Pelath on Supreme Court's DOMA Decision

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City issued the following statement after today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings:
          “For many years, Republicans argued that nothing was more important than preventing marriage equality. Many Democrats, including me, argued that the prosperity of our workers was pre-eminent.
          “Today, there was vindication of Democratic priorities. At the same time, I am embarrassed for those who continue to press the case for inequality.
          “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. The federal Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional. Public support for marriage equality continues to grow at a time when any legal justification for inequality is withering.
          “The time has come for Indiana lawmakers to pour their energies into helping our state’s struggling middle class. There is no need to muddy up our state’s highest document with an amendment that is likely to be a blemish on Indiana’s history.
          “A number of states now have marriage equality. From them, we have learned several things. Families remain important. People still practice the Golden Rule. And folks have a lot greater concerns than who loves whom.
          “We have many problems in the state of unemployment rate that continues to hover over 8 percent, families scrambling to make ends meet, and public schools trying to do more with less.
          “We need to fight for changes that make people’s lives better, not waste our people’s vitality on more division.”
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Pence on Supreme Court's DOMA Ruling

Gov Mike Pence
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Mike Pence today issued the following statement with regard to the United States Supreme Court decisions in U.S. v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.
“I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation. For thousands of years, marriage has served as the glue that holds families and societies together and so it should ever be.
“While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, I am grateful that today's decisions respect the sovereignty of states on this important issue. These decisions preserve the  duty and obligation of the states to define and administer marriage as they see fit.
“Now that the Supreme Court has had its say on the federal government’s role in defining marriage, the people of Indiana should have their say about how marriage is understood and defined in our state.
“Given that opportunity, I am confident that Hoosiers will reaffirm our commitment to traditional marriage and will consider this important question with civility and respect for the values and dignity of all of the people of our state. 
“I look forward to supporting efforts by members of the Indiana General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter consideration next year.”
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Report on the Impact of Pollution and Extreme WX in Indiana

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, the President delivered remarks at Georgetown University, laying out his vision for a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it.  You can read the President’s plan HERE and view today’s state reports on the impact of climate change HERE.
We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged, and by taking an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.  Climate change impacts including severe weather, asthma attacks, prolonged allergy seasons, and sea-level rise are affecting our security, our economy, and our communities.  In 2012 alone, the cost of weather disasters exceeded $110 billion in the United States, and climate change will only increase the frequency and intensity of these events.  Today, we already set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we impose no limits on how much carbon pollution our power plants release.  Carbon pollution is contributing to a higher risk of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe storms, floods, heat waves, and wildfires, driving up food prices and threatening our communities.  The President’s plan is a comprehensive approach to cutting the pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health, setting us on a path to make our communities healthier, safer, and more resilient.
In 2011, power plants and major industrial facilities in Indiana emitted more than 165 million metric tons of carbon pollution—that’s equal to the yearly pollution from more than 34 million cars.

Recent incidents provide a reminder of the impacts to our public health and costs due to extreme weather in Indiana.  Although we cannot say that climate change is responsible for any individual event, climate change is already increasing our risks from these events.
Ø  In the wake of summer drought conditions, Indiana’s 2012 corn, soybean, winter wheat, and alfalfa hay production fell by 29%, 7%, 19%, and 32% respectively from 2011.

Ø  The total cost of damages from 2008 natural disasters is over $1.9 billion including crop losses that exceed $300 million and over $325 million in damage to public infrastructure.

Ø  In 2008, 82 of Indiana’s 92 counties were declared as Presidential disaster areas due to winter weather, severe storms, and flooding.  17,000 families suffered damage to their residence, and housing became a significant challenge for the state.

