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Portage Man Awarded Purple Heart for WWII Injury

purple heart
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 94 year old World War II veteran who was wounded in combat on April 15th, 1945, in Okinawa, received his purple heart on Friday at Moods bar in Portage. The Times reports Rich Birs received shrapnel in his leg, which ended his service to his country after four-years. According to the article, Birs was also given membership to the Portage VFW Post 7760 and the quartermaster presented him with an American flag. Birs also received a letter of congratulations from US Representative Pete Visclosky.
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Portage Man Awarded Purple Heart for WWII Injury

purple heart
(Photo Courtesy of the Times)
A 94 year old World War II veteran who was wounded in combat on April 15th, 1945, in Okinawa, received his purple heart on Friday at Moods bar in Portage. The Times reports Rich Birs received shrapnel in his leg, which ended his service to his country after four-years. According to the article, Birs was also given membership to the Portage VFW Post 7760 and the quartermaster presented him with an American flag. Birs also received a letter of congratulations from US Representative Pete Visclosky.
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Kouts Pork Fest

A 5K walk/run helped kick off the Kouts Pork Fest today. Kouts Fire Chief Don Sutter says the annual event runs from 8am until 8pm, and invites you to stop by the fire station for a pork chop lunch, from 10am to 5pm, for seven dollars, which includes pop and chips, and says donations would be appreciated.
Other activities include sales of arts, crafts, and food by around 100 vendors, an hour-long parade, and a kiddie tractor pull. The entertainment stage features line dancers, square dancers, singers, and bands.  
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Kouts Pork Fest

A 5K walk/run helped kick off the Kouts Pork Fest today. Kouts Fire Chief Don Sutter says the annual event runs from 8am until 8pm, and invites you to stop by the fire station for a pork chop lunch, from 10am to 5pm, for seven dollars, which includes pop and chips, and says donations would be appreciated.
Other activities include sales of arts, crafts, and food by around 100 vendors, an hour-long parade, and a kiddie tractor pull. The entertainment stage features line dancers, square dancers, singers, and bands.  
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Afternoon Fire Displaces Family in Kouts, No Injuries

No one was injured but the family of a residence in the two-hundred block of North Church Street was displaced due to a fire Friday afternoon. Kouts Fire Chief Don Sutter says they were called to the scene just before 3:30pm and that the fire was contained to an upstairs bedroom of the home. Chief Sutter says the fire was accidental in nature and was caused due to a light that had tipped over and was left on. The home sustained water damage, mostly to the upstairs area and there were no injuries. Firefighters spent around an hour-and-a-half at the scene and were assisted by the Morgan, Hebron, Boone Grove and Washington Township Fire Departments.


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Lansing Man's Death Overnight Ruled a Homicide

A 26 year old Lansing, Illinois man was pronounced at midnight today at Community Hospital in Munster due to multiple gun shot wounds. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports the death of Bryant Larry has been ruled a homicide, which occurred in the 36-hundred block of 173rd Court in Lansing, Illinois. No further information is available at this time.
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Assessment of Gary Train Station to Take Place Tuesday

Active Transportation Alliance
GARY, Indiana, August 20, 2013 — Active Transportation Alliance is partnering with the Rotary Club in Gary, Indiana to conduct a Complete Stations Assessment of the local South Shore Line train station.
The assessment — which will take place on Tuesday, August 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the downtown Gary station (200 West 4th Avenue) — will evaluate passenger amenities and the accessibility of the station for riders arriving on foot and by bicycle.
Active Transportation Alliance has developed the Complete Stations Assessment to help communities evaluate their local train station and prioritize improvements so the station will better serve the needs of riders. Creating a “complete station” can help turn a local transit stop into the center of a community and encourage more people to use public transit. By evaluating the accessibility of a station through all modes of transportation, the assessment suggests changes that make it easier to walk and bike to the train — encouraging healthy, cost-efficient travel habits.
The assessment will begin with a close look at the station itself, taking note of the conditions of passenger facilities and amenities such as benches, ticket sales, vendors and available passenger information. The group will then focus on the surrounding area, including parking facilities for cars and bikes, nearby intersections and transit connections.
“The Gary Rotary Club, as well as all Gary civic organizations, is committed to supporting Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and her administration's efforts at community improvement and improved quality of life for all the residents of Gary,” says Don Parker, past president and board member of the Gary Rotary Club. “One part of that quality of life is how easily public transportation in all forms can be accessed by all citizens and visitors. We are especially interested in making sure that residents without cars can still reach their destination, and that may include using multiple forms of transport in one trip, such as by bike or bus and the train. Making sure those various forms of transportation interact well with each other is why the Gary Rotary Club is supporting this study.”
The Gary train station serves the South Shore Line, which allows riders to travel between downtown Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. The station is owned and operated by the City of Gary. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) representatives and the Mayor of Gary have been invited to attend the event and both will receive a copy of the assessment results following the evaluation.
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.
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Chalk-A-Lot Festival in Whiting Saturday

A sweet event is scheduled today in Whiting. Whiting/Robertsdale Chamber Executive Director Karen Gajewski told us during a recent Region News Makers interview it is a chalk art festival called “Chalk-a-Lot” that allows you to draw your own art and sample chocolate from area businesses along 119th Street in the downtown business district. The event runs from 10am to 2pm, and to hear more of our Region News Makers interview with Karen Gajewski, visit http://regionnewsteam.com/.
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2 Hoosier WWII-era Marines will be Laid to Rest

