Indiana 11th for Student Loan Debt

A new report ranks Indiana eleventh-highest in the country for an individual student's student loan debt, with the average college grad last year leaving school with a 27-thousand-500-dollar bill, nearly a thousand dollars more than the national average of 26-thousand-600. The Project on Student Debt at the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success also said 63-percent of students in the class of 2011 graduated with debt in Indiana.



Ind Fungal Meningitis Cases at 38

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 38 cases of fungal meningitis in Indiana linked to a steroid used in back and joint pain injections. State health officials say there have been two deaths.  The CDC says the steroid was produced by a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts which has recalled the product.



Munster Gas-to-Energy Ribbon-Cutting

Munster is cutting the ribbon on their Centennial Park Landfill Gas to Energy Project this afternoon [Oct 22 1 pm]. The closed landfill at the park on Calumet Avenue has been turned into a recreational area for the community, including a golf course, amphitheater, restaurant and walking trails. The town says project also includes a generator that uses landfill gas to produce electricity which Munster plans to sell as part of project through Northern Indiana Public Service Company.



Let's Talk Taxes in Porter Co

Lets talk

"Let's Talk Taxes"... a series of public meetings for Porter County residents to talk about property taxes with their elected officials... Assessor Jon Snyder, Auditor Bob Wichlinski, and Treasurer Mike Bucko... kicks off tonight [Monday October 22]  in Hebron at the Hebron Community Center. All meetings begin at 6 pm.  Four other meetings are coming up over the next two weeks: Thursday October 25 at the Portage Public Library; Monday October 29 at the Porter County Administration Building in Valparaiso; Thursday November 1 at Kouts Public Library; Monday November 5 at Westchester Public Library in Chesterton.




The Heavens Revealed Tonight

A great opportunity for you to gaze at the wonders of the universe takes place tonight. Sandy Basala, Lake County Parks Superintendent of Visitors Services, says a public viewing will be held, from 6:30pm to 9pm, at Conway Observatory, in recognition of National Astronomy Day.  Basala says remember to dress accordingly, because the event is outside, and not to use standard flashlights in the observing area. The final public observing will takes place on November 17th.    Clear skies with temperatures in the upper 40's are predicted during the scheduled viewing time tonight. 








  (photo provided by

The Thomas Conway Observatory in Lowell, viewing the observatory from the south.

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WGU Indiana Commencement Today

No brick-and-mortar doesn't mean no mortarboard for these grads.... WGU Indiana will honor students from around the state this Saturday at the online school's third annual Commencement, being held at the convention center in Indianapolis. Chancellor Allison Barber says a record 307 students are graduating this year... a number that includes four students from Lake County, three from Porter, five from LaPorte County, and one from Jasper County. Barber says 85 of the soon-to-be graduates, ages 25 to 62, will be walking across the stage to receive their diploma.  Barber says they currently have 138 students who live in northwest Indiana. WGU Indiana, the state's nonprofit, web-based university, opened its online doors in June 2010.

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140 Garage Sales Under One Roof

Fall Garage Mahal


The Fall Garage Mahal Indoor Garage Sale is this Saturday at the Porter County Expo Center, to benefit Whispering Pines Health Care Center in Valparaiso, owned and operated since 1964 by the Porter County Council of Church Women. Whispering Pines Marketing Director Marissa [muh-REESA] Wilson says the facility felt it would be a fun and unique way to embrace the community and raise money for the not-for-profit center.

A ten-dollar early-bird ticket lets you shop from 7:30 to 8:30 am, before the doors open to everyone at 8:30... general admission is two-dollars. Whispering Pines Executive Director Rosemary Weeks says the fundraiser comes at an important time, as the nearly fifty-year-old non-profit nursing home on north Calumet faces challenges posed by additional government regulations and competition from corporate facilities.

Here's the full news release:


Whispering Pines hosting Fall Garage Mahal

Valparaiso, Indiana – Oct. 18 2012 Whispering Pines and its’ sponsors are proud to present the FALL GARAGE MAHAL INDOOR GARAGE SALE, Saturday October 20, 1012. The Porter County Expo Center will be transformed into a GIGANTIC indoor garage sale from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm. One hundred and forty different booths of bargains and treasures will be on display for purchase.

