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Michael Jackson's Death 4 Years Ago

Four years ago today (Tue) a global music icon died. Gary-native King of Pop Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50.   Alex Stone of ABC News covered Jackson's death, and saysl Jackson was in bed -- receiving the anesthetic Propofol to help him sleep -- when he died  "He had been on a grueling rehearsal schedule for a concert series in London. His assistant called 911," Stone reports.  "Jackson's doctor was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and now four years later, Jackson's family is suing the concert promoter - claiming it should have known Jackson was in poor health."
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Storms Knock Out Power to 82,000

Northern Indiana Public Service Company field personnel worked through the overnight hours to begin to restore the approximately 82,000 customers system-wide who lost electricity when a line of severe thunderstorms moved quickly through the region Monday evening. NIPSCO says the largest percentage of customer outages were in western portion of the electric service territory, especially in Lake County.  The utility company says the outages were primarily due to broken utility poles, downed electrical wire and other related storm damage as a result of heavy wind and tree damage. As of 5 am today, more than 42,000 customers were without power, with thousands of outages across Lake County, especially across the Gary area. 
To view the outage map click here: http://www.nipscooutages.com/WSSNisourceOutageMap/outagemap.html?action=city&reloaded=true
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Severe Storms with High Winds Move Through Region

Sustained winds of up to 80 miles per hour caused extensive tree damage in portions of the Region Monday evening where trained spotters reported a sustained wind of 70 to 80 miles per hour for several minutes in the Griffith and Hammond areas. The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning that has since lapsed prior to the storm's arrival.

Trees fell on power lines throughout northwest Indiana, causing widespread power outages especially in Gary, Hammond, Griffith, Highland, Merrillville, Munster and parts of Hobart.
Multiple large trees were reported down near I-80/94 and US-41 in the Highland area causing traffic lights to reportedly go out along US-41 near Ridge Road.
Traffic tipsters reported numerous other trees down including a large tree across  Ridge Road in Munster that took out high tension lines, large branches across Cline Avenue near 15th Avenue.

Other storm damage reported by the National Weather Service included many large tree limbs down on Utah Street in Gary after a reported wind gust of 70 miles an hour went through the area.  A 79 mile per hour gust was reported in burns Harbor.

INDOT reported several fallen trees blocked westbound US-20 before US-12/Dunes Highway.

Meanwhile both Lowell and Valparaiso reported 58 mile per winds during the storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Much of the northwest Indiana listening area remains under a severe thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m. CST Monday night.
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Indiana Continues to Struggle with High Child Poverty Rates

INDIANAPOLIS – New data show Indiana children are growing up healthier but the state continues to struggle with high rates of child poverty.
Data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book for 2013 ranked Indiana 21st in child health, up 13 spots from last year. The new ranking is bolstered by a 20 percent decrease in the rate of child and teen deaths from 2005 to 2010 and a drop of four percent in the percentage of babies born at a low birthrate during the same time period. The rankings are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  
“This is great news for Indiana’s children,” said Bill Stanczykiewicz, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. “Hopefully the Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report helps to intensify state and local efforts to improve the lives of our children across all the indicators of child well-being.”
One indicator in which the state still lags is child poverty. Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of Indiana’s children age 18 and under live in poverty. While that figure matches the national average, Indiana’s child poverty rate grew 35 percent from 2005 to 2011 compared to 21 percent for the national average. The Kids Count Data Book ranked the economic well-being of Hoosier children 26th, down two spots from the 2012 data book.
Indiana’s child poverty rate actually started growing before the Great Recession, Stanczykiewicz said, and the economic downturn exacerbated the problem.
“That initial uptick in child poverty and the recession are proving history to be accurate in that even as economies recover, poverty lags behind curve,” Stanczykiewicz said. “There is much we can do in our communities, congregations and youth organizations to encourage youth to prepare themselves academically for the current and future jobs in Indiana that pay high wages.”
Indiana’s overall rank for 2013 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C. improved to 30th from 31st in 2012. In addition to the health and economic well-being rankings, the Kids Count Data Book ranks the state 34th in education and 30th in family and community. 
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The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book provides a detailed picture of how children across the nation are faring. It gives a comprehensive index to measure childhood well-being at the national and state level in four categories—Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.  
The Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) contributed data to the book for each of Indiana’s 92 counties. Look here to see data from the national KIDS COUNT Data Book. Find Indiana statewide data here. Or see data for each of Indiana’s 92 counties here.    
The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being....

