South Shore to St John by 2023?

Region commuters could be catching the South Shore train in south Lake County by 2023 – within about a decade – according to a preliminary report. The first phase of the West Lake extension would stop in St. John, with an eye toward Lowell later. The investment plan being discussed by Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District also looks at enhancements to the current line, like replacing cars, and improvements to stations here in the Region.  In other NICTD news, members of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Executive Board have voted to ban e-cigarettes on all trains. Smoking is already prohibited on all trains along the South Shore line. ...

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Lake Effect Expected to Impact the Region

[Image/Chicago National Weather Service]
A lake effect snow event is expected to impact the Region just as holiday travelers may be taking to major highways for Thanksgiving travel. Forecasters with the National Weather Service says lake effect snow is likely especially the further east you go in Northwest Indiana, into Porter and especially La Porte County, including the Indiana Toll Road and Interstate 94, starting tonight and continuing through Wednesday.   Currently we have Lake Effect Snow Watches posted tonight through Wednesday for Porter and Starke Counties, with a Lake Effect Snow Warning for La Porte County tonight through Wednesday.
Chicago National Weather Service:    
Northern Indiana National Weather Service:

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Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole

In Lake County court, a Gary man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of a Griffith woman in April 2011. Last month, a jury convicted 40-year-old Robert Lewis the third of charges that included murder and murder during the perpetration of criminal deviate conduct. Authorities say 37-year-old Jennifer Kocsis, a former teacher in Hammond and Whiting, agreed to give Lewis a ride from a restaurant. Her body was found by schoolchildren the next morning behind the former Riley Elementary School building at 43rd and Ohio Street in Gary. ...

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Numerous Spin-outs and Crashes Due to Icy Roads

Late Monday afternoon rush hour drivers encountered icing road conditions all across northwest Indiana as area temperatures dipped below freezing. 
Dozens of traffic tipsters reported extremely hazardous conditions and spin-outs, including one eastbound on the Indiana Toll Rd. at the Broadway exit, which was moved to the left shoulder.
Icy roads may have contributed to a crash involving a semi and three other vehicles affecting the northbound lanes of Cline Avenue at the US 20/5th Avenue exit.  Emergency crews responded to a rollover wreck on US-231 at Montgomery Street just east of the intersection.
Shortly before 6:30p.m. CST reportedly a semi jackknifed blocking the left lane northbound I-65 just south of the US 231 Crown Point exit. 

Around the same time a traffic tipster reported that southbound State Road 49 was at a standstill just south of US Highway 6 and that traffic was moving about 20 mph.
A traveler from Virginia driving northbound on I-65 reported in on the Northwest Indiana Traffic Tip Hotline (219-405-7743) that she first encountered icy conditions just south of Winimac in the Fair Oaks area where she reportedly saw a police car in the ditch.  About the same time another driver reported that I-65 in the same area was nothing but a sheet of ice.
A public service worker on the way to her police job called in to say that the Broadway overpass over I-94 was a sheet of ice in the Gary area and that it took her 10 minutes to make it over it and she said cars attempting to cross were spinning out with no traction.
INDOT has dispatched their entire fleet of trucks to salt all the major expressways and area roads.  Drivers are being urged to stay off of area roads as travel is extremely hazardous, if not impossible in some areas....

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Merrillville Rotary Club Donates Turkeys for Holidays

st clare 1
(Photos Courtesy of Franciscan Alliance)
Thanksgiving turkeys were recently purchased for 40 area families by the Merrillville Rotary Club. Franciscan Alliance reports club members raised nearly four-hundred dollars for the turkeys, which were purchased at a Strack and Van Til store in Crown Point and club members Ralph Neff and Brian Popp offered to match and double the donation, which was made to St Clare health Clinic in Crown Point today.
st clare 2 ...

