The South Holland Citizen Police Academy provides residents and business owners an opportunity to experience the inner workings of the Police Department. This 12-week program is designed to take a proactive approach to engaging residents and to building a stronger relationship between police and the community.
The Citizen Police Academy is taught by South Holland police officers in an interactive classroom setting. Classes cover many areas of public safety, including patrol functions, investigations, traffic enforcement, radio dispatch and records division, use of force, identity theft, SWAT, and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force. The academy also offers an optional CPR certification.
Some classes engage students in hands-on activities. During the crime scene processing class, instructors teach the technique of dusting for fingerprints and gathering evidence. The firearms and range training class generates excitement as a portable shooting range simulator is used to demonstrate use-of-force training.
Through the use of realistic video scenarios, participants are trained on certain aspects of firearms handling, such as tactical strategies and split second decision-making. This experience opens residents’ eyes to the hard realities of police operational encounters.
During the administration class, students experience the challenges of working at the police station and the dispatch center. There is also a class on police equipment, in which participants examine the Police Department’s fleet, including the mobile command unit, ATV, motorcycle, and the multi-purpose transport vehicle.
Since its inception in 2008, 150 people have completed the Citizen Police Academy.
“The academy is great for our community,” said Officer Kirk Kremski, public education officer and coordinator of the academy. “This is an opportunity to see the community through the lens of the Police Department, with actual experiences. Officers are making a real connection with residents on a personal level. Since the very beginning, these experiences have been rewarding and beneficial for our community.”
Class size is limited to 20 participants who must either reside or operate a business in South Holland. They also must be 18 years of age or older and pass a background check. There is no charge for enrollment.
Registration is now open for the next session of the Citizen Police Academy. Classes take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays from April 8 to June 24 at the South Holland Community Center, 501 E. 170th St. Applications are available 24 hours a day at the Police Department, at 16220 Wausau Ave.
To learn more about the program, contact the South Holland Police Department, (708) 331-3131, option 2.
Creative. Innovative. Interesting. Thought provoking. Awe inspiring.
All terms that you would hope to describe your child’s classroom teacher. The Portage Township Education Foundation (PTEF) works tirelessly to cultivate and fund these attributes of our teachers so that they in turn are provided with the opportunity and support to create this type of environment for your children to learn in.
PTEF is a group of parents, educators, and business leaders who believe strongly in Portage Township Schools and who are willing to work towards raising grant monies so that teachers have the opportunity to expand the innovative delivery in their classrooms.
Through the grant process, the sub-committee looks for proposals that while curricular in nature, accelerate student achievement, demonstrate innovation, capture students’ interests, and foster hands-on, inter-disciplinary, experiential learning. Each year thousands of dollars are made available for teachers to fund their creative ideas by submitting to a grant process. Once an application is completed within the noted grant application window, the sub- committee will review, rate, and award grants to the most promising of ideas. Winners are notified and then the excitement begins for that teacher as they fulfill that proposal and provide more tools and/or experiences for their students.
Some quick examples of the innovations that have been provided through the PTEF grant process include:
Musical instrument petting zoo – where instruments are purchased, and presented to elementary students to explore and experience with the hopes of sparking an interest.
Early Childhood learning project – where books, training and food were provided to parents who had pre-K students and wanted to start their educational journey on the right path.
Open Heart Surgery video conference – where students were afforded the opportunity to watch and interact with a surgeon during an actual open heart surgery via a dedicated video feed.
Power of Image/Self Image – where students were provided with photography equipment and able to scour the community to capture images that were transformed into art projects to reflect thoughts and feelings.
These are just some of the many opportunities that students have been given that without the funding from the PTEF grant, may have never happened.
Each year PTEF co-sponsors a spring fundraiser with the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce in which we petition local businesses and individuals to volunteer time and treasure for auction. This evening soiree provides the opportunity to not only financially back these innovations, but to network within your community and help raise awareness of these incredible educators and their ideas of how to take their classroom to the next level.
This year’s event is begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Oakwood Grand Hall in Woodland Park. Please consider attending and supporting this event and teacher innovation through the Portage Township Education Foundation. For more information or tickets, call (219) 764-6900.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
Mike Sanow is a Lansing resident who is active duty with the Illinois Army National Guard. I remember going out to the Lansing Municipal Airport last year to take pictures when he returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, followed by a nice welcoming reception for him back at the American Legion Post 330 in Calumet City, an event organized by the Lansing Veterans Ceremonial Honor Guard and the American Legion.
Since then I’ve been in touch with Sanow about a nonprofit organization he has started to aid those who help protect us.
Sanow is the step-brother of Del Pearson, a Chicago police officer who was wounded when he was shot twice in the line of duty two years ago. Sanow said Pearson was his inspiratin for founding the Illiana Network of EMTs, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers, Military Personnel and Veterans Foundation. The shooting occurred just two months before Sanow was scheduled to deploy to the Middle East for the second time in June 2012, this time Kuwait.
“I have several family members that are in law enforcement, another brother that is a firefighter, many veterans in my family, and many of the reservists that are in today's military are also EMTs, police officers, and firefighters for their civilian jobs. So, there's definitely a professional crossover,” said Sanow. “Having seen the cost of war firsthand as well as the devastation caused by an act of violence towards my family due to my brother's profession, I have a strong desire to strengthen the bonds between our chosen professions and help those in need.”
Sanow was deployed to Iraq with 1-106th Aviation Battalion on Dec. 15, 2003. Also participating in the same deployment was a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, Capt. Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade on Nov. 12, 2004. She lost her right leg near the hip and left leg below the knee, along with several other injuries. Although Sanow wasn’t with her when the shoot down occurred, the event had an impact on him, as well as the rest of their battalion. Duckworth, who continues to serve as a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, also serves in the U. S. House of Representatives, representing the Illinois 8th District since 2013.
Sanow said the the mission statement for the Illiana Network is “to financially assist those and their families that are injured or killed in the line of duty or while serving from the States of Illinois and Indiana.”
The Educational Scholarship Fund has been established so that scholarships may be awarded, through competition, to deserving recipients. Each of the nine scholarships that are being established will be named after a fallen hero from Illinois or Indiana.
Sanow is holding a fundraiser for the Illiana Network from 7 p.m. to midnight March 28 at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park, Ill.
The night will include entertainment by three bands; Kelly Campos, Deju Vu and I Decline, a buffet, beverages and raffles. Emcee for the event will be NBC news anchor Dick Johnson. Sanow is also working on visits from some other notables, so there may be other surprises in store.
Like Sanow, I have several people in my family in the professions this foundation benefits. I’m proud of them and everyone that serves everyday to make out towns, states, country and world a safer place. And I’m proud of Sanow for taking these steps to make sure that those who are hurt or lost in doing their jobs are not forgotten and that their families get much needed support.
Tickets to the fundraiser can be purchased online at www.theilliananetwork.com. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Those who show a badge, military ID or proof of veteran status, will get $5 back at the door.
Veteran Dinner date correction
Last week I wrote about the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club’s fifth annual Veteran Appreciation Dinner and listed the incorrect date. The dinner, which is free for veterans and a guest, will take place at 5 p.m. April 17 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 17800 Lorenz Ave. in Lansing. To RSVP call (708) 895-8982 or email email@example.com
Have you ever wondered where your ancestors came from? Have you ever thought about "growing" your family tree?
Learn how to get started by attending "I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours," a basic genealogy interactive workshop from 5 to 7:30 p.m. March 18 at the Crown Point Community Library, 122 N. Main St.
Cindy Childress, reference assistant at the library, will teach participants basic steps to finding family connections while working independently in a group setting on your own research. Bring your own laptop or one will be provided for you. All participants are encouraged to bring a thumb drive to back up their files.
Class size is limited, so reserve your seat today. Call the Reference Desk at (219) 663-0270.
Say bye to birdie
The Crown Point High School Theatre Department is selling tickets for its Spring musical, the classic rock and roll tribute "Bye Bye Birdie," with performances at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and March 20, 21 and 22 and 2:30 p.m. March 16.
All seats are reserved. Cost is $12 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. Tickets may be reserved calling (219) 663-4885, ext. 11604; at the box office (at the high school, 1500 S. Main St.) from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; or online at www.cphstheatre.com.
Have coffee with a cop
Crown Point residents will be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with local officers from 9 to 10 a.m. March 18 at the Crown Point Civic Center, 101 S. East St., when the Crown Point Police Department hosts “Coffee with a Cop.”
Citizens of all ages are encouraged to come out and meet members of the city's police force to discuss community issues. Call Asst. Chief Janda for more information or questions at 663-2131 ext. 112.
Dinner and auctions
Trinity Lutheran Church and School of Crown Point will host its annual fundraiser March 21 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Hobart.
Doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7. The evening will also include games and prizes, and live and silent auctions.
Cost is $40 per person and $75 per couple and tickets must be purchased by Monday. Call Martha at (219) 765-9091 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rested and ready
ISTEP testing begins this week in the Crown Point schools for grades 3 through 8, and parents are urged to make sure their children arrive at school on time. Also, make sure children get plenty of sleep and encourage them to eat breakfast so they are well rested and well-fed for the testing.
Art and jazz ahead
Looking ahead to summer, save the dates June 7 and 8 for the Jail House Art and Jazz Event that will be held in the Old Sheriff’s House and Jail on South Main Street in Crown Point.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
~ Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
We have been working on rhymes at home over the last few weeks, specifically writing poetry for my youngest son’s fifth-grade English class.
Sam is an avid reader and delights in reading passages of his newest book out loud. So, dabbling in poetic verse was a great deal of fun.
I like to put different rhymes to use around the house, drawing in an occasional contributor. We start with a simple phrase and move it along until we run out of ideas or words to rhyme. The nice thing about this family activity is that it really expands your vocabulary.
So it is that we come to the end of a week celebrating arguably the best children’s writer of any generation. Dr. Seuss was able to draw children and adults into his make-believe world by the power of his words.
We often sit around before bed and talk about our favorite foods, movies, TV shows and authors. The easy one is authors.
At or near the top of my list will always be Dr. Seuss. You cannot help but smile when you read "Green Eggs and Ham" or "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"
It is the poetic meter that draws you into the experience and, frankly, all other authors pale in comparison. Reading, like any great passion, comes with constant contact. You pick up a book and enter another world or another time period.
"The Cat in the Hat" and "Horton Hears a Who!" will remain on our bookshelf for as long as the boys enjoy a good laugh. Dr. Seuss books set the stage for other kinds of material, both silently read and read aloud.
Readers can always point to the origins of their love for books. It may be that there were books around the house. Growing up, we had Archie comic books and Reader's Digest, People Magazine and the daily newspaper to read.
But we also had a well-stocked book case with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew sharing space with William Manchester and Alistair Cooke.
While reading is contagious, it is also true that the reader has to be drawn into the experience. With all the distractions, reading slips down the list against electronic games, sports, TV and music.
While that is to be expected, we do well to draw the youngest ones into the web of reading by allowing them to express themselves in writing and to read out loud.
There is a place out there for all types of reading and the National Education Association celebration of Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday is a perfect example. Schools across the nation have taken time to draw kids into reading in a way that brings reading to them. In Sam’s class, they could bring a book of their own choosing.
He is into the Percy Jackson books now, so while a couple of those tomes in his backpack kind of weigh things down, it is worthwhile in the end. Anything that can stoke his young mind to take on more difficult and challenging reading is fine with me as long as we don’t get rid of those Dr. Seuss books.
Surprisingly, I find few accounts of individual Indians of the Kankakee River Valley. Mingo is the exception.
The most detailed information about him comes from Maj. Samuel L. McFadin as told to him by Killbuck and LaBonta.
Killbuck and LaBonta first met Mingo near the "Great Bent of the Missouri River." That would be near today's Kansas City. It would have been soon after the Potawatomi were removed from Indiana to Kansas in the late 1830s. Mingo was "swimming in a small stream when some of the Pawnees suddenly came upon him capturing Mingo."
Because of Mingo's youth and striking figure he was "placed with the family of a principal chief of the Tetons, a branch of the Pawnees" and gave him a more respected place with his captors.
McFadin wrote: "It is frequently the lot of captives to become servants, and assigned to menial offices constitute to the employment of women. This position was very mortifying to the Indian pride of Mingo, who the Indians had named Doranto. But he was somewhat reconciled to it, as it threw him into the company of a beautiful daughter of the chief whose name was Niargua. It gave him frequent opportunities of walking, talking and laughing with the Teton damsel whose heart it was his good fortune to gain a complete victory."
The relationship between Mingo and Niargua was noticed and her father was informed of the bond. Niargua's father flew into a rage and he threatened to "shoot an arrow through Mingo for is bold pretentions." As in the case of all youth this seemed to only strengthen the two lovers determination.
It turned out that another brave was vying for Niargua's attention. This rival was constantly taunting Mingo until he "demanded satisfaction. They agreed to settle their difficulty by single combat, and the weapons to be used were war clubs and knives."
Mingo killed his adversary. With this victory Mingo was accepted as a adopted son of the band, but Niargua's father would still not allow Niargua to marry Mingo.
The two decided to escape to his Potawatomi camp along the Missouri. After a couple of days of hard riding, Mingo and Niargua reached Killbuck and LaBonta's camp. The two trappers made note they were "much fatigued and wayworn." Killbuck and LaBonta were concerned that this might be a ruse by a war party to gain entrance to their camp, but the condition of Mingo, Niargua and their horses convinced them they were harmless.
Mingo told Killbuck and LaBonta that he was a "remnant of a tribe from the Wabash, Tippecanoe and the Kankakee rivers" and told them of this land of plenty along the Kankakee. After refreshed, the two lovers made it safely to the Potawatomi encampment on the Missouri River. Soon afterward Killbuck and LaBonta pulled up stakes and made for the Kankakee Marsh where they hunted and trapped for the rest of their lives.
Spring is just around the corner, although you can't tell it by the weather. Mark your calendars for the great events coming up in Hammond.
Boys Basketball Sectionals
The Hammond Civic Center, 5825 Sohl Ave., is proud to host the IHSAA 3A Boys High School Basketball Sectionals this week.
