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WINTER 2013

2014 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW Reardon in the House Charbonneau in the Senate 30+ YEARS RADISSON STAR The Leaders We Lost TRIBUTE BY DIANE POULTON

REGION WRAPS IT UP INNOVATION, HOPE AND PROGRESS: The Arts, Retail, Public Safety, Health Care, Transportation, Real Estate

PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID ST. JOSEPH, MI PERMIT #65

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Proud to be a Best Place to Work in Indiana

As one of the largest energy providers in the state, we are powering lives each day through community partnerships, economic development and environmental stewardship. Together with our communities, we are building a bright future for northern Indiana. Learn more at NIPSCO.com. Winter 2013 | 1

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Contents BIZ WORTHY

5

COVER STORY

New Advertising V-P: Times Media Co. hires John Tucker as vice president of sales and marketing.

8

16

Legislative preview: Northwest Indiana lawmakers have a full plate this session, including measures to extend the South Shore Line train to Lowell and Valparaiso, prompted by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, who has promised federal funding for the expansion. By Dan Carden

FEATURES

12

20

Indiana exports reach record: Auto industry still tops export list, steel is the third-fastest growing.

SALUTE

10

Promoting local business: Read about people who are climbing the professional ladder.

TRIBUTE Economic development: Local officials strive for long-term success in attracting, keeping business in their communities.

A year of change: Hospitals strive to provide streamlined care and keep costs down, while building more care facilities to better serve their clients.

28

Tribute: BusINess remembers Northwest Indiana community leaders.

CALENDAR

40

Business calendar: Check out upcoming events in your area.

2 | IN BUSINESS

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Winter 2013 | 3

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Publisher’s Letter Winter 2013

This year’s challenges, opportunities and successes

T

By Chris White

Publisher, BusINess, The Times Media Co.

We want to hear from you Email pat.colander@ nwi.com or write to BusINess Magazine, The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321

he Affordable Healthcare Act has dominated the news in Northwest Indiana – and everywhere else in the country – but there has been little substantive change so far. That may change in the coming year. While Indiana and many of its lawmakers stand against the expansion of Medicaid, many businesses have an interest in pushing the implementation of the law with the certainty of bringing added federal funds into the system. The whole situation has many in the medical profession preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. While the health care system has received the most attention, there are many more works in progress in the Region. There is a strong push for the long-discussed commuter rail line extensions to Lowell and Valparaiso to finally become a reality. At the Annual Luncheon for One Region, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky challenged us to make this the year it happens. We have until March 14. Education remains a political flashpoint as well, in spite of the continued, outstanding reputation of many top-level schools and universities that have long been hallmarks of the Region. Other issues that will be revisited in the short legislative session coming up – including the marriage amendment, changes to the criminal code, wages and labor – are previewed in this issue by experts from both parties, state Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) and state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster), and Times Statehouse Bureau Chief Dan Carden. In this issue, we take a look at what’s happened in the arts, entertainment and cultural world this year, through the eyes of regional arts chief John Cain. Diane Poulton, with the help of Dean White and Charlie Blum, takes a look at the economic driving force of our first and biggest venue, the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, which has been bringing big performers and shows to this area for more than 30 years. And parking is still free! The growth and strength of the One Region initiative progressed again in 2013. Under the leadership of Executive Director Dennis Rittenmeyer, the organization has added a working group for public safety and launched a series of working meetings to address key issues in the area. The organization continues to find solutions and opportunities within the challenges facing the Region. I want to thank all of the leaders and participants in One Region for embracing the vision of this group. In conclusion, let me state that The Times continues to thrive as a media company, and we are proud to be a top performer in an industry that is well-known for the challenges it faces. We believe our success is bolstered by our tradition of involvement and leadership in the Region, and we will strive to serve you better in the coming year. We look forward to a prosperous 2014 safe in the knowledge that despite whatever uncertainties lie ahead, the spirit of cooperation and partnership in Northwest Indiana give us an edge and enhances the quality of life for everyone.

Volume 9, Issue 4

Publisher Christopher T. White Founding editor William Nangle Vice President of Sales John Tucker Director of Product Development Kim Bowers Managing Editor Matt Saltanovitz Design Director Ben Cunningham Designers Deborah Hile, Amy Olding Contributing writers Keith Benman, Joseph S. Pete, Diane Poulton, Dan Carden, Carrie Rodovich, Michelle Krueger, Christine Bryant, John Cain, Louisa Murzyn Contributing photographer Tony V. Martin Advertising managers Deb Anselm, Eric Horon, Craig Chism Business Advisory Board David Bochnowski, Peoples Bank; Wil Davis, Gary Jet Center; Nick Meyer, NIPSCO; Barb Greene, Franciscan Physician Hospital; Tom Gryzbek, St. Margaret Mercy Hospital; Anna Rominger, Indiana University Northwest; Thomas G. Coley, Ivy Tech State College; William J. Lowe, Indiana University Northwest; Madhu Ranade, Arcelor Mittal Copyright, Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland BusINess, 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without permission is prohibited.

4 | In Business

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BizWorthy

Times hires vice president of sales News industry veteran will lead ad teams Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326‌

A news industry veteran with widespread experience in print and new media has been hired to lead advertising and digital sales efforts at The Times Media Co. John Tucker, 47, is already on the job as The Times Vice President of Sales, where he wants to continue the media company’s tradition of quality products and customer service. “The thing that appealed to me about The Times was the quality of the editorial product,” Tucker said. “Quality is what you are selling at the end of the day.” Tucker was most recently a senior group publisher for GateHouse Media, overseeing its news organizations in Arkansas and northern Louisiana. Prior to that he managed the company’s southern Missouri properties in the Lakes of the Ozarks area, a highly competitive tourism market. Times publisher Chris White said he counts on Tucker to draw on his proven creativity and resourcefulness to do great things with The Times digital and advertising departments. “I’m excited to have John on board,” White said. “We have known each other for most of our careers and I’ve always had the highest respect for him.” Before being named publisher of The Times in July, White also worked for GateHouse, where he most recently served as publisher of GateHouse Ohio Media and The Repository newspaper in Canton, Ohio. In 2003, Tucker was named as

Jonathan Miano, The Times

Industry veteran John Tucker has been hired as vice president of sales at The Times, overseeing all advertising and digital sales.

one of Presstime’s 20 Under 40 class of outstanding achievers. Presstime is the monthly magazine of the Newspaper Association of America. Tu c ke r p l a n s to m ove to Munster with his wife, Robin, and two children, Caitlyn and Seth. In his previous media jobs, Tucker has implemented community-based events and celebrations. Those include the Lake of the

Ozark’s Top Ten Women, now in its fifth year. He has held leadership roles in numerous community and business organizations. Tucker also has experience in Indiana, having served as group publisher of the Jeffersonville Evening News and New Albany Tribune in the southern tier of the state. His job at The T imes will be to deliver the best potential

customers to advertisers, Tucker said. The quality staff already in place along with its outstanding local news coverage will drive that effort, he said. “I enjoy what newspapers do,” Tucker said. “They impact the community so much. All of it: the news, the advertising. All of that works together to make a positive contribution to the community we serve.”

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BizWorthy Salute

Job watch

Promoting local business: People who are climbing the professional ladder

Employment in the Calumet Region

Connie Kann has joined the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana as the Area Director of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. Carrie Sovola has been promoted to director of HR and employee relations of Diversified Marketing Strategies in Crown Point.

Lake County

Kann

John Miller has joined the staff of Competitive Support Options Inc. (dba CSO) as an account manager based at CSO’s office in the Purdue Technology Center in Merrillville. Rachel Gard, of Crown Point, has earned the nationally recognized Certified Realtime Reporter certification from the The National Court Reporters Association Tineka Wilson has joined Diversified Marketing Strategies Inc. in Crown point as administrative assistant. Bryan Bennett, David Gring, Sandra Schaffer and Linda Zyla were the top listing agents for September at Century 21 Alliance Group in Valparaiso. The top closing agents this year to date were Diane and Natalie Worstell of Worstell Group. Agent Bryan Bennett also was recognized with the most sales in September. Chuck Donovan, CEO of Members Source CU in Merrillville has been elected treasurer of the board of directors of the Indiana Credit Union League.

Aug. 2013

Aug. 2012

Change

Labor force

221,205

220,630

575

Employed

200,393

199,387

1,006

Unemployed

20,812

21,243

-431

Aug. 2013

Aug. 2012

Change

Labor force

82,713

82,575

138

Employed

76,437

76,054

383

Unemployed

6,276

6,521

-245

Aug. 2013

Aug. 2012

Change

Labor force

49,574

49,481

93

Employed

45,042

44,505

537

Unemployed

4,532

4,976

-444

Aug. 2013

Aug. 2012

Change

Labor force

2,635,712

2,612,805

22,907

Employed

2,376,424

2,364,858

11,566

259,288

247,947

11,341

Aug. 2013

Aug. 2012

Change

Labor force

372,145

368,754

3,391

Employed

338,240

336,594

1,646

Unemployed

33,905

32,160

1,745

Percent of workforce unemployed 9.4 percent

Porter County

Sovola

Percent of workforce unemployed 7.6 percent

LaPorte County

Gard

Percent of workforce unemployed 9.1 percent

Cook County

Wilson

Unemployed

Percent of workforce unemployed 9.8 percent

Will County

Donovan

Percent of workforce unemployed 9.1 percent

Sources: Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Illinois Department of Employment Security

6 | In Business

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Get in. Get out. Get on your way. Four Immediate Care locations serving Northwest Indiana. Getting expert care for minor illnesses, bumps and bruises is now more convenient than ever. Just walk in...our doctors will see you with no appointment on evening and weekends. With the support of on-site diagnostics such as lab, X-ray, CT and MRI, you can often be on your way with one visit!

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Twitter: @CHSHospitals - Facebook: facebook.com/CHSHospitals - Web: comhs.org Winter 2013 | 7

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BizWorthy

Kyle Telechan, The Times

ArcelorMittal steel coils are loaded into the cargo bay of the ship Pacific Huron as they are prepared for their journey from Burns Harbor to Macedonia. State exports hit a record high of $34.4 billion last year.

Ind. exports reach record Auto industry still tops export list, steel third-fastest growing Joseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316‌ Car parts, steel coils and other products Hoosiers make every day travel all across the globe. Hot-rolled steel sheets forged in East Chicago are shipped to auto plants in Canada, and car seats made in Hammond end up in sport-utility vehicles in Russia. Indiana is exporting more and more goods abroad, and at a faster growth rate than both the Midwest and the nation as a whole. The state’s exports hit a record high of $34.3 billion last year, up from $32.2 billion in 2011, according to a report by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Exports are still on the rise nationally because the dollar remains weak relative to other currencies, said economic analyst Tanya Hall, a co-author of the Indiana Business Research Center’s study. However, economic turmoil in Europe and other factors have caused that export growth to slow after double-digits gains of 21 percent in 2010 and 15.8 percent in 2011. Since 2010, the Obama administration has made it a top priority to boost exports, such as by removing trade barriers and helping firms of all sizes enter new markets abroad. U.S. exports reached an all-time record of $2.2 trillion last year. Indiana’s automakers and auto

parts suppliers, such as Lear Corp. and Contract Services Group in Hammond, exported $3.1 billion in goods last year. The automotive industry remained Indiana’s top exporter, despite a 7.6 percent decline in value compared to 2011. Cars seats assembled at Lear go into Ford vehicles that are sold in Russia and Venezuela. Statewide, the biggest foreign markets for cars and car parts are Canada, Mexico, China, Australia, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Steel, Northwest Indiana’s signature product, ranked as the sixth-biggest industry in the state when it comes to exports. The mills, which are mostly concentrated along Lake Michigan’s southern shore, shipped nearly $1.3 billion worth of products abroad last year, mainly to Canada and Mexico. A small fraction of the steel produced in Indiana makes its way to Japan, Germany and the United

Kingdom. But more than 87 percent of the steel the state exports stays in North America. In 2012, the Indiana’s steel ex p o r ts rose by 1 1 p e rce n t . Statewide, the steel industry posted the third-highest growth in exports, after the pharmaceutical and aircraft/spacecraft sectors, Hall said. Overall, Indiana exports grew by 6.6 percent last year, compared to a national growth rate of 4.4 percent. Since 1998, the Hoosier state’s export growth has outperformed other Midwestern states and the nation as a whole 10 times, Hall said. The state is seeing faster growth because it makes some of the products, including pharmaceuticals and aircraft parts, that are most in-demand internationally, she said. Exports to both China and Germany, for instance, have been surging over the last few years.

8 | In Business

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Dressing for success: It’s not what you think Appearance, first impressions still matter Louisa Murzyn Tailor Paco Fernandez has a word of advice for workers thinking about wearing flannel pajama bottoms, torn jeans, a backless dress, bike shorts or sandals with socks to the office: don’t. “That is not proper business attire at all,” said Fernandez, of Northwest Indiana-based Paco’s Custom Clothiers. “The clothing industry launched Casual Friday thinking people could still wear a jacket and shirt with nice jeans or khakis … but people took it to the extreme.” With dress-down Fridays and the dot-com era, dress codes and personal style have relaxed. Even at NASA, a worker who helped guide a rover across the surface of Mars was launched into superstardom for sporting a red-and-black Mohawk hairdo. Local companies agree business attire still has an impact and appearance still matters, but what’s suitable depends on where you work and what you do. Shorts, exposed skin, ripped denim or a Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergstyle hoodie simply don’t pass workplace muster. Business casual may have become one of the most dreaded terms in the office. Dale Tanis, owner of Zandstra’s Store for Men in Highland, said it was supposed to be relaxed yet pulled together and neat. Instead workers got confused and didn’t understand what it meant. “It may have gotten to the point that it was more sloppy, but that has changed too,” Tanis said. “People have redefined what’s appropriate for business and it seems like the pendulum has swung back a little bit.” In his career, Matt Valuckis, of V as in Victor in Hobart, has seen workers remove flip-flops and go barefoot. “It was more ‘go to the beach attire’ then it was a professional casual atmosphere,” he said.

John Luke, The Times

Paco Fernandez, owner of Paco’s Custom Clothiers, in the dark suit, shows material samples to Albert’s Diamond Jewelers President Josh Halpern. Fernandez does most of his fitting work on location, and has been in the tailoring business for 40 years.

