LaPorteCountyLife News Feed Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:13:44 +0000 en hourly 1 A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Earl Adams Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:00:25 +0000 Curtis Hankins Earl Adams with his daughter, Liz.

Earl Adams made a living doing what he loved, working in engineering and technology. The Region native lives in La Porte, with his wife Regina and daughter Liz, of whom they are very proud. Adams spent much of his long career working in the healthcare industry, taking leadership roles in information technology at places like La Porte Hospital. Now retired, he fills his time as a mentor, teaching at the La Porte County Public Library’s Maker Lab, and creating beautiful, functional woodworking and saddle stitching as a hobby.

The Maker Lab is filled with technologies designed to help people of all ages learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and have some fun doing it. 3D printers, robotics kits, cutting machines, and tools for coding and programming are just some of the things visitors to the lab get to experience first-hand.

“We expose people to stuff that they might not otherwise get the chance to see,” Adams said. “We see all kinds of people, from the super young to one 92-year-old gentleman who wanted to learn about 3D printing.”

Adams helps guide Maker Lab visitors through a “Steam Sandbox,” hosted every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. He walks people through building STEAM skills that are both fun and practical in the real world. His own education was somewhat pieced together, always taking courses in things that interested him and that complimented his degree in medical microbiology, while also learning on the job. He hopes to help kids and adults do what he did and have fun learning.

“My jobs have always kind of been my hobbies,” he said. “It’s been wonderful working in what I love to do.”

Adams worked in medical technology almost all his life and saw what a dramatic impact the technology he showcases at the Makers Lab left on his industry. He thinks 3D printing in particular is an exciting tool.

“In today’s world, especially in engineering and design, they use a lot of technologies like that,” he said. “3D printing allows you to think of an idea, and in not too long of a time you can print that idea out and see what it looks like. It’s almost like magic, first there’s an empty space and then an hour or two later there’s something sitting there that was only in your mind or on the computer before.”

In the near future, 3D printed organs might replace the need for organ donors, and he has already helped his students at the Maker Lab print prosthetics for people in need with an event organized by the library called “Lend a Hand.”

“Last year we printed hands that people with various disabilities could use as a replacement,” Adams said. “They were designed for children with missing hands. It was just amazing to see what people came up with, and how people in the community were able to make those hands.”

The La Porte County Friends of the Library have named an award after Adams, the Earl Adams Igniting Innovation Award. It’s a testament to his dedication toward lifelong learning, and his unpublished motto to always help first.

“I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve done,” he said. “If I show someone how to saddle stitch something, they learn that skill and can use it for life. I think giving back and teaching other people and helping them learn those skills is something that can never be taken away from you.”

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Earl Adams
Hammond firefighters raise $1,500 to help fight breast cancer Wed, 29 Jan 2020 02:59:46 +0000 Community Healthcare System Hammond, Ind.Local firefighters wore new t-shirts while on active duty during the month of October, raising awareness and $1,500 in funding for the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster. The goal of the new shirts was to, in part, honor the memory of a fireman’s sister, Amanda Repay, who lost her battle to breast cancer last February as well as raise funding for cancer care close to home.

Proceeds from the Hammond department’s fundraising efforts benefit the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster. The resource center is a program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of cancer care in northwest Indiana and the south Chicago suburbs. Since first opening its doors in 2003, the Cancer Resource Centre has offered all of its services free of charge to all who enter, including those receiving care from medical treatment facilities other than the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. The Centre is funded from donations and grants, in-kind donations and volunteer support.

Individuals may check out books, view videotapes and other educational material within the library or conduct internet searches to obtain research concerning diagnosis, treatment and general information. Groups gather to share experiences in social and professionally-led groups for support. Classes and programs are offered to help individuals connect in their experiences and to promote emotional wellbeing.

The Cancer Resource Centre is located at 926 Ridge Road in Munster. For more information on the mind-body-spirit programs and a complete listing of upcoming classes and events, visit or call 219-836-3349.

Hammond firefighters raise $1,500 to help fight breast cancer
Center for Creative Solutions, Inc.® announces April’s Celebration of World Creativity and Innovation week 2020 Wed, 29 Jan 2020 02:37:24 +0000 Center for Creative Solutions, Inc. The Center for Creative Solutions today announced Northwest Indiana’s World Creativity and Innovation Week, starting April 15-21, 2020. The theme for the week is “Everyday Creativity.” Everyone is invited to join the fun.

