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Final Phase of 5-Points Project

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The roundabout project at North Calumet Avenue, Roosevelt and Vale Park Roads in Valparaiso is entering its final phase this week. City officials say traffic patterns are shifting with Vale Park Road being closed 200 feet west of the five-points intersection, and additional restrictions being put into place. Work is scheduled to officially shift into the third and final phase September 13. The project, which started in the spring, is scheduled to be finished in November.  The city also says truck traffic will not be allowed, and posted this information at the roundabout website:
Due to the narrowed lanes on Calumet approaching and especially through the recently constructed portion of the roundabout (in phase 3), trucks will NOT be permitted to travel through the intersection. A truck detour route is currently posted. Business owners in the area are encouraged to instruct delivery drivers ahead of time of these restrictions and direct them to the detour route shown, or plan for alternate routes that will better accommodate their individual business.
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Here is a link to the city's official website for the project:  http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1243
[Photo, Image/City of Valparaiso]
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Grant Recommended for Valpo Bldg

Plans are in the works to spruce up an empty storefront on Lincolnway in the heart of downtown Valparaiso, not far from the Porter County Courthouse. The city's plan commission has recommended a 50-thousand dollar facade grant for renovating the former Buck Stop building, which used to be home to Sievers Pharmacy years ago. The current owners of the building are planning a new main entrance and taking applications for one or two retail businesses or professional offices. The grant application is expected to be voted on by the city council later this month.
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Cal Twp Arsons Investigated, Reward Offered

The Lake Ridge Fire Department says a reward of up to five-thousand dollars is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in a rash of arson cases primarily targeting vacant homes in Calumet Township over the past few months. Lake Ridge Fire is being assisted by Lake County Sheriffs Police, Lake County Fire/Arson Task Force, Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the investigation.  Residents are asked to make sure their properties are well lit and to keep grass and bushes trimmed to deter potential criminal activity. The fire department is also encouraging owners of vacant properties to secure any buildings and remove any combustible items.
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Lowell Explosion Victim Identified

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Authorities say a 43-year-old Lowell man who had apparently gone to check on his neighbor's unoccupied house was killed when the house exploded Monday night. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says officials believe it to be consistent with a propane explosion as the investigation continues.  The Lake County Coroners office says 43-year-old Victor
Strain, who was found in the basement of the house that exploded, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The house, which stood on State Road 2 just west of Interstate 65, was destroyed, and a vacant house next door to the west caught fire.  Authorities say the owner of the home that exploded has been in a nursing home and has not lived there for a number of months.

[Photo/Karl Berner for Radio One Communications]

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IU Northwest named a Military Friendly School

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G.I. Jobs has named Indiana University Northwest a 2014 Military Friendly School®, according to the magazine’s most recent ranking of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide. This is the second consecutive year that IU Northwest has been recognized by G.I. Jobs as a Military Friendly School.

The list honors the top 20 percent of higher education institutions that have committed to embracing the needs of active-duty and veteran students.

IU Northwest is proud to educate 175 veteran students this academic semester.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Military Friendly School, as my campus colleagues and I work diligently to best serve the educational needs of our veteran and active-duty students, and of those students who have made a future commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program on our campus,” IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe said.

The IU Northwest’s learning experience is rooted in adaptability, accessibility and support services; important principles that help make all students, but particularly veteran students, successful.

“IU Northwest offers programs that allow former and current service members to transition the skills that were acquired on active duty and transform them to skills that can be applied in civilian occupations,” Lowe said. “Making higher education work for our veteran students is central to the IU Northwest mission.”

Now in its fifth year, the 2014 Military Friendly School® list was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 10,000 VA-approved schools nationwide.

A Military Friendly Schools Academic Advisory Board helped to determine survey questions and weightings in the following categories: military support on campus; academic credibility; percentage of military students; academic credit for military service; flexibility for military students; veteran graduation rates; government approvals; student tuition assistance; and military spouse policies.

A full story and a detailed list of the 2014 Military Friendly Schools® will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools®, distributed in print and digital format in early October.

About G.I. Jobs

G.I. Jobs is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business which also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines, and annually rates the nation’s “Military Friendly Employers,” “Military Spouse Friendly Employers” and “Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses.” G.I. Jobs is the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.

About Indiana University Northwest — What Matters. Where it Matters.

As one of seven Indiana University campuses, IU Northwest leads the region as the premier, urban campus dedicated to serving the needs of more than 6,000 students from the state’s most diverse and industrialized region. Committed to helping its local Northwest Indiana communities thrive, IU Northwest is best known for providing a personal, quality and affordable education close to home. IU Northwest positions its students to be leaders with more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional degree options available from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Business and Economics, and the School of Education. The campus is also host to IU School of Medicine-Northwest, which actively involves students in research and local healthcare needs through its four-year medical doctorate program. For more information, please visit www.iun.edu....