Management eventually mandated collared shirts and closed shoes with socks. Highland Chamber of Commerce executive director Mary Luptak agrees that except for the banking industry, styles have

gotten less dressy. Erin Trzcinski, of Staff Source in Hammond, said typically her client companies don’t request suits and ties and have specific casual attire dress codes. “At t i re i s p o s i t i o n - a n d

industry-specific and by no means is it on a performance list for us as to what the company values,” said NIPSCO spokesperson Kathleen Szot. “We value the quality of work more than anything else. For the majority, unless they are customer-facing, it’s not critical to their job.” At NIPSCO, office workers can wear business casual attire Monday through Thursday and jeans are only permitted on Friday. Polo shirts or shirts without ties are common looks during the week, however, employees giving a presentation or meeting with a client, for example, are expected to dress more professionally. Fernandez’s business has skyrocketed as more customers opt for classic business attire. “First impressions make a world of difference,” he said. “If you don’t present yourself to the best of your ability in the first 30 seconds, you may lose the next step. “You can’t afford to lose that contract because it may be the only one that week; to lose the interview because you may not have another for a month; or to give your boss a second thought of the promotion you were supposed to get.” Trzcinski said it’s not enough to ask employees to “dress professionally” because the phrase is subjective and being too vague causes confusion. Employers need to give specific examples. Valuckis, whose typical attire includes dress shoes, dress jeans, untucked dress shirt and sport coat, said you can be creative with dress without getting sloppy. Being comfortable and expressing style can create an atmosphere of creativity instead of rigid conformity and starchy formality. “When you work for somebody, you are a brand ambassador for them whether you like it or not,” he said. “People should understand the company they work for and the audience that company is trying to reach at all times. Between 9 and 5 everything you say and do is a reflection on them. You are on the front lines of representing that company.”

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BizWorthy Salute

Promoting local business: People who are climbing the professional ladder Dr. Sudhish Chandra, a neonatologist who has been medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point, is this year’s recipient of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point’s St. Raphael Award. Shawn Spaw is the Top Listing, Top Selling and Top Volume Sales Associate for September for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Porter County office in Valparaiso. Karen Korellis Reuther, a former Hammond resident, a graduate of Hammond High School and a partner at Cast Collective in Boston, has been named a Purdue Old Master. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation has honored Van H. Janovic with its Robert E. Hamilton Award. Jim Karl has joined Levin Tire of Highland as a new service adviser. Daniel Korban is a new associate attorney with Zamudio Law Professionals in Griffith and focuses on criminal and family law. Terry Gootee has joined The Ross Group in Portage as a senior estimator and project manager. The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors elected its executive leadership for 2014: Edie Cothran, of McColly Real Estate in Schererville, will be president; Joe Wszolek, of AppraiserJoe.com in Portage, was elected to president-elect for 2014 after serving as Treasurer; Rose Dobbins, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Highland, was elected to treasurer. Thomas E. Rucinski of the law firm Sachs & Hess, P.C. in St. John has been named the Best Lawyers’ 2014 South Bend Family Law “Lawyer of the Year” for the South Bend/Northwest Indiana area. Melissa Small has joined Two Men and a Truck-Valparaiso as a customer service representative and moving consultant. Kari Corbin, of Crown Point, has become an independent consultant with Tastefully Simple. Karen Wingfield-Bond, of Lynwood, has been named Village Clerk at the Village of Lynwood. Mike Boudreau, of Crown Point, heads up the newly opened office of Aldridge Insurance in Crown Point. Ed Norcutt Jr. has joined the Midwest Insurance Center in Schererville as a

commercial account executive. Jena Mendonca, of Hobart, was named recruiting manager at Teleperformance. Stephan A. Ziemba, vice president and senior wealth management officer of Peoples Bank in Munster, was honored in Hoosier Banker magazine’s September issue for his 40 years of service all in a trust/wealth management capacity. Dru Bocek has joined First Midwest Bank as its reverse mortgage lender in Northwest Indiana.

Chandra

Spaw

Karl

Korban

Gootee

Cothran

Wszolek

Dobbins

Rucinski

Winchell

Kostecka

Austgen

Sparavalo

DeCleene

NaughtonSparks

Kim Odegard, managing broker of Redkey Realty Leader’s St. John office and team leader of The Kim Odegard Team recently received her Certified Residential Specialist designation by the Council of Residential Specialist. Jamie Juarez, of Chicago Title Insurance Co. in Valparaiso, was honored with the Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana Builders Choice Award. Carrie Paradis has joined Decorating Den Interiors in St. John as a decorator. Daniel F. Ford, of Valparaiso, has joined the Crown Point law firm of Austgen Kuiper & Associates, P.C., as an attorney. Joyce Fabisiak has joined the LaPorte Savings Bank as senior vice president/chief accounting officer. Kathleen Naughton-Sparks, of St. John, has joined the law offices of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. as a nurse attorney. Renae Vania-Tomczak, of Munster, has joined Mental Health America of Lake County as executive director. Scott R. DeCleene, Senior Division Executive Vice-President of Aldridge Insurance in Crown Point and South Bend, has recently earned the Fellow, Health Insurance Advanced Studies, or FHIAS, designation. Danielle Sparavalo, of Schererville, has joined the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lansing as the marketing manager. Patricia Austgen, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial in Schererville, ranked in the top 25 percent of participating advisers who scored 96 percent or higher based on overall client satisfaction. For the third year in a row John Kostecka and Dan Winchell, from Wesco Distribution Inc. are recipients of the company’s Directors Millionaire Club award.

10 | In Business

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BizWorthy

NWI Workforce Board announced Board members oversee WorkOne, other employment initiatives

Board members include

• Maria Becerra, the city of East Chicago redevelopment department re s p o n s i b l e fo r c o o rd i n a t - • Michael Berta Jr., the Valparaiso Times Staff ing workforce and education Community School Corp. T h e N o r t h w e s t I n d i a n a resources in Northwest Indiana, • David Broad, Alliance E.M.S. Workforce Board has announced as well supporting entrepreneur• Frank Cardello, Packaging Logic its 2013-14 slate of members. ship efforts. • Tom Coley, Ivy Tech Appointed board members are Board members work with responsible for developing a stra- employers, developers and econo- • Kris Emaus, NiSource tegic vision for workforce devel- mists to determine the current • Melvyn Harding, Adult Education Consortium opment in Northwest Indiana and and future skills needed in the • Tom Hargrove, United Steelworkers overseeing the region’s WorkOne, workplace. The new officers are Chairman the state’s one-stop employment of America Local 1010 and career office. Board members Adam Collin, with Kruz Inc.; • Kevin Kieft, Indiana Economic include leaders in education, Vice Chairwoman Connie Ford, Development Corp. labor, economic development, with IU Health La Porte Hospital; • Keith Kirkpatrick, KPM Group faith and the community. Treasurer Bob Schaefer, with • Kristine Krupicka, Republic Services Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Community Dynamics; Secretary • Mary Lewis, Lake Shore Porter, Pulaski and Starke coun- George Douglas, with Indiana Public Television Beverage; and chief local elected ties all are represented on the official Nancy Adams, who is a • Gary Miller, Prompt board. Ambulance Service T h e b o a rd m e m b e rs a re Porter County commissioner.

• Dan Murchek, NWI Federation of Labor • Gary Olund, Northwest Indiana Community Action • Arlene Pearson, Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living • Jean Phelps, Express Employment Professionals • Arnold Ransom, Family and Social Services Administration • Rick Rondinelli, In Touch Pharmaceuticals • Barbara Sacha, ArcelorMittal • Joe Medellin ArcelorMittal • Gerry Scheff, Emerson Power Transmission • Ron Schlatter, Schlatter’s Inc. • Judy Stanton, Stanton Law Office • Dennis Wimer, Indiana Department of Workforce Development

INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

Fulfill your goals. Invest in your future. EARN AN MBA. Weekday and Weekend program options available

iun.edu/mba Winter 2013 | 11

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2013 economic development

ON THE UPSWING Local officials strive for quality life, long-term success DIANE POULTON

L

ocal officials say 2013 was a busy year for economic development and redevelopment projects. “If a community is not moving forward, it is really moving backwards,” Munster Town Manager Tom DeGiulio says, “Economic development is important to a community’s quality of life and property values. The efforts made by a community to properly develop vacant ground and to redevelop existing obsolete or underutilized property are critical to the community’s long-term survival.” DeGiulio explains that this includes renewing the public

infrastructure as well as obsolete buildings on private land. Crown Point Mayor David Uran concurs: “The old adage is that if you don’t do anything you will die on the vine.” Uran says his city’s

success is a team effort. “It’s not one person. It’s not one business. It’s not one house. It is everybody doing their part.” Uran sees his role as the team coach. “I’m just like a coach, trying

to extract all the talent,” Uran says. “Everyone plays their part. That is why it is working in Crown Point.” Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas agrees on the importance of economic development and redevelopment to keep his city thriving. “Redevelopment is always occurring,” Costas says. “From our standpoint economic development is only as strong as its weakest facility.” Costas also agrees that it is a team effort. Costas says the high school, Ivy Tech and Valparaiso University all work hard to provide See ECONOMY, Page 14

JOHN J. WATKINS THE TIMES

The Bickford Assisted Living facility in Crown Point.

JOHN J. WATKINS, THE TIMES

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Land O’Frost headquarters in Munster. Behind him are CEO David Van Eekeren and his mother, Executive Chairman Donna Van Eekeren.

Representatives from Pratt Industries and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas announced plans for a $260 million expansion project of the company’s Valparaiso plant. JOHN LUKE, THE TIMES

12 | IN BUSINESS

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Northwest Indiana’s ONLY Ranked Hospital by #13 in Indiana #30 in Metro Chicago

Evidence of Excellence Methodist Hospitals’ commitment to delivering high quality care has attracted attention from some of the most respected names in health care.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Leading the Way to Better Health Winter 2013 | 13

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Continued from Page 12

Economy

the well-trained and educated work force necessary to draw new businesses to the community. The Northwest Indiana Forum is another driving force for attracting business to the area. Forum Director of Marketing and Communications Karen Lauerman describes her agency as “a one stop shop” when it comes to marketing the region. Lauerman says the 130-member forum has the regional license for two highly effective marketing tools: Zoom Prospector, which is the Geographical Information System (GIS) site selection tool and the Executive Pulse, which is the business retention and expansion software. “The forum creates marketing opportunities because in order to get leads, which eventually turn into deals. The process has to start by getting our name out there,” Lauerman explains. “Wherever the project lands in the community we have to start the ball rolling somewhere. The forum is the marketing arm of Northwest Indiana. It is one of our main goals to market to brokers and developers, site selectors and consultants.” The forum hosts receptions, programs and conferences. “We participate in conferences where our exhibits create exceptional opportunities for local leaders to represent their community as part of the Northwest Indiana region,” Lauerman says. In DeGiulio’s estimation 2013 was a great year for overall economic development in Munster.“The housing market is making a steady comeback,” DeGiulio says. “New starts and existing rates are steady.” Munster’s major developments in 2013 were: Community Hospital’s vertical expansion, Homewood Suites Hotel at the Lake Business Center; Noodles and Meatheads Restaurants at the Lake Business Center; Land O’Frost corporate headquarters at Hagberg Drive; American Machine Works on Superior Avenue; and the relocation of Munster Steel to Hammond, which is the start of Centennial Village Development at 45th and Calumet. DeGiulio said a Franciscan Hospital project is nearing final approval and hopefully breaking ground this fall. DeGiulio explains that major manufacturing businesses which have committed to relocating to Munster at the Lake Business Center are Tec Air and MAC Medical Supply.

John J. Watkins, The Times

Carrie Tatroe gives a tour of the Bickford Assisted Living complex during an open house.

He adds that several professional and medical offices have opened in the center’s remodeled areas. Uran says Bickford of Crown Point Assisted Living and Memory Care, a multi-million dollar project on 107th Avenue, was a nice addition to the city. Uran adds that the new Family Express transformed the corner at Indiana Avenue and North Street, which is a revitalization district. “It definitely put a bounce in the step of that area,” Uran says. “We anticipate a nice economic package next year developing across the street where the duplexes, which may not be in the best shape at this point in time in their history, might be razed for economic development. There is a snowball effect that is happening in that location.” Uran says the nearby SportsPlex has been a catalyst for development in the surrounding area. The city this year completed the second phase, a $4 million project, and has started the $3.5 million dollar third phase. “The SportsPlex has probably been what has put us on the map as far as getting people to come and see Crown Point,” Uran says. “Teams from everywhere in the Midwest play there. Next year we are happy to say that starting May 1 all the way through Aug. 1 pretty much every night and weekend the facility will be used in some capacity whether it is for local amateur sports or through tourism dollars tournaments that bring in a lot of outside teams to see Crown Point. That is truly an economic engine that will boost an opportunity for everybody in business or who lives in Crown Point.” Uran says The Family Express is also building at the south end of the

city at Franciscan Drive and Court Street, a location that was in need and where a former gas station had closed down. A new multi-million dollar Culver’s, under construction at Summit Street and Broadway, is the result of Mayor Uran’s attending the International Shopping Center Conference in Las Vegas. “We met with the real estate team out there in Las Vegas and they introduced us to Fred Terpstra who is making the investment here in Crown Point.” Costas says in 2013 the headliner in economic development news for Valparaiso has been the expansion of Pratt Industries, which involves building a $260 million, 250,000square foot paper recycling plant. “When it is complete, we believe that it is the single biggest private project and will become our largest private employer,” Costas said. “We are really excited that we were chosen over 100 others. It will create 137 new jobs by 2018.” The next good news, Costas said, is AM Stabilizers Corp., a chemical company which manufactures stabilizers for various uses, purchased the former Indiana Beverage Building on Silhavy Road. Costas said the company is renovating the building and is expected to bring 35 jobs to the city. “We are pleased with that,” Costas says. Indiana Beverage moved to a larger 250,000-square-foot space on Ind. 49 just south of U.S. 30, where it invested $15 million to retain 140 employees. Emerson Power Transmission, which has a strong presence in the city, Costas says, began the consolidation of their facilities from other locations to Valparaiso. Costas says retail is growing in

Valparaiso with a mix of small retailers and larger box stores. Costas said the city has now created four business parks along Ind. 49 and U.S. 30, which provides an opportunity for expansion and growth. “We are trying to build a city where people want to live,” Costas says. “It is about quality of life. We have one of the most vibrant downtowns. The city has a lot to offer. It is a safe city with no large city problems. We have the best shopping and entertainment with 150 activities downtown. We are expanding our parks to create more events. We have excellent restaurants. It is about a livable community, about strong education and a strong work force.” Uran says the draw for Crown Point, which has the highest number of new housing starts in the area, is a combination of factors including having one of the lowest tax rates in Northwest Indiana, a low crime rate and a great school system. “It’s a winning formula,” Uran says. “We haven’t lost our hometown charm. We still have our free festivals and the downtown is viable.” Uran’s vision for the downtown is an entertainment center on land currently owned by the school corporation along West Street. He envisions an outdoor band shell, a place for the farmers market to be open every weekend, a gathering spot for performing artists and for festivals, whether it is the chamber, Oktoberfest or any event which would draw people to Crown Point or bring people out of their homes on a regular basis. “That will keep our downtown viable and keep our roadways open,” Uran says. “It will be a destination place for everyone to visit Crown Point and just enjoy it.” DeGiulio says Munster, also known for its quality schools, has done several things over the years to encourage and be ready for development. “We have worked to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place for private development,” DeGiulio says. “This includes expanding roads including the grade separation and eventual extension of Main Street.” DeGiulio says the town council and redevelopment commission are open to offering incentives for developers which will give a return and achieve the priority goals for redevelopment. This includes existing businesses as well as those coming to the community, DeGiulio says.

