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Good Deeds in La Porte

La Porte Police report – two other citizens setting an example for the community. A citizen came into the police department with a woman's purse he found at Fox Park Tuesday afternoon, and police were able to contact the owner, whose identification was still inside. Also Tuesday, someone came into the police department to turn in a bank debit card found lying in the parking lot of Kabelin's Ace Hardware. Police were unable to reach the owner, and the card was placed in recovered property.
… Last week, a citizen in La Porte turned in a wallet she found while picking up litter along Highway 35. Police say the wallet had ID and the owner said it must have fallen off his vehicle after visiting a local convenience store.
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Rollover Semi Blocks EB Toll Rd

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Indiana State Police at the Toll Road are reporting minor injuries after a semi rollover accident on the eastbound Indiana Toll Road near Chesterton.  Police say the semi is blocking the eastbound lanes, but traffic is being allowed around on the shoulder.  A caller tells us the semi is under the overpass, and traffic is also being routed onto the State Road 49 exit.
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Purdue Hearing on Tuition Freeze

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The Purdue University Board of Trustees is holding a public hearing in West Lafayette this afternoon on a proposed tuition freeze and some fee cuts at the main campus for the next two academic years. The same proposal calls for a two-percent tuition and fee increase at Purdue's three regional campuses, two of which are in Hammond and Westville, for each of the next two years. Fees at the regional campuses are assessed on a per-credit-hour basis. The university says a videoconference connection will allow public input from  regional campuses.
"This is the right thing to do for students and families in this period of economic stagnation. At the same time, keeping higher education affordable and accessible, especially for science and engineering degrees, is the best form of economic development Purdue can provide for Indiana and the country," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.
Details:
Three pre-existing fees already slated for increases will rise on the West Lafayette campus. The student fitness and wellness fee will increase $82 the first year, and the student activity fee will increase $10 each year. The engineering differential fee, which only applies to undergraduate engineering students, will increase $250 each year.
Fees for meal plans will be cut 5 percent from a previously authorized increase, the internship/co-op/professional practice fee will be reduced by $514 for non-credit internships, and all other general fees will be held flat. A new instructional support fee of $500 would be added for incoming veterinary medicine students.
Tuition and fees for resident students would be $9,992 in 2013-14 and $10,002 in 2014-15.
Out-of-state students also would see an increase of $92 the first year and $10 the next year.Tuition and fees for nonresident students would be $28,794 in 2013-14 and $28,804 in 2014-15. International students enrolled prior to summer 2011 would pay $28,794; those enrolled prior to summer 2012 would pay $29,830; and those enrolled in summer 2012 or after would pay $30,794 in 2013-14, with an increase of $10 for each category for 2014-15.
The combined tuition freeze and meal plan reductions would save a resident student signed up for the 12-meal plan $358 per year over previously authorized levels. More than 9,000 students purchase campus meal plans.
Purdue's tuition and fees currently rank ninth out of 11public Big Ten universities for resident undergraduates and sixth for nonresident students.
Fees for students at other Purdue campuses are assessed on a per-credit-hour basis. The rates, which reflect a 2 percent increase, for resident and nonresident students, respectively, are:
* Purdue Calumet - $237 and $535
* Purdue North Central - $240 and $570
* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne - $260 and $624
The public hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, in Stewart Center, Room 326, as a special meeting of the Executive Committee of the university's Board of Trustees. The proposed fees will be discussed, and the public will have a chance to comment. The Executive Committee will act on behalf of the board and will vote on the fee proposal and the 2013-14 system-wide conceptual budget plan during the meeting.
A videoconference connection also will allow public input from Purdue's regional campuses.
Those wishing to speak at the hearing should notify the Board of Trustees' office in advance at 765-494-9710 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Each speaker will be scheduled in the order they register and allotted three minutes to make comments at the hearing, which will last 30 minutes.
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Indiana Most Competitive in Midwest, 2nd in US

