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Two Arrests in LaCrosse Armed Robbery

Two male subjects from the LaCrosse area have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery in LaCrosse Thursday afternoon. Officers were dispatched shortly before 3:30 to Will's Service. A short time later, the suspect vehicle, an SUV Delaware registeration, was stopped by LaPorte County, Starke County, and Knox Police, near the intersection of State Roads 8 and 39 at the LaPorte/Starke County line. Police say the investigation continues and anyone with information is asked to contact Lead Detective Andy Hynek with the LaPorte County Sheriffs Police at (219)-326-7700 Ext 2401.
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Rising Waters Close Roads in C. Indiana

Rising waters have closed a number of State Roads in Central and Southern Indiana, including Tippecanoe County. The Indiana Department of Transportation in the Crawfordsville District reports this morning that the following roadways have been closed:
         Boone County
·        State Road 47 near County Road 1100 West
·        US 52 westbound north of State Road 47
Clay County
·        State Road 246, two miles east of the Eel River near Clay City
Clinton County
·        State Road 75 north of Frankfort near County Road 200 North
         
Montgomery County
·        US 136 near County Road 50 South
Morgan County
·        State Road 42 near Eminence
Putnam County
·        State Road 236 east if US 231
Tippecanoe County
·        State Road 26 near Edna Mills
·        State Road 43 between I-65 and State Road 443
·        State Road 225 between State Road 43 and Old State Road 25
When encountering a flooded roadway, INDOT urges drivers to turn around and not drive through standing water.  According to the National Weather Service, most flooding deaths occur in automobiles. Six inches of standing water is enough to cause passenger cars to stall and a foot of water will float many vehicles.  For the latest road conditions, please visit www.trafficwise.in.gov .
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County Dumps Ethanol Plant Deal

Lake County's trash-to-ethanol contract is no more. The Lake County Solid Waste Management Board unanimously agreed to cancel the deal that was signed back in November 2008 with Powers Energy out of Evansville that was meant to put a facility in Schneider where the alternative fuel would have been produced out of garbage. But for years funding failed to materialize, and Thursday's vote comes on the heels of a local construction consortium deciding not to take over the contract.
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Boston Manhunt Continues

Authorities are searching for the second suspect in the Boston marathon bombing and ABC Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz reports there are questions about whether the two men worked alone.  ABC News also reports the suspects are believed to be of Chechen or Turkish descent.  People in Boston, Watertown and Cambridge are being asked to stay inside with the doors locked as police search for the second suspect. The Governor of Massachusetts is asking for the public to stay off the streets of 
Boston, Watertown and Cambridge with the manhurt underway.    ABC's Aaron Katersky tells us the suspects tossed explosives from their car and that authorities have found a pressure cooker in a neighborhood in Watertown. Officials say pressure cookers were used to fashion a device that detonated at the Marathon, but there's no indication that this pressure cooker was similarly fashioned into a bomb.
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Body Identified as Missing N. Indiana Man

The body of man found Monday night in a ditch south of Hebron has been identified as a missing man from an Indiana community about eighty miles away. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports the deceased, 32 year old Ruben Paredes of Akron, Indiana, which is a little east of Rochester, was reported missing by his wife in early February, and a joint homicide investigation is now underway. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris says the man suffered an apparent gunshot wound. Anyone with information is asked to contact Porter County Sheriff's Police.
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LOFS Area Fire Might Have Been Lightning

Officials continue to try to determine what caused a fire in Winfield Township late Wednesday afternoon, but they do say it might have been a lightning strike. The blaze reportedly started on the second floor of a home on Gibson Street. Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Force and other local agencies responded. There were no reports of injuries.
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Griffith 'Secession' Bill Awaits Signature