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M A R R I AGE A M E N DM E N T | H E A LT H C A R E | E DUC AT ION | R E V E N U E | T R A N SPOR

Legislative preview:

LOTS TO DO, LITTLE TIME

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R A NSPOR TAT ION | SOCI A L IS SU E S | CR I M INA L CODE | R EGU L AT IONS A N D L A BOR

DAN CARDEN

T

he Indianapolis 500 always will be the fastest race in the state, but in even-numbered years the legislative sprint by the Indiana General Assembly runs a close second. For 10 weeks starting in early January, state lawmakers will propose more than 1,100 potential new laws, review them in committees, vote on them, consider measures approved by the opposite chamber, kill those they don’t like and ultimately send about 200 or so on to the governor. It’s a no-brakes rush to the mandatory March 14 finish line as lawmakers work furiously to line up support for proposals that may benefit the state, help a local business or bolster their own images ahead of November elections that will see all 100 members of the House and 25 of 50 senators on the ballot. Here’s a look at some of the issues certain to drive the 2014 session: MARRIAGE AMENDMENT The leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate and Republican Gov. Mike Pence are seeking to add Indiana’s existing prohibition on gay marriage and a new ban on civil unions to the state constitution. Their proposed amendment, House Joint

Resolution 6, initially was approved by the Legislature in 2011. If a majority in both the House and Senate vote for it again, the amendment will be on the Nov. 4, 2014, ballot for ratification or rejection by Hoosier voters. A business-backed group named Freedom Indiana, led by Republican campaign veteran and Portage native Megan Robertson is leading opposition to the amendment. Freedom Indiana claims the amendment will harm the state’s economic competitiveness by sending the message that Hoosiers are intolerant and Indiana is not welcoming to individuals and businesses with diverse backgrounds. Pence shrugs off those concerns by pointing out many of the low-tax, low-regulation states Indiana competes against for jobs enacted constitutional gay marriage bans years ago. The politics on this issue are tricky as lawmakers must decide whether to side with social conservatives, who strongly favor the amendment, or listen to business allies that mostly oppose it. There’s also the risk that having the amendment on the ballot will bring out new voters committed to defeating it, who also may toss out the legislators that put it on the ballot in the first place.

Minnesota legalized gay marriage this year after voters there rejected a Republican-led marriage amendment in 2012 and elected Democratic majorities to the House and Senate. Health care: Indiana continues to fight implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by not expanding Medicaid to cover some 400,000 lowincome Hoosiers that otherwise would be eligible, releasing inaccurate cost estimates to discourage individuals from buying insurance through the state’s federally-run marketplace and filing a lawsuit aimed at eliminating the federal subsidies that help See LEGISLATION, Page 18

Evening commuters exit a South Shore Line train from Chicago at the East Chicago station. Northwest Indiana lawmakers likely will propose measures to extend the South Shore Line to Lowell and Valparaiso, prompted by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, who has promised federal funding for the expansion. JONATHAN MIANO, THE TIMES

 The Statehouse in Indianapolis. THE TIMES FILE

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M a r r i age a m e n dm e n t | H e a lt h c a r e | E duc at ion | R e v e n u e | T r a n sp or

 State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, left, sits with other panelists during a discussion of Indiana’s position on the Affordable Care Act at the Ivy Tech campus in Gary in October. Kyle Telechan, The Times

Continued from Page 17

Legislation

individuals earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level pay for their health insurance. D e m o c ra ts a n d a few Re p u b l i ca n s i n t h e G e n e ra l Assembly are ready to fully embrace the state’s options available under Obamacare and will propose legislation to expand Medicaid and create a state-run marketplace. But there likely will not be enough votes to garner a majority and Pence stands ready with his veto pen should any pro-Obamacare proposal make it to his desk. As a result, about 1 in 7 Hoosiers will be forced to continue relying on emergency room care, the unpaid bills from which drive up insurance premiums paid by all other Hoosiers and Indiana businesses. The state’s population also could decline as low- and moderateincome residents of Northwest Indiana, and other border population centers realize that by moving to Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky or Ohio they can obtain free or lowcost health insurance that Indiana refuses to provide.

Education Lawmakers left the Statehouse in 2013 without resolvi n g seve ra l m a jo r education issues that cut across traditional partisan divides. Decisions must be made next year on whether to keep the new A-F school grading model approved in November by the State Board of Education, and whether to continue using Common Core as Indiana’s educational standards or adopt statecreated college- and career-ready standards. Many Hoosiers also are hoping for a solution to the ongoing conflicts between the Republicanappointed state education board and Glenda Ritz, the Democratic state superintendent of public instruction. Senate Democrats plan to focus their legislative efforts on expanding early c h i l d h o o d e d u ca t i o n options by requiring kindergarten attendance and providing a state subsidy for preschool. S e n a te D e m o c ra t i c Leader T im Lanane, D-Anderson, said early education programs “produce students more likely to graduate, they earn higher incomes, they own homes and are less likely to require remediation or commit crimes.”

1 percent of state sales tax revenue and 100 percent of gas tax proceeds to roads. Experts say that’s probably not enough to adequately maintain and develop Indiana’s highways. Some lawmakers are aching to spend the $200 million set aside in a Major Moves 2020 fund. State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, is planning to sponsor legislation calling for a test of per-mile road taxes in lieu of the gas tax. Northwest Indiana lawmakers likely will propose measures to extend the South Shore Line to Lowell and Valparaiso, prompted by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, who has p ro m i s e d fe d e ra l f u n d i n g fo r t h e expansion. Tying that plan to a p ro p o s e d Central

Indiana light rail or bus rapid transit referendum may garner enough votes to get it to the governor’s desk. Legislators still need to devise a permanent funding source for Hoosier State Amtrak service or give up the four-day-a-week train that stops in Dyer as it travels between Indianapolis and Chicago. Revenue Between July and September, state revenue was $73.5 million, or 2.1 percent, less

Transportation The two-year state budget Pence signed in May grows state transportation spending by $210 million a year by dedicating

 The two-year state budget Gov. Mike Pence signed in May grows state transportation spending by $210 million a year by dedicating 1 percent of state sales tax revenue and 100 percent of gas tax proceeds to roads. Experts say that’s probably not enough to adequately maintain and develop Indiana’s highways. Some lawmakers are aching to spend the $200 million set aside in a Major Moves 2020 fund. State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, is planning to sponsor legislation calling for a test of per-mile road taxes in lieu of the gas tax. John Luke, The Times

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r a nspor tat ion | Soci a l is su e s | Cr i m ina l code | R egu l at ions a n d l a bor

than predicted by the revenue forecast used by lawmakers to craft the 2014-15 state budget. Even though it’s not a budget year, if revenue remains sluggish into March, lawmakers may consider delaying the 0.1 percent income tax rate cut that’s due to begin Jan. 1, 2015. Social issues Depending on who House Republicans choose to replace state Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, as chairman of the Public Policy

Committee, long-blocked proposals for Sunday carry-out alcohol sales, cold beer sales and gaming expansion may finally have a chance to get a vote. Davis, who resigned in November to join the lieutenant governor’s staff, regularly killed such measures without even holding a hearing. New abortion restrictions, marijuana legalization and liberalized gun laws also are likely to be considered by that committee. Criminal code Lawmakers will put their final touches on the state’s new criminal code, set to take effect July 1. It expands the number of felony classes from four to six to better match specific crimes with appropriate punishments, while aiming to re d u ce

s t a t e p r i s o n expenses by directing low-level fe l o n s i n to c o m m u n i ty corrections and similar rehabilitation programs. Counties are clamoring for specifics about who will pay for the new diversion programs.

 Maddox McKinney, points out the seedlings he started at the Valparaiso Family YMCA Child Care program as part of the new Green Thumb program in May. Senate Democrats plan to focus their legislative efforts on expanding early childhood education options by requiring kindergarten attendance and providing a state subsidy for preschool.

Regulations and labor Despite repeated unsuccessful attempts to raise the minimum wage and eliminate most occuJohn Luke, The Times pational licenses, prevailing wage requirements and the withholding of union dues from member but certain to again be debated by paychecks, the four items are all the Legislature.  Bottles of alcohol are shown at Nick’s Liquors in Merrillville. Depending on who House Republicans choose to replace state Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, as chairman of the Public Policy Committee, longblocked proposals for Sunday carry-out alcohol sales, cold beer sales and gaming expansion may finally have a chance to get a vote. John J. Watkins, The Times

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Franciscan St. Anthony Health emergency room RN Lori Bridegroom works at the hospital in Michigan City. JONATHAN MIANO, FILE, THE TIMES

A year of care, change

Hospitals strive to provide streamlined care CARRIE RODOVICH

T

his year has been a year of change for the health care industry, as hospital officials strive to implement technology designed streamline patient care and keep costs down while they build new brick-and-mortar outpatient facilities closer to where their patients live. Hospitals are opening outpatient facilities across Northwest Indiana and in the South Chicago suburbs to better meet the needs of their patients. Community Healthcare Systems opened two immediate care facilities, one in Schererville and one in Valparaiso in 2013, to provide primary care physicians and diagnostic services to the residents in those communities. It also opened Brickie Community Health in late October inside Hobart High School. “Health care is changing, and we’re trying to do as much as an

outpatient as possible,” said John Gorski, chief operating operator for Community Healthcare Systems. T h e Co m m u n i ty n e two rk — which includes Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart — is also planning major expansions at its main hospital sites. An emergency room tower is being added to the Munster hospital, in anticipation of opening in May. At St. Catherine, it opened a mood disorder unit. In Hobart, administrators are in the bidding stages for a six-story tower that will replace an antiquated surgery department and add a new intensive care unit, Gorski said. “We’re trying to consolidate as many services as we can to keep expenses in line and not duplicate services between hospitals,” he said. “We’re also doing more and more procedures and moving more specialists to St. Catherine’s and St. Mary so they can do more complex procedures there. That’s where our

growth will be in the future.” This March, Methodist Hospitals Southlake campus opened a new emergency department, which encompasses 21,000 square feet and at a cost of $8 million. The addition is the hospital’s first major upgrade in about a decade, officials said at the time. I n Se p te m b e r, Me t h o d i s t Hospitals Northlake campus opened a medical stabilization unit, designed to help adults withdraw from alcohol and opiate addictions. The 13-bed unit offers 24 hour care, and patients are expected to stay a few days before being referred for further outpatient treatment. The Ingalls Health System, which serves customers across the south Chicago suburbs, is in the process of renovating patient rooms to convert as many as possible to private rooms in their Harvey facility, said Susan Fine, marketing communications director. “We’re tackling them one unit at a time, and continuing to make great strides in patient

satisfaction,” she said. Ingalls also recognizing the importance of meeting patients where they are, and is focusing on their outpatient facilities, including the Flossmoor Family Care Center and the new quick-care clinic in Crestwood. Ingalls located its new, stateof-the art 3T MRI machine in the Flossmoor center, while in Crestwood, patients don’t need an appointment to see a nurse practitioner. “We recognized early on, decades ago, that patients want care that’s accessible and convenient,” Fine said. “Putting the MRI machine in Flossmoor, for example, makes it more convenient to get to than by going to the hospital to get the procedure done. The Crestwood facility acts as a low-level emergency room as an additional level of service, and we’re hoping the community embraces it.” Franciscan Alliance recently rolled out a lung screening program that will help area patients, said

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Gene Diamond, chief executive officer for Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region. “Patients who are susceptible to this disease can have cases diagnosed and treated sooner, which can greatly improve their survival rate,” Diamond said. “Lung cancer has an 88 percent survival rate when found and treated in the early stages.” Porter Regional Hospital has been investing in technology and medical advances in 2013, and has added a 16-slice radiation reduction CT, a second daVinci surgical robotic platform, 1.5T MRI System, real-time digital radiography and advanced interventional cardiac monitors, said Jonathan Nalli, Porter Health Care System CEO. The hospital was recently awarded Advanced Certification in Heart Failure from the Joint Commission, the first hospital in the area to be recognized for this award, Nalli said. It also received recognition by at least a dozen other groups, including the American Heart Association, the Society of Chest Pain Centers, the American College of Radiology and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. It has also begun a clinical affiliation with Loyola University Health System. “That means Porter patients can still retain the comforts and convenience of their home hospital, while benefiting from academic research and evidence-based quality care by Loyola’s clinical specialists,” Nalli said. “Soon, Porter Regional Hospital’s Cancer Care Center patients will have access to clinical trials conducted by Loyola faculty, close to home.” The Porter network is also expanding its CareEXPRESS Urgent Care Centers throughout Porter County, opening a third site at Porter Regional Hospital’s Portage Hospital location. Another important milestone for Franciscan this year was celebrating the caregivers who have devoted themselves to giving patients the best care possible, Diamond said. The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration celebrated their 150th jubilee this year. In November, their foundress, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, was scheduled to be beatified, Diamond said. “The Sisters have served hundreds of thousands of people and continue to provide compassionate care to more and more,” he

John J. Watkins, The Times

Work continues on the expansion of Munster Community Hospital in May. Cement is pumped to one of the upper floors where it is being poured.

