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Facebook saves captive grandson

– Police say a man faces battery and drug charges after his grandson used Facebook to alert authorities that he was being held against his will.

Fifty-six-year-old James Ross was arrested Monday on preliminary charges of battery of a juvenile resulting in bodily injury, strangulation and drug charges.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department says Ross is suspected of assaulting his 14-year-old grandson and keeping him in his home. Police say the boy used Facebook to contact his aunt, who alerted authorities.

The News and Tribune reports that Ross was arrested as he and the boy left the home when a SWAT unit arrived about 6:15 a.m. Monday. Officers seized nearly 40 firearms and about 5 pounds of marijuana from a safe in Ross’ home.

Woman drops tots from burning house

Fire officials say an Indianapolis woman saved her two children by dropping them from her burning apartment’s second-story window to neighbors below.

The Indianapolis Fire Department says 24-year-old Latice Jackson dropped her 2-year-old and 4-month-old children to neighbors waiting below at Heart’s Landing Apartments before she jumped to safety herself about 3:20 a.m. Tuesday.

The Indianapolis Star reports that officials believe an unattended pan of grease heating on a stove started the fire, which caused an estimated $150,000 in damage.

Jackson told firefighters the family returned home from a New Year’s Eve party when she started to heat a pan of oil to cook french fires for one of her children but apparently fell asleep.

Coalition fights to save trees at dunes

A group of northwest Indiana residents is trying again to stop the National Park Service from cutting down 3,400 trees in a bog at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Coalition to Protect Cowles Bog Area filed a motion Monday in federal court in Hammond seeking to spare the trees until the coalition’s lawsuit is resolved.

The coalition claims the National Park Service and other defendants are accelerating their original tree-removal schedule because of opposition to the plan, the Times of Munster reports.

Park officials say reducing the tree count and underbrush would make room for native vegetation.

An earlier request to block the tree removal was denied Dec. 11 because of “procedural flaws.”

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