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Indiana as been ranked as the most competitive state for business in the Midwest and the second best nationwide, right behind Texas, in Site Selection magazine's Top 10 Competitive States of 2012. The magazine evaluated states on their ability to attract investment. Indiana's second place ranking is the state's highest finish in nearly ten years. Rounding out the top five for 2012 were Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It's the second national top-five finish for Indiana economic development efforts in less than a month. Chief Executive magazine ranked Indiana as the best place to do business in the Midwest and the fifth best nationwide in a survey of more than 500 chief executives.
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Andrean Coach to Montana

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Andrean High School's head basketball coach is heading west. Dr. Carson Cunningham has been named the new head men’s basketball coach at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.  The former standout at both Oregon State and Purdue has spent the last five years at Andrean, also his alma mater, where his teams have won 43 of their last 50 games.  In five years at the helm, Cunningham has turned a program around that had won two games the season before he arrived into one that has won four straight sectional titles and has improved its win totals for five years running.  This year, his Andrean team made it to the final four in Indiana’s second biggest class (3A) and was ranked #3 in the state.
“We are very excited that Carson has agreed to be our new head coach,” said Saints’ Director of Athletics Bruce Parker Monday.  “He brings tremendous enthusiasm and knowledge of the game to our program.  He was an outstanding player and is a rising star in the coaching profession.  His passion for the game is contagious and I have great confidence in his coaching and recruiting abilities.  “It was a very intense search process and I was pleased with the outstanding pool of candidates (217 applicants) that were interested in the job,” Parker added.  “We feel that we have hired a great fit for Carroll College and a coach that will take our program back to the top of the Frontier Conference and the NAIA.”  
Cunningham has also been an instructor in the history department and the department of cinema and digital media at DePaul University in Chicago since 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Purdue University (2000), a Master of Arts in Modern American History (2001) and a PhD in History (2006), also at Purdue.  He is also scheduled to complete his MBA at DePaul this spring.
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Farmers Play Catch-Up

Farmers Play Catch-Up
A farmer seized the opportunity to plant corn at LaCrosse in La Porte County on May 16 during a stretch of long-awaited good weather. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Jennifer Stewart)
Indiana farmers are getting caught-up, somewhat. Clearing skies and warming temperatures since early May have enabled Hoosier farmers to plant 64 percent of the corn crop as of the week ending May 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said, and that's just a percentage point below the five-year-average. Frequent and heavy rains producing soggy and flooded fields in April and into the first week of May left many farmers, especially in southern Indiana, weeks behind schedule during the spring planting season. The report said most of the corn acreage last week was planted across the northern and some central Indiana counties, as soils remained too wet in southern counties to allow much progress.
But they eventually got the break they needed, with May rainfall in Indiana so far averaging 1.9 inches, 30 percent less than normal. April rainfall, by comparison, averaged near 6.5 inches, about 70 percent more than normal.  Warmer-than-normal temperatures with near-normal rainfall is expected through the remainder of May.
"This should help farmers to finally reach the planting finish line after a slow start," said Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, based at Purdue University.
There has been a wide variation in May rainfall across the state the past three weeks. Northern Indiana received just a third of normal, with about 0.7 inch, while southern Indiana averaged close to 3.3 inches - about normal.
By area, 84 percent of the corn acreage so far had been planted in northern Indiana, 59 percent in the central portion of the state and 36 percent in the south.
Plants in 20 percent of Indiana's corn acreage had emerged, compared with 44 percent for the five-year average. For soybeans, 30 percent of the crop had been planted, compared with the five-year average of 36 percent. Soybeans typically are planted after corn.
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National Veterans Awareness Ride in MC

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Motorcycle riders are departing Michigan City this morning (8am) on the National Veterans Awareness Ride. They're headed southward toward Lafayette, and ultimately to the nation's capital for Memorial Day ceremonies. Riders in procession with police escort are departing American Legion Post 37 on US 20 at 8am, they will be heading southward along US 421. Motorists can expect delays and blocked intersections along US 421 at the procession passes.
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Homicide in Gary

The Lake County Coroners office says a 22-year-old Valparaiso man was pronounced dead of multiple gunshot wounds in Gary overnight, the victim of a homicide authorities say occurred in the 25-hundred block of Delaware Street. Coroners officials say Jovan Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:30 this morning. Gary Police and the Lake County Crime Lab are also investigating.
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Grants Include Sheraton Demolition