Midwesterners will experience increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events due to climate change, including heat waves, floods, and lake-effect snow.  In 2011, 11 of the 14 U.S. weather-related disasters with damages of more than $1 billion occurred in the Midwest .  While severe flooding is already an issue in the region – in 2008, floods caused 24 deaths and $8 billion in agricultural losses - likely increases in precipitation in winter and spring and more heavy downpours mean it is expected to become more commonplace.  Greater evaporation in the summer is also likely to result in water deficits.  Longer and more extreme heat waves will impact human health through reduced air quality and increases in insect and waterborne diseases, and require increased use of electricity for cooling, further increasing carbon pollution.  While the longer growing season provides the potential for increased crop yields, increases in heat waves, floods, droughts, insects, and weeds will present growing challenges to managing crops, livestock, and forests.
Climate change is a long-term problem, but we can make substantial progress through a series of steady and responsible steps.  The President’s plan builds from progress already underway to work with states, local communities, and the private sector to reduce carbon pollution and to prepare our Nation for the impacts that cannot be avoided.  Since 2009, President Obama has taken a number of common sense measures to combat carbon pollution, including:
Ø  Investing in Clean Energy: During thePresident’s first term, the United States more than doubled its use of renewable energy from wind, solar, and geothermal sources.  In Indiana, renewable energy generation from these sources increased more than 750 percent.  Since 2009, the Administration has supported tens of thousands of renewable energy projects throughout the country, including more than 40 in Indiana, generating enough energy to power nearly 120,000 homes and helping Indiana meet its own goal of generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.

Ø  Improving Efficiency:Using less energy to power our homes, businesses and vehicles is critical to building a clean and secure energy future.  President Obama has made essential investments in research and development for energy efficiency advances, and set new standards to make the things we use every day – from cars to microwaves – more efficient. 
·         President Obama established the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history.  These standards will double the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks by 2025, saving the average driver more than $8,000 over the lifetime of a 2025 vehicle and cutting carbon pollution.
·         Since October 2009, the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have jointly completed energy upgrades in more than one million homes across the country, saving many families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.

Ø  Preparing Communities for the Consequences of Climate Change: The Obama Administration has worked since its earliest days to strengthen the Nation’s resilience to climate change impacts, including investing in critical science and tools, developing the first-ever Federal agency climate adaptation plans, and directly partnering with communities.  For example, FEMA helped officials in the Lower White River watershed produce a flood risk map and associated report to help the area better prepare for flood events.
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Fairgrounds Park in Valpo Temporarily Closed

city of valpo
At 8 AM today, Wednesday, June 26, Fairgrounds Park gates were locked and the park was temporarily closed to the public for their safety.
Fairgrounds Park serves a dual function as a detention facility for storm water; several feet of water exist throughout the park including the parking areas.  The water levels have not receded enough to open the Park at this time but Parks Maintenance continues to monitor the site.  The Park will be reopened as soon as it is determined that it can be done so safely.
Please contact Valpo Parks at 219.462.5144 or with any questions.
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INDOT: One Day Closure Thursday of SR 2 in Westville

Indot Logo color
LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announces the one day closure of State Road 2, between U.S. 421 and U.S. 6 in Westville on Thursday, June 27th. Crews will be repairing the shoulder of the road.
Drivers wishing to travel west on SR 2 will be detoured south on U.S. 421, west on U.S. 6, and back to SR 2. Drivers wishing to travel east on SR 2 will be detoured east on U.S. 6, north on U.S. 421, and back to SR 2.
INDOT reminds drivers to use caution and consider worker safety when driving through a construction zone. For the latest road closures and news from INDOT, like us at and follow us at
You can find traffic restriction information at  Contact the LaPorte District toll free at 1-855-GO-INDOT.
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Valpo Officials Urge Residents to Limit Water Use

City of valpo
Many residents in the region this morning dealt with street flooding due to overwhelmed sewer systems, including in Valparaiso, which received two-point-three inches of rain in two and a half hours. The City's Utility Director stated he had not seen the detention basins filled to the level they were today since 2008. The city has been preparing for rain events like today for years, with sewer separation projects like Valparaiso Street and Evans Avenue, which the Utility Director says significantly improved their ability to handle the extraordinary rainfall, cut down the number of phone calls from large amounts in past years to just a handful, and that within hours, streets were able to be reopened as the water dissipated and the wastewater treatment facility and pumping stations accommodated the higher flows.
In anticipation of more rain today, Valparaiso residents are urged to limit water use to avoid overwhelming the city's sewer system.
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Munster PD Seek Help to Identify Woman