Action kicked off Tuesday with Hammond Gavit defeating Hammond Clark and Lew Wallace besting Gary Roosevelt. Wednesday saw a Griffith win over Hammond High and a Bowman Academy victory over Lighthouse CPA.
Today's games pit Gavit against Lew Wallace at 6 p.m. and Griffith vs. Bowman Academy at 8, with the championship tilt at 7 p.m.Saturday.
For more information contact the Hammond Civic Center at (219) 853-6378 or visit www.ihsaa.org.
Tumbling and Trampolining
The Jean Shepherd Community Center, 3031 J.F. Mahoney Drive, will host the TwistStars Pot O Gold Tumbling and Trampoline Invitational Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16. Doors open at 8 a.m. both days.
Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for senor citizens and children 4 to 12, while children 3 and younger enter free. Call (219) 554-0155 for more information.
Pampered Woman Show
The 12th annual Pampered Woman Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22 and from 11a.m. 4 p.m. March 23 at the Jean Shepherd Center, 3031 J.F. Mahoney Drive.
Tickets are $5, but children 12 and younger enter free. Tickets can be purchased at the Hammond Civic Center or the Jean Shepherd Center. Enjoy a day of luxury and shop 'til you drop.
Coming in April
Come to the Hammond Civic Center on April 5 to support a great cause. Slugfest is a Police vs. Fire departments charity boxing event with funds going to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with fights starting at 7. General admission tickets are available at the Hammond Civic Center Box Office at $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Easter Egg Hunt
Free to city of Hammond residents, the community's annual Easter Egg Hunt will take place Saturday, April 12, at 10 a.m. at Dowling Park and noon at Pulaski Park. Please bring your own Easter basket to collect eggs. Age groups for this event are 2-4 years, 5-7 years, 8-10 years, and 11-12 years.
Contact Gabby at (219) 853-6378 for more information.
Vince Neil, the legendary voice of Motley Crue, is coming to the Hammond Civic Center in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Warrant has been slated as the opening act.
All tickets are general admission. The cost is $25, and they are available at the Hammond Civic Center and at ticketweb.com.
I have been a secondary educator for 33 years. I was a high school math teacher for 15 years and a middle/high school administrator for 18 years.
Based upon my classroom and building level administrative experience, I believed I had a unique perspective about what young people need to be successful in life after high school.
However, my perspective has changed recently. After 10 years as the principal of Chesterton High School, I was offered the opportunity to move to the central office as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. It was a move that I welcomed; and, it was a move that created a paradigm shift for me.
The shift began because I didn’t and, to a large degree, don’t get to see students on a daily basis. For me, the best part about being in public education is seeing and interacting with students every day.
It has become very clear to me that a child’s preparation for post-secondary education and/or a career begins well before that student gets to high school. I came to this realization as a result of seeing students and teachers engaged in classroom activities at every grade level in each of our schools.
Every time I visit a classroom I see exciting activities involving students and their teachers. The creativity I frequently see throughout the district is heartwarming. Fun activities that encourage learning, such as students working on math and science concepts using Oreo cookies, open reading each week with parents, reading clubs that encourage friends and family to sit and read with children, and students creating and working on science projects.
The foundation for student success begins at home, well before students enroll in school. Be involved in your child’s schooling and help them be successful. Although it is never too late to become involved with your child’s education, I encourage you to start early.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
I went to a meeting a little while back.
Not at all unusual. As a teacher, library board member, parish council member, VictorFest committee chair, athletic board member, etc., etc. I’ve been to more meetings than I can count. Many were necessary and worthwhile, others not so much.
The one of which I write about here was different than the others I mentioned. It was a totally voluntary attendance on my part and it was not because I am part of a committee, organization, or board.
It was a planning workshop held at Calumet City Cty Hall on Feb. 20. When asked to sign in, I did, and under the column labeled “association or group” I marked “citizen."
A comprehensive plan for Calumet City is being made by a professional city planning group. They were contracted with a grant form the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
An extensive survey, 15,000 in number, was mailed to Calumet City residents and the survey was also available online. Almost 1,000 surveys were completed. These have been tabulated and reveal some interesting findings.
As a trustee of the Calumet City Public Library, it was edifying to see the library received the highest number of “satisfied” (as opposed to “needs improvement” and “no opinion”) responses in the category regarding people's opinions of various community services. Fire protection, garbage collection, and 911 response weren’t far behind.
As for the categories that had a higher “needs improvement” than “satisfied” rating ... I’ll let you speculate about that yourself or better yet, go to the website and view the report for yourself. calumetcity2013.wordpress.com and click on “documents."
In the “favorite things about Calumet City” category, location by far received the highest rating.
There’s a lot of talk about flooding in town, but 60 percent of the people in the survey have not experienced flooding.
I’ve mentioned before that Calumet City’s proximity to Indiana is detrimental to business in town and the survey backs that up. Most people in Cal City do their shopping in Indiana with groceries being shopped for more than anything else. That is also true of people going to eat out.
And there are a lot of other interesting insights in the report. Check it out.
Anyway, the workshop I attended was to get direct input from citizens and to let them help design what the future of Calumet City might look like. This meeting was about what they call “City Center," the area around City Hall and Memorial Park. Not too many folks came, but it was another of those nasty winter nights we’re all so tired of.
Another workshop took place earlier at the library and it was better attended. I believe there are to be more workshops too.
I don’t know if all the ideas I heard are really plausible, but I was impressed with the professional expertise shown at the workshop and in the survey report. There are realistic possibilities for Cal City’s future.
I also know the city is concerned with the future of Calumet City and that Jimmy Gigliotti, fair housing director for the city, and new economic development chief, Bryan Swanson, have been and will be working to make Calumet City a viable city in which to live, work, and do business.
A lot of people have written off Cal City and we do have significant problems, but it’s equally true that a lot of people are happy with Calumet City, speak well of it, and want its future to be progressive.
If we are to prosper, we need more of the latter.
GOOD FOR ST. FLORIAN SCHOOL
Congrats to all those who worked so hard to convince the Archdiocese to keep St. Florian School in Hegwisch open.
Thanks for reading.
Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce will recognize businesses that have been chamber members for 25 years or more in five-year increments at a buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m. March 18 at the Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville.
After lunch, attendees will be presented with the longevity awards onstage, and guests will move into the Celebrity Circle Lounge for dessert.
Cost is $18 for chamber members and $25 for nonmembers. Reservations are required at www.crossroadschamber.org or by calling (219) 769-8180.
Personal Property Tax resolution
At the February meeting of the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a resolution was written urging state officials to vote in favor of the exemption for businesses with personal property of less than $25,000 from filing returns or paying any personal property taxes.
The resolution was written in response to House Bill 1001, which provides a County Option Exemption of Business Personal Property Taxes, and Senate Bill 1, which provides an exemption for businesses with personal property of less than $25,000 from filing returns or paying any business personal property taxes.
In addition, the Board urged Indiana legislators to vote against the total or substantial elimination of the personal property tax or any similar proposals until further study of the fiscal impact such measures will have on municipal and public school budgets are fully addressed and methods for alternative funding are explored.
Garden and Pond Expo
Wind twirlers, bird houses, hot tubs, outdoor fireplaces and yard art are just a few of the exhibits guests will find at the 13th annual Waterscape Weekend Garden Expo, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26 and 27 in the Industrial Arts Building at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 Court St., Crown Point.
Sponsored by the Illiana Garden Pond Society, the expo is an event to inspire visitors to take backyards and landscaping to the next level with displays showcasing water features, lighting and patio furniture.
Visitors can connect with local nonprofit organizations, including garden clubs and rescue groups. Lake County Master Gardeners will answer gardening questions. Educational seminars and workshops will be available.
Adult admission is $5, while youths 14 and younger attend free. Call Expo Chair Kathy Bartley at (219) 789-6207.
Civil War exhibit
The South Shore Civil War Trail’s exhibit "Region United, Nation Divided: Following Lincoln" will run through April 30 at the Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond.
The exhibit showcases the region’s answer to Abraham Lincoln’s call to action during the Civil War, with hundreds of photographs, artifacts, and reproductions of Northwest Indiana regiment battle flags. There is a reproduction of Lincoln’s funeral train and map as well as the Indiana Historical Society’s traveling exhibit, "The Faces of Lincoln."
The Indiana Welcome Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
I still take great pride in being a firefighter’s wife. For the majority of our 30 years together, Randy has either been a volunteer or a career firefighter. Countless men and women dedicate their lives to the protection and preservation of life and property, things that truly mean a lot to us all.
Over that amount of time you would think one would get used to a lifestyle that is much different than others. Interrupted meals, holidays apart and stories of life-threatening experiences from the day before are just a few of the reasons. Our sons have grown up around pagers, fire alarms, red lights, sirens and vehicles that can do all kinds of seemingly miraculous things. We all tend to be independent, strong people willing to go that extra mile for our fellow man or woman or child. We have a way of life that brings us to a strong sense of public service which accounts for the fact that many spouses are nurses, teachers, firefighters or even police officers.
Many times I get questions from people that live here and moving here, what is the difference between Portage and Portage Township? The answer is always the same; the city of Portage, the town of Ogden Dunes and South Haven make up the township we call Portage Township. Each of three areas have services and governments that are needed for that particular entity and they all share the Portage Township schools.
It should be a well-known fact by now that the fire department services in these three communities vary but they all have mutual aid agreements to back each other up. This is very important because as the buildings get bigger and more go up in our fair land, we need many men and women to be right in there helping put out that inevitable fire or saving that life.
While Portage has a full-time fire department, Ogden Dunes and South Haven have volunteer departments. South Haven does maintain a full-time Advanced Life Support ambulance crew, as well. South Haven Fire Department is under the jurisdiction of our Portage Township Trustee, Brendan Clancy.
Which brings me to the reason I bring all this information up.
South Haven is thought to be one of the largest, if not the largest township entity in the state and on March 15, South Haven Fire Department will be hosting its 10th annual Firefighter’s Ball. It all takes place at Duneland Falls Banquet Hall, 1100 N. Ind. 149. Doors open at 5 p.m., the cocktail hour starts at 6, dinner at 7pm, a silent auction, an awards ceremony for the volunteers and residents with outstanding achievements for the last year and then dancing the rest of the night away. Tickets are $50 which includes dinner, open bar and music to dance the night away. They are available at the fire station at the corner of 700 and McCool in South Haven.
Come out and join Chief Bill Lundy and the members of the South Haven Fire Department celebrate another year of valuable service to Portage Township.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian Lenten season. Members of all faiths are invited to worship together from 12:05 to 12:25 p.m. Mondays through April 7 at Community Lenten Worship Services followed by a soup lunch at 12:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 654 E. Fourth St. (across from Maria Reiner Center).
The speaker for the first service March 10 will be Pastor Larry Whitehead, superintendent of the Indiana Methodist Church, Northern District. Speaking on March 17 will be the Rev. Dominic Bertino of St. Bridget Catholic Church; followed March 24 by Pastor Roy Richardson of the Hobart Church of the Nazarene. The Rev. Charles Strietelmeier of Augustana Lutheran Church will speak March 31, and the final service will feature Chaplain Jim Stoel of St. Mary Medical Center.
Proceeds from a freewill offering will be given to the Hobart Food Pantry (more than $1,500 was donated last year). For further information, contact Michelle Allan, 20 Minutes for God coordinator, at (219) 942-0375, or the church office at (219) 942-1601.
Seniors invited to show
Hobart senior citizens are invited to attend the Hobart High School theatrical performance of "The Diary of Ann Frank" at 3 p.m. Sunday, preceded by appetizers at 2. Although this event is free to Hobart senior citizens, reservations are required by calling the Senior Hotline at (219) 942-2183.
EEU loses manager
Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited would like to thank those planning to attend its walk-a-thon which had to be canceled last Saturday.
The EEU organization is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of their much beloved Barn & Equine Manager Suella "Sue" Goza, on Feb. 23.
Sue was a retired Lake Station English teacher who, after retirement, shared her lifelong love of horses through EEU activities. Although burial will be in Canton, Miss., the Hobart community will be invited to a celebration of life in the near future.
Book signing planned
Hobart Historical Society is hosting a book signing for local author Sergio Mendoza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at its museum, 706 E.Fourth St.
Royalties from his new book, "Images of America Hobart," are being shared by the Hobart Historical Society Museum and the Hobart Historic Preservation Commission.
Normal museum hours are 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays and by appointment. Tours and use of research files are free, but donations are welcome. The society's mission is preserving the past to benefit the future. Direct questions to the secretary, Paula, at (219) 947-2464.
Corned beef dinner
American Legion Post 54 will holds its annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner beginning at 2 p.m. March 16 at 208 S. Linda St., Hobart. Corned beef dinners include boiled cabbage, carrots, potatoes, rye bread and butter, and coffee, dine in or carry out, for $8. Corned beef sandwiches will cost $5.
Proceeds will help fund services to veterans and active duty military and for a Hobart High School junior to attend Hoosier Girls State.
Hegewisch pride is running high this week thanks to the great news that St. Florian School will remain open. This neighborhood, which may be considered small compared to many of its Chicago counterparts, is never lacking in the size of its heart.
It's easy to see on a large scale like the community's efforts to save the school, but you also see it every day when you drive through town. During this horrible winter, I noticed neighbors helping each other with snowblowing and shoveling. In the summer, I see residents come together for block parties and throughout the year, I see supporters enjoying a breakfast or dinner with the local Knights of Columbus volunteers.
It's time again for a Knights of Columbus General Pulaski Council 3323 spaghetti dinner, which will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Columba Social Center, 13323 S. Greenbay Ave. in Hegewisch.
Dine on all-you-can-eat spaghetti and meatballs with meat sauce, salad, bread, dessert, coffee and milk. Carry outs are available. Price is $8 for adults, $5 for children 10 and younger.
If you read the news article I wrote for Saturday's paper, you know that St. Florian supporters had their prayers answered on Friday when the Archdiocese stated the school can remain open as long as it continues to be financially self-sustaining. Many in the Hegewisch community worked tirelessly to turn this lofty goal into a reality. They collected money during tag days, held special event fundraisers and started various social media campaigns to spread word of the effort.
