Tag Archives: Social Issues

Luis Smolen, A Family Member of Victim Appear in Court

17 Dec interstate 80 94 accident

by Ken Davidson

Hessville native Luis Smolen was formally charged with the murder of his 6 week old daughter last week. Smolen made a brief appearance in Court on December 16, waiving his right to an arraignment within 14 days. Smolen will remain in custody in Wayne County Michigan at least until his next hearing date which is January 13, 2014. An unknown family member of the victim appeared in court also and acknowledged that she had been contacted by the office of the prosecuting attorney.

Lake County Animal Shelter Hosts Visitor from North Pole

7 Dec Lake County Animal Control gives a holiday welcome

by Ken Davidson

The Lake County Animal Sheriff’s Animal Control and Adoption Center had an out of town visitor today. Santa Claus himself travelled from the North Pole to Crown Point to pose for pictures with pets of fans of the shelter. Many of the animals who came in for photos had been rescued from the shelter in years past. In getting their pictures taken, participants supported the future of the shelter as all proceeds went to medical treatment for the dogs. Photography services were donated by Nina G Photography. Nina G. works tirelessly for the rescue of animals and we hope that you will give her a like on Facebook.

The Animal Adoption Center still needs donations and has published the following wish list:

1. Purina Tidy Cats non-clumping litter
2. Counbry Value dog food
3. Country Value cat food
4. Purina Kitten Chow
5. Laundry detergent (HE)
6. Paper towels/bath towels
7. Clorox disinfecting wipes
8. monetary donations for medical care and spay/nueter
9. Gift cards

If you wish to help the shelter you can stop by at 3011 W. 93rd in Crown Point (in northwest corner of lot of government center) or call 219.769.7016 for more information.

obe terrea fowler

Obe is escorted by his human companion Terrea Fowler as he waits in line to get his picture taken with Santa.

Miss Print Seeks Help for Haven House

5 Dec Angel Tree Hosted by Miss Print of Munster and Hammond

by Ken Davidson

Angel Tree Hosted by Miss Print of Munster and Hammond

Angel Tree Hosted by Miss Print of Munster and Hammond

Miss Print of Munster and Hammond is once again hosting an Angel Tree to benefit Have House Domestic Violence Shelter.  The friendly staff of Miss Print invites you to stop by and pick a card from the tree.  Each card has an item which the Shelter needs.  Among the items listed are toiletries, toilet paper, office supplies and other staples used by the Shelter to help domestic violence victims.   Donations are accepted during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9-Noon on Saturday(Munster location only).  Miss Print has two locations, 8244 Calumet Avenue, Munster, Indiana and Miss Print Sign Company at 6931 Calumet Avenue in Hammond. Donations are accepted at either location. Please follow Miss Print on Facebook for more information about them.

The Gazette spoke with Lisa Wein, Executive Director of Haven House, to discuss her holiday wish list.  Lisa told us that the greatest need with winter coming is twin size blankets.  Donations of gently used clothing items for women and children are always welcome also.   Volunteers are always needed at Haven House and you can find more information about volunteering on the Haven House Website. Donations are also accepted at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church located at 7132 Arizona Street in Hammond and the Jean Shepherd Community Center located in Dowling Park.

The purpose of Haven House is to provide safe housing, the essentials for everyday living, and support services to female adults and their children who are victims of domestic/sexual assault and to assist them in breaking the cycle of violence through education, counseling, advocacy, referral and skill building techniques.  Haven House, Inc, founded in 1983 and located in Hammond, IN. is a 24-hour emergency shelter for domestic violence victims and their dependents. Haven House provides services to Hammond, East Chicago, Whiting, Munster, Griffith, and Highland, which comprises a significant geographic area of Northwest Indiana.

Rx Drug Task Force launches toolkit

11 Nov

INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force today to launch a toolkit designed to help the state’s physicians navigate new rules for prescribing addictive pain medication. Zoeller made the announcement during the 4th Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium in Indianapolis. Indiana’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force in partnership with the Indiana State Medical Association developed the toolkit titled, “First Do No Harm: The Indiana Healthcare Providers Guide to the Safe, Effective Management of Chronic Non-Terminal Pain.”This provider toolkit is based on expert opinion and recognized standards of care, with input from healthcare providers representing multiple specialties from all corners of the state,” Zoeller said. “It is our hope this new resource helps physicians understand and comply with the new prescribing rule recently adopted by the Medical Licensing Board. The new rule addresses the prescribing of pain medication for patients who have chronic, non-terminal pain in hopes of stemming the tides of addiction, doctor shopping and overprescribing.”

A recent study by Trust for America’s Health revealed the number of deaths caused by overdoses in Indiana has quadrupled since 1999This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation which charged the Medical Licensing Board with developing new rules regarding prescribing controlled substances and strengthening the authority of the Attorney General’s office to inspect physician records in overprescribing cases. The two emergency rules stem in part from recommendations made by the task force.
Zoeller said the prescribing rule, adopted last week, aims to ensure patients are well informed about their prescriptions and physicians closely monitor patients to identify cases of misuse and abuse. Beginning Dec. 15, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT which reveals what medications have been prescribed to a patient. Zoeller said this check can prevent someone from “doctor shopping” or obtaining multiple prescriptions for the same drug from different physicians
“The toolkit was developed by a diverse group of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, academics and public health professionals from across the state,” McMahan said. “Our goal is to educate Indiana healthcare providers on why these state-of-the art recommendations for safe prescribing are important and how to easily implement them in everyday practice. To help with that effort, the toolkit provides resources, templates and even talking points for those difficult-to-start conversations with patients.Zoeller said the growing number of cases involving licensed health professionals caught diverting drugs, overprescribing or fraudulently writing prescriptions is one reason he created the Prescription Drug Abuse Taskforce in 2012. Zoeller chairs the task force which is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers.

Earlier this year, Zoeller and the task force launched a statewide public awareness campaign and a website, http://www.BitterPill.IN.gov, to serve as a one-stop-shop for consumers looking for information about prescription drug abuse and where to find help.

Eagle 1, Schererville Police Team to Find Local Man

11 Nov

by Ken Davidson


The Gazette received several reports from readers about Eagle 1 flying over schererville yesterday.  The Gazette has now confirmed that this situation did not involve commission of a crime.  The police department had received a credible report that an individual might harm himself and responded. The manhunt was in response to that situation.

While we do not wish to report on this story in particular, the topic of suicide and depression is a serious issue.  We thank the Schererville Police and the office of Lake County Sheriff John Buncich for acting decisively and appropriately in this situation.  Our prayers go out to this individual and anyone who is suffering from depression.  If you feel that someone you know is in imminent danger from a mental health issue, please call 9-1-1.

Regional Mental Health also has a hotline for less imminent emergency situations.  That number is 219.769.4005.  You can get more information on how to get help for yourself or a loved one on the at Regional Mental Health website.

John Doe Homicide in Gary

4 Nov

by Ken Davidson


The office of Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey has confirmed a homicide at 2700 Maryland today.  The only details available were that the victim was an unidentified black male and the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.  Anyone with information on the identity of the victim or the crime itself is urged to contact the Gary Police Department.

Gary Indiana