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Hamlet Man Arrested for Hit and Run Accident

william conner
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A 40 year old Hamlet man faces numerous charges after a hit and run accident in LaPorte Wednesday night. LaPorte Police report they were called to the area of Rose and McCollum Street, just after 10pm, where a witness informed them he heard a crash and observed a dark-colored pickup truck with a flat front tire, traveling east. Officers were able to follow gauges in the pavement, which ultimately lead to the suspect vehicle, which was found heading south on Highway 35, with sparks coming from the front tire area. Police say officers were able to stop the vehicle at Greenlawn Drive and County Road 400 South, and the driver, William Conner, was taken into custody and faces multiple operating while intoxicated charges, resisting law enforcement, driving on a suspended license, possession of marijuana, and other misdemeanors charges. ...

Funding Secured for Deep River-Portage Burns Waterway

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission announced today that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has selected the four-year project proposal for funding for the Deep River-Portage Burns Waterway Watershed Initiative. The Deep River-Portage Burns Waterway watershed covers nearly 180 square miles and is the largest watershed in Northwest Indiana's Lake Michigan drainage area. NIRPC reports IDEM has identified approximately 125 miles of stream in the watershed that are considered impaired, with some of the known water quality issues being E. coli, siltation, low dissolved oxygen levels, and impaired biotic communities, which they report as being by far the most prevalent issue. IDEM is currently assessing water chemistry, habitat and biological communities at 35 different sites strategically located throughout the watershed and the information gathered will be used to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load report which will be incorporated into the watershed management plan.
IDEM has created a webpage for Deep River-Portage Burns Waterway TMDL study to help disseminate information such as public meeting dates, quarterly water quality data results, and site photographs (  The next TMDL public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 5th beginning at 1p.m. at the Lake County Extension and Soil & Water Conservation District offices in Merrillville.  The watershed management project is expected to begin this January with a public meeting kick-off which NIRPC will announce as the project start nears closer. NIRPC hopes to draw in other partners as the initiative moves forward....

Names of Deceased in Gary Murder/Suicide Released

Gary PD
Gary Police say a husband and wife were pronounced dead at the scene this morning in a murder-suicide. Corporal Gabrielle King says at about 6 am, Gary Police responded to a call of shots fired in the one-thousand block of Harrison Street. Officers found 43-year-old Fredrick Smith and 37-year-old Alicia Smith in a bedroom, unresponsive, both victims of gunshots. Corporal King says a 17-year-old female told officers she heard her mom and step dad arguing, then she heard a gunshot, so she gathered her siblings and took them to a neighbor's house, while she called 911, then returned to her house and found her mom unresponsive and asked her stepfather, 'What did you do?' The 43-year-old man then turned the gun on himself, pulled the trigger, and shot himself in the head. The Lake County Coroner's Office has ruled Alicia Smith's death a homicide, and Fredrick Smith's death a suicide....

Portage Police Investigate Armed Robbery

In Portage, police are investigating an armed robbery. At around 8-o'clock Wednesday night, police responded to the MCR Short Stop at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Hamstrom Road. Authorities say the suspect displayed a semi-automatic pistol and fled in an unknown direction. He was described as a white male, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, dark colored jeans and a black mask. Anyone who was passing through the area around the time of the robbery who observed anything suspicious is asked to contact the Portage Police Department at 219-762-3122 and ask for Detective Grynovich....

Police: Husband, Wife Dead in Murder/Suicide

Gary Police say a husband and wife were pronounced dead at the scene this morning in an apparent murder-suicide. Corporal Gabrielle King says at about 6 am, Gary Police responded to a call of shots fired in the one-thousand block of Harrison Street, where they came into contact with a 17-year-old female who was outside in front of the house screaming.  Corporal King says the 17-year-old told officers that her mom and her stepdad were inside the residence and both had been shot. Officers found a 43-year-old male and a 37-year-old female in a bedroom, unresponsive, both victims of gunshots. “The 17-year-old told officers that she heard her mom and stepdad arguing, then she heard a gunshot. So she gathered her siblings and took them to a neighbor's house, while she called 911,” Corporal King said. “The 17-year-old then returned to her house and found her mom unresponsive and asked her stepfather, 'What did you do?' The 43-year-old man then turned the gun on himself, pulled the trigger, and shot himself in the head” . Their names have not yet been released. Police say all five children are with family members.

Did You See Fireball This Morning?

The American Meteor Society reports getting nearly two-hundred reports of a large fireball this morning [September 26th] around 7 am Eastern time. Their website says witnesses from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Missouri reported a bright light traveling across the morning sky from west to east.

Emergency Management Vehicles Get New Logo

Crown Point's Board of Public Works and Safety has approved a new logo for the city's Emergency Management Department vehicles to make them more visible and set them apart from other first responders. The design change, the first in more than twenty years, replaces a smaller logo that city officials say was more difficult to spot....

