Short Takes: February 1, 2012

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Published on January 31, 2012 with No Comments


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Valparaiso University (VU) recently launched a new partnership with Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car-sharing network, to offer a Zipcar car-sharing program on campus. The cost-effective and convenient transportation option is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all students, faculty, and staff ages 18 and older, as well as members of the local community ages 21 and over. This year, VU members can join for $25, with rates on campus Zipcar vehicles starting as low as $7 per hour and $66 per day. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for multiple days.  “As a community working to promote sustainability and preserve our environment, the addition of Zipcars to our campus is a big plus,” said VU President Mark A. Heckler.  “I think our students will appreciate Zipcars as a convenient form of transportation that is easy to access and also environmentally friendly.”  VU will initially offer two vehicles, including a Ford Focus and Toyota Prius, which will be located in campus lot 14 near Harre Union. Zipcars are self-service and can be easily reserved and accessed 24 hours a day on Zipcar’s website.  Participating members with smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices, may download the Zipcar mobile applications to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles as well as honk the horn to help locate the vehicle.  Members can also use Zipcar’s “Reserve a Zipcar” app on Facebook to view available Zipcars and make, extend or cancel a reservation all from their Facebook account. Reservations can also be made over the phone or by using the Zipcar website.   Zipcar has established partnerships with more than 250 universities, including University of Notre Dame and Purdue University. For more information, including how to become a member of Zipcar at VU, visit . 


Renewable Energy Efficiency 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).  REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation’s critical energy needs.  For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level awards.  At Vilsack’s direction, USDA is working to develop the national biofuels industry producing energy from non-food sources in every region of the country.  USDA is conducting and encouraging research into innovative new energy technologies and processes, helping companies build biorefineries – including the first ever commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities – and supporting farmers, ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in biofuels.  Along with Federal partners, USDA is establishing an aviation biofuels economy, and has expedited rules and efforts to promote production and commercialization of biofuels. USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program was authorized by Congress under the 2008 Farm Bill.  It provides loan guarantees to capitalize on the growing opportunities in renewable energy provided by advanced biofuels. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.  Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at . 


People On Wheels Entries

People On Wheels’ Ms. Wheelchair Indiana Pageant is now accepting entries for its 2012 program. Candidates will be honored and a winner will be crowned at a special event on Sunday, Mar. 18, in the Eli Lilly Hall at the Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. This year’s winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 to assist with personal expenses. To enter, candidates must meet the following criteria: Be a female between 21 and 60 years of age, use a wheelchair or scooter 100 percent of the time, be a U.S. citizen, have resided in Indiana for at least the last six months, and possess communication skills and experience with advocacy for people with disabilities are especially valued. Marital status is not a criterion. The winner of Ms. Wheelchair Indiana will have the opportunity to help educate the public, advocating for people with disabilities through local news interviews and school, church and civic appearances. Her reign will conclude at the Ms. Wheelchair America 2013 Pageant to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, Aug. 6-12. Festivities for the March 18 event will begin with a reception at 3 p.m. and will culminate that evening in a formal crowning ceremony. The event is free to attend and includes free parking. The Ms. Wheelchair Indiana program gives voice to the disabled condition, provides a platform for advocacy and promotes understanding between people with disabilities and the able‐bodied communities. To request an entry form, interested applicants can e-mail or call with questions at 317-946‐8115.  People On Wheels is the No. 1 news and information website for people who use wheelchairs with targeted sports, breaking news, research information and accessibility information, serving people who, through illness or injury, share many of the same interests and health issues due to impaired mobility. For more information, visit . 

