Short Takes – June 6, 2012

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Published on June 06, 2012 with No Comments

Chicago Street Theatre
This summer at Chicago Street Theatre, 154 W. Chicago St. in Valparaiso, will prove to be an exciting place for children of all ages. Camp offerings include Introducing the Theatre, Creative Characters, Audition Workshops, Theatre Games, a Puppet Workshop, and the exciting, Be Backstage.  A few spots remain for the popular Shakespeare Workshop, which focuses on Shakespeare’s, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream". Students will be cast in roles and learn all aspects of production including iambic pentameter, use of language, historical references to clothing, style, and behavior.  A "Yard Show" also will be a part of the production, giving students the opportunity to re-create the atmosphere of the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s time by performing as jugglers, clowns, and vendors and includes performances on July 13 and 14 in Central Park Plaza. The intensive six-week workshop is geared toward teens ages 14-18, but consideration will be given to middle-school students with theatre experience. Class times are 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays beginning June 18 with instructor Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano.  Mainstage performances are at 5:30 p.m. July 27 and 30 and at 2:30 p.m. July 28. Registration forms are available at the theatre or online at www.chicagostreet.org by clicking the Education link followed by the Summer Camps tabs. For more information, e-mail Formosa-Parmigiano at .
Named one of nation’s great American beaches
Indiana Dunes State Park has again garnered national attention, this time being chosen by USA Today as having one of the best beaches in the nation. USA Today did a Memorial Day weekend feature called “Just for summer:  51 great American Beaches” and they enlisted local experts to pick one great beach in each state and the District of Columbia. In Indiana, USA Today chose the beach at Dunes State Park based on a recommendation from Sally McKinney, author of “Hiking Indiana”.  According to the USA Today article, “You’ll find just over three miles of broad, sand beach — and freshwater swimming — along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Behind it lies Indiana Dunes State Park’s scattered hills of shifting sand. Tough going up Devil’s Slide dune, but thrilling to skid down!  After visiting the Nature Center, enjoy a hike through forest and around the 1,530-acre Dunes Nature Preserve. Trail 8 climbs up-over-and-down four massive sand hills — with great lakeshore views.” Brandt Baughman, park manager at Indiana Dunes State Park, said he was pleased with the national recognition. “We are very proud of the beach at the state park, as all Hoosiers should be,” Baughman said.  “I feel that many people, especially those from outside the area, don’t realize what a jewel it is until they see it for themselves.  We hope this recognition incites the unfamiliar to come visit and experience it for the first time.  It truly is an honor to be recognized amongst all of the outstanding Lake Michigan beaches within Indiana.” Last year, USA Today chose Dunes State Park as one of the top 51 places to hike in the nation. Also last year, Parents magazine picked Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s West Beach, located in Portage, as one of the Top 10 Best Family Beaches in the nation. And National Geographic selected the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as one of the Top 10 Urban Escapes in the country. “Being recognized on a national scale is great because the nation now knows what a great asset the Indiana Dunes are,” said Lorelei Weimer, Indiana Dunes Tourism executive director. “It’s great to see Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore getting the national recognition they’ve long deserved.” Visit for more information about Dunes State Park.

Foreign students await homes
Foreign high school students are scheduled to arrive soon for academic year homestay programs and the sponsoring organization needs a few more local host families. The students are anxiously awaiting news of their new families. This is the last chance for these young ambassadors to fulfill their life-long dreams, and their placement deadlines are rapidly approaching.  According to Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) President John Doty, the students are all between the ages of 15 and 18 years, are English-speaking, have their own spending money, carry accident and health insurance, and are anxious to share their cultural experiences with their new American families. PIE currently has programs to match almost every family’s needs, ranging in length from one semester to a full academic year, where the students attend local public and private high schools. PIE area representatives match students with host families by finding common interests and lifestyles through an in-home meeting. Prospective host families are able to review student applications and select the perfect match.  As there are no "typical" host families, PIE can fit a student into just about any situation, whether it is a single parent, a childless couple, a retired couple or a large family. Families who host for PIE are also eligible to claim a monthly charitable contribution deduction on their itemized tax returns for each month they host a sponsored student. For the upcoming programs, PIE has students from Germany, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, Argentina, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, Denmark, China, and many other countries. Families interested in learning more about student exchange or arranging for a meeting with a community representative may call PIE toll-free at 1-866-546-1402. The agency also has travel/study program opportunities available for American high school students as well as possibilities for community volunteers to assist and work with area host families, students and schools.

