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Highland Crews Respond to Two Fires

Highland fire officials are trying to determine the cause of two fires. Highland Fire Chief Bill Timmer says a fire at an apartment building on Farmer Drive just off 45th Street left two families displaced during Christmas. Crews also responded to a fire at Sophia's House of Pancakes at Indianapolis Boulevard and Hart Road around 5:30 pm Christmas eve to put out a kitchen fire that reportedly caused significant damage inside. Officials say the restaurant had already closed for the holiday during the time of the fire. Several area departments assisted Highland. No reports of any injuries.  ...

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Portage PD to Accept Officer Applications in January

Applications to be a probationary patrol officer with the Portage Police Department will be available for a limited time next month starting January 6th. Chief Troy Williams says those interested can pick up an application packet at the police station beginning on that date.
Here is information recently posted by Chief Williams:
The Portage Police Department will be handing out applications for Probationary Patrol Officers beginning January 6th, 2014. I expect us to have openings to fill. The Portage Police Department is a proactive, innovative and respected Law Enforcement Agency with Divisions in Patrol, Detective, Training and Admin. We have Officers that specialize in SWAT, K9, Accident Reconstruction, Firearms Instructors, Field Training Officers, Hostage Negotiation, Emergency Vehicle Operations and we have assignments in the Porter County Drug Task Force, School Resource Officer, US Marshalls Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, and District 1 Task Force. If you are interested in becoming a Police Officer or know someone that is have the applicant come by the department and pick one up. The list is normally good for one year once completed. I'm hoping to hand out at least 200 applications to find the very best, dedicated, and service-oriented candidates out there. If you have any questions, just ask. Chief Troy Williams...

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State Senator Plans to File 'Merry Christmas' Bill

jim smith senator indiana
State Senator Jim Smith
An Indiana State Senator says he wants Hoosiers to be able to recognize Christmas in the classroom again. Charlestown Republican Jim Smith says he's filing legislation in the upcoming session of the General Assembly to protect public schools and teachers from being sued over Christmas activity. Smith says Christmas is under attack "in a way that no other cultural traditions are," and his "Merry Christmas" bill would allow Christmas traditions like putting up a Christmas tree as long as teachers recognize at least one other holiday celebration, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The Indiana legislative session reconvenes January 6th....

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New Lake County Surveyor to be Chosen Jan 4

Lake County Democrats are scheduled to caucus Saturday January 4th to name a new Lake County surveyor. After more than four-decades working in politics in the Region, former surveyor George Van Til resigned from office early this month, the same day he entered a formal guilty plea in Hammond Federal Court to six counts of wire fraud after being accused of using county employees to do campaign work for him. State law prohibits public officials convicted of felonies from holding office....

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Caucus Chooses New Clerk-Treasurer

A caucus of Republican precinct committee members this week selected Stephanie Kuziela to replace Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski effective the first of the year. After a quarter century of service to the town, Polakowski is resigning effective December 31st due to health reasons. Polakowski has been Clerk-Treasurer since 1988. Polakowski's term runs through the end of 2015. Kuziela is administrative assistant to the town manager, and has been helping to fill-in for Polakowski. ...

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Highland Council Against Air Show Move

Elected officials from another Lake County community have voiced displeasure over moving the South Shore Air Show out of the county, about fifty-miles south. The Highland Town Council this week voted unanimously to voice their disapproval over a plan to move the show from the shores of Lake Michigan in Gary, where the event has been held for more than a decade, to Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County this summer. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr from Hammond has also been critical of the proposal....

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Homicide Suspect Extradited

Officials say a man whose parents were found dead in their Lowell-area home in October has been returned to northwest Indiana. Authorities say 34-year-old Thomas Snow has been extradited from Minnesota to Newton County on an armed robbery charge. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says he is preparing to file charges in Lake County court against Snow in connection with the homicide deaths of 68-year-old retired Hammond schoolteacher Clifford Snow and his wife, 66-year-old Joyce Snow. ...

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Celebrate the New Year with a First Day Hike

Indiana DNR
Family-friendly, guided hikes are scheduled to take place on January 1st at Indiana's state parks and reservoirs as part of a national program called “First Day Hikes”. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with America's State Parks, report First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start 2014 and a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends. In northwest Indiana, an event will be held starting at 10am, at Indiana Dunes State Park at the nature center, where a moderate to rugged hike through the high dunes, including Mt. Tom, is scheduled. The event will conclude with a fire and refreshments. For more information on First Day events across Indiana, visit http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/files/sp-first_day_hikes.pdf...

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New Scam Targeting Target Data Breach

Target customers reeling from a data breach contend with a new scam. ABC News reports Target says scam artists are trying to take advantage of the data breach that exposed tens of millions of credit and debit card accounts. They masquerade as Target's corporate offices and send sham messages to affected customers, hoping to steal from them again. The retailer says it will post all official communications on its corporate website.
Meanwhile JP Morgan Chase is putting charge limits on cards that were used at Target stores during the massive security breach. The bank is raising those daily limits to a thousand dollars in purchases and 250 dollars from ATMs. ...

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Gold Bar Discovered in a Red Kettle in Michigan City

A one-ounce gold bar was found in a Salvation Army red kettle in Michigan City on Friday. Officials report the gold bar was discovered at the Walgreen's, at U-S 20 and U-S 421, wrapped in a one-dollar bill and has since been sold to a private buyer for 13-hundred dollars.
A one-ounce 1993 gold coin valued at approximately 13-hundred dollars was dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle on Friday at a Strack and Van Til in Cedar Lake and the Porter County Salvation Army reported receiving a gold coin in red kettle at the Strack and Van Til, on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, on Saturday. That coin was accompanied by a Christmas card with Santa Claus on front, signed "The Bright Metal Society", and identifying the gift as an 1883 Queen Victoria gold coin. ...

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