For years, Griffith has sought a legislative avenue to secede from Calumet Township, and this time they may have succeeded. The House Thursday voted to accept changes made by the Senate to House Bill 1585, a measure that gives the township about a two-year window to reduce its poor relief tax rate, which is reportedly almost 23 times the state average. Griffith officials have said the town sends much more to the township than it gets back. If conditions set forth in the bill aren't met, Griffith could hold a referendum on leaving the township and joining another.  The measure now heads to the Governor's desk.
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Whiting Tourism Bill Goes to Gov

A bill meant to foster tourism... through the development of restaurants along the Whiting shoreline... is headed to the Governor. Lawmakers have approved Senate Bill 173, after a number of changes along the way. The measure allows the state to issue up to six new Whiting alcohol permits for eateries within three blocks of Lake Michigan. An earlier version of the bill covered the expanse of the Region lakefront, from Michigan to Illinois.
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Region, Chicago Deal with Flooding

Communities across the Region and Chicago area continue to deal with flooding. On the southeast side of Chicago, a sinkhole swallowed three vehicles. Reports say the apparent cause of the sinkhole was a nearly century-old water main.  A number of area roads still have high-standing water, and flood warnings remain in effect across Northwest Indiana. The National Weather Service says rainfall reports of nearly seven and eight inches were observed in Illinois. In Northwest Indiana, and nearly two-and-a-half inches was reported to have fallen in Portage, with more than two inches of rain during a 24-hour period in these storms in Highland and Dyer.
Flood warnings continue for Region rivers. This morning at 5 am the Little Calumet River at Munster was at 15.2 feet, 3.2 feet above flood stage, meteorologists report. Last night the Kankakee River at Shelby was at 10.5 feet, and flood stage is 9 feet.
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Boston Bombings: One Suspect Dead, 2nd At Large

Dramatic developments overnight in the search for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. One of the suspects was killed in a police shootout - and a massive manhunt is underway for the second. ABC's Aaron Katersky from Watertown, Massachusett, reports this alll began with the robbery of a 7-11 convenience store near the campus of MIT. A campus police officer was shot and killed. There was a carjacking of a Mercedes. That car was found in a residential neighborhood here in Watertown. And when police pursued, there was gunfire. There were explosives, perhaps grenades, thrown at police. And during that pursuit, one transit police officer was shot and wounded and one of the suspects - the one in the black cap, number one - was shot and killed.
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Tier ll of the Illiana Corridor Project Holds Public Meeting

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation held their first Open house of the Second Tier of the Illiana Corridor Project at Lowell Middle School from 5pm to 8pm tonight.

In a joint press release INDOT says the purpose of this event is to explain the Teir Two process, which includes refinement of the preferred corridor; interchange locations and layout; determining overpass and underpass opportunities; environmental analysis; and continued stakeholder outreach.  A brief Question and Answer session was held at around 6pm.

Along with several hundred property owners and curious others who live near the planned #B corridor route, were members of the expressway's opposition group, "No Illiana 4 US," headed up in Indiana by Harold Mussman, West Creek Township Trustee.  According to a recent article in the Times, Mussman said the group's main concern is the closure of certain north/south roads that would jeopardze residents' safety if they needed ambulance or first responder services. 
Read more about the group at:
 http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/illiana-expressway-foes-to-attend/article_406cd995-17fc-58dc-a172-9fd9bc995123.html
Spokepersons from INDOT and IDOT
INDOT and IDOT spokespersons at media briefing prior to public meeting to kick off Tier ll of the Illiana Expressway Project
Harold Mussman opposition leader

Harold Mussman, West Creek Township Trustee and Indiana leader of the "No Illiana 4 US," opposition group
opposition with picket signs
Part of the opposition group "No Illiana 4 US" with picket signs at the first Indiana public meeting of Tier ll of the Illiana Corridor Project
Slide presentation
Slide presentation of Tier Two at public meeting
B3 Corridor
The Illiana Expressway B3 Corridor laid out for public inspection (Indiana sector is at the far end of the table)
B3 Corridor in Lowell
The Illiana Corridor in the Lowell area
Tier ll  poster 2
One of several dozens informational posters on display at the public Open House Thursday night
signs
Some of the opposition group "No Illiana 4 US" signs
(photos provided by Jay Stevens)
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Donnelly Presses DOD on Off-Ramp of IN National Guard Units