said. “They came to this country from Germany with nothing and have cared for all comers ever since.” Overall, hospital administrators agreed the health care industry is one that is moving more towards focusing on preventative care and performing procedures on an outpatient basis, if possible. The concept of preventative care has caught on over the years. For example, mammographies are catching breast cancer earlier and earlier, which improves life expectancy and reduces treatment costs. Similarly, diet, medication and smoking cessation have all helped reduce the numbers of heart disease, which otherwise might have been treated as heart attacks in the emergency room, Gorski said. Po r te r Re g i o n a l Hos p i ta l also began a corporate wellness program, called Health At Work. “We know a healthy workplace contributes to a healthy bottom line,” Nalli said. “By partnering with businesses, Porter’s Health At

Work program offers a comprehensive range of job-related wellness and medical services that can be custom tailored to fit the specific needs of local organizations.” Hospitals continued to spend millions of dollars to improve technology throughout their systems, officials said. Fine said the Ingalls health network is moving more services online, to reach customers where they are. The network has started to offer the ability to make appointments online, not only in the hospital, but also in the family care centers. Fine said physicians offices in the network are also starting to offer this service. For those without Internet access, the network offers a telephone operator who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “We want to keep up with how people like to do things, and do them the way they should be done,” Fine said. It was also a year of staffing cuts, as Franciscan Alliance announced

in October it would reduce its workforce by 275 employees across it‘s network, which includes 11 hospitals and health care facilities. Cuts were made in areas spanning from administration and management to clinical and no clinical positions. “The shallow economic recovery, implications of the Affordable Care Act and continuing changes in health care financing and other factors have had a significant impact,” Diamond said. This year, the Community Healthcare Systems spent upwards of $60 million on automation patient records at all three hospitals, Gorski said. The move will help doctors learn more about their patients as well as enter and process orders more quickly, he said. Hospitals are seeing the money they recoup from the government diminish as they continue to slash reimbursement rates, so automation becomes more important so hospitals can treat more patients more quickly. “We’re trying to get more efficient and get patients in and out more quickly by using the appropriate diagnostic tests,” Gorski said. “We want to get the right care to patients at the right time.” The electronic information gathered is then submitted to the Indiana Health Information Exchange, so it can be accessed from around the state, no matter which hospital or doctor’s office a patient is in. “We want physicians to be able to make their judgments based on more information, and not duplicate procedures that might have been done recently,” Gorski said. “We want to know more about patients so we can make better decisions and be more efficient in the way we provide care.” Advances in technology have also been instrumental in forming better partnerships between hospitals and physicians. Those partnerships have also helped improve the quality of care by trying to trouble-shoot to reduce things like infections and surgery complications. “The goal is to avoid complications, avoid re-admissions and avoid harm to patients,” he said. “Bringing everyone together this way is a new paradigm. We always work together, but we’re even more focused on standardizing how we treat patients. It’s not an exact science, but we’re getting better.” winter 2013 | 21

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Finding Balance

in the Housing Market Michelle Krueger Times Real Estate Columnist‌ If we learned anything from the recent ups and downs in the housing market, it’s that the pendulum swings both ways. The road to recovery has been anything but easy. Yet, it’s not secret that the local housing market has been steadily improving for more than two years. The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors latest report shows September 2013 marked the 27th month of consecutive yearover-year growth in units sold for the combined counties of Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton. September was up nearly 17 percent over September 2012. New listings were up nearly 18 percent and the median sales price rose more than 7 percent during the same time period. When you compare year-to-date numbers, 2013 continues to improve upon the positive momentum established in 2012. New listings are up more than 7 percent at 13,028, closed sales are up over 23 percent at 6,944, median sales price up more than 2 percent at $135,000 and the percent of original list price received at sale was up more than 1 percent at 92.9 percent. “The continuous upturn showcases consumer confidence is being restored,” says GNIAR Chief Executive Officer Peter Novak, Jr. “People are recognizing that now is a good time to buy and sell in Northwest Indiana.”

While there are still challenges in the economy as a whole, Bill McCabe, Broker/Owner of Century 21 Executive Realty in Schererville who provides housing market updates as part of the The Times Board of Economists, believes Realtors in Northwest Indiana see the glass as half full, not half empty. “The two most common questions I get asked are what is happening to home prices and where are interest rates going,” he says. Since prices have stopped falling, they have seen only small increases, and McCabe cautions people against equating an increase in average sales price to an increase in home values. “The larger home market got hit the hardest in the recession,” he says. “With those homes selling, it brings up the average square footage and sales price. Also, more new homes are selling which are typically more than a pre-loved home.” Interest rates are also continuing to drive the housing market, but not for the reason you want to hear, according to McCabe. “They are rising, and I think the 3 percent rates are something you will have to tell your kids and grandkids about. It has buyers scrambling to find a home before rates rise more. They are still a bargain, but many younger buyers have never experienced high rates and may begin to think they are not a bargain if they exceed 5 percent.” So as this summer’s trend toward sellers relishing multiple

offers or little negotiation when it comes to their asking price cools off along with the weather, buyers could find they are once again in the driver’s seat. For those who refrained from the frenzied pace of the housing market earlier in the year, this particular shift may be just the push they need to realize the benefits of buying a home now. Nationally, after hitting the highest level in nearly four years, existing-home sales declined in September, but limited inventory conditions continued to pressure home prices in much of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors. Even so, theses sales have also remained above levels from a year ago for the past 27 months. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explains why the decline was expected. “Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” he says. “Expected rising mortgage interest rates will further lower affordability in upcoming months. Next month we may see some delays associated with the government shutdown.” In the latest existing homes sales report published by NAR at the end of October, the median price nationally for an existing home in September was $199,200, up 11.7 percent from a year ago. Nationally, home prices have had 10 consecutive months of double-digit yearover-year increases. A little different than what we are experiencing

Fall Festival of Homes 2013.

but reflective of the fact that our prices never plummeted as fast or as far as other areas. Housing inventory held steady in September, with a five-month supply at the current sales pace or 2.21 million existing homes available for sale in September, up 1.8 percent from a year ago. The median time on the market for all homes was 50 days in September, up from 43 days in August but down from 70 days a year ago, with 39 percent of homes sold in less than a month. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 14 percent of September sales. That’s up from 12 percent in August. A year ago, distressed home sales made up

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PROVIDED

24 percent of the market. This accounts for some of the growth in median prices. In September, foreclosures were sold at an average discount of 16 percent below market value; short sales were being discounted by an average of 12 percent. So with all of this data pointing to the fact that affordability is a growing challenge to many people realizing their dream of owning a home, the results of this year’s American Community Survey, which is an annual estimate of population, demographic and housing data that reveals where it’s cheapest to own a home were just released – and Indiana ranks among the most affordable.

With some of the lowest costs in Midwestern and Southern states, the survey looks at homeowner costs like a lender. Along with credit scores, interest rates and home prices, the ability to buy home is dependent on location, i.e. cost of living. Census bureau data provides a state-bystate look at homeowner costs. So in addition to debt-to-income ratios used by loan officers that show how much debt obligation (including the proposed mortgage payment) consumes a borrower’s gross income, other homeowner costs, which vary from consumer to consumer, are factored into the ratio. The results reveal that among

the 50 states and the District of Columbia, average owner costs, including mortgage payments, made up between roughly 19 percent and 29 percent of household income in 2012. Indiana comes in tied for third at 20 percent. Homeowners in the top 15 states with the lowest costs will encounter new homeownership costs less than 22 percent of household income, on average. Owner costs include mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, fees and any utility bills that may apply to a living unit, according to the Census Bureau. So while prices and interest rates will always be leading factors that influence the housing market, it

really comes down to affordability, especially for first-time buyers who tend to set the pace. Currently, housing demand from Generation Y, people 18 to 31 years of age also known as millennials or echo boomers, is tough to predict. Will they enter the housing market with a preference for living in more urban neighborhoods with easy walkability and access to public transportation, or will they prefer a more suburban setting that caters to families with single-family homes and a little more personal space? The answer will play out over the next several years, and most likely affect the way the pendulum swings.

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PUBLIC SAFETY YEAR IN REVIEW

Regional cooperation

key to success Law enforcement officials say there are no city boundaries when it comes to crime DIANE POULTON

Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement officials say cooperation among local agencies is paramount to successfully fighting crime. They also believe the need for a proactive approach to crime prevention through community involved programs. “It is not about city boundaries, it is about issues,” said East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker. “None of the issues starts or ends at the city boundaries.” Many region-wide initiatives have been in place for years including The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force and Drug Enforcement and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Task Forces. Northwest Indiana law enforcement officials meet monthly through the District One Law Enforcement Council to discuss common issues and share information. Public safety leaders also tout the success of cooperative initiatives though local colleges, schools and courts. A recent initiative, The Region STOP Team, Becker said, addresses any and all Northwest Indiana quality of life issues which are associated with public safety. The team is an aggressive patrol-based initiative aimed at reducing both violent and property crime through increased police presence, by engaging the pubic and by facilitating intelligence sharing among the law enforcement community. The team’s day-to-day activities are based upon the input, requests and direction provided by the participating agencies because activities in one city may differ greatly from another. Its activities include community outreach events, traffic enforcement, patrol and surveillance, all of which are directed to reducing crime. Police departments pledging full-time participation are Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. Parttime participants are Crown Point, Dyer, Griffith, Highland, Indiana University Northwest, Munster, the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), Schererville

JONATHAN MIANO, FILE, THE TIMES

Neighbors watch while the STOP team, which includes multiple local police departments, searches for a person with an arrest warrant at the Dorie Miller Homes in Gary.

and Whiting. Becker said the Region STOP Team is not a drug or gang unit. “It is a problem-solving team that, in conjunction with the mapping afforded us by IUN, spends every day in those areas looking for the bad guys,” Becker said. Becker said since mid-April, East Chicago has had more than 1,100 traffic stops, nearly 200 arrests and drug and weapon recoveries. “Keep in mind, these enforcements likely would not have taken place without the additional officers we have deployed via the STOP Team Program,” Becker said. “We have become a force multiplier for every agency that is a part of the team. We have dealt with speeding in school zones, walking neighborhoods, developing sources and cases for other agencies, arrested people for littering to murder, assisted in armed robbery investigations and the list goes on.” Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said the Region STOP Team has quickly proven itself to be effective. “Combining police officers from Hammond, Gary and East Chicago, we have effectively

reduced the borders that limit law enforcement,” Miller said. A huge public safety issue this year had been the state-mandated process of consolidating Lake County’s 17 individual dispatch centers, said Griffith Police Chief Gregory Mance. “This has been complicated due to the sheer magnitude and complexity of the endeavor,” Mance said. “However, in the past six months, new developments have taken place that are effectively moving the process forward. One of these is the hiring of a qualified director who is now providing a clear direction to the consolidation process. In addition, and at least partially spurred by St. John’s two-dispatch center proposal, meaningful progress is being made to reduce the costs of the previously proposed one consolidated dispatch center. Although it will be a race to the finish line, I am optimistic that, as a result of the process that has taken place, a better dispatch product will be produced and at a reasonable expense to our taxpayers.” In the wake of national headlines about recent school shootings, the issue of safety is being addressed locally both through the assigning of

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JOHN LUKE, TIMES FILE

Porter County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Manteuffel checks Kouts police officer Dan Ball for live ammunition and weapons before he enters Wheeler High School to participate in active shooter training hosted by the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.

officers to the schools and safety drills. Porter County Sheriff Dan Lain said his department has resource officers in all the Porter County school systems. “Those resource officers have developed very close ties with the school administration and students,” Lain said. “They are resources for both. We just had a multi-jurisdictional training on active shooters at Wheeler High School with the Valparaiso and Hebron police departments.” “Responding training is so important,” Lain said. “That is a huge part of how our officers stay sharp.” Indiana State Police, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Education, are also conducting a “Safe Schools/Active Shooter Program.” One was recently held at Lake Station’s Edison High School. Mance said the presence of a Griffith police officer in the schools is beneficial in many different ways. “In addition to their presence being a deterrent to crime in general, they are a direct and constant link of communication to and from our school administrators, teachers, students and parents to express any law enforcement related thoughts or concerns that they are having,” Mance said. “This direct and personable link of communication from the school’s shareholders to our department is a key component in preventing problems in our schools.” Mance said Griffith police and school administration are in the process of conducting a joint security audit in every school in an effort to find innovative ways to cooperatively increase the level of security and safety. “One measure being implemented from this process is the initiation of steps that will allow our dispatch center and responding officers to view live security video feeds from the school

in times of emergencies,” Mance said. “In addition to this and other proactive improvements, we are in the process of developing a few large scale school shooting training scenarios that will involve our officers, school officials, paramedics and other town employees and volunteers real world training.” Land said the Crown Point Police Department continues to have two officers assigned full time to the school system. Land said his department’s D.A.R.E. program is in its 20th consecutive year. The D.A.R.E. officer is at the different elementary schools on an everyday basis. “We see our commitment to the schools as a top priority and will continue with these officer assignments,” Land said. Gary Deputy Chief Larry McKinley said Project Rebuild, the city’s truancy court, is a proactive joint effort with the police department, the school system, city court and Lake County Juvenile Court. “What we are starting to do is enforce our truancy policy,” McKinley said. “If a student has 10 unexplained absences, we send a summons to their parents to come to court.” McKinley said the object is to find out what the underlying problem is for the truancy. “We want to eliminate the obstacles,” McKinley said. “We may send the parents to parenting classes. If children need a tutor or help Clark Road Baptist Church will offer free tutoring and a computer lab.” “We have noticed a whole gambit of reasons from bullying to needing uniforms,” McKinley said. “One girl was being teased about her hair. We got a beautician to help.” In extreme cases the parents can be charged with failure to educate, a class B misdemeanor carrying penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