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Man Killed in Co-Op Explosion ID'd, Along with Possible Cause

A 66 year old man is dead after an explosion around 1:30pm this afternoon at the Co-Alliance Grain Elevator in Union Mills. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says the deceased has been identified as James Swank, of Union Mills, cause of death due to multiple blunt force trauma with dismemberment, and the manner of death is accidental.
Sullivan says there is a high probability that this was a grain dust explosion, and that Swank's position was possibly on top on the grain elevator, when the explosion occurred, which was partially filled with corn and soybeans from local farmers. Sullivan says the A-T-F and the State Fire Marshal are on scene, along with the Department of Homeland Security. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports the explosion occurred and was limited to a concrete grain silo that is adjacent to a railroad spur on the grounds of the Co-Op, and that the deceased is an employee who was working in the silo at the time of the explosion. Authorities report no hazardous chemicals were involved or released as a result of the explosion.
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Triple Homicide in Gary: Update

Police in Gary are investigating a triple homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 34-year-old Michael Andrews and 22-year-old Briean Jiles, both of Gary, and 27-year-old Antonio Dove, of Glen Park, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were all pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 2 am Sunday in the 58-hundred block of East 13th Place, in the city's Aetna neighborhood. Corp. King says a fourth subject, who was also wounded at that location, was taken by a private vehicle to the hospital for injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.
Police say they received a call of shots fired around 1 am Sunday morning, and officers found all three men unresponsive in the street.
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Union Mills Co-Op Explosion: Update

A 66 year old Union Mills man is dead after an explosion shortly after 2pm this afternoon at the Co-Alliance Grain Elevator in Union Mills. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says the man died due to blunt force trauma after some type of explosion that left the building standing but unstable. Coroner Sullivan says everyone has been accounted for and at last check they were waiting on the A-T-F and the State Fire Marshal. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office reports the explosion occurred and was limited to a concrete grain silo that is adjacent to a railroad spur on the grounds of the Co-Op, and that the deceased is an employee who was working in the silo at the time of the explosion. Authorities report no hazardous chemicals were involved or released as a result.
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One Dead After Explosion at Co-op in Union Mills

A 66 year old Union Mills man is dead after an explosion shortly after 2pm this afternoon at the Co-Alliance Grain Elevator in Union Mills. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan says a 66 year old Union Mills man is dead due to blunt force trauma after some type of explosion that left the building standing but unstable. Coroner Sullivan says everyone has been accounted for and at last check they were waiting on the A-T-F and the State Fire Marshal.
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Exotic Catfish Caught at Portage Lakefront Park

Indiana DNR
A Lake Michigan angler caught more than he bargained for earlier this month when he reeled in an 8-pound, exotic Amazonian catfish commonly known as a redtail catfish.
The redtail catfish was caught at Portage Lakefront Park by Mike Durfee. It’s native to South America’s Amazon River system and is a popular aquarium fish in the United States. The fish would not have survived the cold water of Lake Michigan during Indiana’s winter.
Like many other aquarium species, the redtail catfish can grow large. The International Game Fish Association world record was caught in 2010 on the Amazon River and weighed over 123 pounds.
The fish Durfee caught likely was purchased when it was 2 to 4 inches long and raised in an aquarium until it outgrew the aquarium, according to Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species coordinator in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
“The first response of some owners may be to release unwanted fish into the closest natural water body thinking they are helping their pets out by setting them free,” Fischer said.
It is illegal in Indiana to release not only aquarium fish but also all other fish into public waters without a fish stocking permit.
Snakehead, an aggressive and invasive fish from Asia, and hydrilla, an aquarium and water garden plant that forms dense mats, are examples of species that have become established in the United States in large part due to aquarium releases.
“Some aquarium fish, exotic snails, and aquarium plants can permanently disrupt the natural environment,” Fischer said. “Exotic species impact our native wildlife by increasing competition for aquatic resources and introducing diseases.”
A person who has an unwanted aquarium pet should pursue an alternative to illegally releasing it into the wild. Many retailers will allow you to return unwanted aquarium pets or will put you in contact with another aquarium enthusiast or local aquarium society that is capable of caring for them.
 
If you are unable to find an alternative the most humane disposal method is to place the plant or animal in the freezer and then dispose of them in the trash.
Sightings and reports of exotic species should be reported to the DNR through the online reporting system dnr.IN.gov/dnr/6373.htm  or by calling 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684).
For more information on the dangers and risks of releasing aquarium pets and plants into the wild, visit habitattitude.net.
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Two Semi Drivers Killed in I-65 Crash: Update

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(Photos Courtesy of Indiana State Police)
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An investigation continues after a double fatality on southbound I-65 in Tippecanoe County this morning, just before Lafayette. Indiana State Police report a preliminary investigation showed two semi drivers, 44 year old Marek Dziudek of Downer's Grove, Illinois, and 31 year old Tadeusz Wojtaszek of Romeoville, who were outside their vehicles disconnecting a trailer from a disabled semi parked on the outer shoulder, were struck when a third semi, driven by 42 year old Plata Albertico of Berwyn, for unknown reasons did not move over to the left lane, struck the disabled trailer, hitting both the other drivers. Troopers say the third semi then struck both semis before coming to rest in a ditch on the west side of the interstate. Two of the three semis caught fire. Police say the Berwyn man was uninjured. All southbound lanes were closed for more than three hours.
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