Short Takes – May 16, 2012

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Published on May 15, 2012 with No Comments

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Hoosier Hospitality Award

Sophia Molina, a server at Don Quijote Restaurant in Valparaiso, has won a 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award.  Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman honored the Hoosier Hospitality Award winners May 9 in a Statehouse ceremony.  The awards, which are presented to a select group of recipients from across the state each year, recognize those who help the hospitality and tourism industry grow – and as a result boost Indiana’s economy. The awards recognize those who go out of their way to provide excellent customer service to visitors. Molina was nominated for the award by Indiana Dunes Tourism Promotions Director Ken Kosky, who said he was extremely pleased with Molina’s selection. “I’m very happy she was chosen for this award because she’s so deserving of it,” Kosky said. “She really does embody Hoosier Hospitality.” Indiana Dunes Tourism solicits comments about service providers throughout the county and they received several positive ones about Molina. One couple who dined at Don Quijote wrote, “She made the meal and entire experience wonderful. Honestly, I’ve never had better service. Sophia was great. We are definitely returning.” Another couple wrote, “Sophia is the best waitress we ever had…really nice. Made the night enjoyable.”  Another wrote, “Sophia, our server, went the extra mile to make our birthday celebration special.”  Another wrote, “Wow. We were treated like royalty. What great service and awesome, delicious food!” The Hoosier Hospitality Awards ceremony is part of Visit Indiana Week and National Travel and Tourism Week.


NWI Board Meets May 18

The NWI Economic Development District (NWI EDD) Board will meet 10 a.m. Friday, May 18 at the NIRPC/Forum Offices, 6100 Southport Road, Portage, following the established meeting schedule. Agenda topics include NWI EDD operations and committee reports, EDA Planning Grant status update and financial and legal services. The meeting will close with new business or additional matters to come before the NWI EDD Board. The NWI EDD is an independent not-for-profit corporation with the charge of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy as a means to apply for EDD status by the EDA, and to seek grant assistance and financial support for economic development projects in its territory.  NWI EDD was established in 2009 by the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. Per the EDA requirements, the public private partnership is comprised of 51 percent public officials and 49 percent private sector/business representation. For more information, contact Karen Lauerman at 219-763-6303, ext. 181 or .


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Valparaiso University’s Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Cock, will return to Germany for its fourth residency at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the church and its choir, the Thomanerchor.  The VU Chorale is the only collegiate American choir to enjoy such a strong relationship with the church of Johann Sebastian Bach. The tour runs from May 29 through June 9. “Taking members of the Valparaiso University Chorale to the church of J.S. Bach has been one of the personal highlights of my career,” Cock said. “When we perform the music of Bach in the St. Thomas Church we are, quite literally, transported to a different time and place. We will, once again, collaborate with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra as we perform some of the greatest music ever written.” The highlight of the tour comes on June 2 when Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler will join the tour to celebrate Valpo’s decade-long friendship with the St. Thomas Church. A service will precede the formalizing of an agreement with the St. Thomas Church and Valpo that will strengthen the relationship with the goal of continuing cultural, musical, educational, and theological exchanges. “Our relationship with the St. Thomas Church is rich and fulfilling as we share our Lutheran heritage and our love of music,” Heckler said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize this important friendship as we ensure its future for years to come.” The chorale tour also will cross paths with a faculty-led tour of Germany for Valpo alumni. The tour is led by Associate Professor of Theology Matthew Becker. Becker is the former director of the Reutlingen program. In addition to services in Leipzig on June 1, 2, 3, and 9, the chorale will once again partner with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra to present a selection of Bach’s cantatas in Bernburg, Köthen and Meißen. The chorale also will visit the small farming community of Mark Zwuschen, where the chorale dedicated the first church that was built in the former East Germany during its tour in 2010. The visit concludes with a service of thanksgiving, followed by a dinner with the community. To follow the chorale before, during and after the tour, visit blogs.valpo.edu/choraletour2012 to find stories, photos, and videos from faculty, staff, and students.


