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Comments Taken on Ogden Dunes Water Rate Case

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The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is inviting written comments from Ogden Dunes municipal water customers on the utility's pending rate case. Under the town's request, water rates would increase by about twenty-percent due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants. Ogden Dunes water customers pay on a quarterly basis, and if approved, the typical bill for a three-month period for a residential customer would go up about 17-dollars.
The OUCC – the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) – is reviewing the utility’s request and has not yet taken a position in this case. The OUCC is currently scheduled to complete its review and file its report with the Commission on December 11, 2013.
Current base water rates for the Town of Ogden Dunes were approved in 2008, with adjustments in 2008 and 2010 to recover increased wholesale water costs. According to its filing, the utility is seeking the pending rate increase due to higher operating and maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvement projects including new pumps and fire hydrants.
Ogden Dunes bills its municipal water customers on a quarterly basis. Under the town’s request, the water bill for a residential customer using 15,000 gallons over the three-month period would rise from $85.85 to $103.28, including the fire protection surcharge. (If viewed in a monthly context, this would equate to an increase from $28.62 to $34.43 for 5,000 gallons.)
Ogden Dunes is seeking the rate increase through the state’s Small Utility Filing Procedure, which is available to utilities with fewer than 5,000 customers and is designed to reduce the time and expense involved with regulatory filings. Savings are gained by allowing utility staff to use standardized forms and the utility’s resulting need for less assistance from rate consultants or attorneys.
The standard for OUCC and IURC reviews on small utility filings is the same that applies to traditional utility filings. The OUCC conducts its review on behalf of consumers and presents its written report and recommendations to the IURC with regard to the utility’s request. The IURC then reviews the evidence and determines what is in the public interest regarding the filing (a balancing of utility and customer interests). A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding; such an agreement would require IURC approval. The OUCC attempts to reach a compromise where possible in each IURC case on behalf of ratepayers.
More information on this case, including the utility’s filing, is available online at www.in.gov/oucc/2519.htm.
Consumers who wish to submit written comments in this case may do so via the OUCC’s Website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, or by mail, email or fax:
    Mail: Consumer Services Staff
    Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
    115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    Fax: (317) 232-5923
Written comments the OUCC receives by December 4, 2013 will be filed with the Commission and included in the case’s formal evidentiary record. Comments should include the consumer’s name, mailing address, and a reference to “IURC Cause No. 44384-U.”
Consumers with questions about submitting written comments can contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494.
(IURC Cause No. 44384-U)
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
Visit us at www.IN.gov/OUCC, www.twitter.com/IndianaOUCC, or www.facebook.com/IndianaOUCC...

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Fund Set Up for Hanover Central Football Program

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It's been a long time since Hanover Central has fielded a varsity football team. In August, the Wildcats stepped out onto their field in Cedar Lake for the first football practice in over 40 years as they play a junior varsity schedule this fall and begin varsity again next year. The Hanover Community School Board recently set up a bank account thru Centier for donations toward their high school football program.  School officials say the last team to take the field for Hanover Central did so in 1972....

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Troopers Respond to Medical Emergency

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Master Trooper Dave Eggers; Master Trooper Tom Mechling
A 68-year-old LaPorte man was in critical condition after veering off eastbound Interstate 94 near Portage Monday afternoon on his way home from a doctor's appointment at the University of Chicago. Indiana State Police say Charles Morgan began to feel ill and his Ford Fusion hit the concrete median barrier wall twice before his wife was able to lean over and press the brake pedal to stop the car. Police say Tim Mark of Trail Creek witnessed the crash and pulled over to help. Indiana State Police Master Trooper David Eggers, of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and Master Trooper Tom Mechling from the Bremen District were in the area escorting a superload-- a windmill blade – when the dispatch came over the police radio. They responded and performed CPR until Portage EMS arrived. Also assisting were Indiana Department of Transportation Hoosier Helpers and Trooper Nathan Wolfe.  [Photos/Indiana State Police]...

