One Region, the organization formed last spring after the merger of the former Quality of Life Council and One Region One Vision, had a very successful year last year.
We held our largest ever annual meeting, with more than 650 attendees listening to former Gov. Daniels give his farewell appraisal of Northwest Indiana. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky also spoke and both the governor and congressman described the progress Northwest Indiana has made in the last few years but also telling us that much remains to be done.
On Oct. 9 we released the 2012 edition of the Quality of Life Indicators Report. This report, funded by the Knight Foundation and our six local colleges and universities, is the most comprehensive and powerful document we have produced. As of this writing nearly 800 copies have been distributed throughout Northwest Indiana. The report is available on One Region’s website at www.oneregionnwi.org.
While planning for and conducting these activities One Region also has been actively supporting our 16 action initiatives. New initiatives addressing public safety and veterans affairs have begun while the former Race Relations Council is now a member the One Region family.
Through the generous support of our donors we concluded 2012 in the black and look forward to making additional investments in our work products this year.
Our agenda includes "summits" replacing the former "quarterly meetings" of the Quality of Life Council. These summits are intended to address some of the most problematic issues facing Northwest Indiana residents.
Currently scheduled for March 20 is a meeting presented by Project READY, intended to address the myriad issues facing our post high school graduates. In the planning stages are summits addressing health and public transportation. The Program Committee of One Region chaired by Kris Kraus of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, is actively engage in planning these important events.
The Better Government Committee is actively engaged in developing its agenda for the current Indiana General Assembly session. As of this writing there are many issues before the Legislature, and the Better Government Committee is refining its agenda to support those legislative initiatives that assist government in becoming more effective, more transparent and more accountable.
The Public Safety Committee is reviewing a proposal to provide ethics training for all police personnel in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. It also is monitoring Lake County's progress toward a consolidated E911 dispatch center as required by law. The improved utilization of the Major Crimes Task Force, created several years ago, also is a topic of interest.
A new health committee is being created to focus more specifically on the health of residents and not necessarily on delivering health care. It is an ambitious undertaking and we look forward to the results of these forthcoming deliberations.
A current description of One Region's 16 action initiatives can be viewed on our website at www.oneregionnwi.org.
One Region is an ambitious three-county initiative focusing on regional cooperation. Our goal is simple. Can we reach across our geopolitical boundaries to work in the best interests of all Northwest Indiana residents?
We believe we must and that our future quality of life depends on it.
Dennis Rittenmeyer is executive director of One Region. The opinions are the writer's.