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STARTLING: Freeman-Wilson Says County Tax Will go to Fire Department

25 Jul

In a response to Governor Pence’s request for additional information regarding Gary Mayor Freeman-Wilson’s request for Indiana State Police assistance in Gary, the Mayor says

Additionally, themajority of the anticipated resources we will receive from the 1.5% income tax will be dedicated to funding public safety equipment needs that have been neglected over the course of the past 10 years. As an example, there is a dire need for fire engines and other apparatus, gas masks, coats and boots for firefighters and squad cars.

The correspondence began when the Mayor called on the Governor to provide Indiana State Police support for Gary.  The Governor responded on July 11, 2013 asking for a detailed plan as to how the City would use money from the newly implemented County Option Income Tax to help fight crime.

The Mayor also submitted a plan entitled “Gary Indiana for Life” which stated Gary will hire new police officers but did not provide details:

Officers on the Street
There will be an increased presence of law enforcement on the streets
through the hiring of more officers and further implementation of Community Policing programs. In the short term, we are looking to augment the number of police on the street through our monthly saturation patrols in cooperation with neighboring departments and the assistance of Indiana State Police.

http://www.teamgaryindiana.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Synopsis-of-GI-For-Life-Plan.pdf

.25% of the 1.5% County Option Income Tax (COIT) is reserved for Public Safety and is to be divided among the county and municipalities.  The FOP and many police officers supported the COIT.  It should be noted that the Governor asked about that portion of the income tax revenue but Mayor Freeman-Wilson appears to be addressing the entire funding to be received under the COIT.

Husky Owner Says Neighbor Wanted Her Dog’s Pelts

19 Jul

Kara Michalic spoke to the Northwest Indiana Gazette tonight. As an animal rescuer, she is appalled that the Crown Point police shot two beautiful animals. The dogs, 3 1/2 year old sisters named Atka and Kenai, were family pets who had never shown aggression. Kara explains that they were with a family down the street from the incident just minutes before. That family gave them water and in exchange received affection and kisses from the pets. The Gazette has verified this via email and hopes to speak with that family tomorrow.

A review of the police report indicates that David Hawn, the property owner, demanded repeatedly that the officers “kill the coyotes.”  The police report also indicates that the dogs were not acting aggressively.  After the shooting, Mr. Hawn apparently called the Veterinarian who received the murdered animals to state that he wanted the animal pelts.

Kara explains that her stepfather was trimming trees when the dogs escaped from the gate. Google Maps shows the area as a residential area, bounded on one side by the Erie-Lackawana Trail and a nearby baseball diamond. Lots are in the 1/4 acre size range.  Given the proximity of the bike trail, the baseball park and a golf course, it is arguable that the discharge of weapons is criminal.  Questions remain as to the nature of the threat to human life and less lethal forces which could have been used.  Did the officers have tasers?

Image

The Gazette would like to hear from you.  Do you believe the officers were justified in discharging their weapons in this instance?

UPDATE:  There will be a vigil at 8:30 tonight at the Crown Point Square.  All are invited to attend.

Tribune Takes a Swing at Indiana With No Basis in Fact

9 Jul

Operator at 12 Pipestill Unit, Whiting Refinery Moderization Pro

The Chicago Tribune wants to kill jobs in Indiana and does not need facts to do it.  In typical politician/journalist fashion, The Chicago Tribune has taken up a fight started by Barack Obama during his short tenure as a US Senator-that BP in Whiting is dumping mercury into Lake Michigan.   Obviously, if this is true it is cause for alarm for all of us.  The Lake Michigan ecosystem is vital to life as we know it in Northwest Indiana.  

Those are the things on which we agree.  Without citing any sources, The Tribune article claims that 

Since 2005, BP has reported that the Whiting refinery’s treatment plant discharged between one-tenth of a pound and 2 pounds of mercury into the lake annually, according to state and federal records.”

I began my research with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  The NRDC is a respected environmental organization that has pressured BP over releases of Air contaminants.  In fact, the NRDC was instrumental in a recent enforcement action that resulted in a fine of nearly $800M and promised upgrades by BP costing $400M or more (http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/bp-whiting.html).  The NRDC praises the tribune article as “investigative journalism” but says little else about it.  In fact, the NRDC fails to point out that the Tribune article is neither investigative nor journalism.  As NRDC points out:  “The news this time around is a mixed bag.  BP, to its credit (and our pleasant surprise), made good on its 2007 promise not to use the additional leeway in its 2007 permit for ammonia and solids discharge, and IDEM granted the company’s request to revert to the previous permit levels for those pollutants. . .The other sort-of good news is that BP contracted with Argonne National Laboratory and the Purdue-Calumet Water Institute in the intervening years to do some research on cutting-edge technologies to control the discharge of mercury to Lake Michigan.”

Despite several blog articles repeating the Tribune claim, I could find no reports indicating a 2 lb. discharge of mercury.  In fact, in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, BP reported a release of .125 lbs of mercury.  Keep in mind that any amount of mercury is not good.  Nonetheless, more mercury enters our waterstream from CFL lightbulbs which environmentalists love.

So Why Is The Chicago Tribune pushing this story?  I would suggest the answer is complex.  First, the Chicago Tribune received awards and accolades from environmental groups and politicians for the 2007 article regarding BP.  Mass boycotts of BP put pressure on the company to make changes to the expansion plans even before the consent decree.  The Chicago Tribune rode the wave of that popularity.  Second, the expansion at the Whiting BP refinery is intended to enable BP to refine tar sand crude at that site.  Tar sand crude like that which will come from the Keystone Pipeline.  You remember the Keystone, that pipeline that environmentalists insist will cause the earth to boil over?

 

Va Governor to Resign as Part of Plea Deal

8 Jul

Virginia Governor to resign as part of plea deal? Unconfirmed sources say Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a republican, will resign. McDonnell has come under fire for failing to report a gift of a Rolex watch valued at $6,000. State law requires the reporting of any gift over $50 in value. Stay tuned for details.

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