East Chicago

2 arrested in copper wire thefts in Indiana and Illinois

Oct 1, 2018

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say they've arrested two men in connection with a rash of copper wire thefts in northwestern Indiana and neighboring communities in Illinois.

Police in Hammond, Indiana, say 30-year-old Jossean M. Echevarria of Hammond and 23-year-old Diquan N. Ray of Burnham, Illinois, were spotted early Friday coming out of the Cook County Forest Preserve in Calumet City, Illinois. They were arrested in Hammond with a large amount of copper wire.

The men were jailed and it wasn't known whether they had lawyers yet.

Lake County group gets $226K to address food deserts

Sep 24, 2018

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A northwestern Indiana philanthropic foundation has won a more than $226,000 federal grant to address food deserts in Gary and East Chicago, in part by expanding access to locally-grown produce.

The Merrillville-based Legacy Foundation will use the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add food markets and mobile markets by next summer in the two Lake County cities.

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — An appeals court has upheld a 15-year prison term for a northwest Indiana man who led police on a pursuit that ended with a collision that killed a 13-year-old girl.

The Times reports the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 33-year-old Donnell Howard Jr. got an appropriate sentence given his "extreme indifference to human life throughout the chase."

U.S. Senate Approves Funding For Cancer Cluster Law

Aug 24, 2018

Health problems linked to environmental issues will get federal attention under funding legislation approved this week by the U.S. Senate.

A new study shows the historical blood lead levels of children in East Chicago’s Superfund site remained higher than those in the rest of the city.

The City of East Chicago is working to replace lead pipes in up to 800 homes near the USS Lead Superfund site. Residents found out at a public meeting Thursday night some lead lines are only getting partially replaced leaving those residents still at risk. 

Nathan Holth / http://historicbridges.org

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — Dredging of a ship canal in northwest Indiana has begun as environmental regulators continue to study off-site disposal options for highly contaminated sediments, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lauren Cross / The Times

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Authorities in Indiana are continuing an investigation into a weekend shooting that wounded two off-duty police officers.

The Times reports that both officers were patrons at Growlers Bar in Highland, Indiana, when they were shot early Saturday.

The officers are from East Chicago and Gary.

The Environmental Protection Agency visited East Chicago, Indiana, Saturday, to update residents on contamination cleanup.

EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp and U.S. EPA senior advisor Albert Kelly attended the briefing and listened to public comment.

Residents heard updates from the on-site remediation coordinators and participated in, sometimes heated, Q&A sessions. Those comments were heard loud and clear, says Kelly.

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) says the events help lawmakers tell constituents about the results of the legislative session and give citizens an opportunity to connect with their government. (Lauren Chapman/IP
Brandon Smith

  

Indiana’s black state legislators will hold a series of town halls around the state, beginning this weekend.

This is the third year for the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’s town halls. Caucus Chair Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) says the events help lawmakers tell constituents about the results of the legislative session and give citizens an opportunity to connect with their government.

Crews begin tearing down a portion of the West Calumet Housing Complex on April 2. They drench the debris to prevent the spread of lead and arsenic contamination to the surrounding neighborhood. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Lauren Chapman

Demolition began Monday afternoon on East Chicago’s West Calumet Housing Complex, but the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site still leaves former residents concerned for their future.

An excavator slowly tore down a duplex at the corner of Magnolia Lave and Aster Avenue as water canons sprayed onto and surrounding the building to prevent any contamination.

House Approves Controversial School Management Bill

Feb 1, 2018

House lawmakers are moving forward with a controversial school financial management bill. Lawmakers debated HB 1315 for nearly two hours Thursday before passing it, and some members, including Rep. Earl Harris (D-East Chicago), say they’re concerned the legislation takes too much power away from the locally elected school boards of struggling schools.

“I’m very much uncomfortable with us taking away the will of the voters in terms of the school board. The school board is voted in,” Harris says.

Bills Would Allow In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students

Jan 5, 2018

Two bills filed in the Indiana General Assembly would give different ways for immigrants who graduate from an Indiana high school to be eligible for in-state tuition.

Since 2011 Indiana makes immigrant students who cannot prove state residency pay the more expensive out-of-state tuition rate. It is one of three states with this requirement.

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) says Senate Bill 319 would help with a priority of the Republican supermajority: to better prepare students for jobs.

John J. Watkins / Indiana Economic Digest

EAST CHICAGO - An ArcelorMittal spokeperson says innovation is underway at the Northwest Indiana steel company.  It's for that reason David White, ArcelorMittal Director of Process Research in Global Research and Development, says he believes the future of steel is very bright.

White, who is based at ArcelorMittal's East Chicago location, says the company is currently  making products for the automotive industry, that he says will make automobiles more efficient and safer.  The company is making new products for other industries, outside of automotive.

