As part of its effort to highlight its 2011-12 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected Sandra Soczyk Rodriguez, Danny Lackey and Deborah A. Owen as its November Innovators of the Month.
- As Northwest Indiana celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a group of volunteers worked to establish the Stewart House Farm in Gary as a sustainable urban garden, said organizer Sandra Soczyk Rodriguez of Gary. Volunteers gathered on the Friday after Thanksgiving to participate in “Black Earth Friday” to work on the farm located at the historic site of the Stewart Settlement House. Rodriguez launched the Miller Beach Farmer’s Market from 2008 through 2011. Then in October 2011, she got involved in launching a sustainable urban garden project on vacant land owned by Christ United Methodist Church.
- As demographics changed, STAND – which means “Socially Together and Naturally Diverse” – was formed at Merrillville Community School Corp. to embrace diversity and help students learn that they might be culturally differently, but they are alike in many ways, said Danny Lackey, coordinator of diversity programming. Initially, Danny launched student exchanges which continue today. Here, students visit other schools and “shadow” other students. Then the students return for a visit to a Merrillville school.
- When a power outage occurs, NIPSCO customers can access real time information on current electric outages in their area and across northern Indiana, said Deborah A. Owen, Executive Director, NIPSCO Customer Service. The Electric Outage Map Reporting System was designed in-house. Previously, only generalized information was available and it was difficult for customers to determine the extent of outages across the territory. In 2010, the system was upgraded to include estimated restoration times. Now customers and emergency responders have a better “tool” to determine their actions in emergency situations.
The society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.
For more information, call O'Merrial Butchee, director of the Lamkin Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, assistant director, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.