McKinley said the Gary Police Department has taken a proactive approach to combating crime through its Citizens Academy, held in conjunction with IUN, and late-night basketball and Explorer programs. McKinley said 100 city residents graduated from the 10-week Citizens Academy. Classes were held weekly. “They covered everything from dog catching to SWAT to serving felony warrants,” McKinley said. “The idea was exposing them to the life of a being a cop for better relations with the community.” The graduates assist police as volunteers either at the police station or at various city events. McKinley said most of the city’s gunshot victims are between the ages of 18 and 35. In response, the department developed a late night basketball program on Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight. There are 10 teams, including the Gary Police Department, Gary Fire Department and IUN. The other seven teams are composed of young men and women. “We are trying to get them off the street and have some positive interaction,” McKinley said. “We had a championship game with a trophy and a $1,000 prize. It unified our relationships out on the streets. It’s not just the cop against the public anymore.” Explorer program participants, who are interested in law enforcement careers, range in age from high school freshmen to 21-year-olds. “We train them as to what it takes to become a police officer, going through building searches, traffic stops, domestic battery calls and criminal law,” McKinley said. “They have uniforms and we even utilize them for traffic control at city events. Participants can get college credit and college scholarships.” Lain said the single biggest public safety concern faced by Porter County and the nation is substance abuse. “So many crimes that are committed are related to substance abuse from DUIs which kill thousands of people each year to the various forms of illegal abuse,” Lain said. “If you peel back the onion of domestic abuse, theft and burglary, about 95 percent of the people in our jail or any jail you want to look at are in there because of a substance abuse problem or secondary issues.” Lain said the drug problem needs to be attacked with multidiscipline tactics. “Our society has to acknowledge that this is a demand problem,” Lain said. “The supply will always meet the demand. To stop that tide involves treatment and education. We really have to educate and take an active role in our children’s lives at an early age.” Lain said there is a new initiative Empower Porter County which is looking at these issues. “Something I think needs to be promoted is a community forum about these issues,” Lain said. Lain said Parents2Partners is presenting a community forum called “Becoming Aware of Substance Abuse from at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Porter County Expo Center. It is open to parents and children. WINTER 2013 | 25

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a jewel in Northwest Indiana Star Plaza entertains the Region for more than three decades

DIANE POULTON

S

ince Star Plaza Theatre opened its doors in December 1979 as the Holiday Star with Donna Summer performing, it has brought top-notch Vegasstyle entertainment to Northwest Indiana. Liberace, Tom Jones, Perry Como, the Moody Blues, Kenny Rogers, Gallagher, David Copperfield, the Beach Boys, Jay Leno, the Temptations, REO Speedwagon, Red Skelton, Mitzi Gaynor, Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Mannheim Steamroller are a just few of the thousands of stars who have graced its stage. In March, Charlie Blum will celebrate his 25th consecutive year as President and CEO of the Star Plaza Theatre. Prior to that, he was a marketing consultant for the 3400-seat theater from 1981 to 1983. “The founders, or should I say the true visionaries, were Dean White, Bill Wellman and Bruce White,” Blum said. “Many people in the community thought Mr. Dean White was crazy for opening this venue in the middle of a cornfield but it turned out to be a brilliant decision.” One of Blum’s outstanding memories, and there are many he said, is singing “Barbara Ann” on stage with the Beach Boys. “It was so exciting,” Blum said. “The beauty of this business is that every show is its own experience and is so exciting. Almost every show I can think of some memory that happened.” Kathy Miller, of Crown Point, remembers seeing Bill Cosby the first time he appeared at the Holiday Star. “We went as a family and the cost for all six of us was $60,” Miller said. “He brought a chair out on

PROVIDED

Alice Cooper Guitarist Ryan Roxie, second from right, meets with Books, Brushes and Bands for Education (BBB4E) students, from left, Jessica Chavez, Mario Garcia, Fabiola Cortes and William Barney prior to the concert at The Star Plaza Theatre. Roxie and Drummer Glen Sobel gave the students words of advice and encouragement and the students were treated to the concert with donations from local leaders.

stage and turned it around and sat down. He had running clothes on.” Miller also took her dad there to see George Burns in the early 1980s. “We have gone to a lot of shows,” Miller said. “For our 25th wedding anniversary we saw Bill Cosby again and Sammy Davis Jr. He was great. I just loved him. We saw Bob Hope twice.” Miller recalls Steve and Eydie Gorme performing more than two hours without a break. “We have seen so many stars there, Dolly Parton, John Denver, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, the Oak Ridge Boys three times, Mitzi Gaynor the very first time she was there, Roger Whitaker,” Miller said. “I took my late aunt to see Perry Como and we took my sister-in-law and her husband to see Liberace. That was fantastic because he had the dancing water behind him. That was gorgeous.” Crown Point resident Patrick Cornett recalls seeing Gallagher with his best friend when he was

12 or 13 years old. “He signed T-shirts for us before the show,” Cornett said. “As a kid it was a big thrill for the two of us to sit in the fourth row by ourselves and get autographs. We were big men on the town that night.” Before the show the two friends went to the Arby’s right next door to the theatre and asked for garbage bags. “We didn’t know the first 15 rows were going to be covered in plastic,” Cornett said. Nick Mantis, owner of New Millennium Productions, remembers being asked by Star Plaza Theatre CEO Charlie Blum to film some footage of an elderly crowd during an Andy William’s Holiday Show. “I was tucked in between the curtains while Andy was on stage performing and when the time was right I slowly pointed my camera from behind the curtain towards the crowd,” Mantis said. “When

I looked through my view finder, I saw the most wonderful scene I may ever have seen. I saw rows and rows of the happiest senior citizens there could ever be. As Andy Williams was performing holiday classics for them these wonderful senior citizens were in a world of complete happiness. I began to tear up as I was filming them and realized at that moment how wonderful it must’ve been for Andy Williams and other performers who perform for an elderly crowd to be performing and see such joy.” “Charlie Blum always says that he loves his job because he creates memories,” Mantis said. “Well I cherish that memory very much. God bless Andy Williams for the performer he was.” Former Crown Point resident Suze Foss, who now resides in Evansville, said she loved seeing Ed Ames star in Don Quixote. “I think that was the very first play I saw there,” Foss said. “He was truly wonderful. I loved having the Star Theatre in our back yard, so to speak, because my family was theater lovers.” Former Star Plaza Theatre employee Mike Creswell, who now lives in Florida, said the majority of entertainers were pleasant to him. Creswell said Bill Cosby was “quite a character.” There was an orchestra on stage behind the curtain and Cosby picked up a baton and started playing conductor, Creswell said. Another time Cosby bought a couple paintings a local artist had on display. “He gave me the paintings saying ‘This is for Camille my wife,’” Creswell said. Against his better judgment, Creswell placed the paintings in the trunk. One painting was damaged with a quarter-sized hole caused by

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a loose tire iron. At first Cosby was annoyed but fortunately, his sense of humor shone through when he pointed Creswell out to the artist jokingly saying ‘This is the dude who messed up my painting,’ Creswell said. Of all the well-known entertainers, however, theater founder and philanthropist Dean White said one stands apart in his memory – Bob Hope. “We had a lot of good people but the one that definitely was the biggest for me was Bob Hope,” White said. “He was a good friend to me and his wife Dolores was a good friend to my wonderful wife.” D ea n a n d B a r b a ra W h i te entertained Bob and Dolores Hope at their Crown Point home many times, he said. “Of course, we went out and played golf at the University Country Club and would go out at night with them when they weren’t doing anything,” White said. The two friends golfed at I n n s b ro o k Co u n t ry C l u b i n Merrillville and other Northwest Indiana courses. In California, they golfed with many celebrities, White said. “We had a great time,” White said. “At the time we had a place out in California and so did they. When we went there in winter we were with them all the time. They were great people.” White says Hope, who died at

age 100 in 2003, was “a great guy, a wonderful person and he golfed well too.” Blum said he has made many friendships throughout the years with the stars, especially those who return for repeat performances. Blum has become personal friends with Carl Giammarese of the Buckingham’s, Anita Baker, performers from the Chi-Lites and Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, with whom he has dinner regularly. “Growing up my parents were fans of Mitzi Gaynor, and I have gone out for dinner with her,” Blum said. Blum fondly recalls being at the Star Plaza the night the late David Ruffin came on stage and sang with the Temptations. Some memories involve drama. One night David Copperfield became dehydrated after a show and had to be taken to a local hospital prior to his second scheduled performance. One hour prior to a show featuring the Temptations and the Four Tops, one of the singers was stuck on a tarmac in Boston, Blum said. “We had to scramble,” Blum said. “So we started a little late, got a comedian from the Comedy Club at the hotel to open the show, and took an intermission before the Four Tops came on. We had police escorts to get the guy here from

the airport. The show went on and nobody had a clue.” Jay Leno once invited a wedding party in for photos, Blum said. His was only one of many acts of kindness by visiting celebrities. About 20 minutes prior to the recent Alice Cooper concert, guitarist Ryan Roxie and drummer Glen Sobel met with ten teenage Books Brushes and Bands for Education (BBB4E) program participants. “They encouraged the kids to follow their dreams, enjoy music, excel in school and to be open minded about their futures,” said Damian Rico, a BBB4E board member. Rico said the teenagers “were in awe” when they met the celebrities. “They were very excited,” Rico said. “They were asking them questions about how they started and the most valuable lessons they learned. It was a nice candid conversation.” Rico said Roxie, who has a program “Pay It Forward,” believes in influencing others, especially children, in a positive way. Roxie gave the teens “Pay It Forward” bracelets and free online guitar lessons. Later, Sobel sent a videotaped message to be played before an upcoming BBB4E recital at Purdue Calumet. “Alice Cooper is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member,” Rico said. “For them to see a person of that

caliber in Merrillville, these kids are never going to forget that.” Blum said he is truly grateful to Whiteco Industries and White Lodging for their continued support in making sure that Star Plaza Theatre provides a comfortable and inviting experience to its customers. Patrons will notice brand new carpeting throughout the entire facility, a new stateof-the-art sound system that is identical to the Chicago Theatre and Radio City Music Hall, a redesigned Celebrity Circle lounge and many other upgrades, Blum said. “I am grateful to both Mr. Dean White and Mr. Bruce White for their vision and support. The Star Plaza Theatre has been under the same ownership and a major player in the entertainment industry for 34 years. I have seen many theaters close their doors and hundreds change management companies, including, but not limited to the iconic Chicago Theatre going through two bankruptcies and numerous management changes. I always benchmark our concert schedule around other midsize suburban venues and I am proud to say our show schedule is more extensive than any other suburban Chicagoland venue and still, to this day, fulfills the mission of the White family in 1979 to be a premier Midwest concert facility and destination offering something for everyone.”

Since Star Plaza Theatre opened its doors in December 1979 as the Holiday Star with Donna Summer performing, it has brought topnotch Vegas-style entertainment to Northwest Indiana. JOHN LUKE, THE TIMES

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a jewel in Northwest Indiana Star Plaza entertains the Region for more than three decades

DIANE POULTON

S

ince Star Plaza Theatre opened its doors in December 1979 as the Holiday Star with Donna Summer performing, it has brought top-notch Vegasstyle entertainment to Northwest Indiana. Liberace, Tom Jones, Perry Como, the Moody Blues, Kenny Rogers, Gallagher, David Copperfield, the Beach Boys, Jay Leno, the Temptations, REO Speedwagon, Red Skelton, Mitzi Gaynor, Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Mannheim Steamroller are a just few of the thousands of stars who have graced its stage. In March, Charlie Blum will celebrate his 25th consecutive year as President and CEO of the Star Plaza Theatre. Prior to that, he was a marketing consultant for the 3400-seat theater from 1981 to 1983. “The founders, or should I say the true visionaries, were Dean White, Bill Wellman and Bruce White,” Blum said. “Many people in the community thought Mr. Dean White was crazy for opening this venue in the middle of a cornfield but it turned out to be a brilliant decision.” One of Blum’s outstanding memories, and there are many he said, is singing “Barbara Ann” on stage with the Beach Boys. “It was so exciting,” Blum said. “The beauty of this business is that every show is its own experience and is so exciting. Almost every show I can think of some memory that happened.” Kathy Miller, of Crown Point, remembers seeing Bill Cosby the first time he appeared at the Holiday Star. “We went as a family and the cost for all six of us was $60,” Miller said. “He brought a chair out on

PROVIDED

Alice Cooper Guitarist Ryan Roxie, second from right, meets with Books, Brushes and Bands for Education (BBB4E) students, from left, Jessica Chavez, Mario Garcia, Fabiola Cortes and William Barney prior to the concert at The Star Plaza Theatre. Roxie and Drummer Glen Sobel gave the students words of advice and encouragement and the students were treated to the concert with donations from local leaders.

stage and turned it around and sat down. He had running clothes on.” Miller also took her dad there to see George Burns in the early 1980s. “We have gone to a lot of shows,” Miller said. “For our 25th wedding anniversary we saw Bill Cosby again and Sammy Davis Jr. He was great. I just loved him. We saw Bob Hope twice.” Miller recalls Steve and Eydie Gorme performing more than two hours without a break. “We have seen so many stars there, Dolly Parton, John Denver, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, the Oak Ridge Boys three times, Mitzi Gaynor the very first time she was there, Roger Whitaker,” Miller said. “I took my late aunt to see Perry Como and we took my sister-in-law and her husband to see Liberace. That was fantastic because he had the dancing water behind him. That was gorgeous.” Crown Point resident Patrick Cornett recalls seeing Gallagher with his best friend when he was

12 or 13 years old. “He signed T-shirts for us before the show,” Cornett said. “As a kid it was a big thrill for the two of us to sit in the fourth row by ourselves and get autographs. We were big men on the town that night.” Before the show the two friends went to the Arby’s right next door to the theatre and asked for garbage bags. “We didn’t know the first 15 rows were going to be covered in plastic,” Cornett said. Nick Mantis, owner of New Millennium Productions, remembers being asked by Star Plaza Theatre CEO Charlie Blum to film some footage of an elderly crowd during an Andy William’s Holiday Show. “I was tucked in between the curtains while Andy was on stage performing and when the time was right I slowly pointed my camera from behind the curtain towards the crowd,” Mantis said. “When

I looked through my view finder, I saw the most wonderful scene I may ever have seen. I saw rows and rows of the happiest senior citizens there could ever be. As Andy Williams was performing holiday classics for them these wonderful senior citizens were in a world of complete happiness. I began to tear up as I was filming them and realized at that moment how wonderful it must’ve been for Andy Williams and other performers who perform for an elderly crowd to be performing and see such joy.” “Charlie Blum always says that he loves his job because he creates memories,” Mantis said. “Well I cherish that memory very much. God bless Andy Williams for the performer he was.” Former Crown Point resident Suze Foss, who now resides in Evansville, said she loved seeing Ed Ames star in Don Quixote. “I think that was the very first play I saw there,” Foss said. “He was truly wonderful. I loved having the Star Theatre in our back yard, so to speak, because my family was theater lovers.” Former Star Plaza Theatre employee Mike Creswell, who now lives in Florida, said the majority of entertainers were pleasant to him. Creswell said Bill Cosby was “quite a character.” There was an orchestra on stage behind the curtain and Cosby picked up a baton and started playing conductor, Creswell said. Another time Cosby bought a couple paintings a local artist had on display. “He gave me the paintings saying ‘This is for Camille my wife,’” Creswell said. Against his better judgment, Creswell placed the paintings in the trunk. One painting was damaged with a quarter-sized hole caused by