It was really inspiring to see all their hard work pay off for the St. Florian students and our community as a whole.
Michael Dejanovich, who has two daughters attending St. Florian and three daughters who graduated from the school, was a happy dad when I spoke to him Friday night. He said he felt scared when the Archdiocese originally slated the school for closure.
“What would Pope Francis say about this? He’s a common man and Hegewisch is made up of the common man, we’re from all walks of life. We’re glad this is staying open. A lot of the community depends on the school and the parish. If the school goes, I’m afraid the parish will go. I’m thinking Hegewisch will stay strong and stable too by this announcement.”
His daughter Sarah Dejanovich, who graduated from St. Florian in 2005, said, “This wasn’t just a one-month effort and now it’s done. We have a long way to go. This is great news and we have a great team supporting us. Look what we’ve done in a month.”
She said they can now have more time to plan activities and fundraisers, including an annual winter banquet and annual summer fest in support of the school.
Those feelings of joy and optimism were echoed by other St. Florian supporters.
"I’m beyond excited,” said committee member Sammantha Brooks of news the school would remain open. “We’ve worked so hard for it. The biggest thing for everyone to remember is that we still have a lot to do. We’re going to continue as hard as we were when we were trying to keep the school open.
“We did so well in such little time and we were hoping they would see how much work we did and give us the thumbs up.”
Brooks, who attended St. Florian from nursery school through sixth grade and is one of the lead committee persons for social media and community outreach, said her heart is at St. Florian.
“I can’t wait for two years for my daughter to be able to go to preschool there.”
It may seem like summer is a long way away, but at PSC, we are planning ahead. Make plans now to continue your education at Prairie State College this summer. Beginning on March 21 you can register for summer classes at PSC. PSC caters to summer schedules by offering two sessions. This allows you to attend school and still have time to enjoy warm weather activities.
Summer classes at PSC are a great opportunity for students from other schools to attend as guest students and catch up or get ahead on their college courses. In the summer, many guest students attend PSC to take advantage of convenient schedules, excellent faculty, small class sizes, and affordable tuition.
Summer courses fill up fast, so register early. We recommend checking with your adviser or registrar at your home school to ensure the courses you take at PSC will transfer back to your school and fulfill requirements for your degree or major. Transfer students can access articulation tables for Illinois colleges and universities from the iTransfer website at https://www.itransfer.org.
Guest students can register by completing the credit registration form at prairiestate.edu. Or come in to the college, located at 202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights, and complete the form in the Enrollment Services offices.
Other advantages for guest students include not having to submit transcripts, placement testing, or adviser signatures. We make it easy for a guest student to take a course at PSC. The summer schedule is available online at prairiestate.edu. On the home page click on the WebAdvisor icon. Check out the wide variety of classes and determine what will best fit your summer schedule.
After your course is completed, order your final transcript from PSC and have it sent to your home school. Head back in the fall that much further ahead in your college education.
The first summer session is from May 28 to July 19. The second summer session starts on June 10 and goes until Aug. 2. Remember, PSC tuition is affordable and our faculty are excellent. Summer classes are a great opportunity to get some general education requirements completed. Be productive this summer and earn college credit. Enroll at PSC today.
It’s that time of year again! As we attempt to thaw out from the winter freeze, ISTEP review is in full swing at most Indiana schools.
ISTEP, or Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress, is an annual test created by the Indiana Department of Education which measures students’ skills in reading, writing and mathematics. Some grade levels also test mastery of science and social studies concepts. Check with your student’s school to find out their specific ISTEP test dates.
The ISTEP is important in that it is one way to measure whether a student understands the concepts taught in the classroom, and where they may be struggling. The importance of the ISTEP test is stressed to students by teachers and administrators; however support from home is crucial in helping a child succeed on the exam.
During the academic year, there are several ways to support your child in a way that will help them succeed not just on the ISTEP test, but in his or her overall academic career. Encourage your children to take responsibility for their academic success by asking questions, completing homework, and doing their personal best on every assignment.
Parents also should have an open line of communication with teachers to discuss any concerns about a child’s academic performance. Praise your child for his or her successes in the classroom, while also supporting and encouraging them throughout their academic struggles.
On the day(s) of the test, be sure that your child is well-rested. Your child should go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a full night’s sleep. Take away electronics at least one hour before bed time to give the brain time to wind down before sleep and to remove distractions such a social media and text messaging.
Be sure that your child eats a nutritious breakfast, high in protein and low in sugar.
Test day would be an excellent occasion to make a special breakfast and sit down to discuss the ISTEP test with your student. Talk with your student about the importance of doing their personal best on the exam.
Discuss any fears or anxieties that your child may be feeling; open dialogue regarding these concerns will help clear your student’s mind and help them to focus on the task at hand. Stress the importance of being at school on the test days, and being on time to class.
After the test, review the results with your student. Talk about their successes and areas that need to be improved. Give your child praise for completing the test and doing their best, and remind them that the ISTEP test is only one way to measure what they know. Develop a plan with your student and his or her teachers to address academic areas of weakness and work toward improvement in the future.
You are your child’s first and most constant teacher, and your influence can mean more than you know. Imagine the opportunities, both academic and otherwise, that you can allow your student access to. During ISTEP season and beyond, let your student see your interest and enthusiasm for his or her learning.
Together, we can make a difference.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
If there’s any group in our country that is overworked, underpaid and under appreciated, it is those serving in the military. It’s not a 9-to-5, 40-hour-a -week job. It involves long stretches away from family and friends. If you end up being deployed to another part of the world, you may be living in not so great conditions, in severe weather situations, in constant fear, deprived of sleep and good food, missing holidays with your loved ones and being put through a lot of physical and mental stress. Yet those who do it don’t expect a big paycheck or a pat on that back. However, no one deserves it more.
I’m so happy to be part of a group that recognizes how valuable and selfless these individuals are and does something each year to honor them. As a member of the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club, I’ve had the opportunity to help host a dinner for our veterans each year in April.
This annual project started by our club just wanting to round up some local veterans and treat them to a meal as our way of saying “thank you” for all they have done. It started small with about 60 people at the dinner. It has grown each year and we outgrew our original venue and last year we welcomed more than 200 to the dinner.
Not only do we honor our veterans on this evening, but we also invite them to bring a guest. We know the sacrifices aren’t limited to the veterans, but their families also deserve thanks. The dinner is free for the veteran (or active military personnel) and a guest. There are a lot of couples who come to the dinner together or sometimes a son, daughter, grandchild or sibling accompanies the veteran.
The dinner is paid for by the club's fundraising efforts and donations from other organizations. The Lansing Lions generously donates every year to make it happen. The Lansing Copper Muggers are also pitching in this year to help. With these contributions we are able to grow and honor more of our vets each year. Many local businesses also provide prizes for the event.
It feels so good at the event to look around the room and see men and women who have served in all branches of the military, from World War II to the present and think that we’ve brought them all together and can for one evening let them and their families know how many people appreciate their service. There are so many vets I’ve come to know by name who come to the dinner year after year and every year there are new faces to whom we are able to express our gratitude.
So, to all vets in the area, mark your calendar for 5 p.m. April 18 for the fifth annual Veteran Appreciation Dinner at the Lansing Knights of Columbus Hall, 17800 Lorenz Ave., and spread the word to other veterans you know. Reservations are required to attend and seating is limited. To RSVP call (708) 895-8982 or send an email to email@example.com. Let us know your name and the name of your guest, your phone number, branch of service, years served and how you learned about the dinner. Reservations will be taken until April 8.
In honor of the start of Women’s History Month and my own dear Mom, in retirement in the warm climes of Arizona, I present to you the lessons she taught me over the years.
She repeated the old wives’ tale about not eating too much chocolate – it will surely give you pimples. Don’t go swimming for at least an hour after you eat, she warned, or risk getting cramps. This one, I swear, is true, but I can’t confirm it scientifically.
There were also constant nags about posture, running in the house and other assorted lessons taboos.
Remember back in the 1970s, when every house had a red sticker on the light switch reminding you that turning off lights saved energy? I would guess that it was a Mom that put that little campaign together, along with the more helpful red sticker on the window alerting firefighters of children in the house.
We lathered on sunscreen during the summer and when the bugs attacked in July and August, Mom made all of us wear bug spray. On days that you had on both, the smell was enough to make you pass out. Forget sunburn or a bug bite, you were unconscious on the sidewalk.
It was my Mom who taught me to iron clothes and my grandmother that taught me how to fold them. Ironically, it was also my Mom who taught me how to mow grass and tend flowers.
All of this came back to me this past week when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came out with a model for the new food labeling standard. The fine print will likely remain as confusing as all labeling, but the more important information, such as calories and serving size, will be in larger print.
During flu season, Mom would add 7Up to the shopping cart, knowing it would come in handy. It was better served warm and you always knew that she would have it when you needed it most.
Going shopping with Mom was a chore, but there was one aspect of it that I liked. “Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach” was her motto.
No truer words were ever spoken. She enjoyed McDonald’s food and a magazine or book. Afterward, we would load a cart or two full of the most mundane items imaginable.
We must have eaten like vultures, and there was a coupon for everything. Moms (and, hopefully, some Dads) do this every day. We squirreled away groceries as if there is an imminent nuclear disaster (or a blizzard) on the horizon.
Now we live in a world that doesn’t worry so much about projectiles in the air as fats and carbohydrates in our food and drinks. Mom’s solution was always to eat less when she felt that she was gaining weight, and her only nod to labels was to drink Diet Rite instead of RC.
Then she would turn around and dump about three heaping teaspoons of sugar in her cup of coffee. She probably needed the coffee, since there was always another wives’ tale to impart on our impressionable minds. Funny, for the most part they were true, or at least it seems that way from the distance of 30 years and in light of the fact that I am now imparting the same information to my sons.
You know spring is right around the corner when Crown Point's chapter of Tri Kappa begins selling its handmade chocolate eggs.
These poplar Easter eggs can be ordered from a Tri Kappa member, and will be on sale at more than 20 local Crown Point businesses beginning March 17.
This year’s flavors are: caramel, krunch, peanut butter, maple nut, coconut cream and, new this year, vanilla cream and mint cream. They cost $4 each.
Proceeds from the sale of more than 5,000 eggs will benefit nonprofit groups, scholarships, schools and cultural events in the Crown Point community. Check out Tri Kappa Eggs on Facebook.
To order or for more information, call (219) 440-4865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit casino by bus
The Crown Point Parks and Recreation Department is offering a fun bus trip for those 21 and older March 21 to Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich.
The bus will depart form the CP Sportsplex parking lot, 1313 E. North St., at 8:30 a.m. and return about 3:30 p.m.
Cost is $35 for residents and $45 for nonresidents, and includes a $10 food credit and a $15 slot credit with four hours of gaming.
Register by March 7 and bring a photo ID on the day of the trip. Contact Jordan Brumm at (219) 661-2271.
Wearin' of the green
The Crown Point Mayor’s Office of Special Events is planning the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 17.
Vendors will begin selling their wares at 3 p.m. on the south side of the downtown square. The St. Baldrick's Day cancer fundraiser will be held at the Crown Point Fire Station, along with the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.
The evening parade will begin at dusk with Mayor David Uran as grand marshal, a junior grand marshal, emergency vehicles, the Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums, and lighted floats and vehicles.
Applications are currently being accepted for both parade entries and food vendors. Visit www.crownpoint.in.gov for an application or more information, or call (219) 662-3290.
Dancers head to state
Congratulations to the Colonel Wheeler Middle School Dance Team, which placed first in Advanced Pom in Indiana High School Dance Team Association competition. Coached by Tamara Betz, the team has 17 new members and 3 returning dancers headed to compete for a state title March 15 at New Castle: Captains Gabby Zirkle, Sydney Young and Aaliyah White, Abby Plemons, Kylee Winston, Laney Hernandez, Madison Mazure, Alicia Pinchok, Makayla Jurek, Brittany Kohler, Sammy Maks, Hailey Lawhead, Gracie Frazier, Georgia Kurtz, Corrin Hummel, Devon McSurley, Sienna Gentry, Lauren Schwimmer, Anja Auramovic, Lizzy Hohos and manager Lauren Jostes.
Artist reception today
Looking for something fun to do today? Visit the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, for the opening reception of an exhibit by folk artist William Dawson. Featuring carved wooden totems, sculptures and works on paper, the show will continue through April 20.
No individuals are more cherished in this world than those who share their time and talent as volunteers. As we address the power one individual has to create ripples of change and ripples of hope in our communities, I encourage you to consider volunteering your time and talent at Campagna Academy.
Many people ask, why volunteer? Perhaps the biggest benefit is the satisfaction of serving and making a difference in your community. Intangible benefits alone - pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment - are worthwhile reasons.
In the past 20 years, a growing body of research indicates that volunteering provides health benefits as well as social ones. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health, i.e., those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.
Volunteer opportunities can create a way to explore your interests and passions while providing renewed motivation and vision into your personal and professional life.
In 2013, volunteers at Campagna Academy donated more than 2,400 volunteer hours. Our 275+ volunteers filled a variety of essential roles, from fundraising and event-planning to social work, training, tutoring, administrative support, weekly shopping trips, to construction work and painting.
Our volunteer opportunities at Campagna Academy are designed so you can share an hour of your time, a day of your time or volunteer on an ongoing basis. We are looking for volunteers to help us with fundraising, make handmade birthday decorations, become a educational mentor or educational surrogate, lend assistance in our kitchen, be a camp counselor at our Foster Care Adventure Summer Camp, provide administrative assistance or work in our greenhouse and garden.
For a full list of our volunteer opportunities or to volunteer, contact Director of Public Relations & Volunteer Services Beth Szamatowicz at (219) 322-8614, ext. 332 or visit www.campagnaacademy.org to find ways you can get involved in our mission at Campagna Academy - Restoring Hope and Building Dreams for at-risk youth.
