Short Takes: November 23, 2011

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 23, 2011 with No Comments

Ice Carvers

Kick Off Holidays in Valpo

Downtown Valparaiso will come to life with the lights and sounds of the holiday season from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 as part of the annual Holly Days event. Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events will host numerous activities in Central Park Plaza, including live ice carving by the Michiana Ice Carvers, shopping in the Holiday Village Market, a live nativity display, free train rides and holiday music performed on the Porter Health Amphitheater Stage. Families won’t want to miss the Holly and JJ Jolly Show in front of the Memorial Opera House and Porter County Museum as the prelude to Santa’s arrival that evening. Listen to the sidewalk carolers and stroll through downtown to the stores and restaurants for treats and specials to kick off your holiday shopping. For more information about Holly Days or upcoming 2012 downtown events, call 464-8332 or visit . 

DANCE AT Portage ParkS

Winter Ballroom Workshops

The workshops begin Monday, Nov. 21 and run through Jan. 25, in Portage at Woodland Park. Dances taught: Waltz, swing, rhumba, cha-cha, merengue, fox trot, tango and jitterbug. Participants will have option of picking the ones they would like to learn. Package deal is six dances for $55. Call Portage Parks at 762-1675 or call Mary at 680-9261 or e-mail, or visit for more information. Another Portage Parks offering is the annual Snow Ball from 6-11 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Sycamore Hall at Woodland Park. It’s a Christmas Ball for ballroom dancers of all levels. Get all dressed up in your finest holiday threads and dance, prance, mingle and jingle into this miraculous season. Tickets are $45 single and $85 couple and includes salsa lesson, buffet dinner, student and pro show, door prizes, Santa gift and general dancing. Call Mary at 680-9261 or e-mail . 


Goes Tobacco-Free

Porter-Starke Services implemented an organization-wide tobacco free policy. The policy is for all of the community mental health center’s office locations in Valparaiso. Portage and Knox. The idea for implementing the policy was selected in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout.” To make the transition, Porter-Starke Services enlisted the help of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition of Porter County (TEPC). “Certainly there are higher prevalence rates of smoking among those individuals with mental health or addiction issues,” said Susan Gleason, Executive Director of TEPC. “I commend Porter-Starke Services for dedicating themselves to the overall health of the clients they serve.” Porter-Starke Services implemented a tobacco-free policy among its employees in 2007 and the clients of the Inpatient Care Center in 2009. Rocco Schiralli, president/CEO of Porter-Starke, said that this was the next logical step. “Individuals with behavioral health issues have been shown to die 25 years sooner than the average population,” said Schiralli. “One of the reasons for this is the higher than average use of tobacco. As an organization that is dedicated to promoting overall health in our community, this policy just makes sense.” While there will be no tobacco use allowed on Porter-Starke property, the organization will provide healthy alternatives to tobacco use on-site, including nicotine replacement options, tobacco cessation resources and healthy alternatives in its ongoing programming. Porter-Starke Services is a not-for-profit community mental health center with offices in Valparaiso, Portage and Knox. It has provided high-quality behavioral health and substance abuse treatment for more than 37 years.  

Portage yMCA

Extends holiday hours

generic prednisone price buy canadian prednisone With the advent of the long Thanksgiving weekend, the Portage Township YMCA will have its “School’s Out/Y’s In” program days on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Nov. 25. Children can be dropped off as early as 6:30 a.m. and remain at the YMCA until 6 p.m. Games, crafts, X-Box, reading time, gym time, sports and more will be demonstrated during these hours. Children must be in kindergarten as a minimum to enter the program. In addition to the daily fee, a $25 family registration fee will be charged for first-time users. For more details regarding School’s Out/Y’s In or Y-Care contact the YMCA at 762-9622, e-mail or visit www.ymcaofportage.  prednisolone uk buy prednisone order prednisolone for dogs uk buy cheap prednisone online buy prednisone from canada cheap   

Career Center

Preview of Classes

High school students will have an early chance to check out their favorite career and technical program next month. Most programs offered through Porter County Career and Technical Education (PCCTE) will welcome potential students on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Parents are also welcome. Some schools will send students on field trips or allow them an excused absence. The 30-plus programs will also welcome visitors on Thursday, Jan. 26 and Wednesday, Feb. 8, including an evening open house on Feb. 8. Almost 1,000 juniors and seniors from 10 area high schools annually take half-day programs ranging from Electronics to Culinary Science to Industrial Mechanics. Many programs offer dual college credits, and there is no cost connected with these credits. The programs help students get started on their careers and help them attain Academic Honors Diploma or Technical Honors Diploma in Indiana. For more information, call 531-3170 or visit . 

