Short Takes

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 24, 2010 with No Comments

Chamber of Commerce Challenge

The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce is challenging all Porter County residents to shop local and within the Duneland community. The Chamber 2010 10-10 Challenge is their newest program in which shoppers are to spend $10 or more at 10 different Chamber member establishments, within one month, save the receipts, and turn them in to be placed in a drawing for Chamber gift certificates. Drawings will be held at the end of each month. As long as all purchases are made within that month and receipts are turned in prior to the last business day of the month, they will be entered. The Chamber 2010 10-10 Challenge is flexible as to the amount of money and type of business in which the service or item is purchased as long as it exceeds $10. For example, a $20 oil change at Chamber member Tire Experts, a $25,000 life insurance policy with any of our local insurance agents, purchasing groceries at Wiseway and an acupuncture session at East Wind Acupuncture have already put you four towards the goal of 10 businesses. Once all 10 unique business receipts are collected, they may be turned into the Chamber of Commerce to be entered into a drawing for a $50 Chamber Gift Certificate, good at all participating Chamber member facilities. For a list of Chesterton/Duneland Chamber Members or more information, visit, or contact the Chamber office at 926-5513.

Play Major Role in State’s Economy

A new study released on Thursday at the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville revealed that Indiana’s three ports on the Ohio River – Burns Harbor, Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville – annually contribute $5.4 billion in economic activity to the state economy and 43,700 jobs. The study was conducted by Martin Associates, one of the foremost maritime economic consulting firms in the country, and was peer reviewed by economics professors from Indiana University, University of Notre Dame and Purdue University. The study focused on 2009 data, which reflected a significant economic downturn, suggesting that the results are conservative estimates for the ports’ annual impacts. Dr. John Martin presented the economic impact study to the Ports of Indiana Commission during the public business meeting at Jeffersonville City Hall. “The mission of the Ports of Indiana is to develop and maintain a world-class port system dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy,” Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana, said. “This study helps us quantify how valuable these ports are to our state’s economy, but the biggest contribution of our ports is the competitive advantage they create for Indiana companies that ship goods by water. Maintaining this advantage will ensure these ports continue to help grow our state economy for years to come.” Other annual economic contributions generated by Indiana’s three ports included $2.38 billion in personal income, $732 million in local purchases and $224 in million state and local taxes. The study was released during a special celebration commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville. This port handled its first cargoes in the summer of 1985 when a shipment of automobile presses from Germany was unloaded from a barge. Over the last 25 years, the port has handled more than more than 30 million tons of barge shipments moving cargo in and out of southeast Indiana. “For 25 years, this port has helped to build the local economy,” Matt Smolek, port director for the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville, said. “So many people have contributed to the success over the years and it’s very gratifying to see that this port now generates more than $1 billion for the economy each year and 10,000 jobs.” The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan in Mount Vernon, Burns Harbor and Jeffersonville. The Ports of Indiana manages approximately 2,600 acres, which are home to 60 companies and 800 acres of available industrial sites. For more information, call 800-232-7678, or visit

Receives Grant for Star Research

Undergraduate astronomy students at Valparaiso University will engage in research that will further astronomers’ understanding of the life and death of stars similar to the Sun with the support of a $226,100 grant from the National Science Foundation. Bruce Hrivnak, a professor of physics and astronomy who will lead the research program, said the federal agency’s Research in Undergraduate Institutions award provides continued support over the next three years for Valparaiso University’s astronomical research into the later stages in the evolution of stars. “Not only will this research contribute to a better understanding of the universe around us, but it will also provide an opportunity to train and inspire university students, some of whom will become part of the next generation of scientists,” Hrivnak said. The project, titled “RUI: Variability – A Key Probe of the Properties and Evolution of Post-AGB Stars and Proto-Planetary Nebulae,” will support the university’s observational studies of stars. “Stars like the Sun eventually enlarge in size to become red giants and then lose their outer layers of gas,” Hrivnak said. “These are seen as glowing planetary nebulae, while the core of the star becomes a white dwarf. We will study stars in the transition between red giants and planetary nebulae.” In particular, Hrivnak and his students will focus on the light variability of stars, which can be due either to pulsation or a binary companion star, and what can be learned from this. Much of the research will take place at the Valparaiso University Observatory on campus, with additional observations taking place at larger telescopes with international collaborators. Hrivnak is an expert on the subject of dying stars and has studied the phenomenon for more than 20 years. In 2004, he also was awarded a three-year, $198,000 National Science Foundation grant to support his studies and provide research opportunities for Valparaiso University students. The funding for the university’s astronomy research program is the second RUI award the university has received from the National Science Foundation this summer. In June, the agency awarded biology professor Robert Swanson $167,000 for a plant genetics project that could yield substantial benefits for the agricultural industry while supporting research experiences for Valparaiso University undergraduate students. For more information on Valparaiso University, call 464-5000 or visit

