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Ritz and CECI Dispute Halts Education Board Meeting

The Indiana State Board of Education today took the first step in overhauling the A-through-F grading system. The Board voted 9-to-1 to replace the 1st through 4th grade point average scale with a 100-point measure, but that is where the progress ended as the meeting was brought to a halt after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz adjourned the meeting. Ritz says a resolution written by Governor Mike Pence's Center for Education and Career Innovation, which operates separately from the Department of Education, brought the meeting to a halt because it improperly inserted State Board of Education staff to take over the academic standards review process, which she called a violation of the law. Ritz says she has requested an advisory opinion from the Attorney General on the improper motion. A Board member withdrew the motion after Ritz left the meeting, but it is unclear whether the meeting had actually ended or was still in progress. ...

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Donnelly Urges Senate to Close Skills Gap

donnelly
Indiana US Senator Joe Donnelly this morning spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to focus their attention on growing and creating jobs in the manufacturing industry.  Donnelly is a part of a group of senators behind the Manufacturing Jobs for America effort aimed at passing bipartisan legislation to help businesses create jobs and help communities pursue economic development in manufacturing. 
Donnelly said, “Good jobs allow us to provide for our loved ones, educate our children, and ultimately retire with dignity.  Good jobs are also critical for strong communities and a vibrant economy. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the group of senators working on ‘Manufacturing Jobs for America,’ an effort to refocus the Senate on helping businesses create jobs and helping communities pursue economic development in the area of manufacturing.”
Many jobs are being left unfilled because employers say they struggle to find workers with the skills needed. It is estimated that up to 600,000 manufacturing jobs are left unfilled due to an undertrained workforce.
Two of Donnelly’s bills address closing this ‘skills gap’ and are included in the Manufacturing Jobs for America effort, the Skills Gap Strategy Act and the AMERICA Works Act.  The Skills Gap Strategy Act would direct the Department of Labor to develop a goal-oriented strategy using existing resources to better address the skills gap.  The AMERICA Works Act would modify existing federal training programs so that they place a priority on programs and certifications that are recognized and demanded by industry.
To view a video of Donnelly's remarks, visit &feature=youtu.be">&feature=youtu.be
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Senator Landske Diagnosed with Lung Cancer

sue landske
(Photo Courtesy of Senator Landske's Office)
Indiana State Senator Sue Landske, of Cedar Lake, announced today that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Landske says she has worked hard throughout her tenure in the Senate to be upfront with her constituents, which is why is informing the public of this very personal issue. Landske says she has no plans to step away from her official duties in the Senate, where she also currently serves as the Assistant President Pro-Tem and is chair of the Senate Elections Committee, and will begin treatment immediately in Chicago. She says her doctors are confident she will make a full recovery.  Landske was elected to the state Senate in 1984....

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Death of Contractor at ArcelorMittal Ruled Accidental

A 39 year old contractor from Valparaiso was pronounced dead at 7:16 this morning at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Michael Samuelson, of Valparaiso, suffered blunt force trauma to his body and his death has been ruled accidental. Officials report two other contractors were also injured in the incident which was caused by falling debris....

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Fatal Accident at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago

Officials say a contractor died in an accident at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago early this morning, and two others were hurt. The Lake County Coroners was dispatched this morning, but had not released any information at this time. Injuries to the other two contractors were reportedly thought to be non-life-threatening. No other details have been released at this hour.

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CTA Releases Images in Alligator Case

Woman with Alligator CTABlueLine
The Chicago Transit Authority has released images of a woman with an alligator on one of their trains during the early morning hours of November first. That same day, someone spotted a two-foot alligator under an escalator at O'Hare International Airport. Transit officials are seeking help from the public in identifying the person in the photos.
Woman with Alligator CTABlueLine 2
Officials say it's illegal to own an alligator in Illinois.  The alligator, believed to have been lacking a proper diet and in need of medical treatment, was transferred into the care of the Chicago Herpetological Society.  [Images courtesy Chicago Transit Authority]
News Release: CTA Security personnel have secured images of the person last seen with the abandoned alligator found and recovered at O’Hare International Airport earlier this month. 
Working with information from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and an image posted to a social media website that showed the reptile on a CTA Blue Line train, CTA Security personnel began their investigation and determined how the alligator got to the airport.
Using the agency’s extensive rail system camera network, which consists of more than 3,600 cameras, CTA Security personnel captured images of a woman who boarded a northbound Blue Line train at the Pulaski station at approximately 1:17AM on Friday, November 1 with an alligator in hand. Interior rail car cameras showed the woman holding the alligator in her hands and showing it to other passengers during her trip.
At approximately 2:17AM, the same woman is seen exiting the train with the alligator at the O’Hare Blue Line terminal. By 2:44AM, she is seen once again near the turnstiles of the O’Hare rail station, this time without the reptile in view.
Anyone with information to help identify the woman should contact CTA’s Customer Service 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Those responsible for this act can face a misdemeanor charge of cruel treatment of an animal or face a fine $300 to $1,000 for cruelty to animals for abandoning the animal in a public place.
CTA’s surveillance camera network not only assists police in the investigation of crimes committed on CTA properties, but also crimes committed near CTA properties against other people, properties and even animals.
In 2012, CTA cameras assisted police in the arrest of at least 154 individuals for crimes committed either on or off CTA property; so far in 2013, cameras have aided in the arrest of at least 140 individuals....

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One Injured in Accident Near Dyer

One person was taken to the hospital after an accident near Dyer just after 6:30 Tuesday evening. Lake County Sheriffs Police say 20-year-old Taylor Wiggins of Valparaiso woman was traveling southbound on Patterson Street at West 83rd Avenue when she became distracted and crossed the center line into the northbound lane, sideswiping an SUV driven by a Cedar Lake man. Patterson was transported by EMS to Franciscan St. Margaret Health - Dyer hospital campus. The other driver, Glenn Miller of Cedar Lake, was not injured. Police say there were no citations issued at the scene....

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3 Region Communities 'Best Towns for Young Families'

A consumer-resource website called NerdWallet-dot-com has listed three Region communities in a list of ten best towns for young families in Indiana – Crown Point, Schererville and Valparaiso. Criteria included public school ratings from GreatSchools-dot-com, median home values and ongoing monthly costs of having a home, average household income, and income growth over the past decade. Only places with a population over 25-thousand were considered.
http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2013/best-towns-indiana-young-families/...

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Longtime Former Indiana Beach Owner Passes Away

spackman
The former longtime owner of Indiana Beach has died. Thomas Spackman passed away on Monday at the age of 100. Spackman's father founded a resort called Ideal Beach along Lake Shafer in Monticello in the 1920s, and that was changed to Indiana Beach “Riviera of the Midwest” in 1952 after Spackman took over as CEO in 1945. In 1985, the park adopted the well-known slogan, “There's More Than Corn in Indiana!”. Indiana Beach was sold to Morgan RV Resorts in 2008. [Photo/Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home, Monticello, IN]...

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Emergency Sirens Being Tested in Porter County

All of Porter County's outdoor emergency sirens are being tested throughout the day today. Assistant Communications Director of Porter County's Emergency Management Agency Joseph Oparka told the Region News Team they want to make sure everyone is covered by their current network of about fifty sirens. "We're making sure with all the new population, populated areas, that they are covered and everyone is safe," Oparka said. The siren testing started at about 9:30 this morning is expected to continue through the afternoon....

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