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Elevator and Escalator Back in Service at Gary Metro

The operators of the South Shore commuter rail line announced this afternoon that the Gary Metro Center platform elevator and escalator are now back in service. The platform elevator and escalator at Gary Metro had not accessible to passengers with disabilities to access or leave the train platform pending a complete inspection and repair which has been completed. ...

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BBB: Phony Websites Pretending to be Overstock.com

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The Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana is warning Region residents about phony websites pretending to be Overstock.com. Better Business Bureau says a noticeable trend recently is websites that include the word "overstock" in the domain name, hoping to trick consumers into thinking they are shopping with Overstock.com. The President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus says they'veseen this with other major retailers as well. BBB is warning consumers: be careful to look for the real domain when it comes to major retail sites. ...

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Hammond Holiday Tradition Continues This Weekend

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Be sure to pack on the layers and check out the Hammond Holiday Parade this Saturday starting at 10am. There will be over 80 participants this year, as the parade makes its way down Indianapolis Blvd from 175th-169th Street in South Hammond. Santa will also be on hand to take pictures with kids! For more on this Hammond holiday tradition, listen to our interview with Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Michelle Turchany at Region News On Demand here on our website....

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Community Leaders Raise Funds for Hungry Families

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NIPSCO, Jelly Pancake House and several community leaders partnered together in Merrillville this morning to support the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, Valparaiso University Men's Basketball Head Coach Bryce Drew and NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley were among the guest servers for the fundraising event.
Funds raised from a portion of sales at Jelly's and a 20-thousand dollar contribution from NIPSCO will be used to purchase food to be distributed at two mobile pantry events in Lake and Porter Counties December 14th and 21st. ...

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Historic Valpo House Torn Down

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In Valparaiso, the Needle and Thread building heavily damaged by fire this past July was torn down Thursday. The historic home, built around 1900, sat at the corner of Lafayette and Jefferson.
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After no one was willing to restore the structure, the city okayed funds in October to buy the building, demolish it, and turn the site into a lot to provide additional free parking for the downtown area. [Photos/Radio One Communications]...

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Whiting Reports on Source of 'Blasting Noise'

Whiting City Hall reports having taken a number of calls regarding a “blasting noise” sometimes as early as 4am. City officials say thanks to the help of some residents looking into it, it's been determined the sound was sourcing from the dredging landfill along the channel. A message to residents posted at the city's website says the Army Corps of Engineers set up propane cannons to keep birds and wildlife away from the confined disposal facility, especially during the spring and fall bird migrations. City officials say the USDA thinks that since the water in the cells froze earlier this year, the sound from the cannons is being amplified by ice and that’s why residents are hearing the noises now. According to the information from city hall, federal officials believe the solution is to move the propane cannons lower into the cell, and the timers will be double-checked, to make sure they aren’t going off in the middle of the night.
City of Whiting website:  http://www.whitingindiana.com/news.php#newsitemEFlVVyEpVkaRxkCFjD...

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Governor Unveils Legislative Agenda

Indiana Governor Mike Pence unveiled his legislative agenda Thursday at the Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP Legislative Conference. Among other things, "Roadmap 2014" calls for phasing out the business personal property tax, investing 400-million dollars in highway expansion, creating an Indiana Teacher Innovation Fund, and providing financial support to teachers who choose to work in a low performing school or a public charter school that serves a majority of disadvantaged children. 
For more details and to read the text of the Governor's remarks, click here: http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=149626&information_id=191709&type=&syndicate=syndicate...

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UPDATE: Flags at Half-Staff Now through Monday

Indianapolis, IN - In accordance with a presidential proclamation regarding the passing of Nelson Mandela, Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at state facilities statewide be flown at half-staff beginning immediately.  Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset Monday, December 9.  Governor Pence also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to pay tribute to this world leader....

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IU Approves New Online Degree

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John Applegate [Photo by Indiana University]
The Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved the creation of an online Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, the first bachelor's degree program offered jointly by all five IU-administered regional campuses, and one of the first BAS degrees offered in the state.  The new degree must now be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. It would be offered at IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.
"Joint degrees such as this provide increased educational opportunities for students while capitalizing on economies of scale created by sharing faculty and classes across all five regional campuses,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. Funded by IU President Michael A. McRobbie's IU Online initiative, the regional campuses are working together to create up to four more new joint online degrees over the next few years. IU says the goal is to increase availability of high-quality degrees to students all across the state.
Coursework for the proposed online BAS could be oriented toward several specific career fields, such as hospital administration, general supervision or entry-level management. The degree would track into about 34 occupations that can be grouped into three clusters: specialty business, supervisory and management.
"The BAS is designed for students who already are in the workforce but need a more advanced degree to improve their job options," said Sharon Calhoon, assistant vice president for university academic and regional campus affairs. "Currently, the Associate of Applied Science degree does not align well with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees, so students with an AAS typically lose a substantial number of credit hours when they go on to pursue either degree."
The new BAS program is designed to help students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree achieve a high-quality bachelor's-level credential more quickly and efficiently than was previously possible. IU research has identified a great demand for this degree, which is very closely aligned with future workforce needs in the state; it is expected that students in the BAS degree program will develop skills that will help them advance in their careers and earn better salaries.
Students will be able to take all of their courses online or combine online instruction with classroom instruction. Full-time students who already have an associate degree in applied science will be able to complete their bachelor's degree in two years.
The new degree program is expected to involve two full-time faculty from each campus and will be administered jointly by the School of Business and Economics at IU East, the Department of Allied Health at IU Kokomo, the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Northwest, the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at IU South Bend and the School of Arts and Letters at IU Southeast....

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Audio: Rep VanDenburgh on Bus Personal Prop Tax

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A proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage isn't the only hot topic facing Indiana state lawmakers this session. Crown Point State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh says Indiana's personal property tax that businesses pay on equipment they own is expected to be up for debate this session. There's been talk of reducing or eliminating the levy altogether. VanDenburgh recently told the Region News Team that would mean a big drop in revenue for Lake County.  To hear comments from Representative VanDenburgh, visit News Audio on Demand here at our website....

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