Flgas at In Veteran Cemetery
After Nearly 70 Years Two Hoosier Marines to be laid to Rest.  On Saturday, August 24, 2013, at approximately 1:00pm, two U.S. Marines Veterans will be laid to rest with military honors at the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery located at 1415 North Gate Rd, Madison, IN.  The funeral procession will leave Bond Mitchell Funeral Home at approximately 11:00am traveling from the funeral home south on SR 135 to SR 46, east on SR 46 into Columbus, South on SR 7 (State Street) from Columbus through North Vernon to Madison where the procession will arrive at the Cemetery.  The Patriot Guard Riders, Rolling Thunder and Indiana State Police, along with local public safety agencies will be involved in the escort.  The public and media are encouraged to show their support for thetwo Marine heroes by lining the streets and roadways along the route of travel.  Hoosiers  can also go to the Bond Mitchell Funeral Home web site and sign the guest book of PFC Manley F. Winkley .
U.S. Forces were ordered to secure the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Island chain in late 1943.  During the battle of Tarawa approximately 1000 Marines were killed.  PFC Manley F. Winkley was among those killed in action.  US Casualties were buried in a number of expedient battlefield cemeteries around the atoll.  In 1946 US Army Graves Registration Service personnel attempted to locate and exhume all of the battlefield interments, however, because of the construction activities many burials were never located.  PFC Winkley was among the men that were not recovered.  On Oct 29 thru Nov 8 2012, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting command team excavating in what is now the Republic of Kiribati, found human remains of at least three individuals on the Tarawa island of Betio.  The remains were transported to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Central Identification laboratory, Hawaii, where on Apr 2 2013, PFC Manley F. Winkley was positively identified.   Manley F. Winkley was born in Indianapolis, IN on Sep 17, 1923 and enlisted into the US Marine Corps in Indianapolis, IN on Dec 12, 1942.  He was assigned to Company B 1 ST Battalion 2nd Marine Division during WW II and was killed in action on Nov 20, 1943 at the age of 20.
Lyman M. Winkley (nephew of Manley F. Winkley) was born in Indianapolis, IN on Feb 11 1927.  Lyman Winkley enlisted into the US Marine Corps on December 11, 1944 because of the death of his uncle, Manley F. Winkley, who was his hero as they were growing up together.  He served with the 3rd Division and was honorable discharged as a CPL on May 28, 1947.  Lyman Winkley re-enlisted into the USMC on Aug 24, 1950.  He was with the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.  He was wounded in Yo-Dong, Korea on Mar 22, 1951 and was wounded on Apr 25 1951 in Central Korea.  He received a Korean Service Medal with one bronze service star and Purple Heart with on gold Star.  He was honorable discharged on Sep 4, 1951.
IN Dept of Veteran Affairs  seal
(photo from http://www.in.gov/dva/2328.htm article provided)
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Dispute Over Narcotics Sale Leads to Shooting

LapPorte County Sheriff logo - this one
On Thursday, August 22, 2013, Deputies from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to a parking area at the campus of Purdue University North Central in reference to a shooting that had occurred off campus.  Upon arrival deputies found a 17 year old juvenile male who had suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound to his left hip and after being shot the victim and his friends fled to the nearby campus of Purdue North Central.  
An immediate investigation was launched and it was determined that a disagreement over a narcotics transaction at a residence located in the 9500 West block of County Road 125 South lead to multiple gunshots being fired at a vehicle.  One round penetrated the vehicle and struck the juvenile victim, who was seated in the back seat.  The vehicle had been occupied by four (4) juvenile occupants at the time of the shooting.  The victim was transported to Saint Anthony Memorial Hospital in Michigan City.
Two (2) persons, a father and son, were ultimately arrested.  They have been identified as 58 year old David DIEDERICH and 16 year old Jeremy DIEDERICH.  David DIEDERICH has been charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Violent Felon, a class “B” felony, Dangerous Control of a Child, a class “C” felony and Aiding, Inducing and Causing Dealing Marijuana, a class “D” felony.   His bond has been set at $25,000.  Jeremy DIEDERICH is being charged as an adult for the following offenses:  
    Attempted Murder          -    Class “A” felony
    Aggravated Battery         -    Class “B” felony
    Criminal Recklessness     -    Class “C” felony
    Dealing Marijuana         -    Class “D” felony
He is being held without bond.  Both are scheduled to appear in La Porte County Circuit Court.
     The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance from the public in locating a vehicle that was involved in a crash near the scene of the shooting.  Immediately following the shooting, the victim’s vehicle was involved in a crash with a dark colored pickup truck as it fled the residence after being shot at.  Anyone with information about that dark colored pickup truck is asked to contact led investigator Sergeant Andrew Hynek at (219)  326-7700 Ext. 2401.  
     The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team, La Porte County Emergency Medical Service, Indiana State Police and Michigan City Police.
*The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
David  Diederich
David Diederich
Jeremy  Diederich
Jeremy Diederich
(phots and article provided)
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