Short takes

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Published on June 30, 2010 with No Comments

Takes Off At Graduate School
Valparaiso University’s Graduate School is launching a new program this fall to prepare students for Federal Aviation Administration flight certification. The seven-credit certificate in Aeronautical Principles consists of three courses, each of which prepares students for a specific FAA rating and certification. Course work is provided for the following ratings: Private Pilot License: 2 credits, Instrumental Rating: 3 credits, Commercial Pilot License: 2 credits. All courses incorporate principles of physics, mechanics and flight, as well as navigation, radio and weather. They also introduce students to FAA flight regulations and requirements. Completion of each course allows a student to sit for the corresponding FAA written exam.
Students may take one, two or all three courses, with each serving as the prerequisite for the next course. In order to earn the certificate, all three courses must be completed successfully.
Applicants must meet Graduate School admissions standards. International students should first check their eligibility and procedures for obtaining the appropriate visa necessary to complete the certificate program. Students pay the standard Graduate School tuition rate for the graduate credits. Flight training, which is a necessary component of FAA certification, is not included in tuition and represents a separate expense. Students should call Eagle Aircraft at (219) 464-0132 or for more information on flight training costs. The online application for Valpo’s Graduate School can be found at

For Walk for Lupus Now
The Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter (LFA) is seeking team captains for the organization’s Walk for Lupus Now Northwest Indiana event on Saturday, September 11th at Festival Park in Hobart. “It is an amazing experience to see all the people come together in support of one cause,” said Lindsey Wacnik, Crown Point High School Key Club member and 2009 Walk for Lupus Now team captain. “In doing the walk, you will leave with the satisfaction that you have helped the Lupus Foundation get one step closer in achieving their goal.” In year’s past, 40 percent of all funds raised at Walk for Lupus Now in Hobart were raised by teams. Team captains serve as a liaison between teams and the LFA. Support materials can be accessed at Teams from businesses, schools, churches and civic organizations are encouraged to participate. Student groups can earn required service hours for participating. To set up a team or register for the walk as an individual, access The 2009 event raised $35,000. The Chapter depends on proceeds from the walk to increase lupus awareness, maintain support groups, provide lupus information to newly diagnosed lupus patients and their families, educate the public and support lupus research. Approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Based on 2006 census information, it is estimated that 34,187 of Indiana’s residents have lupus; including 2,671 residents in Lake County, 865 residents in Porter County and 597 residents in LaPorte County. More than 5 million people worldwide struggle with the health consequences of lupus. Inflammation is considered the primary feature of lupus. Lupus is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease capable of damaging virtually any part of the body, including the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. In its most severe form, lupus can cause disfiguring rashes and scarring, multiple miscarriages, kidney, heart and lung failure, impaired neurological function, strokes, heart attacks and death. Nine out of ten people with lupus are women. Eighty percent of new lupus cases are diagnosed among women ages 15 to 44. The chapter office, which serves the entire state, is located at 2642 Eleanor Street in Portage. For more information about the Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana chapter, call (800) 948-8806 toll free or visit

To Eligible Hoosier Women
State health officials are urging eligible women to apply for the state’s program offering access to free treatment for breast or cervical cancer. In 2007, there were 3,892 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 236 diagnosed with cervical cancer in Indiana. To qualify for this program, women must: Need treatment for breast or cervical cancer; Reside in Indiana; Be under the age of 65; Have a family income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level; and Have no credible health insurance. “Women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer are already facing an incredible challenging time for them and their families,” said Erin Triplett, director of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at the Indiana State Department of Health. “The last thing we want them to have to worry about during this difficult time is if they can afford to be treated.” The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in 2009 that extended Medicaid coverage to eligible women aged 18 to 64 who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer. Since the law went into effect on July 1, 2009, the program has helped 73 women receive treatment for breast of cervical cancer. Women who believe they may be eligible are encouraged to apply for the program by calling the Indiana Family Helpline at 1-800-433-0746. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Program also receives both federal and state funds to help uninsured and underinsured women aged 40 to 64 gain access to screening services for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer. For more information on cancer screenings, visit or call 1-800-433-0746. “Regular screening examinations by a health care professional can result in the detection and removal of precancerous growths, as well as the diagnosis of cancers at an early stage, when they are most treatable,” said Triplett. “Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening account for at least half of all new cancer cases.”