Indiana Fire Crews Fight Fires Out West

Two National Park Service and a TNC firefighter dig line together on an Indiana crew on the Rim Fire this summer. [Photo provided]
Crews from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore were among 82 firefighters deployed from Indiana so far this year to respond to western wildfires in what's been described as one of the worst years on record. Maggie Schuetter, director of the Indiana Interagency Coordination Center, says all the Indiana fire fighters are home now, but the western fire season isn’t over and they could be called out again.   Of the 82, some were sent as crews, and some in positions helping with a variety of tasks such as logistics, safety, and operations officers. 
“Indiana firefighters worked on 47 different wildfire incidents this year; building fire lines, cutting hazard trees, and protecting homes,” Schuetter said. “They also managed fire camps, dispatched personnel and equipment, made maps and planned the next day’s work, and kept firefighters safe on the line and in camp.”
Crews and resources from Indiana were sent to 11 states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. "Towards the end of the season, probably the most activity was in California, where most of the crews from the east went to; however in the beginning of fire season, most crews went to Alaska,"  Schuetter said.  Schuetter says Indiana firefighters are ordered through a national system out of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The orders for personnel and equipment are filled by the closest available resources from a variety of state and federal agencies.
Firefighters come from across the state and represent the Hoosier National Forest (USDA Forest Service), Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Lincoln Boyhood National Monument (National Park Service), Big Oaks (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and The Nature Conservancy.  Some are professional firefighters; many are foresters, wildlife biologists, recreation specialists, and other resource managers who have specialized fire training to do the many jobs required to support fire suppression efforts.  Each person who goes on assignment is expected to be out for at least 14 working days.  They all have completed a rigorous course of training specific to the job they will be doing.  They have also spent time in on-the-job training before getting certified in their individual positions.
Indiana personnel who are trained firefighters could go on multiple assignments throughout the year.  Demand for Indiana firefighters usually slows once cooler temperatures arrive in the mountainous western states, normally sometime in late September or early October....

Autopsy to Shed More Light on Teen's Death

La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan says an autopsy is being conducted this afternoon at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka by a pediatric certified forensic pathologist to shed more light on the death of a La Porte High School football player Wednesday. Sullivan says responders were dispatched shortly after 5 pm on the report of a football player suffering cardiac arrest at Kiwanis Field, where the teen collapsed on the track during practice. When LaPorte Fire and EMS arrived, they found La Porte High School linebacker 17-year-old Jacob West unconscious and unresponsive, with coaches and bystanders performing CPR. Sullivan says West's heart was shocked three times by EMS crews using a defibrillator. The teen was transported to IU Health La Porte where resuscitative efforts continued. West was pronounced dead shortly after 6:30 last night. LaPorte is scheduled to play at Merrillville Friday night....

Former Mayor Daley Keynotes One Region Event

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was the keynote speaker for the Times' annual One Region luncheon in Merrillville Wednesday. Daley applauded local efforts to take a regional approach to issues and challenges, saying this kind of regional cooperation is unique here in the US. More than six-hundred people attended the event, held at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. To see the keynote speech, click here:  [Photo/Laura Waluszko, Radio One Communications]...

Valparaiso Seeks Input on Completing Central Park Plaza

central park
The City of Valparaiso and the planning firm of Design Organization want to hear what you have to say about completing Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza. City Administrator Bill Oeding says two public input sessions are being held at Valparaiso City Hall, 166 W. Lincolnway, today [Thursday Sept 26 2013] , the first from 4-to-6 pm, then another from 7 to 9 pm. The city is thinking about putting an open-air pavilion on a huge area just to the west, across the street from the park, that would be used year-round, but in particular, for ice-skating in the winter. City Administrator Bill Oeding says the park has already been an overwhelming success. "Having this public gathering space," Oeding said, "a quality public gathering space in our downtown has been so well-received by our residents, it's been amazing. I hear it all the time how much they appreciate the park."  To hear our interview with Bill Oeding, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website. [Photo/City of Valparaiso]


La Porte HS Football Player Collapses, Dies

La Porte County Coroners officials say a La Porte High School football player collapsed during practice at Kiwanis Field Wednesday, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital early Wednesday evening. Multiple reports this morning are saying 17-year-old Jake West, a linebacker on the La Porte team, suffered cardiac arrest. Bystanders and coaches were said to have performed CPR and responders used a defibrillator. He was rushed to IU Health La Porte Hospital where he died. LaPorte is scheduled to play at Merrillville Friday night. ...