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Evidence of West Nile Virus reported in Porter County

The first positive finding of the West Nile Virus in Porter County has been found.  County health officials report that a mosquito pool has tested positive for the virus and Maria Stamp, M.D. Porter County Health Officer says, "we could see human cases of the virus this year."  Dr. Stamp says "in previous years, most human cases were reported between mid-July and Mid-September."
Health officials urge county residents to take protective steps when they are outdoors including: 
*   Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn
*   Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin
*   Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird.  A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite, according to health officials. 
The virus usually results in a mild illness known as West Nile feverm which can cause fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash.  However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
Local health officials are also asking residents to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds by:
* Repairing failed septic systems
* Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors
* Keeping grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed
* Disposing of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other unused containers that can hold water
* Cleaning clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains
* Aerating ornamental pools, or stocking them with predatory fish
Health officials report that although individuals 50 years of age and older are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease.
For updated information on West Nile virus activity in Indiana visit:  http://www.in.gov/isdh/healthinfo/westnile/counties/92mapx.htm
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Lake Station Ramp Bridges to be Rebuilt in Place

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PORTAGE, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has approved ITR Concession Company (ITRCC) design concepts to rebuild three aging ramp bridges within the footprint of the Lake Station interchange, where the Indiana Toll Road, the Borman Expressway and State Road 51 converge.
The complex dual interchange first opened to traffic in 1965. Construction will remove or replace the bridges’ steel beams, railings and crumbling concrete deck. Portions of the existing abutments and vertical piers will be replaced or rehabilitated based upon their condition. New concrete railings and wider bridge shoulders will provide improved safety.
The three bridges being replaced are:
  • Structure BHX-A: A bridge on the westbound entry ramp over the Indiana Toll Road
  • Structure BHX-B: A bridge on the westbound exit ramp over the Indiana Toll Road
  • Structure 5262: A bridge over the Borman Expressway for the road interconnecting to the Indiana Toll Road
Pending FHWA concurrence, ITRCC will bid multiple contracts over the next several months with construction scheduled to begin in late 2013 or early 2014. The construction will require several months of temporary ramp closures but minimal impacts to the mainline of the Indiana Toll Road with travel lanes fully open during daylight hours.
ITRCC operates and collects tolls on the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road under a 75-year lease with the Indiana Finance Authority. The Indiana Toll Road Oversight Board meets quarterly to monitor the ITRCC’s compliance with strict operating standards in the lease agreement. 
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NTSB Cites Cause of 2012 Jackson Twp Train Derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board cited factors such as speeding, not paying attention to signals and texting led to the January 12th, 2012, derailment in Porter County's Jackson Township that involved three trains and injured two people. The report says all three trains were going in the same direction on two tracks, when the second train, traveling at 40 miles per hour, switched tracks and slammed into the first train, causing that one's cars to derail, and a third train struck the derailed cars.
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Dangerous Heat Level Reminders

Highland Police
Temperatures are forecast to be in the 90's again tomorrow, so law enforcement agencies like the Highland Police Department are asking residents to check on elderly neighbors to make sure they are cool enough. They also remind you to not leave your pets outside in this extreme heat, and to drink plenty of fluids and if possible, stay indoors.
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Coats Opposes U.S. Strike on Syria

Senator Dan Coats
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the Senate resolution to authorize a U.S. strike against Syria:
“After several briefings with administration officials and military leaders, gathering input from Hoosiers and hearing today directly from President Obama, I do not believe a targeted, limited military strike on Syria is in the direct national security interests of the United States. Therefore, I do not support a resolution authorizing the president to take military action in Syria.
"There is no doubt that the Assad regime used long-banned chemical weapons to murder its own people. This horrific act demands a worldwide response of condemnation. However, the president has not justified his request to engage the United States militarily in Syria.
“As a result of Russia’s recent proposal to work with the United Nations to secure and destroy the Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons, the president announced today that he would like to delay a vote on the Syria resolution and give diplomacy another chance. Reaching an agreement at the United Nations is one thing, but trusting that Syria and Russia will abide by the terms is another matter. Additionally, there remain numerous challenges for the United Nations to secure and destroy these chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war.
“This accidental diplomacy should not be mistaken for a credible plan. The president’s failure to lead over the past five years and communicate a vision for the Middle East region threatens the credibility of our country. To maintain America’s strength and integrity in the world, the president must demonstrate that any U.S. military action in the Middle East is related to a direct national security threat and part of a long-term strategic plan, which the administration has yet to define.”
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