Munster Police POI
(Photo Courtesy of the Munster Police Department)
Police in Munster are seeking information from the public to help in identifying an individual in reference to a theft/credit card incident Monday. Munster Police released a photo of the person, a woman, shown leaving the Target store on Calumet Avenue.  Anyone with information on the identity of this individual is asked to contact the Munster Police Department’s Investigation Division at (219) 836-6600 or the department’s anonymous hotline at (219) 836-1010.
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Semi Fire Closes NB I-65 for an Hour and a Half

truck fire 1
(Photos Courtesy of the Indiana State Police Lowell Post)
truck fire 2
A semi fire on northbound I-65 this morning shutdown all lanes of traffic so crews could extinguish the blaze. Indiana State Police Lowell Post report just after 7:30am, a semi pulling a box trailer was heading north near the Ridge Road exit, when the driver noticed smoke coming from his exhaust stacks, and shortly thereafter, the semi tractor began to burn, and then became fully engulfed. Authorities report the driver of the semi was not injured, but his box trailer loaded with canned food sustained smoke damage. State Police say all northbound lanes of I-65 were reopened just after 9am.
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Hoosiers Urged to Protect Against Swine Flu

indiana state department of health
INDIANAPOLIS—State health officials are encouraging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves at county and 4H fairs around the state this summer following detection of four cases of variant influenza A (H3N2v). All individuals visited the Grant County Agricultural Fair, June 16-22, prior to illness, and at least two had contact with swine.  Variant influenza A H3N2v was identified in Indiana last year, with a total of 138 cases in 2012.
The Indiana State Department of Health and the Grant County Health Department continue to investigate these cases. Human infections with H3N2v are rare but have most commonly occurred after close proximity to live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products. 
According to the State Board of Animal Health, thirteen pigs at the fair tested positive for H3N2.  It is not uncommon for pigs to be infected with swine influenza viruses but not show any signs of illness.  If ill with influenza they typically recover.
“Fairs are a great way to get outdoors, have some fun and learn about agriculture,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “If you plan to attend a fair this summer, just be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid taking food into areas where animals are kept.”
Symptoms of variant influenza A include: fever, cough, sore throat, chills, headache and muscle aches. Diarrhea and nausea may occur in children. Symptoms can begin approximately one to four days after being exposed to the illness and last from two to seven days.
As several county fairs will open in the next few weeks, State health officials are increasing surveillance for influenza-like illness. 
“We are increasing our surveillance so we can learn more about this virus and because antiviral treatment is most effective if given within 48 hours,” said Dr. VanNess. “It’s important to contact your health care provider if you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms.”
And if you have visited a fair or been around animals, let your health care provider know. Influenza antiviral drugs can treat infection with H3N2v and quick treatment is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, including the very young, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease and pregnant women.
Visiting animal exhibits is fun and educational, and Hoosiers are reminded to follow some simple safety steps to prevent illness. Wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal. Never eat, drink or put anything in your mouth when visiting animal areas and avoid face-to-face contact with animals. People at high risk for flu complications should avoid close contact with swine in the fair setting particularly. 
While influenza is not an uncommon diagnosis in pigs, the State Board of Animal Health encourages swine owners to contact a veterinarian if their animals show signs consistent with flu, including coughing, respiratory illness, off-feed and fever. Most county fairs have a private veterinary practitioner on call for on-site assistance.
Since there is no vaccine available for people to protect against this H3N2v virus, the best way to prevent infection with variant influenza is to avoid sources of exposure to the virus. As always good hygiene and other everyday preventive actions are important to take as well. Wash your hands frequently. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid contact with people or animals that are ill. Stay home if you develop influenza symptoms and contact your health care provider. 

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 309 infections with H3N2v in the United States. According to the CDC, most of these infections resulted in mild illness, though 16 people were hospitalized and one person died. Most of the people who were hospitalized and the person who died had one or more high risk conditions.
For more information about variant influenza A, visit or follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at
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Rain Causes Closure of Johson Rd at Pahs in LaPorte Co

LAPORTE, In. – Heavy rain this morning has washed away a portion of Johnson Road at the Pahs Road intersection. This intersection is closed indefinitely. Multiple road closed signs have been placed on the scene and we ask that traffic use the posted detour route.
Northbound: From Johnson Road, left on 400 N, right on 900 W (Woodland Avenue), right on Hwy 20 to Johnson Road.
Southbound: From Johnson Road, right on Hwy 20, left on 900 W (Woodland Avenue), left on
900 W to Johnson Road.
The full extent of the damage is not known, however the closure is expected to be in effect for an extended period of time. Highway officials are working on getting emergency funding to begin planning for repairs.  There are also several areas with high water so we ask that you drive with caution.
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Region News Team
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