Donnelly to Congress: Stop Fighting, Get to Work

donnelly on senate floor
Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor today calling on Congress to start doing what Hoosiers expect: stop fighting, get to work, and focus on the most serious business at hand, which is creating jobs for those who need them.
“We are at a critical point in our ongoing economic recovery.” Donnelly said. “In the next week, this Congress will decide whether to keep the federal government open and operating.  In the weeks ahead, this Congress will decide whether to continue to pay the government’s bills—our bills.  We can go one way—the responsible way—and show the American people that we are capable of working with one another.  Or, we can continue to yell at each other to score political points, refuse to be realistic about the need to find common ground, and shut down the government and stop paying our bills—the bills we are responsible for.”
Donnelly offered three bipartisan, common sense ways Congress could do something about the economy: first, pass the America Work Act; second, pass the Farm Bill, and third, cut red tape to encourage private investment in infrastructure. For a link to view Donnelly's entire speech, visit ">...

Hamlet Man Accused of Attempted Sexual Assault

william mcgrath
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A Hamlet, Indiana man faces numerous felony charges for an attempted sexual assault from over the weekend. LaPorte Police report the victim informed officers she let 48 year old William McGrath, whom she recently met, sleep at her home early Sunday morning, in the five-hundred block of 3rd Street, because he said he was too intoxicated to drive. Police say later that morning, when she was preparing to leave the residence, McGrath allegedly physically assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she did not have sex with him. The woman was able to leave the residence and informed police of what had allegedly transpired. McGrath is charged with attempted rape, two-counts of sexual battery and intimidation. ...


Rates Announced for Indiana Health Insurance Exchange

US Health and Human Services
Health insurance rates were announced today for Indiana and 35 other states as federal health insurance exchanges are set to open next week for a six-month enrollment period. U-S Health and Human Services reports a 27 year old would pay anywhere from 168 dollars for a bare-bones, “catastrophic” coverage to around 332 dollars for the cheapest “gold” plans, with federal tax credits to reduce the cost for lower income Hoosiers. Health insurance for a family of four are expected to be around one-thousand dollars....


Portage Township Offers Free Legal Clinic

A new, free legal clinic program starts Friday at the Portage Township Trustees Office. Chief of Staff Nina Rivas says, at this time, the program has no end date and will take place the last Friday of every month. Rivas says they use to have a program called Legal Aid at the trustee's office, but it lost funding. The new program is through Attorney Katrina Spence, who is volunteering her time to help Portage Township residents in need of legal assistance.  Appointments are not required and legal service is provided on a first come-first serve basis to Portage Township residents only. ...

South Haven Man Accused of Kicking Boy in the Groin

porter co sheriff dept
A South Haven man was arrested and charged with felony battery for allegedly kicking his girlfriend's 12 year old son in the groin on Tuesday. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports they were contacted by the child's grandmother, just after 7pm, who informed police her grandchild told her 40 year old John Amann Jr. kicked him in the groin because he was angry over the job the child did cleaning dishes. The case has been forwarded to Child Protective Services....

LaPorte PD Wanted Person of the Week in Custody

Brittney Rapoport
(Photo Courtesy of LaPorte Police)
A 21 year old woman listed earlier this week as the LaPorte Police Department's “Wanted Person of the Week” is now in custody. LaPorte Police report Brittney Rapoport was taken into custody in Indianapolis Tuesday night. Rapoport was wanted on a warrant from LaPorte Circuit Court for felony fraud and revocation of suspended sentence. Authorities say Rapoport is facing local charges in Indianapolis and once she is through the judical process for those charges she will be extradited back to LaPorte County. ...

Indiana, Illinois Reach Agreement on Illiana Corridor

Indot Logo color
An agreement has been reached on how to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the proposed Illiana Corridor Project. The Indiana Finance Authority, INDOT and I-DOT will each procure their individual sections of the 47 mile access controlled highway, that would extend from I-65 in Indiana to I-55 in Illinois, with both states using their respective Public-Private Partnership laws to enter into a long-term concession agreement to develop and build the expressway. Each state expects to issue a Request for Qualifications this fall for private firms who are interested. Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2015.
The two states will continue to work together to coordinate schedules, technical provisions and tolling operations. They will also continue to coordinate under the National Environmental Policy Act as required by the federal government....

Three Lake County Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting

david adams
(Photos Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office,
Top: Adams. Middle: Aguilera. Bottom: Ziemack.)
louis aguilera
Three Lake County men were arrested Tuesday during a prostitution sting in the 82-hundred block of Louisiana Street in Merrillville. The Lake County Sheriff's Office reports 31 year old David Adams of Hobart, 51 year old Louis Aguilera Sr., and 38 year old Alexander Ziemak, both of Crown Point, were charged with patronizing a prostitute and sexual deviate conduct after propositioning an undercover female officer for her “services”. Sheriff John Buncich says the sting is part of an-going initiative to address prostitution and human trafficking.
alexander ziemak ...

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Region News Team
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