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C-MAP Committee Votes to Include Illiana in Plans

A critical decision-making period has begun on the Illinois side of the proposed Illiana Expressway. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's transportation committee voted ten-to-seven today in favor of including the Illiana Expressway in its transportation plan. Mitch Barloga, who is with the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, or NIRPC says that recommendation now goes to the full C-MAP board, who could take up the issue as early as next week, and NIRPC's full commission could take up the issue for approval on December 12th.
Barloga says online public comment peroid will commence on October 14th and they are looking to extend it until November 20th. Four open houses will begin in early November, two in Lake County, with one in Porter County and another in LaPorter County, but at this time, dates and locations are not yet available.
Barloga says a link to make comments should be available on their website, http://www.nirpc.org, next week. A public-private partnership deal is in the works for the Illiana, which he says is the reason they're able to bring the financing to bear.
An influential Chicago area group called the Metropolitan Planning Council has come out against it, saying it would put other needed road work at risk, and would not be used by enough vehicles. The Illiana, as currently proposed, would be a 47-mile tollway between I-65 near Lowell and I-55 in Will County, Illinois, to provide an alternative to the busy Borman....

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Thieves Damage Cars at Miller South Shore Station

NICTD
NICTD Transit Police are seeking the public's help for information regarding catalytic converter thieves damaging vehicles at the Miller South Shore Station in Gary on Thursday afternoon. NICTD Police Chief Robert Byrd says just before 2pm, suspects were witnessed wraping chains around the exhaust systems of parked vehicles, which were tied to the back end of their truck, then rapidly accelerating their truck and driving forward, ripping the exhaust systems from the vehicles parked at the Miller South Shore Station. Chief Byrd reports three vehicles had their exhaust systems damaged and a license plate and a set of windshield wipers were also stolen from other vehicles in the lot, located at U-S Highway 12 and Lake Street. The suspects are described as two males, possibly black or hispanic, and possibly driving a red Jeep and blue pickup truck. ...

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NIPSCO Modernization Plan, Rate Increase Proposal

Northern Indiana Public Service Company today announced a 713-million dollar plan to modernize its natural gas system through the end of the decade.   The Merrillville-based utility giant which serves 32 counties in the northern third of the state says planned projects over the next seven years include eliminating bare steel natural gas lines and installing eighty miles of transmission lines, and construction that will bring new service to rural areas. The company is proposing a gradual average increase in customer bills of about one-point-four percent a year through 2020, with no change in 2014 and a one percent increase in 2015. The plan still has to be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
“Homes and businesses across the 32 counties we serve depend on safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service,” said Jim Stanley, NIPSCO CEO. “We are proud to be among the lowest cost natural gas providers in Indiana. And, this plan helps to ensure a safe and modern natural gas system for the future, while continuing to maintain competitive rates for customers.”
For more information about the plan, visit NIPSCO.com/modernize .
NIPSCO serves the following counties: Adams, Allen, Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Dekalb, Elkhart, Fulton, Howard, Huntington, Jasper, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Miami, Newton, Noble, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Warren, Wells, White and Whitley.
With some investments expected in mid-2014, the bulk of the project activity is expected to increase in the following years. Sample projects include:
Example Natural Gas System Modernization Projects Estimated Total Cost
Install 80 miles of transmission pipeline, add automated valves $280 million
Eliminate bare steel gas mains, replace low pressure systems $61 million
Construct natural gas service to rural areas $99 million
Retrofit lines for in-line inspection $46 million
...

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Gary Mayor, Police Chief Issue Statement on Report

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram today issued a joint statement regarding a newly-released state report critical of the city's police department. The mayor and police chief thanked the governor and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, and say they will review the input and make changes that they deem appropriate. The city Thursday received a 13-page report from a Special Task Force convened by Carter at the request of Governor Mike Pence after the governor was asked to send state help to assist in tackling an upswing in violent crime in Gary this year. Among the recommendations of the report was dedicating additional current officers to patrol duties. In the letter dated Thursday, Governor Pence offered assistance with training and processing evidence and said he has instructed Indiana State Police to work with the Indiana Department of Technology to review current information technology at the Gary Police Department and make recommendations to improve operations.  The mayor and police chief also said no further comment would be issued until officials have had the opportunity to review the findings and discuss next steps.
Here is the statement issued by Mayor Freeman-Wilson and Chief Ingram:
“Yesterday evening, we received the report of the Special Task Force convened by Indiana State Superintendent Doug Carter at the request of Governor Mike Pence.  We would like to thank Governor Pence and Superintendent Carter for their willingness to convene this group.  It is our intent to review this report in the context of the previous assessment of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the work of the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center and our work with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  We will review all external input and offers to assist as we move forward to access the help needed and make the changes that we deem appropriate.”...