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a loose tire iron. At first Cosby was annoyed but fortunately, his sense of humor shone through when he pointed Creswell out to the artist jokingly saying ‘This is the dude who messed up my painting,’ Creswell said. Of all the well-known entertainers, however, theater founder and philanthropist Dean White said one stands apart in his memory – Bob Hope. “We had a lot of good people but the one that definitely was the biggest for me was Bob Hope,” White said. “He was a good friend to me and his wife Dolores was a good friend to my wonderful wife.” D ea n a n d B a r b a ra W h i te entertained Bob and Dolores Hope at their Crown Point home many times, he said. “Of course, we went out and played golf at the University Country Club and would go out at night with them when they weren’t doing anything,” White said. The two friends golfed at I n n s b ro o k Co u n t ry C l u b i n Merrillville and other Northwest Indiana courses. In California, they golfed with many celebrities, White said. “We had a great time,” White said. “At the time we had a place out in California and so did they. When we went there in winter we were with them all the time. They were great people.” White says Hope, who died at

age 100 in 2003, was “a great guy, a wonderful person and he golfed well too.” Blum said he has made many friendships throughout the years with the stars, especially those who return for repeat performances. Blum has become personal friends with Carl Giammarese of the Buckingham’s, Anita Baker, performers from the Chi-Lites and Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, with whom he has dinner regularly. “Growing up my parents were fans of Mitzi Gaynor, and I have gone out for dinner with her,” Blum said. Blum fondly recalls being at the Star Plaza the night the late David Ruffin came on stage and sang with the Temptations. Some memories involve drama. One night David Copperfield became dehydrated after a show and had to be taken to a local hospital prior to his second scheduled performance. One hour prior to a show featuring the Temptations and the Four Tops, one of the singers was stuck on a tarmac in Boston, Blum said. “We had to scramble,” Blum said. “So we started a little late, got a comedian from the Comedy Club at the hotel to open the show, and took an intermission before the Four Tops came on. We had police escorts to get the guy here from

the airport. The show went on and nobody had a clue.” Jay Leno once invited a wedding party in for photos, Blum said. His was only one of many acts of kindness by visiting celebrities. About 20 minutes prior to the recent Alice Cooper concert, guitarist Ryan Roxie and drummer Glen Sobel met with ten teenage Books Brushes and Bands for Education (BBB4E) program participants. “They encouraged the kids to follow their dreams, enjoy music, excel in school and to be open minded about their futures,” said Damian Rico, a BBB4E board member. Rico said the teenagers “were in awe” when they met the celebrities. “They were very excited,” Rico said. “They were asking them questions about how they started and the most valuable lessons they learned. It was a nice candid conversation.” Rico said Roxie, who has a program “Pay It Forward,” believes in influencing others, especially children, in a positive way. Roxie gave the teens “Pay It Forward” bracelets and free online guitar lessons. Later, Sobel sent a videotaped message to be played before an upcoming BBB4E recital at Purdue Calumet. “Alice Cooper is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member,” Rico said. “For them to see a person of that

caliber in Merrillville, these kids are never going to forget that.” Blum said he is truly grateful to Whiteco Industries and White Lodging for their continued support in making sure that Star Plaza Theatre provides a comfortable and inviting experience to its customers. Patrons will notice brand new carpeting throughout the entire facility, a new stateof-the-art sound system that is identical to the Chicago Theatre and Radio City Music Hall, a redesigned Celebrity Circle lounge and many other upgrades, Blum said. “I am grateful to both Mr. Dean White and Mr. Bruce White for their vision and support. The Star Plaza Theatre has been under the same ownership and a major player in the entertainment industry for 34 years. I have seen many theaters close their doors and hundreds change management companies, including, but not limited to the iconic Chicago Theatre going through two bankruptcies and numerous management changes. I always benchmark our concert schedule around other midsize suburban venues and I am proud to say our show schedule is more extensive than any other suburban Chicagoland venue and still, to this day, fulfills the mission of the White family in 1979 to be a premier Midwest concert facility and destination offering something for everyone.”

Since Star Plaza Theatre opened its doors in December 1979 as the Holiday Star with Donna Summer performing, it has brought topnotch Vegas-style entertainment to Northwest Indiana. JOHN LUKE, THE TIMES

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In tribute Remembering Region business leaders DIANE POULTON

Whether serving their community as town councilmen, police commissioners or school board members, promoting the arts, founding community organizations or simply running a small business, their presence and contribution will be greatly missed. In 2013, Northwest Indiana lost many prominent community leaders. We pause to remember their lives and the impact they had on future generations. HUGH D. BRAUER

Brauer, 83, former Munster town councilman, police commissioner and resident, urged the town to adopt a state law requiring businesses receiving tax breaks to pay for new construction or equipment to donate a portion of that cost to public art. Munster now has 19 sculptures. Brauer was greatly responsible for Munster receiving private property, which is now a beautiful public park on Calumet Avenue south of the railroad. While living in Miller, he helped the Gary Artist League obtain tax dollars to fund a club house for art exhibits and lectures, enabling them to expand their art classes. Actively involved in the Munster Rotary, Brauer chaired many events, receiving the international Rotary’s prestigious Paul Harris Award.

RUDOLPH CLAY

Clay, 77, of Gary, former Gary Mayor, marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and participated in boycotts, sit-ins, picketing, and freedom rides. In 1970, he received the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Operation Bread Basket Outstanding Activist Award. In 1971, Clay became Indiana’s first African-American state senator. He also became the first African American to be elected county recorder in Indiana, and the first to become county chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. He also served as Lake County councilman, Lake County commissioner and chairman of the Gary Democratic Precinct Organization.

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ANGELO BUOSCIO

Buoscio, 74 of Crown Point, a partner in the law firm of Buoscio, Pera & Krammer, was a charter member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the Indiana State Bar Association. A founder and past president of the Lake County Bar Association, American Inns of Court, Calumet Chapter, Buoscio was on the Lake County Nominating Judicial Committee and Indiana Continuing Ed Forum.

FR. EVAGORAS CONSTANTINIDES

Constantinides, served SS. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church parishioners 40 years. During his 26-year pastorate, Constantinides led the effort to construct the current cathedral and the Helenic Cultural Center. Constantinides, 94, was influential in establishing the Ross Township food pantry decades ago to aid the families of unemployed steel workers struggling financially.

GARRETT LIVINGSTON COPE Cope 84, of Gary, was Chairman of Indiana University Northwest’s Theatre Department. He had the reputation of creating some of the most outstanding theater productions in Northwest Indiana.

WILLIAM COSTAS

Former State Senator Costas 84, of Valparaiso, founded Wilco Foods in Miller in 1962, then owned and operated Costas Foods from 1972 to 1988. He was elected to the Indiana Senate in 1980 and served until 1988.

EARL R. CRIM

Crim, 79, of Plymouth and formerly of Lowell, was a former Lowell town board member. He served on the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Lowell Volunteer Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

DAVID DARNELL

A volunteer firefighter for more than 25 years, Darnell, 61, of Highland, owned Darnell’s Auto Repair 34 years. He often helped people in need with free repairs and snow shoveling.

RAY DURBIN

Durbin, 90, of Woodstock, Ill., and formerly of Griffith, was a former member of the Griffith Town Council who became its president at age 32. Durbin served 16 years as Griffith’s police commissioner, later serving on the police commission in Woodstock. He was also a member of the Lake County Library Board of Trustees, serving two terms as president and as vice president.

KATHLEEN M. FRANKO

Franko, 65, of Crown Point, owned the Candy Cove in the Historic Lake County Courthouse in downtown Crown Point for 25 years. She was a former Crown Point School Board Member.

AGNES ‘NINA’ GAZDA

Gazda, 80, of Las Vegas and a longtime Northwest Indiana resident, founded Nina’s Fresh Pierogi’s in Merrillville with her daughter Christine Eich.

DR. HENRY G. GIRAGOS

Giragos, 78, of Munster, performed more than 5,000 open heart procedures. A pioneer in the cardiovascular surgery program at Community Hospital in Munster, he co-headed the Cardiovascular Services Department.

JANE WARREN RANDOLPH HURT

Hurt, 88, of Hammond, was a founding member and on the board of directors of the Northern Indiana Art Association. She served on the Women’s Board of the Hammond Art Center, the board of trustees for First United Methodist Church and the board of Camp Fire Girls and assisted in the founding of the Community Hospital in Munster. A Plein Aire Painters’ member, Hurt was an avid oil painter specializing in outdoor scenes, especially of birch trees and the dunes.

STACY JAROSCAK

Jaroscak, 52, of Crown Point, was co-owner of Valentino’s Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor in the Historic Lake Courthouse on the downtown square.

CHRISTOS T. KAMBOURIS

Kambouris, 81, of Merrillville, opened Modern Restaurant in Gary and later the Chatter Box, Georgie’s Barbeque Pit and finally Maxim’s in 1998. Kambouris was a member of SS. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Kalymian and Panhellenic Societies.

JAMES KIRBY KOPP

Kopp, 68, of Ogden Dunes, was president of PK Engineering. He was on the Save the Beach council and served as volunteer fire chief, town board president, Porter County auditor and water commissioner.

DR. MARY J. PETTERSEN

Dr. Pettersen, 84, of Hammond, served four consecutive terms as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives. In 1989, Pettersen was appointed by Gov. Bayh as the first female Director of the Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund, working with many others to successfully amend the Indiana Constitution to allow Indiana’s Pension Funds to invest in stocks. Petersen was a longtime member and served as President of the League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area. She was honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash.

PATRICIA ANN REPPA

Reppa, 85, of Munster, coached the St. Thomas More Girls’ Volleyball teams from 1970 to 1978, winning multiple championships and having several undefeated seasons. She founded the Band Parents’ Club for the St. Thomas More School band and pioneered a band spaghetti supper fundraiser, which became an annual event.

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Big changes on campus Local universities and colleges are taking steps forward CHRISTINE BRYANT

T

his year brought many changes at local universities and colleges — from construction of new buildings

to major philosophy and curriculum changes on campus. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights that came out of higher education this year at seven local institutions. See EDUCATION, Page 32

The United States Department of Energy announced this year it has awarded Valparaiso University a $2.3 million cooperative agreement to fund solar research through a proposal from the College of Engineering. Part of the Modern Electro-Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems project, Valparaiso is the only organization in the state of Indiana to receive this funding. JOHN J. WATKINS, THE TIMES

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31

Education VALPARAISO UNIVERSITY Valparaiso University has instituted several changes to its freshmen programs to give incoming students additional support, including doubling the school’s peer tutor budget, putting in place a general studies course called “Strategies for Academic Success” and implementing a program called “Supplemental Instruction.” “What this does is to embed a student in a class — probably a senior who did very well in it — who would retake the class and who would then hold special tutoring sessions for students in that class,” Provost Mark Schwehn said. In September, the Woodrow Wi l so n Na t i o n a l Fe l l ows h i p Foundation of Princeton, N.J., announced Valparaiso University joined its Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship program. The Fellowship recruits accomplished recent graduates and career changers in science, math, engineering and technology, who will teach math and science in Indiana’s urban and rural schools. The university also received other exciting news this year when the U.S. Department of Energy announced it had awarded Valparaiso with a $2.3 million cooperative agreement to fund solar research through a proposal from the College of Engineering. The funding, which will be dispersed during the course of a three-year period, is a direct result of the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility housed in the College of Engineering, where

a solar furnace is located. The solar furnace is the only one at an undergraduate institution in the United States, Schwehn said. Valparaiso University also dedicated its new Welcome Center, as well as begun construction on a new residence hall, which should be ready for occupancy next August, Schwehn said. The provost also has made news, announcing he will retire from his position June 30, 2014. Schwehn, who has served as provost since 2009, said he is closing out his career at the university by returning to the faculty and teaching in the Honors College, where he served as dean from 1990 to 2003. “I will take a year leave to write a book and will return to the classroom, which has always been my first love,” he said. IVY TECH Ivy Tech announced this year that its nationally recognized Associate Accelerated Program, known as ASAP, will be expanded to all campuses in the state by 2016. The move comes after the Lumina Foundation awarded the university with a grant of more than $2.2 million. The program was originally only offered at four of its campuses — Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Indianapolis and South Bend. Now, students at each campus will benefit from the program that provides at-risk high school students the opportunity to earn a marketable and transferable associate degree in 12 months. The program serves students who are prepared to enter college, but who face obstacles such as poverty. The school’s regional leadership team also looks different,

with some key new people in place in each of the regional locations, said Jeff Fanter, vice president of communications, marketing and enrollment management at Ivy Tech. One change is the appointment of Stewart McMillan, president and CEO of Task Force Tips in Valparaiso, to the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees. In May, Ivy Tech announced it had forged a transfer agreement with Purdue University Calumet to assist students wanting to complete a bachelor’s degree. As part of the agreement, students can complete two years at Ivy Tech, and in most cases have then completed at least half — sometimes more — of the total required credits toward at bachelor’s degree at Purdue University Calumet.

PURDUE UNIVERSITY CALUMET Throughout the year, Purdue University Calumet has been working on new systems that provide an environment where students can further succeed. “Using a software called Degree Works, students can now access their academic records to aid in degree progress,” said Thomas Ke o n , c h a n ce l l o r a t P u rd u e University Calumet. “Each degree we offer is outlined in Degree Works, laying out the required courses to graduate over an eightsemester period.” For a given student, his courses completed are noted with they grade he received. At any point in time, that student can then find out what other courses he needs to take, the order to take them and what has been completed, Keon said. “As students register for the upcoming semester, the student can print out the program of study and know which courses to register for to keep on progress,” he said. At any time, if a student is contemplating a change in major, she can input the new major and Degree Works will notify her what courses she has taken that will apply to the new major. “A bit more complicated is a data analytic model that we are using in our Office for Retention,” Keon said. “The model tracks student performance and helps advisers intercept problems before the student finds themselves in academic difficulty.” PROVIDED T h e u n i ve rs i t y a l s o h a s In addition to planning upcoming online courses that will soon be available, continued working with the city Indiana University Northwest has developed a number of resources specifically designed to address the unique needs of students in their first year. of Hammond in using the Towle

Theater and on the redevelopment of Dowling Park, Keon said. Purdue University Calumet also has seen the recent appointments of Regina Biddings-Muro as vice chancellor for advancement and Carmen Panlilio as vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs. Ken Johnston, vice chancellor for administration, announced his upcoming retirement in February, and Ralph Rogers, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, left Purdue Calumet to move to Nova University. SOUTH SUBURBAN COLLEGE Several strategic initiatives have been implemented at South Suburban College with the aim of developing partnerships with local employers, feeder school districts and community leadership, said Don Manning, president of South Suburban College. “These initiatives allow us to better serve the needs of our students in multitude of ways, through the development of new academic programs, vocational training, technological upgrades a n d s t r u c t u ra l a n d e s t h e t i c enhancements to our facilities,” he said. In November, for example, the Financial Aid Office opened a new veteran’s center, which will give veterans attending the college more hands-on assistance and an opportunity to network with other veterans in the college community. This past year, the college also has seen an increased awareness in the need to become self-sustainable in its energy consumption. “The college has taken steps to decrease our environmental impact by implementing new technologies in cooling efficiencies and decreased power consumption,” Manning said. The school’s Rebound Program also successfully assisted 60 unemployed residents with getting back into college by waiving more than $68,000 in tuition and fees. Other fields, such as the Radiologic Technology and Speech Language Pathology, saw plans to add to their list of programs, including the addition of Speech Language Pathology Assistant and Community Health Worker certificates. Plans to construct a new welding lab also are in the works to provide a space for instruction and new welding equipment necessary for hands-on learning of the welding trades, Manning said.

