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Local Bank Layoffs Expected in December

First Merchants Bank has filed notice with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development of a mass layoff across four bank branches in Lake County after their recent purchase of Munster-based Citizens Financial Bank. According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Notice dated October 3, 2013, officials expect 84 employees from two locations in Munster and two others in Hammond and Schererville will lose their jobs starting in early December. In May, First Merchants Bank out of Muncie purchased Citizens Financial, which has twenty branches in the Region and Chicago's south suburbs. The president of Citizens Financial was recently quoted in The Times as saying the layoffs will affect workers in support roles including operations and technology....

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One Injured in Gary Crash

No word at this hour on the extent of injuries in a crash in Gary late Sunday. Lake County Sheriffs Police say the driver went through a guardrail and landed in a ditch off the northbound lanes of Cline Avenue near the Fifth Avenue exit just before 10-o'clock last night. That person was transported to an area hospital....

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Former Lake County Assessor Passes Away

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Former Lake County Assessor Hank Adams, who resigned less than a week ago due to health reasons, passed away Sunday. The 77-year-old Adams had been battling cancer for over a year. Adams was the first Republican to hold countywide office in Lake County in over fifty years. Prior to being elected county assessor, Adams also served as St. John Township assessor for several years, and was elected to the Schererville Town Council before that.  A native of Tennessee, Adams became a longtime businessman in Lake County, as the owner of Adams Village TV in Gary and Barelli's Furniture on State Street in Hammond.  Funeral arrangements are pending....

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Marine Warning Issued, Other Severe Weather Possible

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A marine warning has been issued for our listening area, and other severe weather is possible around the Region. 
Here is a link to the National Weather Service Chicago website: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/ 
[Image/Radar Map, Chicago National Weather Service website]...

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Four Human West Nile Virus Cases in NW Indiana

Northwest Indiana now has four human cases of West Nile Virus, three in Porter County and one in Lake County, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. The latest data available, from Friday, also show one human case in Elkhart County and eight other human cases in eight other counties across the state. Mosquito infections have been confirmed in nearly every Indiana county except for a handful downstate.  Indiana State Department of Health Senior Medical Entomologist Bryan Price told us in an earlier interview it's important to try to prevent mosquito bites. "Back before West Nile came to Indiana, people didn't worry all that much about being bitten by mosquitoes," Price told the Region News Team, "and a lot of people still don't worry about being bitten. But, with West Nile present, it's just not worth taking the risk, and we just want to emphasize that if you're out and mosquitoes start biting, then you should either go inside or make sure you get some repellent on."  Price says West Nile virus can cause a mild form of the illness, while some individuals will develop a more severe form that could include encephalitis or meningitis.
To hear our earlier interview with Price, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website.
Quick facts about West Nile Virus from Indiana State Department of Health: http://www.in.gov/isdh/files/2012QuickFact_WestNile%281%29.pdf
Here is a link to the Indiana State Department of Health West Nile activity map for 2013: http://gis.in.gov/apps/ISDH/Arbo/...

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One Airlifted after I-65 Crash in Jasper County

Indiana State Police at the Lowell Post say one person was airlifted after a multi-vehicle crash near mile marker 226 this afternoon in Jasper County.  The crash occurred on the northbound side near the Fair Oaks exit reportedly just after 1 pm. Police say the crash scene which involved four or five vehicles has since been cleared.  No other information was available....

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Severe Weather a Possibility

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The National Weather Service says severe weather is a possibility in the Region today (Saturday October 5 2013). The Hazardous Weather Outlook issued out of the Chicago National Weather Service office says some thunderstorms may produce damaging winds in excess of 58 mph. Very heavy rain is also a possibility which may lead to flooding. Possible weather hazards also include hail up to one-inch in diameter and cloud-to-ground lightning.  Thunderstorms are expected to become more widespread mid to late afternoon as a cold front moves east through Illinois.  For forecast information click here: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/  [Graphic/National Weather Service Chicago]...

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NICTD Issues Service Alert for South Shore

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The operators of the South Shore commuter line have issued a service alert for October 5-11, 2013.  Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District says South Shore trains will operate on a single track between Kennedy Avenue in East Chicago and 124th Street in Chicago in order to enable maintenance crews to install a new crossover and realign overhead wire near the Illinois/Indiana state line.    For details visit www.nictd.com...