Washington, D.C. —Yesterday, Senator Joe Donnelly questioned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Acting Under Secretary of Defense Jessica Wright about an issue important to more than one thousand Indiana families: the off-ramping (cancelled deployment) of four Indiana National Guard units, two of which were just six weeks away from deploying.  The Army replaced these units with active duty units from a neighboring state.  In a few days, these National Guard families will lose their healthcare benefits, and 142 soldiers who reenlisted to serve in these deployments will have their bonuses cancelled and they will be asked to reenlist without the bonus.
“Hoosiers have said, ‘Look, we’re willing to share the burden. We’re willing to stand up for our country and reduce costs.  But Indiana’s National Guard shouldn’t have to bear the burden for the Army,’” said Donnelly.  “In just a few days, National Guard families lose their healthcare benefits and some soldiers lose their reenlistment bonuses.  We need to show that even during these challenging budget discussions, the well-being of the people who serve our great nation comes first.”
Donnelly concluded, “I am here to try to make sure that this is made right because what was done was not.”
Following the announcement of the off-ramp in March, Senator Donnelly sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Army asking them to reconsider his decision.  In response, the Army delayed the off-ramps by one month, giving Guard members and their families additional time on payroll and with health benefits, allowing them the transition time they have earned.
For a link to the letter Donnelly sent, click http://www.donnelly.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=341319
To view Senator Donnelly question Secretary Hagel, click ">
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$4.5 Million Proposed to Help Low Income Hoosiers with Energy Costs

WASHINGTON -- President Obama’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2014 includes an increase for low-income home weatherization services, including $4.5 million to help needy families in the state of Indiana.  The proposal represents a continued commitment by the President and his Administration to help low-income Americans address their energy needs through raising the energy efficiency of their homes while reducing their monthly energy costs.
The Weatherization Program is operated through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The state office combines funding from the Energy Department and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to provide these services through a network of 24 community action agencies located throughout the state. 
To be eligible to receive these free energy improvements, the typical family of four in the state must earn less than $47,000, or less than 200 percent of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines. These families will save from $250 to $450 per year in their energy bills depending on the housing type and fuel source. These dollars can now be used for medicine, food, clothing and other expenses. 
Indiana’s Weatherization Program also provides comprehensive consumer education to each participating family on both improving health and safety in the home and the best use of the energy efficiency measures being installed. Nationally, the Department’s weatherization program has helped more than seven million families save money on their energy bills while creating jobs for American workers, supporting small businesses and reducing pollution.
To help families save additional money on their energy bills, energy efficiency and renewable energy experts from the Energy Department will answer questions about reducing energy use and improving home comfort during a Google+ Hangout on April 22 at 3 pm ET.
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LaPorte Co Authorities Seeking Info on Missing Sex Offender

Darell Eckwood
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)
The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office says they are seeking the public's help to locate a missing sex offender. The Sheriff's Office reports 20 year old Darell Eckwood is being sought for a sex offender registry violation, after it was learned earlier this month that he was not living at his registered address in the 56-hundred north block of County Road 400 West in Springfield Township. Eckwood was convicted in 2011 for felony child molesting, and is described as standing five-feet six inches, weighing 139 pounds, with short-cropped black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department.
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Body Found in Boone Twp Ditch Is Missing Akron, IN Man

porter co sheriff dept
The body of man found Monday night in a ditch in the area of County Road 500 West and County Road 1000 South, in Boone Township, has been identified. The Porter County Sheriff's Office reports the deceased is that of 32 year old Ruben Paredes (pair-dez), of Akron, Indiana. Authorities say the Akron man was reported as a missing person by his wife in early February, and a joint homicide investigation is underway. On Tuesday, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris performed an autopsy on the victim, whose death was cause by an apparent gunshot wound. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Porter County Sheriff's Department.
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FBI Releases Description of Suspects in Boston Bombing

