Short Takes

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Published on August 11, 2010 with No Comments

STATE HELPS HOOSIERS

Hazards Alert Radios

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) partnered with local emergency management agencies to announce that more than 8,300 all hazards alert radios are being distributed to at-risk Hoosiers throughout the state. “All hazard alert radios are one of the best early warning tools available,” IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott said. “Where funds permit, we hope to continue partnering with local emergency management agencies to provide additional radios to Hoosiers who might not otherwise be able to afford them.”

In 2009, IDHS distributed about 1,000 radios through the 10 Indiana districts and 92 county emergency management agencies. IDHS embarked on this most recent purchase of more than 8,300 about two years ago. This radio project required a sustained effort to secure grant funding, develop the project and secure the radios. The radios have been divided among the counties and delivered to each county emergency management agency for distribution. In most counties, emergency management agencies are coordinating distribution with local community service organizations or more localized government entities to target, among other areas, residents of the thousands of manufactured (mobile) homes in Indiana. Manufactured homes and similar structures offer only minimal protection against severe weather and other life-threatening natural and man-made disasters, so, frequently, the best course of action is evacuation to a stronger, safer building, such as a community center or other public facility. These radios will help provide at-risk, manufactured home occupants the advanced warning they need. Federal grant sources funded the purchase and distribution of these radios. IDHS encourages everyone who is able to purchase an all hazards alert radio to do so. They can be obtained for about $30 or $40 online and at many retail outlets.

All-hazards alert radios disseminate more than 60 emergency alerts, such as hazardous weather and other local area warnings, including up-to-date weather information broadcast directly from the National Weather Service. In the event of a power outage or an evacuation, backup battery power allows the radios to remain operational. Most all hazard radios require a Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) code number in order to limit the receipt of emergency messages to a specific geographic area. For the list of Indiana counties and their corresponding codes, as well as more information about the IDHS, safety and preparedness, call 1-317-232-3980, or visit www.in.gov/dhs/getprepared.

TASTE OF PORTER COUNTY

It’s All About the Food
Taste of Porter County

The Taste of Porter County will be held at the Porter County Expo and Fairgrounds on Aug. 20 from 3-8 p.m., Aug. 21 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Aug. 22 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. This fun-filled family weekend will include a beer garden, karaoke, battle of the bands, bag tournament, sidewalk chalk painting, arts and crafts and commercial vendors. There will also be kid’s games as well as a thrilling obstacle course and inflatables. On Aug. 22, there will be a 5 mile race with proceeds going to local charities. Registration for the race is from 7:30-9 a.m. and the race will start at 9 a.m. with awards in all age groups.

Also on Aug. 22, a car and motorcycle show will take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Classic cars and motorcycles are welcome to cruise in and enjoy all of the fun. The show’s theme is “it’s all about the food”, so be sure to come hungry. Many area restaurants and over 30 food vendors will be selling taste size portions as well as full size portions. You will have a chance to try many ethnic and American food items, roast hog, wings, barbeque, and a variety of tempting desserts including elephant ears, funnel cakes and other gourmet food items. Admission is free. For more information, call 464-9918 or visit www.tasteofportercounty.com.

HOME OWNERSHIP COUNSELING

Program Gets Grant
Home in Hands

Housing Opportunities, Inc. has been awarded a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the PNC Foundation, for a pre- and post- purchase home ownership counseling program.   These funds will assist in providing pre-purchase counseling and education classes where individuals can learn about money management, choosing a real estate agent, different mortgage programs and the closing process.

The post-purchase counseling will help with foreclosure prevention, as well as credit counseling for people who are at risk of losing their home. Housing Opportunities is a nonprofit organization that serves the community through the development and provision of safe, decent and affordable housing and customized support services. They are located at 954 Eastport Dr., Suite A, in Valparaiso. For more information, contact Caroline Shook at 548-2800, ext. 209, or visit www.housing-opportunities.com.

PARTY IN THE PARK

Celebrate Summer’s End

The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce will host its fifth Party in the Park on Aug. 21 from 5-10 p.m. at Thomas Centennial Park, downtown Chesterton. Party in the Park is an annual summer celebration that has proven to be a great Duneland community event, focusing on quality entertainment for Duneland friends and families to help start off the 2010-2011 school year.

This year, Party in the Park will feature many new items, including a restaurant community pot luck. Chamber member restaurants will be offering one dish each, allowing attendees to enjoy a “pot luck” style dining experience. Local Duneland organizations will provide games and activities for children.

Chesterton Police and Fire departments will also be present to educate and provide additional fun for attendees. The event will also boast cornhole games, a beer garden, face painting, clowns, DJ entertainment and bounce houses for all to enjoy. Admission cost this year has significantly decreased, thanks to contributions from all of the Party in the Park sponsors. Admission is only $5 per person, while children 10 and under are free. Tickets are available in advance at the Chamber office, 220 Broadway, Chesterton, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, contact Tiffany Bley at 926-5513.

SOUTH SHORE WALL

Of Legends Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the South Shore Wall of Legends located at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in Hammond. Two remaining Legends will be named this year to join 15 others on the wall located in the lobby of the welcome center. Nominations will be taken until 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2.

The Wall of Legends is sponsored by BP Business Unit of Whiting. NWI Legends are those individuals who have lived or worked in Northwest Indiana and by their actions have had a substantial impact with “lasting implications.” Legends may or may not be living.