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Report: Suicide Steadily Increasing in Indiana

Indiana State Department of Health officials say a recently-released report shows suicide deaths steadily increasing in Indiana,  According to the Suicide in Indiana report, suicide is a leading cause of death for Hoosiers aged 15-54.  Reports of suicide deaths in Indiana increased steadily from 2007-2010, according to the report.  State health officials also say many suicides and suicide attempts are unreported.
“Suicide deaths leave a legacy of unimaginable hurt and guilt in families and communities,” said Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. “Information is available to learn more about the warning signs of suicide and how we can all work to prevent it.”
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Indiana, the second leading cause of death among 15-34 year-olds and the third-leading cause of death for adolescents between 10-14 years-olds, making it an important public health issue. There were 872 deaths due to suicide in Indiana in 2011, according to the 2011 Indiana Mortality Report, up from 867 deaths in 2010.
Suicide is a complex problem, resulting from one or more biological, psychological, environmental, social and/or cultural factors. Certain situations and medical conditions put people at increased risk for suicide. Risk factors include recent crisis or loss, unemployment, severe depression or feelings of hopelessness, family history of suicide, physical or sexual abuse, substance abuse and access to firearms or other lethal means.
“Suicides are devastating to families and communities, so we must all come together to recognize those who need help, and then make sure they are connected to services,” said Dr. Duwve. “The Indiana State Suicide Prevention Plan was published last year to engage everyone including individuals, families, schools and places of worship and employment in the journey from hopelessness to health.”
Additional information from the Indiana State Department of Health --
Suicide warning signs include:
·         Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
·         Talking or writing about death or suicide.
·         Withdrawing from family and friends.
·         Feeling hopeless and helpless.
·         Feeling strong anger or rage.
·         Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation.
·         Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
·         Abusing drugs or alcohol.
·         Exhibiting a change in personality.
·         Acting impulsively or recklessly.
·         Losing interest in most activities.
·         Experiencing a change in sleeping or eating habits.
·         Performing poorly at work or in school.
·         Giving away prized possessions.
·         Writing a will.
·         Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
There is help available for people considering suicide. If you or someone you know exhibits suicide warning signs, immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255), the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 911.
If you are concerned about someone, talk about it. Asking the following questions will not cause a person to consider suicide:
·         Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?
·         When you feel sad, have you ever had thoughts of harming or killing yourself?
·         Are you thinking about killing yourself? Have you thought about how you would do it?
Then listen without judging, let the person know he or she is not alone and offer to help find a doctor or counselor or call a hotline together. Several resources are listed within the Suicide in Indiana report (2006-2011) at  http://www.in.gov/isdh/21838.htm  .Past reports are also available.
“Each of the statistics in the Suicide in Indiana report represents a person, and each person is important to those they left behind,” said Kevin Moore, Director, Division of Mental Health and Addiction. “This report will help us to target effective interventions that can help prevent future suicides. People who commit suicide often have untreated depression or substance abuse needs.  It is the responsibility of all of us to learn the warning signs and take appropriate action.”
To review the 2011 Indiana Mortality Report, go to  http://www.in.gov/isdh/19096.htm.
For more information, visit www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1...

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Coats: Shutdown is a 'Pox on Both Our Houses'

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Indiana US Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) Friday spoke on the Senate Floor to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow votes on individual funding bills sent over from the House of Representatives to provide funding for veterans and military personnel in the reserves as well as protect Americans from threats to their health and safety.
“We can do something right now to help Americans,” said Coats. “We can come together and fund important programs and departments right now and not put them in jeopardy because of Washington’s impasse.
 “A government shutdown is a pox on both our houses,” added Coats. “We need to do what the people of this great country elected us to do. We need to work to find a solution to the government shutdown. We can’t do that if the Democrat chair at the negotiating table is empty.”
Senator Coats' office says the House is sending the Senate a series of individual bills to fund several federal government departments and agencies. Coats is urging the Senate to pass these bills that would provide critical funding for veterans’ disability payments, the GI Bill, education training, VA home loans, pay for the National Guard and Reserve, food and drug safety programs, Federal Emergency Management Agency workers and intelligence and counter-terrorism personnel.
To view Senator Coats' speech click here:...

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