You can also stop by and see us at the Spring Into Action Volunteer Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 8 at Crown Point High School, 1500 S. Main St. Sponsored by Crown Point Community Foundation, the Spring Into Action Volunteer Fair will feature more than 40 nonprofits sharing information regarding volunteering.
I look forward to the opportunity to personally meet you and see the difference you can make in the young lives on our campus.
Illiana Christian High School, 2261 Indiana Ave. in Lansing, invites the community to join us in “March Madness.“ Here’s what’s happening:
Illiana’s Drama Department presents the musical "Annie" on March 6, 7, and 8. The sun will definitely come out when you attend this upbeat and family friendly show. See workaholic Oliver Warbucks’ heart melt when he meets a spunky young orphan. Even Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily can’t foil the plot to make a family and a New Deal in the midst of the Depression. You’ll have lots of fun hearing songs beautifully sung and watching over a hundred Illiana students working together to put on a show. All tickets are $7 each and are available in the school office. Performances are at 7 p.m. March 6 and 7 and at 2 and 7 p.m. Mach 8.
On March 8, there will be a spaghetti supper to raise funds for several students and teachers from Illiana Christian who are going on a service trip to the Dominican Republic during spring break. Spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. in the gym between the Saturday performances of "Annie." There will be a free-will offering, so please give generously.
Parents Involved in Education, or PIE, is sponsoring a Donkey Basketball evening on March 12. Our main focus is not to raise money, but to have a great time bringing kids, their families and the community together for an enjoyable night of entertainment. Dinner is available in the concession stand starting at 6 p.m. At 6:30, there will be “Minute to Win It” games before the Donkey Basketball game begins at 7. Tickets are available in the office starting March 2, they are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Children 4 and under are free. Come out for a great night of fun with the whole family.
Illiana will hold a blood drive on March 18. This drive is coordinated with the Heartland Blood Centers. More than 80 students usually sign up to donate, so we hope to collect at least 65 pints of blood.
This year's Metro Suburban Conference Art Festival is being hosted on March 19 by Ridgewood High School in Norridge, Ill. MSC member schools currently include Elmwood Park, Fenton, Glenbard South, Ridgewood, Riverside-Brookfield, Timothy Christian, and Illiana. Between four and seven students will represent Illiana Christian with works of art in one of the following categories: Modern, Postmodern, Functional, and Realism. Once their artwork is arranged for display, the students will take part in a variety of workshops using different art media and techniques, while their teachers attend a round-table meeting. A panel of judges will evaluate the artwork and assign first-, second-, and third-place awards in each category, as well as a Best in Show prize which, incidentally, an Illiana student has claimed in two of the last three years.
Christian Service Club will host “The Show” on March 21. The Show, an air band contest open to all student participants, will start at 7 p.m., and parents are invited to attend. The winning group will receive the golden microphone trophy. Admission is $3. All donations benefit the Lansing Food Pantry, so come out and support this great cause.
Old man winter has not been kind to Northwest Indiana this year.
The children in East Chicago have enjoyed quite a few snow days as parents dug their way out to get to work. The snow and cold have broken records, but not the spirit of our East Chicago Public Works Department.
During blizzards our ECTV Facebook page was buzzing with questions and concerns, many of which were forwarded to the proper departments to help out residents.
Monsi Corsbie and the staff at the Public Works Department continue to remove snow from the streets, placing it in large vacant lots along Union Tank, Michigan Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue.
The workforce fleet is comprised of 16, five-ton trucks; 12, one-ton trucks; and 5 Bobcats, with 16 CDL drivers covering 11.2 square miles.
Many of us do not even realize how much work it takes to remove this volume of snow, so here is a brief breakdown of the hours and cost so far.
During a snow storm, more than 70 percent of the 128-person (full-time and part-time) staff is deployed. To date, more than 2,000 regular man hours have been worked at a cost of $206,889.93, with 28 men and women on overtime rotation costing another $82,500.
Other city departments with related costs are the Utilities Department with $22,951.48, the Police Department with $2,649.36, the warming shelter with $964.73, the Health Department with $426.20, the Marina with $112.00 and Bus Transit with $105.18.
Contractors were also needed to help haul away the snow at a cost of $136,332.23, bringing our final total to date for snow removal to $370,431.11.
“Through hard work, the Public Works Department has proven their commitment to provide services to our residents,” Corsbie said. Employees have been away from their families to make sure our streets are clean and safe.
We ask that the residents be patient when we are hauling snow through the city. When you see the crews piling the snow or hear the sirens from the police or fire department, please come out and move your car.
Once we have cleaned your street, the department will send a crew to remove all furniture on the street. An existing ordinance prohibits furniture and/or items from being placed to hold parking spaces.
“I am pleased with the snow removal efforts thus far," Mayor Anthony Copeland said. "The Department of Public Works has been working to remove heavy snow off the streets. This has been a continuous process and I would like to thank all residents for their patience.”
The City of East Chicago would also like to thank corporate partners ArcelorMittal and BP for donating two days of labor and equipment during the first snow storm. Your commitment and concern for safety to our city and residents is greatly appreciated.
Hopefully, we can all "weather" this winter together and help our neighbors out. Please shovel your sidewalks so children and mail carriers can traverse safely.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding snow removal, call Public Works at (219) 391-8463 and visit facebook page www.facebook.com/ECTVNEWS for emergency information.
Methodist Hospitals will offer a health education series for women called Healthy Night Out with the Girls at 5:30 p.m. on select Thursdays at the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center on the Southlake Campus, Pavilion A second floor, 101 E. 87th Ave., Merrillville.
The March 13 speaker, Dr. C. Nchekwube, will discuss menopause, natural remedies for hot flashes, insomnia and more. May is Stroke Awareness Month & Bone Health Month, so they will offer Stroke Risk Assessments and Bone Health Screenings. In June, there will be a cooking demonstration for fast, easy, healthy meals.
To enroll, call (888) 909-3627.
Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce invites the public to join members from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Sip Coffee House, 9 N. Court St., Crown Point.
Enjoy delicious coffee, homemade goodies and a wide array of art work. Call the chamber office at (219) 769-8180.
Chasing away winter blues
Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Spring Antique & Collectibles Show last weekend. More than 1,200 people enjoyed the wares of 45 vendors.
“A lot of people have the winter blues and have been stuck inside. Some of these people haven’t seen each other in awhile," said Kelly Dooley, co-chairman of the event. "So it’s all about the community and conversation.”
This event was made possible by chamber staff, volunteers, Division Chair Rosemary De St. Jean of Rosemary’s Heritage Flowers, and co-chairs Kelley Dooley of Nightingale Home Healthcare and Sharon Morales of People’s Bank.
The next show is scheduled for Nov. 8 and 9.
The Big Sell
The Purdue University Calumet Big Sell Entrepreneurship Competition will bring together innovators and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. on March 29 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, 800 E. 81st Ave., Merrillville.
Participants will compete for thousands of dollars in cash, accounting, marketing, and legal services as well as business plan assistance and office space at the Hammond Innovation Center.
Tickets cost $25 and include a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks, the ability to electronically vote for the best ideas, and the opportunity to network.
Registration and breakfast begin at 8 a.m. and the competition begins at 9. During lunch, a keynote address will be given by James Dreher, founder and managing partner of Option 3.
Once finalists are named, a final pitch will be presented at 2 p.m., with the winner’s finale at 2:30. Judges include Donald Babcock, director of economic development for NIPSCO; Speros Batistatos, president & CEO of the South Shore Conventions and Visitors Authority; David Bochnowski, chairman and CEO of Peoples Bank; and Dreher.
To submit an application to compete, visit www.thebigsell.org.
A “Hole” Lot Of Fun
The Crown Point Community Library will host its second annual miniature golf event April 12.
Looking for a great way to advertise and support the library? Sponsor a golf hole at this unique family event. Call Laura Clemons at (219) 306-4599 or email email@example.com.
When I was 9, my thoughts were about talking to my friends on the phone about the boy in school with cooties and playing with my Barbie dolls. While times have changed and girls don’t necessarily play with Barbie dolls anymore; I know one thing for sure: The furthest thing from most girl’s minds is children with cancer.
But from 3 to 7 p.m. March 9, Emma Bailey, a South Haven Elementary School student, will be hosting her second annual fundraising event for St. Baldrick’s Foundation at Clancy’s Public House, 2542 Portage Mall.
Last year Emma and her best friend shaved their heads for St. Baldrick’s and raised more than $3,700. Her goal is $5,000 this year. She told her mom, Jessica Bailey, a Portage Township School Board member that “her hair would grow back but kids with cancer are losing their hair all over the world.” Her motto is “You can make a difference if you try”. She was the first child to win the Hometown Hero award that is given out annually by the South Haven Little League.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, it is the largest volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any other organization except the U.S. government. It gives hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers which can not be treated like little adults. More children are lost to cancer than any other disease, on fact all diseases combined. A child is diagnosed with a form of cancer every 3 minutes in this world.
Little can be done to prevent these cancers because they are not related to lifestyle choices as are most adult cancers. Eighty percent of all cancers have spread before the initial diagnosis in kids. While many kids survive; the battle is not over. About two thirds of all children have long term effects including, loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities and infertility.
While this all seems overwhelming, that’s where St. Baldrick’s Foundation comes in. They fund high impact clinical trials, researchers, training the next generation of researchers and supportive care research which gives the patient quality of life.
Emma’s St. Baldrick’s Event is family-friendly and is a “head shaving event." So if you or someone you know needs a haircut; for a $20 donation or more; an experienced stylist from Cesar’s Chop Shop will shave your head. Register on Emma’s St. Baldrick’s page, www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/10212/2014.
If “shavee’s” collect more than $50 and register online, they will receive a free T-Shirt.
If you don’t want to shave your head, no problem, come and enjoy the entertainment by DJ Cowboy Entertainment and encourage those who do. There is a $2 cover at the door to join the festivities. A silent auction is planned and there will be baked goods and other items there for sale. You may also make donations in person at Clancy’s Public House in Portage and Cesar’s Chop Shop in Hobart.
Come out and help Emma realize her goal towards childhood cancer research.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
I think we are all ready to say goodbye to February and look forward to springtime. March gets us one step closer and it seems a lot of new activities are sprouting up next month.
Our four-legged friends seem just as antsy to get out of the house as we are. Many of them had a chance to get out and about during the American Kennel Club Dog Show, which took place this weekend at McCormick Place in Chicago. My friends and I had a great time checking out the hundreds of dogs, shopping the pet-themed vendors and visiting the animals representing area dog rescues.
If you are looking for a way to help out local animals, tickets are now on sale for South Suburban Humane Society's 25th annual spotlight gala. The event, themed Springtime in Paris, will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. April 26 at Glenwoodie Golf Course in Glenwood. There will be dinner, a silent auction, pets on parade and beer and wine.
Tickets purchased before April 1 are $40 each. After April 1, they will be $50 each.
For information, call the shelter at (708) 755-7387, ext 389.
Pet lovers can also check out a free seminar hosted by my friends at Glenwood Village Pet Hospital. You can learn about the importance of preventative dental care for pets from 6 to 7 p.m. March 6 at the clinic, 555 E. Glenwood-Lansing Road in Glenwood.
Veterinarian Katy Parr gives the talk, followed by a question-and-answer questions. Refreshments will be provided. For information, call (708) 758-2400.
Another informative event next month is at 7 p.m. March 15 when Annunciata Church will host a screening of "The Fourth Partition," a documentary about the Polish steelworkers of South Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. The church is at 11128 S. Avenue G in Chicago's East Side neighborhood. Call (773) 221-1040 for more information.
If you are dreaming of the outdoors, plan to attend the fish and sports show taking place from 7 to 11 p.m. March 21 at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St. in Merrionette Park. It's hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police Evergreen Park Lodge 27. Tickets are available at the door and cost $25. It includes access to guest speakers and sporting vendors as well as a full buffet, draft beer, wine and soda, raffles and prizes. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Evergreen Park Police Department. Call (708) 422-2144 for more information.
I am sure some of you are suffering from cabin fever. But a wonder if any of you have caught what I have come down with - reverse cabin fever.
I don’t WANT to go out. I just want to stay put, on the couch under a blanket, and watch some news guy tell me how bad the weather is on the East Coast.
However, I have learned no good comes from total hibernation. There is always something going on around town. Here are a few events you might like to check out as winter winds down (we can only hope).
See new fashions
The Schererville Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd annual Mardi Gras Fashion Show will be held March 4 at the Halls of St. George, 905 E. Joliet St., Schererville. Profits from this event will be given to the PTO’s from four local schools, Homan, Peifer and Watson elementary schools and Grimmer Middle School.
Chamber Vice President and Mardi Gras Chair Cindy Jansky (Caliber Home Loans) and her committee have a great evening planned. There will be music by Catalyst Productions, vendors, lots of fun and great food. Chamber member Residences at Deer Creek will sponsor the photo booth again this year. So, bring your Mardi Gras boas, masks and beads!
Tickets are $35 and must be purchased and paid for in advance. If interested, contact the chamber office at (219) 322-5412.
Fish for dinner
Enjoy dinner at St. Michael Church's Fish Fry from 4 to 7 p.m. March 7 and April 4, at 1 W. Wilhelm St., Schererville. For details, call (219) 322-4505.
Cooking with the parks
The Schererville Parks and Recreation Department has lots of programs "cooking" during the month of March, including a Kids Sugar Chef’s Program THAT sounds like fun and, for seniors, a trip to the Four Winds Casino on March 20.
They are also looking for vendors for this year’s Redar Park Market, formerly known as the Schererville Farmers Market. If you are interested, please call Amanda or Jerome at (219) 865-5530, ext. 6402.
The Schererville Lions Club collects used eyeglasses and is collecting items for two local women’s shelters. Items can be dropped off at the Schererville Chamber of Commerce office, 149 E. Joliet St.
The annual AYCE Pancake Breakfast will be held April 27, with profits going to Schererville’s Civic Fund. To “like” their facebook page, type "Schererville Lions."
And, as long as you are “liking” facebook pages, please “like” the chamber page, www.facebook.com/TheScherervilleChamber. It is filled with chamber and community information.