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Remember to Take Care, We're Farming Around Here

Take Care Picture 2013
Harvest time means Region residents will be sharing some roads with large, slow-moving farm vehicles. Take Care Founder & Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski, Porter County Sheriff David Lain and Porter County Farm Bureau President Jack Rust have once again teamed up with Radio One Communications to sustain a public safety awareness campaign featuring road signs that have become a familiar sight designed to keep the roads safer for local farmers and motorists. Wichlinski founded the “Take Care, We're Farming Around Here” program in 2003. ...

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Police Find ID Card Near Unidentified Remains

In Hobart, police have recovered an ID card not far from where human bones were discovered behind the Crossing at Hobart strip mall on US 30 over the weekend. Police say other items they've found suggest the person may have been homeless and living in the wooded area on the north side of US 30, in the 21-hundred block of East 79th Avenue. The cause of the death is not yet known, but police have said at this point they're not suspecting foul play. Remains were initially discovered by someone riding their bike through the Friday evening, then Hobart Police conducted a daytime search Saturday and found additional bones near the same area, believed to belong to the same person.  A forensics expert at the University of Indianapolis is expected to take a closer look at the bones to try and determine when and how that person died. ...

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Possible Water/Sewer Rate Increase for Valpo

The city of Valparaiso has been looking at the possibility of switching to Lake Michigan, but after a year-long study of water needs, utility officials have recommended staying with groundwater. Either option would have meant higher bills, but lake water would have nearly doubled the rates, reports say. Infrastructure improvements needed to keep up with demand could mean about a thirty-percent increase in water and sewer services, and officials may float a proposal early next year to phase it in over a three-year period....

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Air Conditioning Units Stolen from Area Churches

An alert for churches in South Haven where Porter County Sheriffs Police say thieves have been stealing air conditioning units, apparently for the metals. Police have taken five reports since August, the most recent this past Friday from the South Haven Church of the Nazarene, and The Way of Holiness Church the day before.  Police are asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact the Porter County Sheriffs Department.  ...

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Sign Up Now for Salvation Army's Flea Market/Bazaar

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Spaces are available to sell your wares this weekend, as part of the third annual Salvation Army's Flea Market and Bazaar. Events/Volunteer Director Kathy Childress says they are hoping to raise around 15-hundred dollars. The public, local businesses and families are encouraged to purchase a space to sell their new or used items, and everyone is invited to stop by. The event takes place this Saturday, at the Salvation Army, located along Route 6 in South Haven, from 8am to 2pm. Interested vendors have until noon Friday to complete an application for one or more ten-by-ten foot selling space. For more information, contact Kathy, at (219) 762-9191.  ...

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NWI Food Bank Project Hope Fundraiser Wednesday

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The Northwest Indiana Food Bank is holding a big fund raising event Wednesday and you are invited. Megan Sikes, Communication/Advocacy Manager, says they will be holding the Family Fun Night fundraiser, at JAK's Warehouse in Schereville, which they've rented out for the entire night, with all proceeds going toward their HOPE project Sikes says those who purchase tickets can also get an autograph from Brandon Bollig, of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Sikes says tickets are available at the door, or can be purchased online at their website, which you can find a link to by visiting http://www.foodbanknwievents.org/. ...

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RailCats President/General Manager Resigns

Gary Railcats
The Gary SouthShore RailCats are now searching for a new General Manager after President/General Manager Kevin Spudic announced his resignation today, effective immediately. Spudic, who was one of the team's first hires in 2002, returned to the RailCats in 2011, and helped bring them an the 2013 American Association Championship. The Highland native thanked the RailCats owners for the opportunity and says winning the Championship was the, “icing on the cake”. The team announced Pete Laven, President of Salvi Sports Enterprises, will serve as interim general manager and lead the search for Sudic's successor. ...

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