The cleanup for part of an East Chicago, Indiana toxic waste site will cost nearly four times more than originally expected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the site’s cleanup, will open an opportunity for public comments Monday, Dec. 18.

The EPA initially estimated cleanup for the residential area of the USS Lead Superfund site would cost $23 million. But, a new agency report says the estimate should be closer to $85 million.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will accelerate cleanup of 21 toxic waste sites across the country, including a lead- and arsenic-contaminated site in East Chicago, Indiana.

The EPA wants to expedite soil cleanup and finalize a plan for what to do with a now-abandoned public housing complex after it’s demolished at the USS Lead site in the northwest Indiana city.

Attorney David Chizewer says it’s not immediately clear if that’s helpful.

More than 30 East Chicago homeowners last week sued several companies the federal government holds responsible for toxic industrial contamination.

Those companies include DuPont, Atlantic Richfield, British Petroleum, U.S.S. Lead and Mueller Industries.

The lawsuit alleges those companies caused property loss to residents who live in a lead-contaminated Superfund site and that, “[f]or decades, Defendants’ lead smelting, lead refining, and other manufacturing processes wreaked environmental havoc in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago.”

Twitter / Gary Police Department logo

GARY - The Gary Police Department is investigating a fatal shooting that killed a 16-year-old boy in injured another man, a 20-year-old.  Public Information Officer Lieutenant Dawn Westerfield says officers responded just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday to the 400 block of South Huntington Street.

Indiana Receives Approval To Expand Lead Testing

Oct 18, 2017

Two Indiana state agencies received approval to use federal money to expand lead testing, particularly for low-income Hoosiers.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will be able to use $3 million a year for the next five years to provide lead testing and prevention services.

Children at the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy school learned how to test air, water, and soil samples for lead Tuesday with help from the NAACP.

The school sits right across the street from the USS Lead Superfund site, a federal toxic waste clean-up site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Principal Veronica Eskew says the lead testing let her students take ownership over how lead poisoning affects them.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving East Chicago nearly $4.1 million to tear down a contaminated former public housing site.

The money must be used within a year – though HUD hasn’t officially approved the city’s controversial demolition plan for the West Calumet Housing Complex.

HUD classified the demolition as public housing emergency work as it issued the new grant money. The federal agency says it’s needed to prevent danger to human health “because of limited capital funding currently available to the housing authority.”

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will sit down with state lawmakers at East Chicago’s lead-contaminated public housing complex Monday.

The visit comes five months after three Indiana congressmen invited Carson to the USS Lead Superfund site, which is contaminated with high levels of lead and arsenic from old factories.

Indiana stands to lose out if Congress approves proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, says environmentalists, scientists, EPA staffers, and Indiana residents.

The cuts could affect drinking water infrastructure, burden the state’s environmental regulatory agency, and hinder efforts to clean up industrial toxic waste sites.

Blood, Lead & Soil: A Year In East Chicago

Jul 26, 2017

One year ago, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland told residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex they had to move out because of lead and arsenic contamination.

The announcement sparked a year of frantic action from residents, public officials, activists, and lawyers that’s still ongoing.

Indiana Public Broadcasting (IPB News) has won two national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated Awards (PRNDI), for the 2016 coverage of the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago, Indiana.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with a plan to demolish East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex.

Residents had many questions and received few answers at a tense public meeting about the environmental review of the plan Monday night.

The city of East Chicago finished relocating more than 1,000 housing complex residents this spring. Officials plan to demolish the complex’s buildings later this year.

HUD must first sign off.

Federal housing officials will hold a public hearing Monday night on plans to tear down a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago. The demolition plan got federal environmental approval last month, but residents want a chance to raise concerns.

Residents from the West Calumet Housing Complex area wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development this month. They asked for a public hearing and more time to comment on the demolition plan.

The federal government continues to oppose intervention by a group of East Chicago, Indiana, residents, who are asking a U.S. District Court to give them a larger role in the clean up of their lead and arsenic contaminated neighborhood.

The East Chicago residents were first turned down in May by Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry.

He ruled, “This case was closed over two years ago. To allow [the residents] to intervene now…would be highly prejudicial to the parties, who have already negotiated, settled, and obtained judgement in this case.”

East Chicago - Since the closure and demolition of the Cline Avenue bridge residents have lost more than just a short cut to the casino's they lost a vital transportation link that has impacted economic development in the area. A new bridge is in the works and Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore has an update.

Figg Bridge Partners

Today: It's Reporters Roundtable, when we ask members of the northwest Indiana and Indiana media to talk about the stories they worked on this week.  On this edition of the Roundtable are Greg Tejeda of the Post-Tribune, Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore, Indiana Public Broadcasting's Eric Weddle and INside Indiana Business host Andy Ober.

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