It is supposed to be getting warmer. Let’s start thinking about spring, White Sox baseball and lots of homegrown tomatoes.
For a hearty meal, attend the 27th annual Mama Mia Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Bridget Parish Center, Second and Main streets, Hobart.
Proceeds fund grants to Hobart’s nonprofit organizations so each can continue to provide its special mission to the community, including the Hobart Arts League, Hobart Historical Society, and many worthy organizations providing educational opportunities and youth activities.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 9 and younger. Menu includes spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, garlic bread, dessert and coffee. Pop, beer and wine are available. Dine in or carry your meal home.
Walk so they can ride
This Saturday is March 1. Spring can’t come soon enough for me this year. And, speaking of Saturday, relieve your cabin fever by joining the Winter Walk-A-Thon sponsored by Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Participants will walk laps at EEU’s quarter-mile indoor (unheated) track at the EEU Barn on the south side of 61st Avenue just west of Wisconsin Street. As part of this fun experience, meet the horses and make new friends. There will be refreshments and a few surprises to make things more interesting!
Suggested donation is $15. Participants are encouraged to ask friends and family to pledge an amount for each lap walked or to make a donation. Registration and sponsorship forms are available from participating Hobart merchants, EEU board members or by contacting Jane Fuller at (219) 942-0076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of EEU is to provide educational and therapeutic horseback riding activities to those with special needs for improved quality of life.
Chamber planning directory
The Hobart Chamber of Commerce is thinking Summer by seeking sponsors for its for its Hobart 4th of July Memory Book/Chamber Directory.
Dawn Duty, new executive director, will be delighted to discuss your organization’s ad. Call (219) 942-5774 or stop by the chamber office at 1001 Lillian St.
Beef and art
Make plans to attend the Hobart Art League’s Italian Beef Night from 1 to 4 p.m. March 29, at 3850 Howard St., Hobart. After you eat, take time to enjoy the art, greeting cards and prints from some of the artists in the NWI area.
For more information, contact Nicki Filarski at (219) 942-3834 or email@example.com.
Join the band
Have you been missing music in your life? Former band members, high school seniors and other interested musicians of all ages are invited to join the Hobart Area Community Band. Rehearsals are held from 7:15 to 9 p.m.Wednesday evenings at Hobart Middle School, 36 E. Eighth St.
Auditions are not required, only a love of music, the desire to play to the best of your ability, and an appreciation of concert band music. Visit www.hobartareaconcertband.com. To join, contact Director Sue Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The band’s Spring Concert will be held at 3 p.m. April 27.
Porter County Education Services, which provides special education services to students throughout Porter County, currently employs nearly 200 paraprofessionals, with over 30 paras working directly with students in Portage Township Schools.
Together, paraprofessionals and special education teachers form an instructional team to assist in meeting the varying educational goals of their students.
Paraprofessionals are responsible for a variety of different duties. While most paras provide academic supports to students by reinforcing instruction, there are many other daily responsibilities that go beyond the classroom. At times, paras assist students with self-help skills and increasing their independence in the school cafeteria and related arts courses. This time of year, you will also see paras spending a great deal of time helping students with zipping coats and correctly putting on gloves and boots.
Paraprofessional support is essential in providing students with meaningful life-skills and vocational experiences. Vocational activities frequently involve assisting students in the community: shopping, running errands, ordering meals in a restaurant, or checking books out from the library. Recreational activities, such as bowling, hiking, and swimming would not be possible without the support of the dedicated paraprofessional staff.
Paraprofessional support also allows students to attend public schools and participate in general education classes that they may not otherwise be able to find success in. They may assist physically handicapped students in maneuvering around the school building, supervising students with various medical needs, or teaching students to improve their study or organizational skills.
Effective paraprofessionals demonstrate a wide variety of skill sets when working with special needs students. It is critical that they are consistent and set high expectations to help students reach their full potential. They are creative and flexible, as no two days are the same. While working in the school setting provides daily challenges, our dedicated staff maintains a positive outlook and demonstrates a good sense of humor.
They must also possess good communication skills, as they are often the link between general education and special education staff.
For most positions, it is required that paraprofessionals meet Indiana’s standards of proficiency by either having earned a 2-year associates degree or 60 college credit hours. Individuals who have not met either of these two requirements must pass the ParaPro Test from the Praxis series. While individuals enter the field for a variety of different reasons, persons interested in the field of education will often secure a position as a paraprofessional either before enrolling or while concurrently enrolled in higher level educational programs.
Staff that have chosen this route have shared that their experiences as a paraprofessional have been invaluable as they have progressed through their college programming, both in providing real life experiences that apply to their coursework and in helping to determine the type of licensure they would like to pursue.
If you are interested in becoming a paraprofessional or a substitute paraprofessional, please visit the Human Resources/Finance section of the Porter County Education website at www.pces.k12.in.us.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
When next this column appears in print, it will be Women’s History Month, so I thought what the heck, close enough.
I know a little something about women, just don’t ask my sisters. We all have a woman in our lives, whether a mother, spouse, aunt or grandmother, who has influenced us.
This past week, I lost an aunt. She was one of those aunts that always saw the good in you, even when you didn’t see it in yourself. Being really close to my mother and grandmother, my aunt was a constant in our lives until last year, when she became really sick.
Ruth Ann Payne left behind a family that will miss her warmth and compassion. When I was in grade school, they moved to the 1200 block of Arbogast Street in Griffith. A mere two blocks from our house, it was a place to get a different kind of pampering.
Ruth Ann would treat us like one of her own, which meant that we couldn’t get away with much, or at least that is what we were told.
When I called my uncle to offer condolences, I got the answering machine, and it was comforting to hear her voice message.
I was tempted to call back just to get the machine again. In some small way, we cling to the voices of people that are there with a smile and a kind word, even when you don’t think you deserve it.
My Aunt Ruth Ann would probably not have been comfortable as the feature of this column, because like a lot of other mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, she preferred being the background.
The story goes that my aunt grew tired of seeking help putting the Christmas tree away. So one year, she put the tree on casters and decorated it. After the holidays, she simply rolled it into a spare bedroom.
I am sure there was more to the story than that, but it illustrates her nature, just like one of the first times that I remember visiting her. I dropped my Popsicle in the dirt and was devastated, but she simply ran it under the hose and we went back to playing. She was like a second mother, just funnier.
As for Women's History Month, let’s celebrate women for more than their role in the home as nurturers. Women lead great nations, as proven by Angela Merkel in Germany.
Women have been involved in movements for change and been catalysts for such efforts. In places like Northern Ireland, the Middle East and Africa, women have risked their lives to make sure that their families and neighbors enjoy freedom in whatever form it takes.
Here in the U.S., the Civil Rights Movement celebrated during Black History Month would not have been possible without women, from the background to the front of the bus.
I will keep the sound of my aunt’s voice in my mind, along with those of my grandmother and mother. They would have you convinced in a very short time that you were capable of most anything, even when you had your own doubts.
That should be the same voice, on a larger scale, that we all hear when we talk of the strides women make in the sciences, business, technology and politics. Listen to those wonderful voices repeating over and over, “You are kind, you are smart and you are important.”
Looking for something fun to do? Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Crown Point will host “A Night of Abundant Blessings” on March 21 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Hobart. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7.
Tickets, available until March 1, are $40 per person or $75 per couple. Contact Martha at (219) 765-9091 or email@example.com.
Congratulations to Trinity Lutheran students Kameron Dixon, Jessica Davis and Beckett Pflughoeft, named January Students of the Month. They received a Certificate of Merit and have their pictures posted on the school bulletin board.
Robodogs head to state
Congratulations to Crown Point High School's VEX Robotic teams. Four teams from the group will advance to compete for the VEX Robotic Program State Championship.
The VEX program is in its fifth year at CPHS. The VEX Robotic Program is the fastest growing, largest competitive robotics program operating worldwide. The program has teams competing from elementary through college age.
Latin students excel
Congratulations to Crown Point Latin Club, which once again brought home trophies. Both the Advanced teams and the Intermediate teams received first- and second-place trophies in each of their divisions, while the Novice teams received second and third place trophies.
Competing were Casey Akers , Taylen Hovanec, Claire Dosen, Skylar Sheck, Emma Werkowski, Alex Baloski, Tyler Jeremiah, Amber Moon, Emily Fender, Kelly Merrill, Thomas Cooper, Nick Hanlon, Josh Mazur, Andie Wahlberg, Renee Brigham, Brennen Chaussey, Michael Keller and Anna Werkowski.
Good Luck to the club when it competes March 8 at the Hoosier Certamen Invitational in Noblesville, and March 14-15 at the Indiana Junior Classical League State Convention at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Quartet exhibit artworks
Crown Point High School students Sarah DeMars, Kayleigh Margis, Jeremy Mesa and Brooke Perrin have been selected to show their artwork at the Indiana University Northwest High School Biennial Show that will be held at the Gallery for Contemporary Art at the Indiana University Northwest in the Savannah Center at 3400 Broadway, Gary.
The opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. Gallery Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays.
Free marketing webinar
Saqui Research LLC in Crown Point will offer a free webinar to show business owners, customer service representatives and marketing directors ways organizations can love their customers and the resulting benefits. This introductory webinar will be held at noon Wednesday. Register at www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EA52D784804B3C.
The Lansing Historical Society is now filled with exhibits again after the huge task of setting up trees for the annual Festival of Lights exhibit and then taking them all down. And after the two-month break of general meetings, the society is kicking off 2014 with a program on writing a memoir and interviewing older friends and relatives to record their memories.
Janette Quinn is based out of Wheaton, Ill., and offers memoir writing services and workshops. You can find more about her and read her blog at www.livingstories.us. The February meeting of the Lansing Historical Society is 6 p.m. Monday in the community room of the Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Ave. Quinn will offer tips on writing your autobiography so the stories of your life can be shared with generations to come. She’ll also cover helping others to tell their stories so they can be shared and saved.
Last year as the society had a yearlong theme on World War II, we emphasized the need to preserve the stories of those who had fought in the war and those who supported them back home. As a society, we are constantly reminding visitors and members of the importance of putting your stories and memories on paper. The history learned by the next generation will depend on what we leave for them. As vice president, I’m responsible for setting up programs and this is one I am really excited about.
One of our historical society members, Mary Alice Sylvester, shared a book with me a couple of years ago. It was the story of her brother’s time spent in Iwo Jima during World War II. It was not written by him, but compiled by a family member he had shared stories with and he didn’t want the stories printed until after his death. The book, "Leo F. Carroll: World War II Experiences," is a short hard-bound book with some accompanying photos that Sylvester was kind enough to donate to the Lansing library. It is a quick and very interesting read and I’d encourage anyone with an interest in local history or World War II to take a look. I hope after our meeting on Monday, more people will consider sharing their life stories this way.
Lansing Roundball Classic celebrates community
This past week, I stopped over at Memorial Junior High to take a few pictures at the Lansing Roundball Classic Championship game. Well, it wasn’t a simple in and out for a few pictures. I got there just before halftime, but when I saw how close the game was and how intensely these kids were playing, I stuck around for the rest of the game, which was really exciting. The game was very close throughout the second half and just before the buzzer went off, the game tied at 14-14 and went into overtime. It ended with Oak Glen winning 22-15. The final contestants of the fifth-grade girls hot shot contest competed at halftime with St. Ann’s Paige Drewno taking the trophy.
This was the fifth year for this tournament, which highlighted the fifth-grade boys basketball teams at five public and private schools in Lansing. I’m always very impressed and touched to see so many people in the community working together to make it happen. So many family and friends and school staff come out to watch, community groups help out selling refreshments, basketball players from T.F. South and South Suburban College come out in support, the police cadets were there to help and the schools collect nonperishable food for the Lansing Food Pantry. All the proceeds also go to help a Lansing charity. It has been highly successful and a much needed event that helps to unite the community. Although so many work together to make it a success, I want to send a huge thank you to Rick Seymour and Sally Reynolds, who were the founders of the tournament and who organize and run it each year. We wouldn’t have this event without them.
Newspapers are filled with stories about what the Calumet Region will do with its rich land. The next invasion should be the elbowing into the region of lusty information age companies.
The first settlers were the Potawatomi and other Native American tribes. Then the French, the English, and finally United States natives, all scrambled together to create a breed known as Regionites.
At the same time, the sloughs and swamps became the original breeding grounds for every imaginable furry beastie.
The first permanent white settler was Joseph Bailly in 1822, on the north shore of the Little Calumet River in Porter County. I hope you take time to visit the Bailly homestead. Even today, you can imagine a great deal.
One of the main features of the region is the Valparaiso Moraine, shaped like the southern edge of Lake Michigan. About 17 miles wide at some points, the Moraine rises to about 750 feet to Valparaiso; from there, it rises another 200 feet. At various points, the old glacier slowed its retreat and left behind a beach, which explains the physical features of the land.
In this stretch of the Indiana dunes, one can even now observe the way the land was sculpted and changed over time. It is no exaggeration to call this territory the birthplace of ecology.
The sculpting created, among other things, three huge dunes, the “Three Sisters,” who gave their names to the village of Tremont.
In the vicinity, a budding Luther Burbank could identify more than 1,300 different plants. Some of these seem quite unique. For example, the prickly pear cactus grows side-by-side with the bearberry. The wild side of the Calumet Region was home to bears, deer, and timber wolves which roamed the sand ridges.
The Calumet Region, until 1763, was part of the French Empire in America. The first white visitors were probably the colorful coureurs de bois, entrepreneurial French-Canadian woodsman who traveled in New France and the interior of North America.
The Rev. Jacques Marquette and others passed through the region in 1673. During this period, the French erected Fort St. Joseph to command one of the routes into and out of the region.
Fort St. Joseph was an important center of the fur trade, and in 1750, there were between 40 and 50 French families living in the vicinity. The French influence was slight, though colorful.
The English tried everything to marshal the Native Americans against the Americans. In the Great Lakes Region, the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwa succumbed to liberal presents, weapons, rum and promises. In 1778, the British listed 150 dozen scalping knives among their trade goods in Detroit, but not all of the tribes supported the English.