Volunteer Tax Preparers

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Opportunities are available for volunteers to assist elderly and low-to-moderate income residents by becoming an official volunteer tax preparer through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. A no-obligation informational coffee to learn about the program has been scheduled for 9 a.m. at the United Way office, 951 Eastport Centre Drive, Monday, Dec. 5. This meeting will briefly outline the program which provides free tax return preparation assistance to low-to-moderate income taxpayers, seniors, people with disabilities and non-English speakers. Due to limited space, an RSVP is required by calling 464-3583. Here are some things you need to know about becoming a volunteer: 1) No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and can serve as greeters, reviewers or tax preparers; 2) IRS provides free tax law training, e-file training and all the materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns; 3) The hours are flexible. Volunteers are asked to serve an average of three to four hours per week from mid-January through the tax deadline (April 17); 4). Volunteer site in Porter County is at the United Way offices, across from the Valparaiso Ivy Tech campus; 5) Returns are prepared on supplied computers using web-based software supplied by the IRS. 

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Gifts for the Wildlife

Stop in at the Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center any time between 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 to help trim the holiday tree. This has been an annual tradition for many years and it is always exciting to see what unique ornaments can be created out of nature’s bounty. Acorns, pine cones, seedpods and other dried natural “finds” will be available and you are welcome to bring your own materials to share. Make an ornament for the tree at Gibson Woods and make one to take home. Stay to enjoy some holiday music and stop by the “Bird Room” to see who’s visiting the feeders. The emphasis shifts after that to our wildlife friends. It always makes us feel good to be able to share our holiday bounty with our animal friends. Each year around the holiday season the public is invited to make edible ornaments to decorate the trees and shrubs outside the wildlife viewing area at Gibson Woods. Afterwards, stay awhile and watch as the birds, squirrels and other wildlife discover the tasty treats we’ve made for them. Stop by Gibson Woods any time between 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 for the “Wildlife Holiday.” We will be making popcorn garlands, peanut butter pinecones and many other special treats to hang on the trees and shrubs. Gibson Woods Nature Preserve park hours: Park gates are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through February; The Environmental Awareness Center is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. year ’round; Both the EAC and the park gates are closed on Mondays and holidays. The park and the EAC will be closed from Dec. 19 until Jan 3, 2012. Gibson Woods Nature Preserve is located at 6201 Parrish Ave., Hammond. For more information, call 844-3188. 

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Prestigious Fellowships

Two Purdue University Calumet marriage and family therapy graduates, Sharde’ McNeil and Kristy Soloski, each have received a fellowship from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The $18,700 per-year fellowship also is supported by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and will aid in the research and training of substance abuse and mental health in minority populations. “The AAMFT/SAMSHA Minority Fellowship is a highly prestigious award,” said Purdue Calumet Marriage and Family Therapy Program Coordinator Joe Wetchler. “Only three to four of these national awards are given each year and it’s amazing that Purdue Calumet graduates received two of them this year. Kristy and Sharde’ are to be congratulated for their hard work. This is an honor for them, the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, and Purdue University Calumet.” Soloski, of Parma, Ohio, is a marriage and family therapy doctoral student at Kansas State University. McNeil, of Fayetteville, N.C., is a marriage and family therapy doctoral student at Florida State University. Purdue Calumet’s marriage and family therapy master’s degree program is internationally recognized, attracting students worldwide. The program emphasizes a three-pronged study and preparation approach: theory, research and practice. Program graduates have enjoyed a 100 percent employment rate and high acceptance into doctoral programs. More information about the program can be obtained by contacting Wetchler at 989-2587, e-mailing or visiting 


Holiday at the Pops

The 16th Annual La Porte Hospital Foundation Holiday at the Pops concert features a variety of local talent. Doors open at 6 p.m. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the LaPorte Civic Auditorium, 1001 Ridge St. The La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, directed by Philip Bauman, will provide music for the event. The evening will also boost special performances from guest artists and choral groups. The Foundation welcomes back 2010 guest performers Cripple Creek, comprised of John Langford, MD; David Applegarth; Mitch Marhanka; Lou Voelker and Steve Eyrick;  area choral groups Illuminations and Door Village Youth Choir; and soloists Sarah Gartshore and India Potter. Proceeds benefit the Indiana University Health LaPorte VNA Services, HomeCare and Hospice, as well as other philanthropic healthcare needs on the LaPorte Hospital Foundation Wish List. Balcony tickets are  available ($10 for adults and $5 for children, under age 10). Advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended. Tickets may be purchased at the LaPorte Hospital Foundation office at Indiana University Health LaPorte Hospital, 1007 Lincolnway, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call, 326-2471 or toll-free 877-265-4539, or visit The opening session will be a special conversation with noted education reformer, e

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