Short Takes: December 21, 2011

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on December 21, 2011 with No Comments

PORTAGE Youth Soccer

YMCA Ramps Up For Winter

YMCA soccer promises no tryouts, no cuts and no bench-warmers. Every child plays at least half of every game while making friends and learning new techniques. Portage Township YMCA youth soccer leagues are open to boys and girls, ages 3-8. The league starts play Jan. 9. Weekly practices last one hour. Games are played on Saturday mornings. Focus of the league is participation and fun. Basic skills of the game are developed through games and activities. Sportsmanship and values are key components of this league. Every child receives an award at the end of the season. Portage Township YMCA youth soccer leagues are offered in the winter and outdoors in the fall. The YMCA’s Youth Sports Program helps children become not only better players, but better people as well. It’s a progressive program, with multiple age-specific levels. Every child gets to play and the games are safe, exciting and fun, incorporating fair play, positive competition and family involvement. As a leading nonprofit, the Portage Township YMCA strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y is available to all, regardless of age, income or background. For more details, call the YMCA at 762-9622 or visit  



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Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner R. Scott Waddell today announced that license branches will be closed on Friday, Dec. 23, Saturday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec. 26, in observance of the Christmas holiday. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday, Dec. 27.In addition, license branches will be open on New Year’s Eve, but closed on Monday, Jan. 2 in observance of New Year’s Day. All license branches will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday, Jan. 3.Customers needing to conduct business with the BMV without visiting a license branch can visit the improved website at Some transactions can also be completed by phone through the BMV Customer Service Center at 1-888-692-6841.



Benefit Academic Experiences


A number of grants awarded to faculty at Valparaiso University will be used to conduct innovative research, enhance educational opportunities for students, and advance knowledge in varied academic disciplines. The Creative Work and Research Committee awarded five grants through the University Research Professorships Program and the Wheat Ridge Ministries-O.P. Kretzmann Memorial Fund. Rick DeMaris, professor of theology, and Jonathan Schoer, assistant professor of chemistry, were each awarded University Research Professorships.These Professorships are awarded a one-semester sabbatical and a $4,000 stipend. DeMaris’s grant will be used for an alternative study of the Gospel of Mark that focuses on how a written text may have been received in an oral culture and how it may have been used in a dramatic ritual or performance. Schoer’s grant will support his study of water quality and ways to improve water quality in China at Zhejiang University and at Zhejiang Agricultural and Forestry University. The grant will also help in further development of local research on water quality in Northwest Indiana. Grants for $10,000 each were awarded to Kevin Jantzi, assistant professor of chemistry, Daniel Maxin, assistant professor of math and computer sciences, and Matt Ringenberg, associate professor of social work. The grants were awarded through the Wheat Ridge Ministries-O.P. Kretzmann Memorial Fund. Jantzi’s grant will be used to conduct research in a rural Nicaragua community, where open-flame cooking is practiced. This work will aid in the development of a method to identify and quantify contaminants present in the air, confirm the source, determine if the air contaminants are responsible for respiratory problems, and implement improvements to home ventilation and cooking methods.  The grant awarded to Maxin will support his research to develop and analyze two-sex population models that address important demographic and epidemiological issues both in human and nonhuman populations. Maxin’s research focuses on mathematical modeling of biological processes with an emphasis on population dynamics and epidemiology of sexual transmitted diseases. Ringenberg will use the grant for The Engaged Families equals School Success (EFSS) longitudinal study based on the Hoover-Dempsey model. It will examine the ways in which family health (physical, emotional and spiritual) affects student health and academic success. The study will also look into the relationship between family involvement at home and at school and students’ academic success. For more information on the Creative Work and Research Committee, visit



Advisor Councils Forming

Are you talking, but feel like you’re not being heard? Do you feel like you’re combing through all possible resources, but feel like you’re falling through the cracks? This is often how parents and caregivers feel as they deal with day-to-day struggles due to lack of services in their areas. The Autism Society of Indiana (ASI) has developed a way to get parents and caregivers a voice. By joining one of the regional Parent Advisory Councils (PAC), parents and caregivers can not only discuss where the gaps and needs are in their specific location, but also help develop ways to fill in those gaps locally. ASI doesn’t assume to know what is needed, it is asking for input. The PACs are not support groups, but rather a way to give and receive information about interventions, treatments, school issues, legislative relations, and more in a constructive and functional way statewide. This is an opportunity to make a difference for all people affected by autism in Indiana. From Urban to Rural communities, your voice needs to be heard. For more information, call 800-609-8449 or visit