Certification Program at IUN

The Northwest Indiana Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) is hosting a Human Resources Certification Program beginning Sept.11 and running consecutive Saturdays through Oct. 23 at Indiana University Northwest in Gary. The seven-week program is designed to prepare individuals for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification exams. The course offers a structured learning environment in which experienced instructors present the SHRM Learning System materials in an easy-to-understand format and lead lively classroom discussions. Individuals also get the added benefits of training close to home with access to expert instructors and the opportunity to build their peer network. The course teaches the six modules – strategic management, workforce planning and employment, HR development, total rewards, employee and labor relations and risk management – which cover topics most relevant to today’s HR professionals and matches the HR Certification Institute’s body of knowledge on which the exams are based. Course fees often qualify for tuition reimbursement. Professionals who use the SHRM Learning System to prepare for the PHR and SPHR exams consistently beat the national pass rate year after year. For more information about the program, call 981-4257 or visit For more information about HR certification and how to apply for the exam, visit

Indiana Chapter Awards Event Set

The Autism Society of America’s Indiana Chapter will host its fourth annual Excellence Awards at the Athenaeum in Indianapolis on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. The evening will begin with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a concert at 8 p.m. featuring Drew Tretick. Tretick, who has established himself as an internationally recognized violinist and is a favorite with audiences for his expressive performances and warm stage presence, is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He has recorded and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and others like Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder and the late John Denver. This year, the awards dinner recognizes excellence in five categories: Early Intervention, Advocacy/Self-Advocacy, Family Leadership, Direct Care, and Partnership. The Excellence in Early Intervention award will be given to an professional or volunteer who demonstrates excellence in the provision of supports to families seeking or adjusting to a new or recent diagnosis to navigate the complexities of the referrals, information and resource systems. The winner of the Excellence in Advocacy/Self-Advocacy award will be an advocate or self-advocate who demonstrates excellence in enhancing the rights of and advancing awareness of the needs and successes of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families through their work in educational, therapeutic, legal, legislative and other systems in Indiana at the individual, community, or state level. The Excellence in Family Leadership award winner will be a family member of an individual with autism who demonstrates excellence as a champion of people with autism spectrum disorders, as seen through the perspective of the family. The Excellence in Direct Care award will be given to a provider who demonstrates excellence in direct care services to infant, toddlers, children, youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders through their work in medical, educational, therapeutic, recreational or other settings, using innovative and scientifically supported best practices in partnership with families and other professionals. The fifth award for Excellence in Partnership award will be given to a provider or agency that demonstrates excellence in collaborating with the Autism Society of Indiana to provide services to those families affected by autism in Indiana. Tickets will be $75 each. For more information, call 317-695-6252 or visit

Better Business Bureau

Gail Zurek joined the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana this month as the new Area Director in the Merrillville office. Zurek has extensive executive management, marketing and public relations skills as well as experience establishing profitable relationships. She is eager to recognize and work with trustworthy businesses in our community, help educate consumers and strengthen bureau relationships in Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties. Zurek comes to the bureau from the University of Chicago, most recently as executive director of career development. To assist growing businesses make smart human capital decisions, Zurek traveled nationally connecting with businesses and promoting the value of hiring university graduate students. “Meeting with so many businesses, you quickly get a feel for those that exemplify trust and ethics in the marketplace,” Zurek said. Having experienced the impact local businesses have on strengthening the community and way of life, she was excited to join the bureau in order to connect with local business and promote the values and mission of the bureau. Originally from southern California, Zurek has lived in the Midwest region for eight years including two years in St. John. While there are days in snow-laden late February that make her miss California, Zurek enjoys life as a Hoosier. She is an active member of the St. John Lions Club and a variety of community events. But Zurek’s favorite way to spend time is with her husband, Michael, two sons Sammy, 6, and Joey, 18 months and their pug dog Simba. If you are a business owner in Lake, Porter or LaPorte counties, give Zurek a call and welcome her. She is there to meet the needs of the business community and is doing so eagerly. Zurek can be reached at 791-9550, ext. 305, or by e-mail at

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