Needs of Community Seniors

Philip B. Stafford, PhD will be the guest speaker at a breakfast talk for community members from 8 to 10 a.m. on Monday, June 4. The talk, to be held at Pines Village Retirement Communities in Valparaiso, is hosted by ElderStyle Valparaiso. Stafford is director of the Center on Aging and Community and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, as well as adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University. Dr. Stafford is a nationally known author, speaker, and consultant on the subject of livable communities for all ages. Through his research, writing, and travel, as well as via case study projects in Indiana, Stafford has identified the key issues involved in creating communities that work for older citizens. Stafford lives and works in Bloomington. ElderStyle Valparaiso is a public-private partnership and initiative formed in 2007 between the Valparaiso Department of Parks and Recreation and Pines Village Retirement Communities. The partnership represents a commitment to combine efforts to support healthy living and create a network of community choices that enable older adults to live well. ElderStyle Valparaiso is one of three communities in the state selected to receive a planning grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority through its Communities for a Lifetime committee.   The grant will help the ElderStyle Valparaiso Task Force determine how best to make Valparaiso a community for all ages. This breakfast event is supported by this planning grant.  HealthLinc is the presenting sponsor for the 2012 ElderStyle Valparaiso events. The event will feature a presentation by Stafford, a breakfast buffet, and Q & A session. The breakfast talk is free, but reservations are requested. For more details or to make reservations, call Pines Village Retirement Communities at 219-465-1591 or send an email to .


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Indiana is proud to be the first state in the nation to launch Child Care Online statewide.  Hoosier families now have a digital tool to assess child care facilities for quality, safety and other benchmarks, and can take virtual tours of select facilities. Child Care Online is a free, Internet search tool designed so consumers can easily and conveniently compare child care programs and identify a range of high-quality care choices. Child Care Online is available at www.childcareindiana.org. “Finding the appropriate, high-quality child care provider is often a difficult task for Indiana families,” said Melanie Brizzi, administrator at Indiana Bureau of Child Care (BCC). “Working Hoosiers need high-quality child care to support their children’s development. Research shows that effective early learning experiences prepare children for future success in school, work, and life.” The Child Care Online tool allows users to see actual images of playing, teaching and learning spaces and read about a program’s philosophy, curriculum, and much more. Child Care Online is being launched in conjunction with Paths to QUALITY, Indiana’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system for child care programs. More than 1,145 child care programs have achieved or are working toward the state’s highest level of care-national accreditation. Child Care Online will highlight these programs.


“In the Garden of Beasts

Ben Blohm will review Erik Larson’s newest book, “In the Garden of Beasts:  Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at Bookmarks at the Westchester Township History Museum. William E. Dodd became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in 1933, a year that proved to be a turning point in history.  “In the Garden of Beasts” lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. It is not necessary to read the books in advance to enjoy the presentation. Refreshments will be served. The Westchester Township History Museum is housed in the historic Brown Mansion at 700 W. Porter Ave., Chesterton.  The museum, an educational and cultural service of Westchester Public Library, is open free of charge to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.  Call 219-983-9715 for more information.


At Thomas Library

A limited number of eReaders are available at the Thomas Library Circulation desk in this pilot program.  This service is available only to Westchester Township adult patrons whose library cards are in good standing.  Valid ID must be shown in addition to the Westchester Public Library card.  Checkout is limited to one Nook per card.  Each Nook eReader will come with 20 to 25 books loaded on them.  Five of the Nooks will contain bestsellers.  Five other eReaders will be loaded with individual genres, one of each of the following: action/adventure, horror/science fiction, mystery, romance, and western. The load period for the Nooks is two weeks.  There are no renewals and no hold requests permitted.  The daily overdue fine is $1, with a maximum fine of $5.  A $120 charge will be assessed if the eReader is lost or damaged. Thomas Library is located at 200 W. Indiana Ave., Chesterton. For more information, call the library at 219-926-7696.

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