For the future, the land will probably be dominated by cyber companies. A clue to the future is the banks that survived the late 20th century shakeout. Another highly visible clue is the way a newspaper is made. If you’ve never taken a field trip to The Times, you’ve missed a chance to see the future up close and personal.
I last left you with Kankakee River legends Killbuck and LaBonta hunting and trapping in the Rocky Mountains. LaBonta is on the run from the Memphis constables after the killing of his rival in a duel over his sweetheart, Mary Brand.
For many years in the Rockies, LaBonta dreamed of returning to his home and especially to his first love, Mary Brand. But, as time passed he became more and more wedded to this wild and desolate life. Maj. Samuel L. McFadin wrote that after "a long time hunting up in the mountains, their rifles, from long use had played out, and being out of ammunition, they were about starving to death for the want of meat, they concluded to go down to the Oregon trail and meet some emigrants and get some supplies from them."
After a long trek they met a Scotchman who pitied their condition and "generously gave them a fine rifle and a blanket apiece, and plenty of ammunition and a pony each ... he also informed them that a short distance back on the trail there was a small company of emigrants and he was afraid the Indians would attack as the party was very small.
"Being resupplied they quickly went to assist the other party.
"After traveling a short distance they heard the Indians war whoop and the firing of guns."
Entering the fray, "LaBonta saw a big Indian have a young woman by her long black hair and was about to sink his tomahawk in her head. ... and in a single stride he was upon the Indian and thrusting the muzzle of his rifle into his very breast he pulled the trigger driving the savage backward by the blow itself at the same moment that the bullet passed through his heart and tumbled him over stone dead. ... LaBonta then returned to the young lady that he had saved, who had fainted away and found her still lying down as if dead; he raised her up gently and upon turning up her face to thank him beheld his never to be forgotten Mary Brand. They were married and after several years of happy life, she died and passed over on to the other shore, leaving LaBonta weeping on the other side, who after a short time became gloomy and lonesome."
After Mary's death, Killbuck and LaBonta returned to the Kankakee and settled on French Island. In Philip E. Vierling's Kankakee Marsh Historic Place Names he locates French Island in the center of Section 16 in Keener Township of Jasper County and around five miles downriver from Baum's Bridge.
Werich wrote in his Pioneer Hunters of the Kankakee: "There were two or three French families on the island who had settled there years before and for this reason it derived its name French Island. There were also four or five Indians living on the island at this time and among them lived an old Indian, and his aged squaw, by the name of Sheubana. He was at the Ft. Dearborn massacre and saved a great many of the whites. He was over eighty years of age when found on this island by the white hunters in the winter of 1858 and of whom 1 obtained this narrative."
More Major McFadin Kankakee River stories in future River Bits.
With less than a month away from primary elections, District 215 staff, in conjunction with local clergy and the Cook County clerk’s office, have hosted several on-campus voter registration drives at T.F. North and T.F. South.
Illinois state law now allows citizens who are 17 years of age on the date of the primary election to vote if they will turn 18 on or before the general election. We encourage all of our students who are eligible to exercise their right to vote in both the primary election on March 18t and in the general election on Nov. 4. Students who have not yet registered to vote may do so online or they may bring two forms of identification to their local library, the local village clerk’s office, or an Illinois Secretary of State driver’s license facility to complete the voter registration process. Details regarding the voter registration process may be found by visiting the Cook County clerk’s office website www.cookcountyclerk.com.
Parents and guardians should be aware of changes to immunization requirements for students. Beginning this fall, Illinois state law will require that students entering grades 9, 6, and kindergarten receive two doses of chicken pox vaccine and students in grades kindergarten through 12 verify they received two doses of rubella and mumps (in addition to the two doses of required measles vaccine). Check the district website at www.tfd215.org for additional information regarding these state-mandated vaccination requirements.
Are you a fan of the popular Fox television show "Glee?" Do you like Broadway, jazz, pop, and gospel music? If so, we have a show that you will not want to miss. Come out to watch the T.F. South Glee Club, Chorale, and Advanced Choir perform in their first Winter Pops Concert. The concert will take place at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at T.F. South auditorium.
We hope that you will join us iat 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28 n the T.F. North auditorium for the fourth annual Step Show co-hosted by the T.F. North Twisted Elegance Dance Team and the Harvey-Markham Kappa League. Tickets may be purchased for $10 in the T.F. North Activities Office during the school day. Contact Kyle Alston at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chappel Billings at cBerryemail@example.com for more information.
T.F. North will be hosting its eighth grade open house at 9 a.m. March 1 in the school’s auditorium. Prospective parents and students will get a chance to meet the school’s staff and learn more about the academic programs and extracurricular activities the school has to offer. Contact the school’s Guidance Office at (708) 585-1008 for more information.
Last week Munster said farewell to a true public servant, Fire Chief and Director of Operations James J. Knesek Sr.
Jim was a lifelong resident except for the years he served his country as a firefighter in the U.S. Army.
He started his career for the Munster Street Department in 1979 on the back of a garbage truck, like all new employees.
Jim liked that assignment because it allowed him to attend Lewis College afternoons and evenings. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1982 in fire science and public administration, degrees that served him and the town well.
Jim formally joined the Munster Fire Department Nov. 1, 1979, and rose through the ranks of both departments. He took the helm of public works July 31, 1995 and, in 2005, after the death of Chief Robert C. Nowaczyk, he was named the seventh chief of the Munster Fire Department.
Under his direction both departments made advancements with equipment, technology and best practices. The town has always taken pride in snow removal and de-icing services. Under Jim’s direction, the departments upgraded salt spreading technology and liquid de-icing capabilities.
The town has had an aggressive street resurfacing program for many years, and Jim always pushed for more resources to get more done. In the fire service, Chief Knesek endorsed and actively promoted the utilization of town employees as members to improve the daytime response to emergency calls.
All of us will miss Jim’s smiling face and quick wit at work. I often thought of him as the conscience of the department heads. More often than not he knew how the community felt about issues.
If one sign of respect is how many people show up at your funeral, Chief Knesek was very well respected. Fifty-seven fire, police, emergency departments and agencies participated in the funeral.
A special thanks goes out the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association for their moving tribute at the visitation. The Supporting Heroes organization was very helpful to the family and the town. They began arriving just hours after Jim passed away and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything went smoothly on the way and at the cemetery.
The Town of Munster family drew together with pride and supported each other from the moment we heard the terrible news.
Touching was a funeral procession more than a mile long, bagpipes and drums, American Legion Post 16 performing a rifle salute, taps, the Bell Ceremony, the presentation of the U.S. and state flags and chief’s helmet to his wife, Julie, and son, Jimmy. Many of us were moved to see the student body at St. Thomas More School standing outside of the church with hands over hearts in salute to a true hero.
Dedicated to the residents of Munster for 34 of his 59 years, Jim Knesek worked for two organizations his entire adult life, the U.S. Army and the Town of Munster.
Director of Operations and Fire Chief James J. Knesek Sr., we say good bye and salute a life well lived.
I’ve never really been much of a gear head — you know, way into cars. I’ve been around for a long time, but I’ve only owned three new cars. I’ve had used ones and I tended to keep those a long time. I was a good friend of Terry Nelleman, of the former Terry’s Motors in Calumet City, but not a very good customer. He’d say if he depended on customers like me, he would starve.
But I did find myself at the Chicago Auto show last Sunday. I think it’s only my third visit. I’m not much of a fan of paying money to be advertised to. And I didn’t pay this time because I got some comp tickets from a cousin.
The Chicago Auto show is the largest on the continent and McCormick Place is probably the largest enclosed space I’ve ever been in, or is Grand Central Station larger? (I’ll get back to you on that.)
The crowd was enormous too, at times, uncomfortably so. And everyone has a camera, mostly as part of their phones. But then there’s me who not only doesn’t have a camera on his phone ... that’s right, he doesn’t have a phone.
Anyway, there were some awfully nice vehicles and their presentation and marketing was pretty impressive.
Automobiles have been and are a huge part of America. They have symbolized America’s industrial, creative, and entrepreneurial prowess. And they are the epitome of those very American traits of mobility and freedom.
On the down side, the automobile has pretty much addicted us to the burning of fossil fuels in enormous quantities. And unless you’re one of those folks who are still confused why Columbus didn’t fall off the edge, you know that burning all that fuel has caused some adverse effects on our climate.
At the auto show there were still plenty of massive vehicles which, even with efficient engines, burn a lot of fuel.
But on the flip side, there are more and more hybrid technologies which depend much less on gas. And some that don’t use any gas. Plus there were a good number of much smaller cars available
It was also interesting to see that the price of the 2014 model of the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, was the same or even a little less than what I paid for my 2008 Prius. As new technologies become more widespread, price often comes down.
I just hope we are wise enough to see and disciplined enough to act in ways that lessen the threat to our environment.
A great big crowd was in place for the annual meeting of T.F. North and T.F. South’s basketball teams. Since I’m “on the north side of fractional” I was a little down about the double defeat the Meteors (North) were handed by the Rebels (South). Particularly in the boys contest where a last-second shot by North that would have sent the game into overtime just missed.
But between the large crowd, the enthusiastic tumblers, the dance and cheer squads, the band, the honoring of the North seniors between games, the number of staff and administrators in attendance, it was a pretty good evening.
This Saturday is the annual Candlelight Bowl sponsored by the Friends of Jim Perniciaro. The event remembers Jim Perniciaro and raises money to fight cancer, the disease that took him much too early.
The time is 8:30 p.m. at the Lan-Oak Lanes, 2524 Ridge Road in Lansing. It’s a fun event and supports a great cause and remembers a great man.
For further info contact Denny Halloran at (708) 862 4874.
Thanks for reading.
The Urban League of Northwest Indiana will present its second annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. March 20 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Hobart.
This annual event will recognize contributions from businesses and organizations that enhance our quality of life by encouraging, embracing and promoting cultural diversity and inclusion throughout Northwest Indiana, making it a better place to live, work, and recreate. During the event, recognition will be focused upon a number of organizations in Community Relations, Development in Diversity, Diversity in Leadership and Workforce Diversity.
To become a sponsor, attend or get more information, call (219) 887-9621.
Chamber receives legislative update
As a nonprofit organization committed to economic development and Calumet Region initiatives, the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Indiana State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, to provide its membership with bi-weekly legislative updates.
The chamber hosted a conference call Jan. 31 with VanDenburgh, who gave an overview of the bills the Indiana House of Representatives has discussed in its 2014 session. She highlighted legislation related to business and the economy of Northwest Indiana.
To listen to the most recent conference call, the public is welcome to visit the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
To participate in the legislative updates, consider joining the chamber. Call (219) 769-8180 to speak with Membership Director Tristen Comegys.
Opportunity Enterprises gala
Tickets for the 22nd annual Opportunity Enterprises Gala are now on sale. The black-tie optional event, hosted by the Delta Theta Tau service sorority, will take place from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. March 8 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Hobart.
Proceeds will benefit OE’s Respite Program. Tickets are $125 and include a catered dinner, open bar, live music, dancing and silent and live auctions. Featured items include Blackhawks tickets, hotel packages, vacation packages to Italy, Florida and Michigan. The agency is also raffling off a two-year lease for a 2014 Volkswagen Beetle.
Since first held in 1993, the event has raised more than $1.1 million to support children and adults with disabilities throughout Northwest Indiana. For tickets or sponsorship, call Development Associate Lindsay Ellis at (219) 464-9621, ext. 239.
Cross country skiing
Check out the new, 4.37-mile cross country skiing loop at Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, 450 W. 100 North in Valparaiso, open only to skiers due to the extreme physical exertion it takes to create the track grooves.
The trail starts at the parking lot between the mounds and the signature tree. Cross country skiers can ski approximately 8 miles combining this new trail with existing trails, which are accessible to hikers, skiers and snowshoers. Hiking and snowshoeing guests are asked to be aware of the ski tracks on all the access trails.
Call (219) 462-0025.
Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I love snow. Yes, I know that sounds crazy considering all that we have had thrust on us this year. They’re saying that we will have record snowfalls here in Northwest Indiana and all over the country.
I know I am truly blessed to live in a city that has the personnel and equipment to keep us safe and warm during this difficult winter this year but let’s face it folks we are from “the region.”
I know I have lived through much more than this even though I was a child at the time. Who remembers the blizzard of 1967? The snow was so high outside our home my dad had to actually shovel us out our front door. The drifts were packed so tight around our home my sister, brother and I could climb to the top of our ranch in Griffith to the roof of our home. We did not go to school for 3 days and we walked to school when we did as my mom did not drive.
Then we had the paralyzing storm in 1979 which lost the mayor of Chicago’s next election because of how he handled the snow. Yes, politics and snow don’t mix as I noticed when I read the paper upon returning from a business trip in January. All politics aside, I believe that Jesus teaches us to help our neighbors and if we can help we should regardless of the political fallout. And that is all I will say about that.
I remember that horrible ice and storm back in the 1990’s that left many people without heat or light for days. Our fire department, street department and police department worked nonstop for much of that to keep people safe and warm. What a wake up call that storm was to my family and I as we housed three other families that had no heat in their homes. But we got through it as we will this winter because we are fighters and we don’t give up.
To help you keep up your spirits and give you that cozy feeling this Saturday, the Portage High School Athletic Department is holding Indians Cabin Fever from 7 to 11 p.m. at Woodland Park, 2100 Willowcreek Road, Oakwood Hall. The event is to raise funds for all the PHS athletes throughout the year.
Cabin Fever is an event to get you out of your house and spend time having fun, dancing to some great music, munching on appetizers, sipping on refreshing drinks and helping out athletes at the same time.
Tickets cost $25 and include an entry to the Big Red Raffle with a grand prize of $1,000 plus many smaller cash prizes.
So come on out and shake off those winter doldrums at the Indians Cabin Fever for an evening of fun and reconnecting to others in Portage. For more info or tickets, call (219) 764-6042. Portage Indians rock!
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
The new building at the Illinois side of Wolf Lake looks quite cool and should open soon to visitors.