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Reports Year End 

Centier Bank reported earnings of $16.7 million for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2011. The bank continued to bolster its well-capitalized position with total equity capital increasing to $182 million, a 12 percent increase over 2010.  Total Assets increased 6.1 percent to $2.124 billion.  Business loans showed an increase of $90 million to $1.183 billion; an 8.2 percent increase. “As our local, state, and national economy continues to stabilize, consumers are adjusting to new spending habits and making more informed financial decisions,” stated Mike Schrage, Centier Bank president and CEO.  oct 14, 2011 – online, in part, a hardware is a part or simulation emphasis that is processed to become another driver. online, in that  “We’ve noticed evidence of a consumer trend toward saving.  To date, Centier clients have saved more than $2 million using the ‘Round Up Savings’ program we first introduced in 2010.” In 2011, Centier opened a full-service Hammond office on Hohman Avenue in the historic downtown business district and established a loan production office in the Carmel/Indianapolis market on Meridian Street.  In the coming year, Centier Bank also plans to expand its residential lending market to the greater Lafayette area. For the fifth year in a row, Centier was listed among the top 10 employers in the state of Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.  Centier was also recognized as the Small Business Administration Business Lender of the Year in Indiana, Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Best Bank for Business, and the Regional Development Company Bank of the Year. In addition, Centier has a new partnership with the MoneyPass ATM network, which means that Centier clients can now experience free nationwide access to more than 22,000 ATMs with no surcharges. Centier is now the largest privately-owned independent bank in Indiana and remains committed to being owned and operated by the Schrage family in the future.  Centier has 45 branch locations throughout Northern Indiana, including business banking centers in Mishawaka and Fort Wayne, and a loan production office serving Carmel/Indianapolis. For more information on Centier Bank call 219-756-2265 or 1-888-236-8437 (CENTIER) or visit . prednisone cost target buy prednisone 20mg  


‘Big Sell’ Coaching Session

Aspiring entrepreneurs planning to participate in ‘The Big Sell’ Entrepreneurs in Action competition can gain valuable insight at a free, ‘Big Sell’ coaching session Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. The two-hour coaching session will be held at Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Entrepreneurship Success, located at 1247 169th St. in Hammond, one and one-quarter mile west of campus. Because seats are limited, pre-registration is required by phoning 219-989-3159. Developed by Purdue University Calumet and its Center for Entrepreneurship Success in cooperation with the Hammond Development Corporation, ‘The Big Sell’ competition provides an opportunity for prospective entrepreneurs to make a two-minute pitch of their business idea to audience members and a panel of judges for an opportunity to win cash prizes and services. Prospective entrepreneurs can apply for the competition on line at: by 5 p.m., Friday, March 2. Applications will be evaluated, and 50 finalists will be notified and invited to make a two-minute presentation Saturday, March 31 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza Theatre. Three winners will share more than $30,000 in cash and prizes. The new business ideas will be judged on innovation and feasibility, commercial potential and economic impact, marketability likelihood and related financial demands, as well as presentation credibility, according to Purdue Calumet Center for Entrepreneurship Success Director Dushan Nikolovski. The Feb. 8 coaching session is intended to help provide preparation, advice and insight to ‘Big Sell’ applicants about making an effective presentation. Also sponsoring the ‘Big Sell’ competition are NIPSCO, Crowe Horwath, the Hammond INnovation Center, The Idea Factory, Palo Alto Software, Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, attorneys Peter J. Shakula and Angela Crossin; certified public accountant Shawn Lazarian and Petri Financial Services. Other information is available by emailing or contacting the Center for Entrepreneurship Success at 989-3159 or 800-HI-PURDUE, ext. 3159. For more information, call 989-2217 or visit .  


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Lt. Governor Becky Skillman recently announced that the state is currently seeking the next Indiana “Stellar Communities”.  The state program, created by Skillman, was launched last year to fund comprehensive community development projects in Indiana’s smaller cities and towns.  Applicants selected in 2012 will undertake multiple quality of life projects to improve and revitalize their community. “The Stellar Communities program proves that it doesn’t always take more dollars to make a bigger impact,” said Skillman.  “By thinking comprehensively, Hoosier cities and towns selected for this program can truly transform their community.” The state’s Stellar Communities program is a partnership between three state agencies: the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Department of Transportation.  Selected communities will complete multiple community development projects funded by the three partner agencies’ programs, which may address housing, water infrastructure needs, street and roadwork, streetscape and lighting needs, community centers, revitalization projects, and other quality of life issues. Local units of government in Indiana that are considered non-entitlement areas as defined by the federal Housing and Urban Development guidelines are encouraged to submit a letter of interest for the program by Friday, Feb. 10.  Interested communities can learn more about the program and download the guidelines for the letter of interest at . For more information, visit .


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