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has approved a combined half-million dollars in grants for four projects, including 200-thousand dollars for the demolition of the old Sheraton Hotel in downtown Gary, which has stood vacant next to City Hall since the early 80s. Another 200-thousand is earmarked for a sewer lift station in Valparaiso that is also meant to help attract investment along the State Road 49 corridor. 50-thousand dollars is set aside for a documentary on regional partnerships that have contributed to the restoration of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The fourth grant, for 75-thousand dollars, is meant for one of four alternative-fuel buses to shuttle between the South Shore rail line and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
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Merrillville Case to Prosecutor

Charges are expected to filed today against a man who allegedly assaulted an off-duty Merrillville officer working as a security guard at Planned Parenthood Monday afternoon. The Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, in which the officer shot the truck driver. Officials say the officer had written two parking citations for the unoccupied truck, and the driver allegedly began striking and punching the officer when the officer approached to tell him about the citations.
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New Jobs to Region?

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is in the process of trying to bring an as-of-yet unnamed business to the Region... a company that already operates in the state, and is now eyeing Porter County, along with other midwestern sites. RDA CEO Bill Hanna says the project could be the largest his agency has been involved in, and that could mean over two-hundred new jobs for the area.   Tuesday the board authorized the potential use of its Deal Closing Fund on the project, which is currently under negotiation by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
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Disaster Drill at Prison

Several emergency responders from Westville and La Porte County and the Indiana State Police were at the Westville Correctional Facility for a disaster drill. The Tuesday exercise featured a simulated powerhouse explosion and fire with mock injuries and wounds. The powerhouse contains huge boilers as well as a backup generator for much of the facility.
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Teen Tan Ban Approved

A teen tan ban in Illinois has moved to Governor Quinn's desk. The Illinois State Senate joined the House in banning anyone under 18 from using indoor tanning booths at a salon…even with permission from mom and dad. Senate President Christine Radogno says it’s just too dangerous…greatly raising the risk of developing skin cancer.  Teens would still be able to get a spray tan. Opponents have argued the decision is best left up to parents.
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School Superintendent Arrested

The Times reports that a meeting will be held soon with the school district's attorney and school board to discuss this week's arrest of the South Central schools superintendent on a misdemeanor battery charge. The La Porte County Sheriffs Police department reports 51-year-old Christopher Smith of La Porte is accused of physically assaulting a friend who is also co-worker following an argument after they went to Silverhawks baseball game in South Bend, then a restaurant in Michigan City on Monday.
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Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Indiana

Indiana DNR
Ash trees are dead and dying throughout Indiana by the thousands, costing Hoosiers millions and marring the landscape.
The killer is tiny, elusive and resilient. The emerald ash borer beetle, EAB for short, can fly, but not far. Its rapid spread is caused by humans moving the firewood in which the beetles thrive.
Memorial Day weekend travel traditionally coincides with a more sinister happening—more spread of this killer by unwary humans on summer vacation trips and weekend outings.
To remind Hoosiers and visitors to Indiana to protect forests by not moving firewood, Gov. Mike Pence has declared May 19-25 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in Indiana.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources regulates the types of firewood that can be brought onto State lands. The purpose is not only to stop spread of EAB, but also to fight the next invasive pest, which will likely travel in firewood, too. 
The DNR requires all firewood entering state properties to: (1) be accompanied by a state or federal compliance stamp allowing such movement, or (2) be kiln-dried scrap lumber, or (3) be completely debarked if brought from home within Indiana.
To fight EAB, if you plan to have a campfire, the best option is to buy firewood close to where you will burn it; don’t bring it from home. Burn wood completely before leaving your site—don’t leave wood for the next person. Buying packaged firewood bearing a state or federal compliance stamp also helps.
Extensive information about the bug and the laws regarding firewood movement is at dnr.IN.gov/entomolo/3443.htm.
Suspected EAB infestations outside of the quarantine boundaries should be reported to DNR’s toll-free Invasive Species Hotline, 1-866-NO-EXOTIC. Insecticide treatments are available to protect individual trees from EAB. Many are cost effective. See eabindiana.info.
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No Recount for MSB of Boone Twp Referendum