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Portage Riverwalk Cited

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) Board received an award for environmental achievement from Costa Dillon, Superintendent of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The award was a duplicate of one awarded to Indiana Dunes by the Department of the Interior for the Portage Riverwalk, which was funded by the RDA. The RDA also continues to promote economic development and environmental remediation efforts in Northwest Indiana, approving funding at its quarterly Board Meeting for two initiatives aimed at restoring brownfields and laying groundwork for development. The Board unanimously approved an additional $100,000 in matching funds to establish an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Assessment Program and Revolving Loan Fund. The RDA has filed applications to establish the program and fund, which will consist of 80 percent federal dollars and 20 percent local matching funds. “This will allow for brownfield sites to be cleaned up in a way that maximizes our current investment,” said Hanna. The Board also approved $30,000 to match a grant from The Donnelley Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit foundation. Since work began on the runway extension project at the Gary Chicago International Airport, “We have seen an increasing number of developers and foundations showing interest in the area around the airport,” Hanna said. The combined funds will pay for a study by an ecological consulting and ecosystem restoration firm of the area around the airport to determine which areas should be targeted for development and which for environmental preservation in order not to disturb rare species of plants or wildlife. “There are a number of areas like this throughout Northwest Indiana where there is a need to balance development with environmental preservation,” said RDA Chairman Leigh Morris. “So this effort can serve as a model for other places outside the airport.”



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Managers of small companies or organizations that offer an innovative and noteworthy, albeit specialty niche product or service, understand the importance of marketing it online with an effective web site. Business management and communication students in Purdue University Calumet’s experiential learning, senior level Advertising Management course have been learning how to develop and manage a marketing campaign by consulting with actual for-profit and not-for-profit niche clients. A key component of the students’ efforts has involved reviewing a client’s web site and, subsequently, making improvements to generate greater online customer attention through increased interactivity and landing page relevance. The students strive for search engine optimization – Identifying key search or adwords that connect web site-searching prospective customers with the students’ business clients. “Search engine optimization is incredibly valuable for advertisers as consumers increasingly search for more and more information online via Google, the most popular search engine in the world,” instructor Kasia Firlej said. Highland resident and senior marketing/accounting major Ryan Lorance has been part of a team that has consulted with Griffith-based American Antler Dog Chews, which produces a natural dog chew product from the shed antlers of deer, elk and moose. As Firlej explains, typing various search words and phrases to exercise a typical web-based search on the Google search engine produces numerous listings The listings generate more customer looks and business hits. That’s where the importance of identifying and utilizing proper search adwords in a web-based marketing campaign is important, according to Firlej.

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Search Continues for Young Artists

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County is one of more than 4,000 Clubs across the country joining in a search to identify young artists. The competition is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) National Fine Arts Exhibit program. The Portage Library partners with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, Dusty Rhode Unit, and displays its art throughout December. As a participant in the National Fine Arts Exhibit program, the Boys & Girls Club of Porter County will submit members’ artwork in four age divisions and 10 categories, including watercolor, pastel, oil, acrylic and collage. Selected artwork will be screened at the regional level and some advance to BGCA’s Atlanta headquarters for judging at the national level. The public is invited to view this art. For more information, call Anne M.G. Wood, Portage Public Library, 2665 Irving St., Portage at 763-1508.

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Exercise And Fun

Learn to dance while getting exercise and having fun. The Portage Township YMCA is offering dance classes on the first and third Friday of every month, from 7-9 p.m. Two new dances will be focused on each class. The party will include 10-minute review of previous class followed by a 40-minute group lesson on new dances and conclude with freestyle to practice what is learned. Dance partners will be rotated. Refreshments will be provided. Cost is $10 for all participants. No need to be a member of the YMCA. Inside shoes recommended. Registration recommended. The remaining schedule:  Feb. 3: Tango and Swing; Feb. 17: Waltz and Bolero. For more information, call the YMCA at 762-9622 or visit Neal’s students to excel beyond the classroom

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