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How many primates are there in the world?  How far can a polar bear swim without a break?  What do the abominable snowman and the snow leopard have in common? The answers to those fascinating questions and more are just a phone call away. The Indianapolis Zoo developed the Dial-A-Hero program beginning in 2008 to introduce zoo visitors to the conservation heroes who are actually succeeding in saving the future of wild things and wild places and spur interest in wildlife conservation – the primary purpose behind the Indianapolis Prize. Special pre-recorded messages about the projects and adventures of each of the six finalists await visitors who wind their way through the zoo this summer. Not only will visitors come away knowing more about animals at the zoo, they will be inspired by the personal stories of these six individuals who are making a real difference for some of the world’s most endangered creatures.  The heroes of conservation featured this summer include Steve Amstrup of Polar Bears International, Markus Borner of the Frankfort Zoological Society’s Africa project, Rodney Jackson of the Snow Leopard Conservancy, Carl Jones of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Russell Mittermeier of Conservational International, and Patricia Wright of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments. Signs will be posted at specific sites throughout the Indianapolis Zoo. Each sign includes a fun question (like how far can that polar bear swim?) and a phone number visitors can call to hear more about the animal involved and the prize finalist who is working to save it. Dial-A-Hero virtually transports zoo visitors from the animals right in front of them at the zoo to the places where their wild cousins live, providing context for both the animals in the Indianapolis Zoo’s care and those with which the Indianapolis Prize finalists are working.  For more information about the Indianapolis Prize, visit .   Indianapolis Prize educational programming is sponsored by Cummins, Inc.
Auto dealer plates now linked to national database
Secretary of State Connie Lawson has announced Indiana auto dealer plates are now linked to the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, a national database for law enforcement officers. Linking Indiana auto dealer plates to the national database provides law enforcement nationwide with access to real time information, greatly reducing the appeal of Indiana plates for illegal purposes. “This is a huge step forward for our long-term security,” said Lawson. “By ensuring dealer plates can be tracked by local and national law enforcement agencies, we can better protect Indiana’s legitimate auto dealers, and deter the theft of these plates for criminal use around the country.”  Prior to this enhancement, law enforcement outside the state could look up an individual’s personal vehicle information, but were unable to access Indiana dealer plate data. Law enforcement can now access information on metal dealer plates used for dealership business such as test drives and paper temporary plates issued when a vehicle is sold. Law enforcement will use the enhancement to instantly access data in routine traffic stops and to solve crimes. The Auto Dealers Services Division of the Secretary of State’s office worked with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana State Police to link to the national database. Through the BMV and state police systems, dealer plate and registration information makes its way to the national database.

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Cedar Lake Summerfest
The 2012 Cedar Lake Summerfest is seeking entries for the annual Cupcake Contest. The Summerfest Committee, all their volunteers and the public at large will be celebrating the festival’s 31st birthday this year. This year’s Cupcake Contest will take place over a period of four days and include four different age categories. All baking entries will be accepted in the park office, which is located on the Town Grounds at 7408 Constitution Ave., in Cedar Lake. All entries need to arrive one hour before the judging begins. No late entries will be accepted. The 13-17 age category takes place on Thursday, July 5. Judging begins at 5:30 p.m. The 55 and older category takes place on Friday, July 7. Judging for that day begins at 5:30 p.m. The category for ages 12 and under takes place on Saturday, July 7 and judging begins at noon. The category for ages 18-54 will be held on Sunday, July 8 and also begins promptly at noon. Individuals participating in the contest will need to have one dozen cupcakes ready for judging. Three of those cupcakes will go to the judges and the other nine will be shared. There is no fee for participation is this event. Cupcakes will be judged on icing/frosting, flavor and texture and overall appearance. Please bring your cupcakes in a disposable container designed specifically for presentation and creativity. If you are using nuts in your creations, please make sure you inform the officials when you drop off your cupcakes in the park office. All winners will have their cupcakes on display on the Summerfest website. Entry forms may be downloaded from www.cedarlakesummerfest.com. For additional information, call Mary Joan Dickson at 374-4444 or email her at .

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