Considering today’s economy along with the popularity of such shows as Antiques Road Show, American Pickers, Storage Wars and Pawn Stars, bargain finding and treasure hunting’s popularity has reached an all-time high. Knowing that similar events can draw thousands of people, Whispering Pines felt the Fall Garage Mahal would be a fun and unique way to embrace the community and raise money for the non-for-profit health care center.

“This fundraiser is coming at a very important time. Whispering Pines has been challenged by additional government regulations and the competition of new nearby corporate facilities,” explains Rosemary Weeks Whispering Pines Executive Director.

Saturday morning the fun starts with the Early Bird Special. A $10 Early Bird ticket buys the privilege to shop from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, without the general crowd. General admission begins at 8:30 am. To help eliminate any long lines, there will be three entrances available.

Do your homework. A program will be provided so that you can find what booth have what… who has collectibles, Red Line Hot Wheels, Barbies, or Star Wars items? Where can you find men’s clothing, furniture, toys and good gift ideas? The variety of things being sold is enormous. There truly is something for everyone. Be sure to shop around in the morning and again in the afternoon as booth renters bring out new inventory all day long.

Take a break from shopping and enjoy the food court and the children’s play area. Delicious food will be available from AJ’s Pizza, Valpo Velvet Restaurant and Ice Cream, Ellen’s Good Eats, and What’s Up Dog. Be sure to get some Kettlecorn from Moon’s and Caramelized nuts from Remschneider’s.

While you rest, you could be a winner! Shoppers will have the opportunity to win wonderful prizes donated by participating booth renters and sponsors. There will be a sign-up table at each entrance, and registration slips will be used to build next year’s contact list. Prizes will be on display in the main lobby of the Expo Center. A huge array of prizes have been donated including a Kindle Fire, and a Radio Flyer Wagon, and much much more. Winners will be announced throughout the day, and must be present to win.

There are several fund raisers within the fund raiser. One booth renter is having an Adoption fundraiser, their long awaited adoption baby is on the way and the happy couple is selling good stuff to make room and start a college fund. Another booth is helping Washington Township School earn money for their Senior Trip, and Whispering Pines will be selling home baked goods to support the Activities for the residence.

All proceeds from the admission fee to the event will go to the Whispering Pines Not-for-profit Health Care Center, located in Valparaiso Indiana. Owned and operated by Porter County Council of Church Women, a not-for-profit organization committed to the care of the elderly, the Whispering Pines Health Care Center has been serving the community for nearly 50 years. Services include full 24 hour care, ranging from rehabilitative therapy services to restorative nursing, a state of the art Ventilator Care Unit enabling respiratory therapy, and Memory Care. Dr. Sudkahar Garlapati serves as Whispering Pines Medical Director. For more information visit





Roadway Reconstruction in Valpo

Construction crews have been repaving Eastport Center Drive in Valparaiso between LaPorte Avenue and Bowman Drive, and the closure has forced Ivy Tech Valparaiso traffic to enter via Industrial Drive from US 30 rather than from the north and State Highway 2. Crews report resurfacing efforts have been rained out today, but a temporary opening of the roadway may be arranged for Monday if the weather permits progress on the work this weekend.  Be sure to listen for our Region Road Reports on Monday morning for more information.

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Source of Gas Odor ID'd

A strange smell had Valparaiso Fire Officials out earlier this afternoon trying to track down what is was and where it was coming from. Battalion Chief Les Abraham says an initial call of a natural gas smell, came in at 1:20pm. Abraham says it was not natural gas, but smelled like burnt asphalt, and while they still do not know where it is coming from, he said the low cloud cover is keeping the smell around in the area of their Cumberland Drive Station, to Aberdeen Subdivision, and as far west as Union Township.  Later this afternoon, the source of the smell had been located.  According to the Highland Police Department, Enbridge was cleaning their storage tanks.




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Rough Afternoon Commute I-65

Traffic tipsters reporting a vehicle facing traffic the wrong way toward the wall left hand side of southbound I-65 near 53rd Avenue.  About 15-minutes later, another traffic tipster reported that a semi lost two of it's trailer tires, with debris in the roadway heading northbound I-65 toward 45th Avenue.  Both incidents occurring around 3:30 pm this afternoon.

SB I-65 backing up  10-19-12NB I-65 trailer looses 2 tires  10-19-12 

                                                ( photo from INDOT )

Traffic southbound on I-65 backing up and northbound I-65, semi-trailer looses 2 tires Friday afternoon. 


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Region News Team
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