Grooming Your Indiana
Fresh Brand Christmas Tree
Members of the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association (ICTGA) are busy grooming your real Christmas tree for the 2010 season and beyond. Real tree consumers will be ready to purchase when late November and December come around but few know that June through August are the busiest and most difficult months for the growers. Trees, weeds, and insect and disease pests are all thriving in the warm Indiana weather, thus requiring constant attention if quality trees are to be produced. All quality Indiana Fresh Brand Christmas Trees require some form of pruning or shearing, as the growers call it. The amount and time of shearing is dependent on the tree species. This process helps to determine whether the tree will be tall and narrow, or shorter and wider at the bottom. The amount of shearing will also determine how full the tree is. One Indiana grower explains that they shear to produce trees full enough that you cannot see the trunk but not so full or dense that the ornaments slide off. Trees from different growers can take on a different appearance due to shearing techniques. Scotch pine, the most common Indiana grown Christmas tree is usually sheared beginning about the middle of June. White pine is similar to Scotch pine but it is usually sheared beginning about the first of July. Shearing can continue into August but enough time must be allowed for the sheared trees to set buds for the following growing season. A knife about 16 inches long is used to shear the trees. The knife may have a straight edge or be serrated. The grower examines the tree and determines how much of the new foliage should be removed and how long the top or leader should be. While wearing appropriate safety equipment, the grower then cuts around the tree from the top to bottom in full powerful swings. Up to a foot, or even more foliage is removed. Once having completely circled the tree, it is examined and perhaps some additional grooming is done with hand clippers. It takes about 30 seconds to shear a 7-foot tall Scotch pine tree. Some larger growers use mechanical devices that operate like a small vertically mounted rotary lawn mower. Others use a gas-powered sickle bar. The fir species, which are becoming increasingly popular in Indiana, are usually sheared beginning in the middle of July. They are sheared with a knife as well, but some species require hand pruning, particularly the upper portions. Even before shearing begins, proper weed control is essential. Many growers use the same pre-emergent herbicides that row-crop producers use. These are applied early in the spring and as the season continues, post emergent herbicides are applied. Glycophosphate is a poplar herbicide, but care must be exercised to prevent it from contacting the trees. These herbicides are used sparingly in bands just where the trees are growing. This minimizes herbicide use and prevents erosion in the untreated and more exposed areas between the rows. Mowing the untreated area between the rows is also a necessity. Depending on spacing, this is usually done with small utility tractors or just heavy-duty lawn mowers. Depending on rainfall and length of the growing season, the field may need mowing 4 to 6 times in a year. As shearing, mowing and herbicide application continue, the grower must also be on the lookout for numerous insect and disease issues that may develop. Some examples include bagworms, sawflies, spider mites, numerous needle cast diseases and others are all possible. Early detection and identification will result in controlling the pests with limited pesticide use, while still producing quality trees. For more information about Christmas trees or to locate a choose-and-cut tree farm near you, visit the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers

For Energy Efficient Projects
State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Huntington) congratulates Valparaiso for qualifying for a grant to fund an energy efficient project. The award was given on June 22, at the Statehouse. Valparaiso received a $240,160 grant to install variable frequency drives (VFDs) on existing aeration blowers at a wastewater treatment plant. The purpose of the Indiana Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) Program is to assist eligible entities in creating and implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions in a manner that will reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities, increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and reduce energy costs through efficiency improvements. “I am very proud of Valparaiso for securing these grant dollars. During tough economic times, everyone is searching for solutions that maximize every taxpayer dollar. These projects will help increase government efficiency and increase the efficient use of taxpayer funds,” said Rep. Soliday. EECBG programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) and administered in Indiana by the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED).

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