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Annual Governor's Ride Helps Military Families

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Motorcycles gathering in Indy this morning
Indiana Governor Mike Pence this morning [Friday Oct 4] is leaving on a one-hundred-mile motorcycle ride through east-central Indiana with members of ABATE of Indiana, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education. a non-profit safety and advocacy organization.
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Gov. Pence arriving at the Statehouse to greet motorcyclists prior to the ride

The Governor's Annual Motorcycle Ride was started by longtime motorcycle rider former Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to raise funds for military families. This year's trip includes three stops -- Rushville, Connersville and Liberty. Pence, not a regular on a motorcycle like his predecessor, has been taking lessons to ready himself for the event.
Governor20Motorcycle20Photo
Gov. Pence is shown here speaking with members of ABATE earlier about the upcoming ride   [All photos/Governor's office]...

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State Report Critical of Gary PD

Newly-released details show a state report critical of the Gary Police Department, making a number of recommendations, including dedicating additional current officers to patrol duties. The assessment was conducted under the order of Governor Mike Pence after Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked Pence to send state help to assist in tackling an upswing in violent crime earlier this year. The thirteen-page review accompanied a letter to the mayor from the Governor dated Thursday in which Governor Pence offered state assistance to the Gary force with training and also processing of evidence. There has been no comment on the report from the city at this time. In the letter, Pence also said he has instructed Indiana State Police to work with the Indiana Department of Technology to review current information technology at the Gary Police Department and make recommendations to improve operations. ...

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Hoosier Rep Ribbed Over Comments

stutzma
As the standoff and shutdown continue in the nation's capital, and both sides of the aisle issue comments, a congressman from Indiana has taken some ribbing for his statement on the Washington gridlock. Republican 3rd District Representative Marlin Stutzman was quoted as saying, "We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is." Stutzman's comment was made to the Washington Examiner earlier this week. ...

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Council Narrowly Votes Down Funding for Jail Pod

The Porter County Council on Thursday voted four-to-three against a request for money to hire enough new jailers to open the third pod at the Porter County Jail to help relieve overcrowding. Council members are in the midst of assembling the 2014 budget, and Council President Bob Poparad, who was among those voting against it, suggested reconsidering it later. Porter County Sheriff David Lain says even if the third pod were to open, the jail would still be at capacity. Executive Director for sheriff and county jail operations at the Indiana Department of Correction Ken Whipker described the request for nine new jailers as "bare bones" to operate the currently unused pod. ...

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Semi Strikes Cows Walking on Toll Road

Indiana State Police at the Toll Road say the driver of a semi was unhurt after his tractor-trailer struck cows walking on the westbound side of the highway near LaPorte last night. Police tell us there were several reports of cows walking around on county roads last night, but they were unable to be located. Around 9-o'clock last night police say a semi hit the animals, and the cows died in the crash. Officials say the scene was cleared by about 11:30 pm. ...

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INDOT Hosts Job Fair in Gary

indot
The Indiana Department of Transportation says as many as thirty jobs will be available locally for winter work, with opportunities based out of Gary, Rensselaer, Winamac, and Monticello. INDOT Northwest is hosting a job fair for winter program workers. Potential employees are urged to attend the event happening today, Friday, October 4th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Central Time), at the INDOT Gary Subdistrict, on Melton Road. Positions available include seasonal INDOT maintenance crew staff, and plow drivers during snow events this winter. INDOT also says priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance.
INDOT says priority at the job fair will be given to those who apply online in advance at  http://www.in.gov/spd/2334.htm under the Job Bank ID #586315.
Applicants Must Have
• Valid CDL
• High School Diploma or equivalent
• Ability to pass a drug test successfully...

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