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COURTESY OF TAMMY LEATHEM

Governors State University is now recruiting for the 2014 freshman class as part of a new initiative to provide them with experienced, full-time faculty members. Classes will be small, with no more than 30 in each section and only 15 in English Composition.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST In July, Indiana University received final funding approval to proceed with construction of a new 106,000-square-foot, $45 million academic building that will be located on the IU Northwest campus. This new building likely will include academic and administration spaces and facilities for several departments, Chancellor William J. Lowe said. Construction is slated to begin next summer, with a projected opening of fall 2016. The expansion of online learning also has become a campus priority at IU Northwest, and is steadily becoming more embedded into the framework of the university’s curriculum, Lowe said. I n a d d i t i o n to p l a n n i n g upcoming online courses that will soon be available, Lowe said the university has developed a number of resources specifically designed to address the unique needs of students in their first year. “From workshops to improve study skills and information sessions about specific majors, to campus maps and social opportunities, a number of opportunities are detailed on a special ‘First Year Experience’ web page that directs students to opportunities that will help them easily transition to college-level study,” he said.

The school’s Early College and Dual Credit agreements with area high schools have grown significantly over the past year, enabling qualified students to earn college credits and prepare for the transition to college-level study early. Several renovations and repairs also are in progress or are scheduled to start soon, including renovation of campus restrooms, HVAC upgrades and drainage system construction. Lora Bailey also joined campus in July as the dean of the School of Education. CALUMET COLLEGE OF ST. JOSEPH Calumet College of St. Joseph’s has worked this past year to make higher education more accessible to students who live in urban settings, said Dr. Daniel Lowery, president of the school. With 95 percent of students needing financial aid, school administrators knew federal aid and grants don’t always cover tuition in its entirety. In response, the school began raising funds to cover the remaining cost of tuition if families do not have the funds to contribute, he said. “We did that because it’s core to our mission to serve this population,” Lowery said. The college also began offering accelerated programs at the Portage

and Whiting campuses, allowing students to earn their bachelor’s degrees within a year if they have an associate’s degree. Because of these changes, Lowery said the school has seen overall enrollment increase by 10 percent, and enrollment in the rapid completion degree programs up by 100 percent. The school also opened three new science classrooms, and has continued developing new partnerships with local cities. Calumet College of St. Joseph is recognized as the only named Hispanic Serving Institution in the state of Indiana, with more than 30 percent of the study body classified as Hispanic speaking or of Latino descent. Lowery said the college’s student population represents the ethnic makeup of Northwest Indiana and the south suburbs of Chicago, making it important to forge relationships with local communities where the students live. GOVERNORS STATE UNIVERSITY This year has been a complete rebirth for Governors State University, said Dr. Elaine P. Maimon, president of the university. Although the university has served students for 44 years, for the first time this school year, all freshmen must be full-time, daytime

students. “In 2013-14, with the admission of freshmen, GSU will become a full-service university characterized by big ideas,” Maimon said. Students will join learning communities, taking at least three courses with the same group of students. Classes are small — 30 students in most sections and only 15 in freshman composition, Maimon said. “This is unheard of and truly amazing,” she said. Students in Indiana also can take advantage of this new offering under the school’s good neighbor policy, which allows students living in Indiana to pay the same price for tuition Illinois students pay. Prairie Place, the university’s first student residence, is now under construction and will be ready in early summer. “The concept is a living, learning community,” Maimon said. Students in the dorm will be able to take advantage of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, an outdoor art museum nearby that serves as a point of inspiration. “Art isn’t something you have to go to a museum for,” Maimon said. “It’s something that can be a part of everyday life.” Also this year, the first phase of the university’s renovated science facilities opened. The second phase is set to be completed in spring 2014. WINTER 2013 | 33

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This year in the arts:

A Calendar of Anniversaries 34 | IN BUSINESS

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LEFT: A new statue of Flick from the movie “A Christmas Story” in front of the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. MIDDLE: The South Shore Dance Alliance performs Nubian Odyssey at the Towle Theater in Hammond. RIGHT: A Christmas Story celebration took over the Towle Theater as a large crowd showed up for the Ralphie look-a-like contest, showings of the film and other fun. PHOTOS BY JONATHAN MIANO AND TONY V. MARTIN, THE TIMES

“firsts” to Northwest Indiana, including an original adaptation of Harry Chapin’s “Cotton Patch Gospel” and the area premier of “Big, the Musical.” Ross Music Theatre was the first community theater in Northwest Indiana to JOHN CAIN produce a musical at the Star Plaza Theatre with its 2000 production of “Joseph and the Amazing 2 0 1 3 I S A Y E A R T H AT Technicolor Dreamcoat.” As the South Shore Convention and Visitor’s H AS BE E N LOA DE D W I T H Authority commemorates its 30th anniversary of generating tourism in our region, it also SIGNIFICANT ANNIVERSARIES commemorates the 30th anniversary of Jean Shepherd’s iconic “A Christmas Story” with the unveiling of an original work of art, a IN THE ARTS. “Flick” sculpture inspired by the classic film. The Ross Summer Music Theatre, under the This permanent bronze statue was unveiled by direction of Jerauld Reinhart, began in 1964 as South Shore CVA president and CEO Speros A. a performance venue for teenagers and young Batistatos, and Scott Schwartz, the actor who adults. It was sponsored by the Optimist Club of played Flick in the movie, in late October. It Merrillville, serving large numbers of children. arrives just in time for the South Shore CVA’s In the 1990s, the theatre became Ross Music annual “‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home” Theatre, headed by Mike and Melinda Reinhart. exhibit. Visitors will now have the opportunity The 2013 summer show was “Ragtime, the to see Flick, the film’s young protagonist, get his Musical,” the theatre’s 50th production. Since tongue stuck to a flag pole, right in front of the 1994, Ross Music Theatre has entertained Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond! over 100,000 people, recreating many classic “The South Shore CVA wanted to do someBroadway musicals, but also bringing many thing special for our 30th anniversary, as well

as the 30th anniversary of ‘A Christmas Story,’” said Batistatos. The Flick statue was commissioned by the South Shore CVA in January 2013 and was created in partnership with Warner Brothers Consumer Products, by Timeless Creations, the studio of Rotblatt-Amrany. In addition to the creation of Flick, RotblattAmrany’s studio also created the Orville Redenbacher sculpture in Valparaiso, as well as depictions of Michael Jordan, Frank Thomas and Harry Carey in Chicago. Joyce Davis has been a self-employed artist since her first street art fair in the summer of 1972. “My mother was my first paying customer,” Joyce says. She sold macramé wall hangings until she couldn’t think of another new combination of knots. Eventually, Joyce started to make other kinds of art, and, through a combination of vacant property on Lake Street, a property owner with vision, and “a lot of nerve,” she opened Lake Street Gallery in March of 1993. “The night of the opening,” Joyce recalls, “we had an extension cord running out of the back door to a neighboring business so we See ARTS, Page 36

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Arts

co u l d t u r n o n t h e l i g h ts ! ” Although she didn’t have a furnace or running water, that modest beginning was a real shot in the arm to the revitalization of downtown Miller Beach, a Gary neighborhood long associated with creative people and people who love the arts. Over the years, Joyce has showcased many new artists who had never shown their work before. David Hugg is just one example of an area artist who has become highly recognized. Joyce takes pride in maintaining a quality art presence in an area that is lacking venues for exhibiting original art and handmade American crafts. In addition to her professional life, Joyce has served as a board member of many nonprofit organizations, including South Shore Arts, Gary Art Works, the Friends of Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts and the Miller Business Association. Born and raised in Chicago, Joyce graduated from Luther High School North and holds a BA in Art Education from Roosevelt University. She is a Certified Picture Framer, a designation awarded by the Professional Picture Framer’s Association. Joyce has survived several economic downturns and a major property tax crisis in Miller. She has occasionally been left feeling rather alone along Lake Street, but she has persevered, and, today, her gallery is once again on the cutting edge of renewed life in the community. Lake Street Gallery is an anchor for the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District and its Pop-Up Art events, which give artists of all kinds—painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelry-makers and others—the opportunity to exhibit in restaurants, offices and other businesses along Lake Street. These temporary arts events bring literally hundreds of people to Miller on each occurrence. Community theater in Northwest Indiana has been an arts staple since the early days of the 20th century, when the men and women who came to work here created opportunities for themselves to be artistic, often performing in church halls and

ABOVE: A mural on Lake Street in the Miller Arts district near Joyce Davis’s Lake Street Gallery. LEFT: John Cain lays out on the couch in character as Truman Capote during a rehearsal for the upcoming oneman play “Tru” at Hammond’s Towle Theater. PHOTOS BY KYLE TELECHAN AND TIMES FILE

lodges. In Whiting, the Marian Theatre Guild was founded in 1928 as a troupe of players who performed in Slovak. The theatre celebrates its 85th anniversary this year, just as the relatively young Towle Theater in Hammond, named for Marcus Towle, the first mayor of Hammond, who built the Towle Opera House in 1903, marks its 10th anniversary. In Valparaiso, the Memorial Opera House, constructed in 1893 to commemorate the Veterans of the Civil War, commemorates its 120th. This fall, the Marian Theatre Guild is presenting the Northwest Indiana premier of “Spamalot” based on the movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The Towle Theater presents the 10th anniversary edition of its popular holiday review, “A Fabulous ’50s Christmas,” and the Memorial Opera House presents the timeless

classic “Little Women” and “A Good Old-Fashioned Christmas,” featuring the Memorial Opera House Singers. Finally, I, too, am celebrating: October 1, 2013, marked my 20th anniversary as executive director of South Shore Arts. Northern Indiana Arts Association, as we were called in 1993, was a very social organization, but what we needed was a social conscience. Fortunately, we had a new board willing to create a new mission, one that was much more sensitive to the diverse needs of our region as a whole. All sorts of terms like inclusive, underserved, and multi-cultural, became part of our vocabulary. Word (the software) used to ask me all the time in my grant-writing if I didn’t mean “undeserved.” Word finally got it right. Over the past two decades, the arts have emerged as one of the

region’s most positive aspects of life. I was given an opportunity to help make the arts matter when South Shore Arts became a Regional Arts Partner of the Indiana Arts Commission. It turned us from being a visual arts organization into a regional arts council, something our area had never had. The funding and other resources that were made available to us gave us the flexibility to reach out to artists and arts organizations to create a cohesive, non-competitive arts community. At the same time, regional leaders were employing the Money magazine indicators in an effort to assess and improve our region’s quality of life. The arts and culture were among these indicators. Today, the boundaries that separate us from Chicago are blurring with every young artist who graduates from Columbia or the School of the Art Institute or wherever they study and in whatever discipline. It’s all one big metropolitan region now. But it’s a vast region, so we still need arts locally to make it accessible to people, and we need quality arts to make it worth their while.

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Legislative preview

Wide-ranging, noteworthy issues on tap for upcoming legislative session

L

BY ED

CHARBONNEAU Indiana State Senator, R-Valparaiso

ater this month, “Organization Day,” the ceremonial start This summer brought substantial publicity to Indiana’s to the 2014 legislative session, will take place. No bills are A-F grading system, which needs to be appropriately modiintroduced and no votes are cast until January, but legisla- fied so parents can make informed decisions for their chiltors have been working all summer studying a range of dren and Indiana’s hard-working teachers can receive their issues affecting Indiana residents. salary increases and bonuses. The legislature will follow the For lawmakers, working part-time in the state’s capital Indiana State Board of Education, which now manages the means we can invest more time in our respective communi- formula and results of the A-F grading system. ties. However, you might be surprised to know thousands The 2014 legislative session is shaping up to be a busy of bills are introduced each year, yet the upcoming short one, but economic growth will continue to be my top priorlegislative session will last less than three months. ity. Gov. Pence has encouraged the legislature to continue examining vocational education to In the 2013 session, we passed wide-ranging legislation to better reduce the skills gap between Hoosier represent the interests of all Lawmakers will face workers and available jobs. Hoosiers. In total, 619 Senate bills many tough issues and In the upcoming session, General and 613 House bills were introAssembly members will address what duced; not all bills are passed, and important decisions that constitutes a marriage in the state of even fewer become law. During the Indiana, otherwise known as House impact Indiana residents. Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6). In the four-month legislative session, 295 2011 legislative session, the General laws were enacted. Gov. Pence’s Your input is valuable, and first piece of signed legislation Assembly passed a resolution definwas Senate Enrolled Act 319, I welcome your feedback. ing marriage as between one man which prevented a property-tax Please contact me at and one woman. To add this proviincrease on farmers. Additionally, sion to Indiana’s constitution, the the legislature passed a 5 percent Senator.Charbonneau@iga. same language must again pass the income-tax reduction on Hoosiers, legislature. in.gov or visit my virtual and I authored legislation to create The process will be as follows: the Office of Energy Development, office at www.in.gov/ •  HJR6 must first pass the House with the mission to coordinate our and Senate. Senator.Charbonneau. •  If it passes, unaltered, the state’s energy plan. Republicans and Democrats language will appear on the Nov. 2014 worked together to pass a two-year, honestly balanced ballot. budget that funded our priorities, including education, •  Hoosiers will cast their vote either for or against HJR6 roads and infrastructure while maintaining $2 billion in as it is written today. reserves to protect Hoosiers during potential economic We are facing a number of health-related issues downturns. We committed more than $200 million for throughout Indiana, including how federal health care roads and allocated more than 50 percent of the state’s reform impacts Hoosier taxpayers. Expanded Medicaid funding, health system layoffs and a new tax on the General Fund budget to K-12 education. Legislators — including myself — spent many hours in medical device industry are direct effects of the Affordable Indianapolis during the summer and fall participating in Care Act. Hoosiers need immediate assistance to curb “summer study committees.” I chaired two interim commit- prescription drug abuse and meth-making activities, and a tees, including the Water Resources Study Committee and number of mental health initiatives have been considered, the Environmental Quality Services Council. The purpose yet problems with funding and awareness persist. of summer study committees is to take time to gather testiBeyond these difficult issues, we must find solutions to mony about issues affecting Indiana residents. Committee three pressing matters: Indiana’s pension funding problem, members usually adopt and vote on a final report, which a lack of rural broadband access and Northwest Indiana’s includes recommendations for future legislation. transportation options, including Amtrak, rural roads and I have personally learned from experts regarding the state major thoroughfares, such as I-65, U.S. 30 and the Illiana of Indiana’s water, and one of my initiatives for upcoming Expressway. sessions will include developing a water management plan Lawmakers will face many tough issues and important to help Indiana prepare for potential water shortages. Our decisions that impact Indiana residents. Your input is valuefforts this summer garnered national attention, and I hope able, and I welcome your feedback. Please contact me at Indiana will become the first state east of the Mississippi Senator.Charbonneau@iga.in.gov or visit my virtual office River to formalize a water plan. at www.in.gov/Senator.Charbonneau. WINTER 2013 | 37