Those sought for the wall must have demonstrated the “pillars” of courage or creativity, innovation or exploration, said John Davies, coordinator for the Legends Project. “These individuals were pioneers of their time who changed the world in some way,” Davies said.

Consultant for the Legends Project is Steve McShane of Calumet Regional Archives at Indiana University Northwest. NWI Legends have likely made their contributions in past years, in contrast to modern day innovators, Davies added. Last year, those inducted were Orville Redenbacher, Charles Bowman and Garnet Findling of Valparaiso for revolutionizing the popcorn industry. Another included James P. Comer M.D., M.C.H., son of a working class family in East Chicago and now an educational “pioneer” at Yale University. Also inducted was astronaut Col. Jerry Ross of Crown Point who shares the world record for the most space flights with over 1000 hours in space.

Nominees must complete their nominations and submit them to the Authority, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond. If an individual was nominated but not selected during 2009, they are eligible for nomination in 2010. However, their information must be resubmitted to be considered for 2010. To obtain a nomination form, contact Davies at 462-6836 or at woodlandscom@comcast.net.

LUBEZNIK CENTER FOR THE

Arts Lakefront Art Festival

Art Festival
Lakefront Art Festival will be Aug. 21 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Aug. 22 from 10 a.m-5 p.m. The Lakefront Art Festival takes place at Michigan City’s Washington Park and attracts thousands of visitors from surrounding states to a festive, high-quality event held in a park setting on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The festival, a major annual fundraiser for the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, is overseen by arts professionals committed to making every aspect of the festival a quality venue for artists and visitors. The park is accessible to motorists, cyclists, foot traffic and boaters alike. Whether you’re looking for a special gift or the just the right piece for your home, the festival provides the perfect venue for finding unusual items.

Remember, in August, the holidays are just around the corner. There will be many new artists, as well as some old favorites. Artwork represents a range of fine art media and fine crafts. See artists at work as many exhibitors will be demonstrating in their booths and in designated areas. There is always something new to see. Attendees can learn about collages, basketry, ceramics, drawing, glasswork, jewelry, metalwork, painting, photography, sculpting and much more. Artists will be awarded in five different categories.

There will be an art activity tent for children where they can experiment with mixing colors, painting, forming clay at the potter’s wheel and other fun activities using crayons and watercolors. Volunteers will be available to assist, and there will also be clowns, face painting and balloon sculptures.

An on-site food court will be available to festival-goers and the general public. It will feature a variety of culinary choices that range from healthy to indulgent. A sample of ethnic and American offerings may include brats, burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, Italian and Polish sausages, burritos, quesadillas, grilled chicken pitas, egg rolls, chicken and pork with fried rice, and popcorn. For those with a sweet tooth, there will be roasted nuts, homemade ice cream, smoothies and flavor-ice.

Free parking will be available within walking distance to Washington Park at the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets at the north end of the parking lot near US 12, the grassy area just north of the Lubeznik Center, the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce parking lot and the Michigan City City Hall parking lot. There will be directional signs marking these parking areas and the Shuttle Pick-Up locations. If you are up for a stroll, all lots are a short walking distance to Washington Park (3-4 blocks or about 5-10 minutes). A free shuttle service will deliver passengers to the festival gate. Admission to the event is $4 for adults while LCA Members and children 12 and under are free. For information, call 874-4900.

STATE TO HELP

Those Facing Foreclosure

In effort to help Hoosier families avoid foreclosure, Lt. Gov. Skillman today announced a series of free borrower outreach events to be held at National Guard Armories across the state on Sept. 1. Cities where events will be held include Indianapolis, Hammond, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Evansville, Terre Haute and Richmond. The events, which will run from 3-8 p.m., are being sponsored by the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN).

Troubled Hoosier homeowners will be able to attend a workshop and meet with a trained foreclosure prevention counselor, who will help the borrower navigate the process and prepare the documents the lender needs to work on an alternative to foreclosure. “The prospect of foreclosure is frightening for anyone, and the stacks of paperwork to wade through can be overwhelming,” Lt. Gov. Skillman said. “Our Foreclosure Prevention Network has helped guide thousands of Hoosiers through the process, and this is yet another opportunity to find another option.” Lt. Gov. Skillman formed IFPN in November 2007 to combat Indiana’s high foreclosure rates.

The partnership between state government, lenders and community organizations has worked with over 75,000 Hoosiers in an effort to avoid foreclosure. The national recession has caused the foreclosure rate in the U.S. to jump more than 125 percent. In large part due to the work of IFPN, the housing crisis has not caused as sharp of an increase in Indiana. Indiana’s rate (4.51 percent) is now lower than the national average (4.63 percent). Last year, IFPN hosted a statewide phone-a-thon that led to a drop of 6,000 foreclosures in the 3rd quarter of 2009. That success sparked talk of a series of statewide borrower outreach events, which could be even more beneficial. “Using this face-to-face method will give us a better opportunity to follow-up and make sure the people we counsel are able to find a work-out with their lender,” said Sherry Seiwert, executive director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA).

The borrower outreach events are being done at no additional cost to taxpayers. In addition to the Indiana National Guard offering their facilities, IFPN has received very generous donations from the Indiana Banker’s Association, the Indiana Association of Realtors, AARP, Fifth-Third Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, and U.S. Bank. Additionally, AT&T is donating aircards to ensure internet connectivity, and Sharp Business Systems is providing copy machines to complete packets of information for borrowers. For more information, call (317) 232-5674 or visit www.in.gov/lg.

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