A few weeks ago, I spoke to Christopher Rollins, the site superintendent of the William W. Powers State Fish and Wildlife Area in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood. He said the visitor center should be ready for the summer season with hopes to open it by the end of the school year so local school children can visit. A grand opening event will take place when the time comes.
He was also excited about a catchable trout program at the park. In the fall, they held the first program of that kind at Wolf Lake and they were lucky enough to be chosen to do the program again in the spring. It will be held the first Saturday in April and participants only need a fishing license and salmon stamp. The trout are raised in the state’s fish hatchery.
“Not many places have it both spring and fall so we’re really glad the agency saw the good turnout we had for fall,” Rollins said. “It’s hard to get on that list so we’re really excited about that.”
If you’re fishing for a summer activity for your kids, check out Hegewisch Babe Ruth League, which has begun registration for the 2014 season. Boys ages 13 to 18 who want to play baseball and live in Hegewisch, East Side and other local neighborhoods can join this Hegewisch tradition that dates back to 1970.
Hegewisch Babe Ruth offers baseball fun all summer and costs $50 to join.
Those who are interested should register their kids from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 22, March 1 or March 8 at Hegewisch Chamber of Commerce, 13330 S. Baltimore Ave.
As a volunteer league, it also needs volunteers to help maintain the field when weather isn’t cooperating.
For information, call (773) 357-6466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget the Benefit to Save St. Florian, taking place from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at Knights of Columbus Hall, 17800 Lorenz Ave. in Lansing. They have some really great raffle and auction prizes lined up and tickets will also include dinner and a DJ and live music for entertainment. It is sure to be a great evening.
Prizes include a one-week timeshare good for Orlando, Fla., or Las Vegas, Nevada; autographed Paul Konerko baseball, autographed Jay Cutler jersey, authentic Rizzo Cubs jersey, authentic Shaw Blackhawk jersey, authentic Noah Bulls jersey, Chicago White Sox dugout jacket with practice shirt, custom guitar, introductory airplane ride, introductory helicopter ride, two tickets to see Common, minion tutu dress, US99 gift pack with autographed poster and CD, Grillers gift cards, gift certificates to Sure Fire Tattoos, Kacey's Restaurant gift certificates, Doreen 's Pizza gift certificates, two entrees at Taco Tradera, introductory helicopter ride, introductory airplane ride and more.
Cost is $20 for adults, $10 for children and free for kids 3 and younger. Advance tickets are being sold through the school. Call (773) 646-2868 or after school hours, call (773) 758-4433.
The benefit will support the Catholic elementary school in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood, which must become financially self-sustaining in order to stay open.
The Hobart Community Foundation has joined the Energizing Indiana Home Energy Assessment Program.
Perhaps you noticed that your NIPSCO bill mentioned an energy-saving program funded by utility rates, along with a toll-free telephone number to call, (888) 446-7750.
The program includes a home visit by an energy adviser who will bring energy-efficient items such as CFL bulbs, faucet aerators, showerhead(s) and water heater pipe insulation which can be installed at no cost to the homeowner.
This in-home assessment can help lower energy bills, improve in-home air quality and increase its value. An enrollment card can be picked up at the Hobart Chamber of Commerce office, 1001 Lillian St., or from any foundation member. By specifying ID# HCFI01142014, the foundation will receive $25 for every home assessment completed. The foundation can also earn $25 if homeowners sign up for NIPSCO’s Air Conditioning Cycling Program and the homeowner can earn $40 off annual summer cooling costs.
Seems like a good week to think ahead to hot summer days, doesn’t it?
Joining the band
Hobart Area Community Band members will participate in a mass band concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection on the campus of Valparaiso University, 1700 Chapel Drive.
They will join several other community bands to present the second half of the concert, performing "Air for Band: Shepard’s Hey," "Great Gate of Kiev," and "Stars and Stripes Forever."
The Valparaiso Community/Valparaiso University Concert Band will perform the first half of the concert. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Garden club makes cards
After last week’s column on the need for Meals on Wheels drivers in Hobart, I learned that Hobart Garden Club members made more than 50 Valentine’s Day cards for its Garden Therapy Program. The cards were distributed to Meals on Wheels clients in Hobart and Lake Station, just one of the many ways that our community connects and interacts.
The next Hobart Garden Club meeting is at 6:30 p.m. March 13 in the Marie Reiner Social Room, Krull Tower, First Floor, 206 Main St., Hobart. Northwest District Director Lori Higgins will be installing 2014-15 officers.
HGC promotes interest in gardening, conservation, floral design, youth gardening education, garden therapy and civic beatification projects in Hobart and is open to new members. Call Jim Pavelka at (219) 942-6793.
The Hobart Community Foundation will host its annual Mama Mia Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at St. Bridget Parish Center, Second and Center streets, Hobart.
A traditional "homemade" Italian dinner featuring spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, garlic bread, coffee and dessert will cost $8 for adults, and $5 for children 9 and younger. Beer, wine, and pop will also be available.
I look forward to meeting you at the American Legion Auxiliary Bunco Party at 2 p.m. Sunday at American Legion Post 54, 208 S. Linda St., Hobart.
Where can you get a free cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate every week, build complex structures out of LEGOS, travel to a far off place without spending a dime, learn about gardening, and test your Wii game and Guitar Hero skills all in one place?
It's the library!
Every month the Hobart branch of the Lake County Public Library goes to great lengths to plan outstanding programs that will be enjoyed by everyone who comes in. Along with all the great programming, we also have great books, DVD's, CD's, magazines, e-books, databases, and so much more for the awesome price of . . .FREE.
Are you a parent and need something fun for the kiddos to do? We have you covered with programs for birth to 23 months called Mother Goose on the Loose, for 2- and 3-year-olds called Toddler Story Time, for 4- and 5-year -called Preschool Story Hour, and special themed programs for grades kindergarten to 5.
And the whole family can participate together on Super Scrabble Saturday, Family Evening Movies, and the Family Evening Story Hour.
Of course, we haven't forgotten the 'tweens and teens – there are craft projects, video games, a celebration of Teen Tech Week in March, along with a Yu-Gi-Oh competition and teen gaming. The adolescent set can join the Teen Advisory Board to brainstorm ideas for upcoming events.
We don't just care about providing fun for the kids and teens, we care about the adults as well. Stop in for Coffee Break Tuesdays, Super Scrabble on the first Monday of the month, Who Picked This Book? book club on the third Tuesday of the month, Tea and Television, Tuesdays with Movies, Travel by Film, or a gardening program.
If you are in need of some computer help we have computer classes planned for beginners, basic computing, and those wanting to learn how to better navigate the internet. There are both afternoon and evening classes each week for those needing to learn English as a second language. The Alzheimer's Association will be here in March giving a presentation, Know the Ten Signs.
Do you blog? We do! You can find book reviews on our Book Nook blog, www.hobartlibrarybooknook.blogspot.com. Write a book review and you get a free book from our book sale room. Three entries per month.
Need to find out what programs are coming up, check out the Hobart Library Nook blog, www.hobartlibary.blogspot.com.
The Hobart Branch Library, 100 Main St., has something for everyone. As we all look forward to warmer weather, why not “spring” in today and check us out.
South Suburban College’s Chicago Women’s Conference & Expo is entering its sixth year and has become a must-attend event for women in the south suburban and Northwest Indiana region. It is a truly unique opportunity for women of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a one-of-a-kind personal and professional development and networking opportunity all at one time.
The highlight for many attendees is the opportunity to hear from the dynamic keynote speakers the conference showcases each year. This year, SSC has proudly announced Saran Dunmore as the keynote for the 2014 Chicago Women’s Conference & Expo on March 14 at the main campus, 15800 S. State St. in South Holland.
Dunmore is an energetic fitness and lifestyle expert who enhances the lives of her clients and viewers through her passionate and motivating approach. Her knowledge and zeal for fitness is evidenced on NBC 5, where she has been a regular Fit Club Coach during the Saturday morning news hour since 2007. You may have also seen Saran on the hit MTV weight loss show "I Used to Be Fat" from 2009-2012, where she was a highlighted trainer and which is currently airing internationally. But Dunmore is not just a fitness trainer, she's a mistress of ceremonies, an athlete and a soon-to-be-author.
Additionally, the Chicago Women’s Conference & Expo features breakout sessions with special facilitators focusing on Health & Wellness, Business & Finance and Personal Empowerment topics. There are always 40-plus vendors on campus providing shopping opportunities with new and exciting products and services designed for women.
The cost of admission is just $15 per person with advance registration by March 13, or $25 at the door. The conference fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and admission to all of the breakout sessions.
Again, the 2014 Chicago Women’s Conference & Expo will be March 14 at the college’s main campus in South Holland.
Find more information and the conference registration form online at:
If you have any questions or would like to register, please call (708) 596-2000, ext. 2455.
As parents, we all wish happiness and success for our children. Educators share these same goals for your families. Together, we form a powerful force. Have you ever asked your child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
When they are young, their dreams and aspirations are limitless. “I want to be a teacher, a doctor, an astronaut, a professional football player.” They hear from us, “You can be anything you want to be.” There’s a catch, though. What does it take to become our ultimate selves? What skills must we possess? Are our childhood dreams going to provide for our future families? These are questions we, as parents and educators, must be prepared to answer as our children grow.
Kindergarten through 12th grade is 13 long years to a child, but in reality, the time moves quickly. Establishing a strong academic foundation during that time is paramount. In addition to that irreplaceable education is the need for career path knowledge. A quality parent/educator partnership will provide this foundation and knowledge.
Parents, know your children for who they are. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Be honest with yourselves and them. Encourage their dreams, but demand they work hard to achieve their goals. Talk to your children’s teachers, counselors and principals. Ask the difficult questions like, “What does it take to be that astronaut, and does my child have the skills necessary to achieve that career?”
Portage High School provides an amazing academic foundation that competes with the most renowned schools in Indiana. We also provide many college and career exploration opportunities. Portage High students can be certified in numerous fields from welding to culinary arts and cosmetology to automotive technology.
In addition to more than 30 vocational programs are the opportunities to secure college credits through dual-credit partnerships with Purdue, Indiana University, Vincennes University and Ivy Tech. Each year, students leave with college credits leading toward two- and four-year degrees as well as industry certifications that afford them a competitive edge when they are seeking employment.
My challenge to you is this: Become knowledgeable regarding workforce demands. Encourage your children to find a passion that meets these demands. Become familiar with educational opportunities at Portage High. Continually strengthen your parent/educator partnership by always being involved throughout your child’s schooling. Together, we can help your child become a successful, productive and happy adult.
Mother Nature is finally giving us a break from the bitterly cold weather. It's time to begin thinking Spring.
The City of Crown Point will host a 2014 State of the Region Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. March 5 in the Maki Ballroom of the Old Lake Courthouse on the downtown square.
Mayor Dave Uran will present the State of the City of Crown Point, Shawn Pettit will present the State of the Town of Merrillville, Dr. Teresa Eineman will present the State of the Crown Point Community School Corp. and Dr. Mark Sperling will present the State of the Merrillville Community School Corp.
Crown Point and Merrillville business people are welcome. Businesses may register at www.crossroadschamber.org. For more information, email Diana Bosse at email@example.com.
Fun for youth
Town and Country Christian Church in Winfield will host Upward Cheerleading and Co-ed Flag Football for children 4 years through grade 8.
Registration is open until March 1. Practices will begin the week of March 17. Cost is $80 for either sport.
Christian Sports League for Children focuses on healthy completion in a positive environment. Upward Sports has a unique substitution system designed to provide every child equal playing time, competing against an equally matched opponent.
Each player and coach commits to one practice night per week and one Saturday game per week. Games are played at the church, 7037 E. 117th Ave.
To register, visit registration.upward.org/upw54592. Call Mike at (733) 447-9225 with questions.
Children, looking for something fun to do today? Enter Crown Point’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Logo Contest, open to Crown Point residents 17 and younger.
Print the template found at www.crownpoint.in.gov on 8.5-by-11-inch paper. The logo must be hand drawn and contain St. Patrick’s Day themed pictures, the color green and the words “St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
Parents, on the back of the paper, print the child’s name, age, and guardian's name, address, phone number and email address (if applicable).
Entry must be turned into the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, 11065 Broadway, by Monday. The winner will have the opportunity to be the Junior Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and ride in Molley the Trolley.
Using social media
Michael Finney of Mystic Waters Media will present an information workshop from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Crown Point Community Library, 122 N. Main St., for small business owners who are not currently using social media to advertise their business. Meet in the Tri Kappa Meeting Room.
Register by calling (219) 765-5155. Bring questions, a laptop and a smart phone.
The Crown Point Community Library will once again turn its building into a miniature golf course. If you missed last year's inaugural event, be sure to make it this year.
“A Hole Lot of Fun” will be held April 12. Businesses and organizations can sponsor a hole by contacting Laura at (219) 306-4599 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Well-attended last year, organizers are expecting even more to attend this Spring.
Well, we have had a doozie of a winter. It’s been pretty lousy if you have had to drive in it or walk in it or shovel it. But, it is beautiful to look out your window and see falling snow and if you enjoy winter sports, it’s been a great season for it. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that the Midwest would have been a perfect spot for the Winter Olympics.
Our family recently took advantage of the wintery weather to visit Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, just over the border in Wilmot, Wis. I wish I could say that I bravely and gracefully made my way down the slopes, but our trip was short and I have never been on skis in my life. Perhaps next winter I’ll give it a try as they do have private, semi-private and group lessons for the newbies. However, we did get to spend an afternoon of fun at the tubing hill at Wilmot Mountain.
The resort dates back to 1938 and was one of the first successful ski resorts in the Midwest and the first to create artificial snow. in 1952 the snow machines were introduced allowing visitors to ski even when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. Lights were also added in the 1950s for night skiing. There are 25 unique runs for skiers or snowboarders.