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Legislative preview

Social issue is a distraction from economic development concerns

A BY MARA CANDELARIA REARDON Indiana State Representative, D-Munster

t first glance, it should be obvious to what lawmakers should be devoting their time during the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly. With an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly stuck around 8 percent, it seems clear we need to be finding out ways to get Hoosiers back to work. We need to find ways to help our families improve their lot in life at a time when the average Hoosier only makes around $34,000 a year, a level that places us in the lower half of this country. We need to help families find affordable health care and do what we can to ensure their children have every chance to obtain a quality education at all levels. These concerns are particularly acute for those of us who live and work in Northwest Indiana. In Northwest Indiana, we must look at ways to answer the pressing transit issues that face us, whether it means continued improvements to and expansion of the South Shore, or expanded exploration of systems that can move large numbers of people over distances without a need to rely upon the automobile as the primary source of transportation. With a strong need for the economic benefits that transit-oriented development can bring, coupled with an aging population that seeks to remain independent, an investment in rail expansion and a coordinated transportation system is essential for Northwest Indiana. These are the issues we should be considering in 2014. Unfortunately, it seems, they will take a back seat. As the session nears, I am hopeful that our time will not be spent on a needless campaign to decide whether to have a public referendum next fall on inserting a ban on gay marriage into the Indiana Constitution. We should focus on creating jobs and increasing wages. According to the Indiana Institute for Working Families, 71 percent of all jobs in Indiana pay less than what is required for economic self-sufficiency. Right now, Indiana law already makes it clear that marriage in our state can only be between a man and a woman. That law has been on the books for a number of years. It has survived court challenges, and even though I personally think it should be removed from the books, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. We should be

spending time creating laws that promote entrepreneurs, business investment and higher education. According to researchers at Ball State University, to reduce the income gap between Indiana and the nation, Indiana must focus on both retaining many more high income Hoosiers and attracting many more affluent households. Some of our State’s largest employers such as Eli Lily and Co. and Cummins oppose this legislation for the damage they believe it will have on Indiana’s ability to attract the best and brightest. But now serious efforts are being made to put this archaic, offensive concept in our state’s most important document. Sadly, we will spend endless hours in the 2014 session deciding whether we should conduct a referendum this fall that will only serve to enflame emotions and spur the kind of ugly debate that does none of us any good, as opposed to aggressively and cooperatively decreasing our unemployment rate and increasing Hoosier wages. It would be easy for me to sit back and watch this spectacle as two powerful interest groups for Republicans clash on this issue. You will see business interests, who clearly understand the importance of Indiana’s place in the global economy, working against those concerned with social issues. But the truth is this is a pointless debate. It detracts from the real issues facing the people of Indiana. More importantly, at a time when we need to focus on attracting and retaining the best minds Indiana has to offer, we will be discussing an initiative that forces us to turn our backs on some of those individuals. This will not put Hoosiers to work. If we are to deal with this issue – and the Republican leadership of our state government demands that we must – then my preference would be to devote as little time to it as possible, then send it down to the defeat it so richly deserves. Then we can get to what’s really important: Putting Hoosiers back to work. Making health care affordable. And protecting families.

We should focus on creating jobs and increasing wages. According to the Indiana Institute for Working Families, 71 percent of all jobs in Indiana pay less than what is required for economic self-sufficiency.

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cHEVrOLET

gRIegeRs jeeP • 5 1756 U.S. 30 West, Valparaiso, IN 219-462-4117 • www.griegersmotors.com

ThOmas dOdge • 11 9604 Indianapolis Blvd, Highland, IN 219-924-6100 • www.thomasautogroup.com

aRNell ChevROleT • 14 U.S. 20 & I-94, Burns Harbor, IN 855-472-6718 • www.arnellmotors.com

ThOmas jeeP • 11 9604 Indianapolis Blvd, Highland, IN 219-924-6100 • www.thomasautogroup.com

FOrd

ChRIsTeNsON ChevROleT • 2 9700 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland, IN 888-999-9141 • www.christensonchevy.com

KiA

lake shORe fORd • 20 244 Melton Rd. (US 20 @ I-94), exit 22A Burns Harbor, IN • 219-787-8600 www.lakeshoreford.com

mIke aNdeRsON ChevROleT • 4 the Chevy Giant on I-65 I-65 and 61st Avenue, merrillville, IN 219-947-4151 • www.mikeandersonchevy.com

aRNell kIa • 14 I-94 AutoMall, U.S. 20 & I-94, Burns Harbor, IN 855-472-6718 • www.arnellmotors.com sOuThlake kIa • 34 rt. 30, 1 mi. East of I-65, merrillville, IN 888-478-7178 • www.southlakeautomall.com

smITh fORd • 36 1777 E. Commercial, Lowell, IN 219-769-1090 • www.smithautogroupusa.com

RIdgeWay ChevROleT • 1 17730 Torrence Ave, Lansing, IL 60438 708-474-4990 • www.ridgewaychevy.com

ThOmas kIa • 16 9825 Indianapolis blvd, highland, IN 219-934-2266 • www.thomasautogroup.com

SOUTH HOLLAND

ORLAND PARK

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3

1 13 19 10

PORTAGE

11 8 45 2 44

20 21

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NiSSAN sOuThlake NIssaN • 34 rt. 30, 1 mile E. of I-65, merrillville, IN 888-471-1241 • www.southlakeautomall.com

rAM bObb auTO gROuP - Ram • 19 11009 West 133rd Ave., Cedar Lake, IN 219-374-7171 • www.bobbcars.com

SuBAru NIelseN subaRu • 22 5020 u.S. highway 6, Portage, IN 888-503-4110 • www.nielsen.subaru.com subaRu Of meRRIllvIlle • 23 1777 W uS rt 30, merrville, IN 855-423-5957 • www.subarumerrillville.com

TOYOTA lake shORe TOyOTa • 21 244 Melton Rd. (US 20 @ I-94), exit 22A Burns Harbor, IN • 219-787-8600 www.lakeshoretoyota.com Team TOyOTa • 44 9601 Indianapolis blvd., highland, IN 219-924-8100 • www.teamtoyota2000.com TOyOTa ON 30 • 46 4450 E. RT 30, Merrillville, IN 219-947-3325 • www.toyotaon30.com

VOLKSwAGEN hIghlaNd vOlksWageN • 8 9601 Indianapolis blvd. (VW Sales & Service) (855) 445-0108 • www.HighlandVW.com Team vOlksWageN • 50 3990 E. rt 30, merrillville, IN (one mile east of the mall) 888-805-3689 • www.teamvwaudi.com

CoNtACt Your tImES’ mEDIA CoNSuLtANt to fEAturE Your buSINESS IN thE tImES Auto DIrECtorY

VALPARAISO

71 16

MiTSuBiSHi NIelseN mITsubIshI • 22 5020 u.S. highway 6, Portage, IN 888-503-4110 • www.nielsenmitsubishi.com

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65 23

9

MERRILLVILLE

CROWN POINT

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46 51

48

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CROWN POINT • (219) 662-5300 MUNSTER • (219) 933-3200 poRTagE • (219) 762-1397 VaLpaRaISo • (219) 462-5151

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Calendar BUSINESS 4 BUSINESS

7:30am-8:30am Mondays, A J Specialties, 1308 E. 85th Ave., Merrillville B4B is a non-compete referral group with 29 active members who are passionate in what they do. Guest are welcome to come and watch the meeting structure. Tony Schifino, 219.736.0367, ajspecialties1990@yahoo. com. facebook.com/Business4BusinessReferrals.

SBDC ADVISER AVAILABLE

9am-1pm Mondays, Hammond INnovation Center, 5209 Hohman Ave. Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center business adviser Bill Gregory will be on hand the first Monday of the month. To meet with Gregory, go online and fill out a business assessment and call to schedule an appointment. Bill Gregory, 219.644.3513, nwisbdc.org.

KIWANIS CLUB MEETINGS

7:30am-8:30am Tuesdays, The Wheel Restaurant, 7430 Indianapolis Boulevard, Hammond. Woodmar-Hammond chapter of Kiwanis International meets every Tuesday morning for breakfast. Guests are always welcome. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. Buy your own breakfast. Alice Vockell, 219.845.8250, alicedalla@aol.com. kiwanis.org.

SOUTH SHORE BUSINESS NETWORKING

8am-9am Tuesdays, Purdue Technology Center, 9800 Connecticut Drive, Hammond. Meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month. Rick Gosser, 219.808.9888, sales@gossercorpsales. com. southshorebusinessnetworking. com.

REFERRAL ORGANIZATION OF INDIANA (ROI)

11:30am-12:30pm Tuesdays, ENG Lending, 833 U.S. 30, Suite 400, Schererville The Referral Organization of Indiana (ROI) Business Networking Group meets Tuesdays. Networking starts at 11:15am Jane Koenig, 219.662.7701. roinetworkinc.com.

ROTARY CLUB OF HAMMOND

12pm-1pm Tuesdays, Student Union Library Building at Purdue Calumet, 2200 169th St. The Rotary Club of Hammond meets Tuesdays. Rotary Club of Hammond, 219.513.0549. hammondrotary.org.

NORTHWEST INDIANA PROFESSIONAL NETWORK

1pm-2:30pm Tuesdays, LaPorte WorkOne, Sagamore Center, 300 Legacy Plaza. The Northwest Indiana Professional Network, or NIPN, meets Tuesdays in LaPorte. NIPN is a networking group for professionals interested in sharing information and resources that would allow them to meet their career objectives and work opportunities. Sharla Williams, 219.462.2940 ext. 43, swilliams@gotoworkonenw.com. 1pm-2:30pm Tuesdays, Portage WorkOne, Ameriplex Commercial Park, 1575 Adler Circle, Suite A. The Northwest Indiana Professional Network, or NIPN, meets Tuesdays in Portage. NIPN is a networking group for professionals interested in sharing information and resources that would allow them to meet their career objectives and work opportunities. Sharla Williams, 219.462.2940 ext. 43, swilliams@gotoworkonenw.com.

ROI BUSINESS NETWORKING GROUP

7:30am-8:30am Wednesdays, Crown Point Civic Center, 101 S East St. The Referral Organization of Indiana (ROI) Business Networking Group meets Wednesdays. Networking starts at 7:15am. Debra Corum, 219.769.7787, roinetworkinc.com.

NORTHWEST INDIANA PROFESSIONAL NETWORK

8:30am-10am Wednesdays, Gary WorkOne, 3522 Village Circle (Village Shopping Center) The Northwest Indiana Professional Network, or NIPN, meets Wednesdays in Gary. NIPN is a networking group for professionals interested in sharing information and resources that would allow them to meet their career objectives and work opportunities. Sharla Williams, 219.462.2940 ext. 43, swilliams@gotoworkonenw.com.

MERRILLVILLE ROTARY CLUB

12:15pm-1:30pm Wednesdays, Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, 800 E. 81st Ave., Merrillville. Merrillville Rotary Club is a service club that is active in community concerns. The membership is composed of business professionals, business owners or partners, administrators of nonprofits, and retirees. Ana Grandfield, 219.769.3541, agrandfield@lcplin.org. merrillvillerotary.org.

BREAKFAST KIWANIS MEETING

7:15am-8:30am Thursdays, Jelly Pancake House, 399 E 81st Ave, Merrillville. The group meets Thursday mornings and 100 percent attendance is not mandatory. Nominal membership fee. Come share your talents; new members are welcome. Mary Jane DiMichele, 219.313.0787, MaryJane@McColly.com, MerrillvilleBreakfastKiwanis.org.

NORTHWEST INDIANA PROFESSIONAL NETWORK

8:30am-10am Thursdays, Hammond WorkOne, 5265 Hohman Ave. Northwest Indiana Professional Network, or NIPN, meets Thursdays in Hammond. NIPN is a networking group for professionals interested in sharing information and resources that would allow them to meet their career objectives and work opportunities. Sharla Williams, 219.462.2940 ext. 43, swilliams@gotoworkonenw.com.

We want to hear from you To read more calendar, visit n ‌ wi.com/business. To include an item in the local business calendar, send event information, time, date, cost and location to business@nwitimes.com.

NWI NETWORKING PROFESSIONALS

7:15am-8:30am Fridays, AJ Specialties, 1308 East 85th Ave., Merrillville. NWINP, Northwest Indiana Networking Professionals, meets Fridays. NIPN is a networking group for professionals interested in sharing information and resources that would allow them to meet their career objectives and work opportunities. Carl Watroba, 219.776.7423, nwinetworking.org.

BUSINESS COUNSELING SERVICES 9am-10am Fridays, Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, 5246 Hohman Ave, Hammond. Free business counseling services are available through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) on Fridays. If starting a business, or having problems in business, call for an appointment. FYI: Call 219.931.1000.

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BusINess Winter 2013