to attorney and Commission questioning of expert witnesses who have filed technical testimony on behalf of the case’s formal parties.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
  • Mail: Consumer Services Staff
    Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
    115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
  • email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   
  • Fax: (317) 232-5923
Written comments the OUCC receives by January 3, 2014 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44403.
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
(IURC Cause No. 44403)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC , www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC

 
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Local Leaders Dancing For Charity

dlts
The Duneland Y is hosting their annual Dancing Like the Stars Fundraiser this weekend to raise much needed funds for their Family Assistance Program. If you love the TV show, you'll wanna  come watch eight local community leaders battle it out on the dancefloor! Local celebrities include: Mike Anton, Laura Gerhardt, Rick Lewis, Jacci Moore, Ann Marie Riley, Nancy Sutton, Nancy Veselica and Kyle Yelton.
To purchase tickets or vote for your favorite contestant contact the Duneland Y in  Chesterton at 219.926.4204. Be sure to listen to Annie's full interview at News Audio On Demand here on our website....
   

Region Invited To Soup Bowl Dinner

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The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is holding a Soup Dinner this Sunday and you are invited. The Empty Bowls Project will be held Sunday at Temple Israel (601  N. Montgomery) in Gary from 1-3pm. Tickets are $5 and all money raised will  benefit The Food Bank's mission. Last year the Food Bank distributed over 5.1 million pounds of food, and served over 5,000 individuals a week. For more on the Empty Bowls Project listen to our full interview with Food Bank Advocacy Manager, Megan Sikes at News Audio Audio On Demand....
   

Give Day Sets New Mark

giveday
Yesterday's Porter County Give Day surpasses last year's total. By late Thursday afternoon, more than 200-thousand dollars had already been collected through walk-in and online and matching gifts for the Porter County Community Foundation's “Porter County Give Day,” a 24-hour event Thursday where a portion of each online donation was being matched from a 75-thousand dollar match pool from various donations and sponsors. According to portercountygiveday-dot-org this morning, over 280-thousand dollars was collected to benefit kids via 25 participating nonprofits. Donations were collected online through 11:59 pm last night. Last year's Give Day total was 186-thousand dollars. ...
   

Noll Girls Going for State Championship

The Bishop Noll Institute Girls Volleyball Team will be competing for a class 2A state championship tomorrow. The Warriors will take on Providence at 12pm (Central) at Ball State University.
Schedule info:  www.ihsaa.org...
   

Prep Football Tourney Showdowns Tonight

There are some big match-ups in tonight's prep football tournament.  In class 6A... the 9-2 Lake Central Indians host the unbeaten Penn Kingsmen at the Burial Grounds in St. John for a Regional Championship.  Meanwhile, classes 1 thru 5A will be playing for Sectional Championships.  Munster travels to Mishawaka... New Prairie visits South Bend St. Joseph... 11-0 Winamac is at West Central... Unbeaten Andrean is at John Glenn... and some playing field musical chairs tonight, as the Rensselaer Bombers take on Bowman Academy at Central High School in East Chicago... while the big 4A showdown between East Chicago Central and Gary West Side will be played at Morton High School in Hammond.  
Schedule info: www.ihsaa.org...
   

Historic Low for Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

injurygraph
Workplace injuries and illnesses in Indiana have fallen to a historic low. The Indiana Department of Labor annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report for 2012 showed four out of every 100 workers sustained a non-fatal illness or injury on the job, the lowest rate since the survey was introduced in its current form in 1992. The rate also represents a one-year decline of more than seven percent from 2011, and the first drop since 2009. State officials say the most significant improvement among the major Hoosier industries was in the state’s mining industry. [Graph/Indiana Department of Labor]
News Release: INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 7, 2013) – Today the Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) released its annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) report for 2012. Indiana’s non-fatal occupational injury and illness rate is 4.0 per 100 workers, the lowest experienced since the survey was introduced in its current form in 1992. The 2012 rate represents a one-year decline of more than seven percent from 2011 and marks the first time the rate has declined since 2009.
“Every Hoosier should be proud that Indiana’s workplaces are some of the safest and healthiest in the nation,” said Governor Mike Pence. “The continuing decline in the number of occupational injuries and illnesses demonstrates the dedication of employers, employees, trade associations, and professional organizations, and proves again, that Indiana is the place to do business.”
The most significant improvement among the major Hoosier industries was in the state’s mining industry (2.6 per 100 workers). The mining industry experienced a one-year decline of nearly 45 percent in non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses. The coal mining sub-industry experienced a 16 percent decline in non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses from 2011.
Some findings in the 2012 report include:
The overall state non-fatal injury and illness rate for 2012 is 4.0 per 100 workers, the lowest rate since the SOII report was introduced in its current form in 1992. The 2012 rate represents a one-year decline of seven percent from the 2011 rate.
The mining industry experienced the greatest one-year decline in non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses, 45 percent.
Nearly all major Indiana industry categories experienced a reduction in non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses in 2012.
The IDOL’s emphasis industries of agriculture, healthcare and transportation all experienced a decrease in non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses—agriculture (-24.2 percent), healthcare (-15.9 percent) and transportation (-2.2 percent).
The following major industry categories experienced an increase in non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses from 2011 to 2012: state and local government (+11 percent); arts, entertainment and recreation (+6 percent); and manufacturing (+2 percent).
For more information about the SOII, please visit: http://www.in.gov/dol/2341.htm
The IDOL will also release its annual occupational safety and health publication, IN Review, in early 2014....
   

Two Lake County Elected Officials Oppose Illiana

niemeyerstrong
Rep. Niemeyer, Councilman Strong
Republicans Lowell State Representative Rick Niemeyer and Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong of Crown Point Thursday announced they have taken a stand against the proposed Illiana Expressway.  They're urging members of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission to not include the project in NIRPC's 2040 plan, a vote scheduled in December.  The highway would travel by Lowell through south Lake County connecting I-65 to I-55 in Illinois. Strong says money would be better spent on existing projects, like the Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion and revitalizating the Region's Lake Michigan lakefront. [Photos/Lake County; Indiana House of Representatives]...
   

Disney to Release New Star Wars Film in December 2015

Charge up those light sabers and break out those Stormtrooper uniforms - we now know exactly when we'll get to see the next Star Wars film. ABC News reports Disney has set a date for Star Wars episode VII - for December 18th, 2015. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn says the date gives them time to make it great, and it will anchor the holiday film going season. Winter is probably a smart move because that summer is SUPER crowded, with the next Avengers, Jurassic Park, Terminator 5, Independence Day 2, and a little movie called Batman and Superman. ...
   

Habitat for Humanity to Receive Grant for Homes in Gary

City of Gary
In Gary tomorrow, representatives from the JP Morgan-Chase Foundation will be presenting a check for over 74-thousand dollars to Habitat for Humanity. The grant is scheduled to be awarded during a ceremony in Gary City Hall at 10:30am. The grant will be used for the construction of homes in the 17-hundred block of Adams Street, otherwise known as the “Field of Dreams.” ...
   

Valpo Employee Food Drive Now Through 11/11

City of valpo
The City of Valparaiso is currently conducting its “City Employee Food Drive”, which runs through November 11th. The food collected will be distributed to nearby food pantries for local families for the holiday season. You can drop off food items or financial donations at Valparaiso's Town and County or Strack and Van Til on Saturday, November 9th. Residents can also give at Valparaiso City Hall anytime through November 11th, during normal business hours, 8:30am to 4:30pm.  If you would like to make a financial contribution or give after business hours, you may contact Jeffry Van Syoc, city employee and organizer of the food drive at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  ...
   

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