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Gary Man Found Guilty for Rape of Elkhart Woman

A sentencing date of December 20th has been scheduled for a Gary man found guilty by a jury of raping an Elkhart woman. 42 year old Ronald Thompson was convicted of rape, criminal deviate conduct, battery, robbery and criminal confinement for the incident that occurred in August of 2012. Thompson had been accused of raping the woman at his Merrillville business after offering her a ride while she waited at the Gary Metro stop for a bus. Thompson was convicted in June for a similar assault on a Gary woman for criminal confinement, battery and sexual battery and sentenced in September to four years in prison....

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Secretary of State: Be Smart Spenders!

Secretary of State
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson wants Hoosiers to be more responsible with their money this holiday season and has offered useful tips on ways to save. Lawson says her office has put together a smart shopping guide and will be releasing helpful tips on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest over the next five-weeks.
Secretary Lawson’s Top Five Tips
1)      Don’t assume the best deals will be found on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Some items – like toys, brand-name TVs, and Christmas decorations – drop in price much closer to the holiday.  Exercise equipment, winter clothes, and international airfare prices drop in January and February.
2)      Beware of restocking fees!  You may have to pay for a returned item to be repackaged and replaced.  Some retailers charge up to 25 percent or more, so it’s important to check the retailer’s return policy.
3)      Don’t be afraid to ask for price adjustments.  Hold onto your receipts and watch ads to see if the items you’ve purchased drop in price.  Most stores will credit you the difference if you show them your receipt.
4)      Pay with cash or use a debit card.  When you run out of money, you’re done shopping.  If staying on budget is important to you, then leave the credit cards at home.
5)      Beware of  free holiday lunches or dinner investment seminars!   Scammers exploit emotions of loneliness during this time of year by providing free meals.
Secretary Lawson's office teaches Hoosiers about investment fraud and financial literacy through Indiana Investment Watch.  The education program is funded primarily from fines imposed on violators of securities laws.  Indiana Investment Watch has educational materials covering various types of fraud, as well as general financial literacy tools.  Workshops and outreach events held throughout the state provide more in-depth information on detecting and avoiding scams.  Secretary Lawson believes the most effective form of investor protection is investor education....

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Cook County Coroner: Trotter Died Due to a Stroke

We now know what killed celebrity chef Charlie Trotter. Here's ABC News reports Trotter was known worldwide for his culinary expertise. Now the Cook County Medical Examiner in Chicago says Trotter died from a stroke related high blood pressure. He was only 54 years old. Trotter's wife has said he had an aneurysm months before he died and that he was taking medication for his blood pressure and cholesterol. ...

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Tips to Help Families Prevent Home Burglaries

LapPorte County Sheriff logo - this one
The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office is offering the public some tips to help prevent your family from becoming burglary victims this holiday season. The Sheriff's Office reports would-be thieves take advantage of you being out-of-town, so to assist law enforcement in helping to prevent burglaries they ask you secure all doors and windows in your home. Authorities also suggest using automatic timers to turn on house lights and to stop mail or newspaper delivery if out-of-town for an extended period.
Other tips include:

- Have a neighbor/relative remove snow to give appearance as if someone is home
- Report suspicious activity to law enforcement IMMEDIATLEY
- Record serial numbers to ALL valuables, and keep the list of numbers hidden
- Do not place “big box items” or valuable item boxes at curb for recycling/garbage as this just advertises to potential thieves. Rather, break down boxes and/or turn boxes inside-out.

Having serial numbers to all electronics, weapons, and other valuables; greatly increases the probability of solving your case, should you become a victim.
The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department works hard to prevent burglaries, and solve those that do occur. Any civic organization that is interested in having a property crimes detective come and speak about this topic at greater length is asked to contact Sgt. Andy Hynek at 326-7700 Ext 2401....

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Harvey Officer Shot Twice While on Robbery Call

A six-year veteran of the Harvey Police Department was in stable condition at last check and was scheduled to have surgery today after he was shot twice on Sunday night. Officials say Robert Rolfe was responding to a robbery call, at a store at West 159th and Wood Street, when he was shot. Investigators report a person of interest was being interviewed. ...

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