ABC News reports the FBI has has identified two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. This afternoon officials released photos of the suspects and asked for the public's help in identifying the two men. Rick DesLauriers is the FBI special agent in Boston says suspect one is wearing a dark hat, suspect two is wearing a white hat. Suspect two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion just in front of the Forum restaurant.
The FBI considers them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them, and no should should attempted to apprehend them except law enforcement.
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Illinois Governor Declares State of Emergency

ABC News reports the governor of Illinois has declared a state of emergency after heavy rains brought flooding to the Chicago area. North of Chicago, the Fox and Des Plaines rivers are swollen, with the rate with which the river is rising on the Des Plaines is very rapid, nearly three feet since last night. Officials in Lake County, Illinois have been dispatching sandbags. The public works department has processed nearly 200-thousand sandbags out to local municipalities and townships. Meanwhile in Chicago some locks were opened along Lake Michigan reversing the flow of the Chicago River back to the lake.
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WX Cancels Wednesday's HSC Game, No Makeup

GARY, Ind. — Wednesday’s postponed High School Challenge contest between North Newton and South Newton has been canceled and will not be made up. Here is the remainder of the High School Challenge schedule. All games for this weekend are on as of right now.
 
Friday, April 19th
4:30 p.m. - *Lew Wallace vs. Roosevelt
7:30 p.m. - *East Chicago vs. MC Marquette
 
Saturday, April 20th
1:00 p.m. - *Michigan City vs. Boone Grove
4:00 p.m. - *Chesterton vs. Griffith
7:00 p.m. - *Victory Christian vs. Calumet Christian
 
Tuesday, April 23rd 
7:30 p.m. - *Hales Franciscan vs. St. Patrick
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Tips for Evading Fake Online Boston Charities

In the wake of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon, Scambook, the Internet’s leading complaint resolution platform, cautions the public to watch out for fake charities run by criminals who exploit national tragedy via the Internet. Over a dozen charity domains were registered in regards to Boston with names like "bostonmarathondonations.com", "bostonmarathonvictimfund.com" and "bostonmarathonattack.com".   
To avoid giving money to a fake charity, Scambook recommends donating to well-established organizations like the Red Cross, Boston Children's Hospital or One Fund Boston. If an individual is considering donating to a different organization, Scambook advises the following 5 tips to avoid a charity scam:
1. Check the organization online. Contact the State Attorney General or the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) to find out if the organization is officially registered. Watchdog sites guidestar.org and charitynavigator.org are also recommended.
2. Don't trust viral stories from supposed victims. In the wake of a national tragedy, dozens of heart-breaking stories circulate through social media and email. Don’t make any donations to individuals with whom there stands no personal relationship or verification of the claims.
3. Don't give in to pressure to donate. Even in times of need, a legitimate charity will never pressure anyone to donate. If an individual soliciting donations is rude, threatening, or refuses to answer questions, it's unlikely that they're representing a real charity. Call the organization they claim to represent.
4. Stop and remember past donations. Charity scammers often try to build trust with their victims by thanking them for past donations.  If contacted, pause and think about your history of donations. A legitimate charity will be able to provide the date of the donation or other verifying information.
5. Watch out for unsolicited text messages. Be wary of any text messages asking for donations. Although legitimate charities can receive donations via text message, it is highly improbable that they will send out unsolicited text messages for help.
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Gary PD Asks Those Walking to School to Do So in Numbers

Gary police are asking kids who walk to school, to try and do so in a group if possible, after an incident Wednesday morning. Gary Police Public Information Corporal Gabrielle King says a 14 year old was grabbed from behind while walking southbound on Washington Street to school, at 8:43am. Corporal King says the suspect, a black male, took the girl in an abandoned building in the 41-hundred block of Washington, fondled her, and left the scene. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gary Police Department.
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