There will be no recount for the referendum in Metropolitan School District of Boone Township after no signatures were reportedly filed by Tuesday's deadline. The referendum asking voters to approve a property tax increase for the schools failed by just four votes, according to unofficial tallies. The school superintendent has said personnel cuts would be necessary without the additional funds
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LaPorte to Unveil New Propane Transit Vehicles Thursday

LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo announced today the addition of two environmentally friendly transit vehicles to the city's TransPorte demand/response public transportation service. Mayor Milo says the new vehicles are powered by propane, which will decrease tailpipe emissions resulting in fuel cost savings and reduced maintenance. You can take a look at the two new 15 passenger transit vehicles, which will be unveiled at a press conference tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, at the city's TransPorte building, in the 100 block of L Street.
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A Call to Create a Gulf War Memorial

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Washington, D.C.—Today, Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced legislation that would authorize a National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial to recognize the many Americans who served our nation during this conflict.
Donnelly said, “Over 60,000 Hoosiers served in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, so I am proud to join my friend, Senator Boozman, in introducing bipartisan legislation that would authorize a national memorial to demonstrate our appreciation for their bravery and sacrifice.  We owe all men and women who serve our nation a debt of gratitude, and those who serve in war should have their exceptional efforts recognized.  The men and women who fought in the first Gulf War, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, deserve to have their service memorialized.”
Boozmansaid, “There is no national memorial dedicated to the valor and sacrifices made by those members of our Armed Forces who honorably fought, and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice, in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. We need to change that. This bill will clear the way for a memorial that will show a grateful nation’s respect and appreciation for those who fought to defend freedom in the Gulf War.”
The Boozman-Donnelly legislation, the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act, would authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial on federal lands within the District of Columbia.  No federal funds would be spent to build this memorial, as all funds would be raised privately by the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.
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Westville Correctional Officer Arrested for Trafficking

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(Photo Courtesy of the Westville Correctional Facility)
An investigation continues after a Westville Correctional Facility officer was arrested Friday and charged with felony trafficking with an offender. 54 year old Joyce Sokolowski, of Merrillville, was found to possess tobacco and other contraband intended to be delivered to an offender. Authorities report the facility's Internal Affairs Department is still trying to determine what charges or internal disciplinary action may be taken with any offenders allegedly involved. Sokolowski has been suspended without pay.
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United Way Accepting Monetary Donations for OK Victims

OKLAHOMA CITY - The devastating May tornadoes have left most Oklahomans stunned and wondering what they could do to help. United Way of Central Oklahoma advises that monetary donations are the best way to assist. The organization activated its disaster relief fund on Monday where individuals may contribute specifically to the May tornadoes relief and recovery efforts.
“We are reactivating the disaster relief fund at the request of many of our donors and corporate partners who are seeking an efficient and accountable way to assist with the relief effort,” said Debby Hampton, President and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma.
Individuals may contribute online, via credit card by phone, and by mail, specifically to the May tornadoes relief and recovery efforts. At this time, PLEASE make financial donations only. If you have trouble with donating online, there are two alternative ways to give.
  1. Give online to the May Tornadoes Relief Fund located on our home page at www.unitedwayokc.org
  2. Give by credit card: call (405) 523.3598, (405) 523.3597 or (405) 236.8441
  3. Give by mailing a check to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK  73101 with notation for May Tornadoes Relief Fund
Fund dollars will be distributed without administrative fees to United Way Partner Agencies working on the tornado relief efforts. Agencies must clearly prove services provided and demonstrate need for financial support. Organizations that receive United Way disaster fund assistance will be evaluated and held strictly accountable. As our Partner Agencies work together to meet the immediate needs in the recovery efforts, the May Tornado Relief Fund will serve not only immediate needs, but intermediate, and long-term care for years to come.
United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund has operated to meet needs after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the tornadoes on May 3, 1999, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and other disasters. In each circumstance, United Way has effectively and efficiently distributed donors’ dollars to serve as many people as possible while maintaining the highest level of accountability.
For more information, contact United Way of Central Oklahoma’s main number at (405) 236-8441.
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