The tubing hill was a blast. It is actually just down the road in a separate area dedicated to tubing. You’re able to go down individually or connect your tubes to go down in a big group and you can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The 20 tubing lanes are 1,000 feet long and when you get to the end, there’s a conveyor system to return you and your tube to the top. The season goes into early March, so there’s still time to head up and check it out. For more information, visit www.wilmotmountain.com.
This is my favorite area to visit for an overnighter, no matter what time of year it is. Besides skiing, we went for a meal at a cute '50s style place, the Bristol 45 Diner, did some outlet shopping, stopped at the Jelly Belly Center and took a drive along the Lake Michigan shoreline, which looked really beautiful with all the snow and ice. I had to stop and take a few pictures. There are several wonderful museums and attractions in the area, some of which are free. They have some great public beaches with free, easily accessible parking.
A visit to Wisconsin is also never complete without a stop for some cheese. We ended our trip with dinner at the Brat Stop, just off Interstate 94 where we watched the Super Bowl while we enjoyed fried cheese curds and bratwurst. Then I stopped in the gift shop to pick up some cheese and knockwurst and this amazing pastry called the “Racine Kringle.” It was a quick trip, but a great way to enjoy the winter weather with my family
For more on fun activities in the Kenosha area, go to www.visitkenosha.com.
As a rule, I generally remain pretty quiet when I am on the train. I sit in the same seat with my right leg on the aisle side to alleviate cramping. There, I read my book and take a short nap. It is a nice little routine if I can pull it off three times a week.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up one recent morning and this very nice lady was staring at me with that earnest look.
“I know you from somewhere,” she said. Finally, after a few seconds, she said, “You write for the paper. I read your columns every Sunday.”
I had been exposed. There was nothing for me to do but to beg modesty and go back to my book, with a smile of course. I am writing this President's Day column to my anonymous reader – be sure to give me your name next time.
The men (and I hope someday to add women) who have served at the head of our national government have all had a much more difficult time remaining incognito. They are, after all, the very symbol of our hopes and aspirations (and in many cases our ire and frustration).
As we look over the course of our nation’s history, we can say with no small amount of modesty that we have elected people who most closely reflect our times.
With George Washington, the fledgling U.S. found a leader who would set the tone for our nation. He would be both regal and modest in equal measure. His administration would take care to make decisions in a way that would not entangle us in affairs overseas, thus saving the young nation from a premature demise.
In Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. fell upon a country lawyer who had in his makeup the ability to stand firm while remaining humane. During his tenure, the country went through a wrenching Civil War that would leave an impact on the nation for more than a half century. Every presidential contest between the Civil War and World War I featured a tribute or reference to President Lincoln.
These two giants of the more than 40 that have held that office are now safely ensconced in history. They trade places among the historians as No. 1 or 2 on the list of greatest presidents. Scarcely a day goes by when we don't find a reference to them either at school or among our daily lives.
There is the news coming out of Washington D.C. as you travel the Lincoln Highway. There are the parks, recreation centers, schools, streets, elementary schools and a host of other places where we honor the likes of Washington and Lincoln, and the other presidents.
In their time, each hoped to accomplish much and succeeded in varying degrees. In their honor, here's some trivia on this Presidents Day.
We know that Franklin D. Roosevelt served the longest tenure in office, and William Henry Harrison the shortest. We also know that Grover Cleveland served two, non-consecutive terms. Fair enough. But what two times in U.S. history did we have three presidents serve in one calendar year? Want a hint? Both years ended with the number ‘1.’ If you come up with the answer, send me an email.
The Affordable Care Act is still in its early stages of development and for a variety of reasons will not be in full force for several years.
Impacts on the labor force, for example, have caused delays in implementation –i.e. some provisions of the ACA will raise effective tax rates on earnings from labor, and this will exert pressure on the quantity of labor that employers will demand. It is estimated that the largest impact on labor markets will occur after 2016, when the major provisions of the ACA have taken place, and that the largest declines in labor will most likely occur among lower-wage workers.
The very recent discussions about raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 is also going to dramatically affect small business employers, and potentially further reduce the number of hours worked on a weekly basis.
At the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Business Expo last October, we enlisted a panel of health care experts to discuss the Affordable Care Act, and the audience discussions were very informative. One panel member, Will Glaros, president of Employer Benefit Systems, continues to provide us with valuable updates on the ACA.
For example, On Feb. 10, he informed the chamber that the U.S. Treasury released final regulations implementing the employer “Shared Responsibility” provisions of the ACA. The “Employer Shared Responsibility Payment” applies to businesses with more than 50 full-time employees who do not offer insurance, or whose coverage does not meet certain minimum standards.
These new employer mandates are as follows:
Employers with 50-99 full-time employees will have another year delay until the mandate starts in 2016
For employers with 100 or more full-time employees, while the delay has not been extended, the requirement that you offer medical coverage to 95 percent of your employees has been reduced to 70 percent
NO employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees is subject to the employer shared responsibility payment in any year.
There are fears in the workplace that jobs will be eliminated, and/or hours for workers drastically cut, to reduce an employer’s full-time equivalents (The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that reduced hours in the workplace could equate to the loss of over 2 million jobs annually).
With over 90 percent of employers being small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, we should begin to see positive changes in the nation’s workplace as young entrepreneurs begin to realize the rewards of risk-taking and leave the comforts of a 9-to-5 jobs to start exciting new businesses.
To keep abreast of the latest changes in the Affordable Care Act, and how your business will be impacted, continually refer to www.healthcare.gov for the latest updates.
Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce will host its semi-annual Antiques and Collectibles Show on Feb. 22 and 23 at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
The event will feature more than 50 vendors for from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $4 for ages 13 and older. A $1 off coupon is available at www.crossroadschamber.org.
Vendor space is still available, and non-chamber members are welcome. Call Program Director Farren Felus at (219) 769-8180.
American English perform
It has been 50 years since The Beatles landed in the U.S., and to celebrate the occasion, Lakeshore Public Media is hosting their own British Invasion with American English at 8 p.m. Friday, Valentine's Day, at the Star Plaza Theater, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville.
Tickets start at $25 through Ticketmaster or the Star Plaza Box Office. All proceeds support Lakeshore Public Radio 89.1 FM.
Those attending can purchase tickets to win an autographed Ringo Starr photo, autographed photo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, or a night stay at the Radisson Hotel and show tickets. A Beatles Trivia Contest will be held before the show in the lobby. Call Lindsey at (219) 756-5656, ext. 317.
Adult softball registration
The Ross Township Trustee’s office is accepting registration for adult softball leagues at Hidden Lake Park.
The team fee is $500, with an early bird special of $450 if signed up by April 18. The men’s league plays Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the co-ed league plays Wednesday evenings.
For details, call (219) 769-2111 or visit rosstownship.org.
Using Social Media
Michael Finney of Mystic Waters Media will present an informational workshop for small business owners who do not have a social media strategy or want to learn to expand their understanding from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Tri Kappa Room of the Crown Point Community Library, 122 N. Main St., Crown Point.
The presentation will explore the concepts that the participants will be putting into action during this hands-on workshop. Bring questions, and a laptop and Smartphone are recommended.
Habitat for Humanity Panel Build
Participate in a Panel Build with Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana to build a safe, decent and affordable home for a low-income family.
A Panel Build is a Habitat event, usually in a parking lot, where a group of volunteers frame up a house. The house is put together temporarily so that it can be taken apart, stacked in “panels” and loaded on a truck. After that, the house is ready to be transported and permanently assembled on the construction site.
Depending on the size of the house, about 75 volunteers participate, and the house is built in about six hours. Panel builds are an excellent team-building event and a great way for an organization to engage its community.
Habitat coordinates and runs the event, brings pre-made and pre-marked lumber packages, so that the experience is enjoyable for every volunteer. Call Marsha at (219) 923-7265 for more information.
Love is truly in the air this week as Friday is Valentine’s Day. Anyone who says St. Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, they better check their sources. I believe most people that refer to this day as that, are unwilling to celebrate the day of love anyway.
Valentine’s Day has always been the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending cards, candy, flowers or other tokens of affection.
The holiday is named after two men, both of whom were Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished and the earliest valentine dates from 1415 A.D.
Speaking of love, most of all you know that I love a Portage firefighter. For most of our 29 years together, Randy has either been a volunteer or a full-time firefighter. This man and countless others dedicate their lives to the protection and preservation of life and property, things that truly mean a lot to us all.
Over that amount of time you would think one would get used to a lifestyle that is much different than most people. Many times there are interrupted meals, holidays apart and stories of life-threatening experiences from the day before. Our children have grown up around pagers, fire alarms, red lights and sirens and vehicles that can do all kinds of seemingly miraculous things. We have a way of life that brings us to a strong sense of public service which accounts for the fact that many spouses are nurses, teachers, firefighters or even police officers as well.
Truth be told, though, with all the stress of this occupation, we also like to have a good time now and then and help people out at the same time. Yes, love is in the air Saturday and the public is invited to come celebrate at the annual Portage Firefighters Local 3151 Ball.
The ball will be held at 6 p.m. at Woodland Park's Sycamore Hall, 2100 Willowcreek Road. The cost is $50 per person which includes dinner by Topperz, open bar and dancing the night away with your sweetheart. There also will be a photo booth, raffles and more. For more information or reservations, please contact Pat Newell at email@example.com.
As always, the Portage Fire Department is committed to serving this community, not only through public service but through many volunteer functions and groups. Portage Rebuilding Together, Relay for Life, the annual Bike Rodeo and Safety Day, Shop with a Fireman and several college scholarships, given out to graduating Portage seniors, top the list of the many things they do for the community. The firefighters could not help out this great city without your support in their endeavors like the Firefighters Ball.
I’m extremely proud of our Fire Department and all it does in our community both on the clock and off. Please come on out and have a “ball” with the firefighters and help spread the love in Portage at the same time.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.
“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
- Abraham Lincoln
Mark your calendars for the fifth annual Spring Into Action Volunteer Fair that will be sponsored March 8 by the Crown Point Community Foundation.
The Spring Into Action Volunteer Fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 in the Crown Point High School cafeteria, 1500 S. Main St.
It is your chance to learn about all the great nonprofit organizations and agencies serving our community. More than 70 nonprofits will be at the fair. each with a booth and representatives available to chat with you about their organization.
You will be able to find out about the programs the nonprofits offer and register to become a volunteer for the organization that draws your interest.
Did you know that more than half of the U.S. population regularly becomes involved in some sort of volunteer activity during the course of the year. This amounts to more than 100 million people donating time in excess of 19 billion hours a year, valued at more than $150 billion per year.
The Crown Point Community Foundation has played a lead role in recognizing the value of our nonprofit agencies. Nonprofit organizations serving Northwest Indiana play a key role in meeting local needs. These nonprofits help everyone in the community.
Because most nonprofits operate with limited resources, volunteers help these service agencies accomplish their goals and objectives. Volunteers help make the programs run smoothly.
There is also an added benefit to the volunteer. Volunteering makes YOU feel good, volunteers make new friends, and volunteering keeps YOU connected to YOUR community.
Here are some of the nonprofits that will have a booth at the fair:
Crown Point 4th of July Parade Committee – How does the parade committee work? How are the floats, bands and entries organized? How does the parade committee prepare for the spectacular fireworks show?
St. Jude House – what is a domestic abuse shelter and how can I help?
Animal shelters and adoption groups – I want to foster animals, what do I need to do? I want to adopt a puppy. Can I do that at the Volunteer Fair?
MAAP Services – Where can I find services and programs for my autistic child?
Each organization has a story to tell. Each organization needs volunteers to help their agency perform the work they do.
As in the past, the foundation has teamed up with Heartland Blood Center to accept blood donations at the Volunteer Fair. Call the foundation office at (219) 662-7252 to register a time when you can give this gift of life from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 8.
Meals on Wheels is in need of volunteer drivers to deliver meals in the Hobart community. The commitment can be for as little as one or two days per month and, depending on the route, takes between 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the day to deliver.
There are three routes in Hobart and some extremely dedicated drivers have volunteered for more than 25 years. However, drivers sometimes need a day off for illness or personal business and yes, even occasionally, a vacation, so the need for substitute drivers is critical.
A one-hour orientation is provided and a new driver is paired with an experienced driver for the necessary training for door-to-door delivery.
For more information, contact Volunteer Manager Joan Vith at (219) 756-3663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
State legislators host meeting
Area state legislators invite the public to a Town Hall meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Hobart City Council Chambers, 414 Main St.
State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, State Senator Earline Rogers, D-Gary, and State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, will update area residents on the current legislative session in Indianapolis. They are also interested in hearing concerns constituents want them to address for Northwest Indiana.
Call Robert Fulton, assistant to the mayor, at (219) 942-6112.
Play crazy bunco
Make reservations for a Crazy Bunco Party sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 54 from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 23 at American Legion Post 54, 208 S. Linda St., Hobart.
Cost is $10, and proceeds help military veterans and men and women currently serving in the U.S. military. Call Linda at (219) 942-0149 or Louise at (219) 947-0337 for reservations.
Spaghetti for supper
The 27th annual Mama Mia Spaghetti Supper, sponsored by Hobart Community Foundation, will be held Feb. 27 at St. Bridget Church Hall, 107 Main St., Hobart.
Tickets are available from any foundation member and at the Hobart Chamber of Commerce, 1001 Lillian St.
An $8 ticket includes spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, dessert and coffee. Wine and beer will be available for an extra charge.
This city-wide event raises funds for grants to Hobart nonprofit entities serving the community. Bring your friends and neighbors to enjoy a great evening out and contribute to this worthy cause.
Walking in winter
Shake off your cabin fever by participating in the Winter Walk-A-Thon sponsored by Exceptional Equestrians Unlimited at 11 a.m. March 1. Sign-up sheets are available from participating Hobart merchants.
The mission of EEU is to provide educational and therapeutic horseback riding activities to those with special needs for an improved quality of life.
Weather safety concerns
During this cold spell, if you know of an issue not being addressed concerning the safety or well-being of someone in your neighborhood, please share that concern with someone at Hobart City Hall. Call Mayor Brian Snedecor at (219) 942-6112 or the Hobart police or fire department. Hobart cares for its own with the help of concerned citizens.
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