A number of events will celebrate creativity and innovation throughout April. Most events are free and open to the public. Any local business or organization wanting to share its creativity and innovation is invited to host an event.

In addition, the Center for Creative Solutions will award area students and their organizations for innovative projects or products. The winners will receive community recognition and a monetary prize. Students of any age are welcome to enter.

Additionally, in conjunction with Dr. Rakish and Bina Gupta and the B. R. Foundation of Michigan City, the Center will present the Tej Ram Gupta scholarships to three A. K. Smith Career Center students.

During the week, the Board of Directors will bestow the CREO! It honors a citizen or organization that has encouraged a culture of creativity and innovation in our community. CREO is a Latin word, meaning “to create.” It stands for: Creativity, Regional, Excellence and Originality. Past recipients include:

  • O’Merrial Butchee and John Davies, leaders of the Ivy Tech Gerald I. Lampkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and Society of Innovators (2014);
  • Dr. Rakesh and Bina Gupta, Michigan City leaders advancing community innovation (2015);
  • Leigh Morris of La Porte and regional promoter of innovation in health care, government and non-profit organizations (2016);
  • Spark Labs of the La Porte County Public Library (2017);
  • Ben Konowitz, La Porte businessman, comedian and improv actor (2018); and
  • Ed Buetner, Michigan City businessman and community leader (2019).

The public is invited to nominate a person or organization for the award by contacting the Center for Creative Solutions, a local non-profit organization. For more information, contact the Center at or telephone at 219-861-0955.

Center for Creative Solutions, Inc.® announces April’s Celebration of World Creativity and Innovation week 2020
Barker Middle School History Buffs Wed, 29 Jan 2020 01:17:37 +0000 Barker Middle School Students at Barker Middle School recently took part in a school-wide History Fair, presenting projects on a variety of topics.

Twenty-five of the 117 projects submitted were selected as school winners and will now advance to the National History Day Northwest Regional competition on February 22 at John Young Middle School in Mishawaka.

Pictured are (Seated, L-R) Bailey Chavis, Brielle Jones, and Hannah Parker, whose project on the Lost Girls of Sudan was among the 25 winners, and (standing, L-R) seventh-grade social studies teachers Mariah Pol and Michael Eldridge.

Barker Middle School History Buffs
Footlight Theatre in search of directors Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:45:19 +0000 Footlight Theatre The Footlight Players’ Play Selection Committee is beginning the daunting task of picking a slate of five productions for their 71st season. They are in the process of reviewing over 25 scripts of plays and musicals and would like to expand our roster of directors.

Footlight is a completely volunteer organization and is planning on a 5 production season during the months of September and November of 2020 and, February, April and June of 2021.


If you have a desire to direct a production at Footlight Players, please write to us via E-mail or regular mail. Please include your name, address, phone numbers, which months you’d be available, shows that you might like to direct (from the list above, or a suggestion of your own), and any past history of theatrical experiences. Suggestions of any shows you’d like to see produced are always welcomed.

The organization is always on the lookout for all types of volunteers to build up their membership. We also are in need of set builders, costumers, choreographers, lighting and sound operators and designers, musicians, etc. Please contact the theater, located at 1705 Franklin Street in downtown Michigan City, by calling the box-office at (219) 874-4035 or go on-line at

Footlight Theatre in search of directors
La Porte Hospital opening registration for National Diabetes Prevention Program Tue, 28 Jan 2020 23:51:46 +0000 La Porte Hospital La Porte, IN – La Porte Hospital announced it is opening registration for its third Diabetes Prevention Program. The program, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was offered for the first time by La Porte Hospital last year. The CDC has partnered with organizations like La Porte Hospital with the goal of preventing type 2 diabetes.

This yearlong program will begin in early March. The hospital hopes to attract individuals who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and have not yet been successful making recommended lifestyle changes. The program will include lifestyle coaching and ongoing classes to teach participants research-based skills needed to lose weight, become more physically active and manage stress as part of their daily life. The program is part of the evidence-based National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the CDC and supported by the American Medical Association. The general public can refer themselves to the program. A risk assessment will be required before starting the program. Interested individuals can take the risk assessment here to find out if they qualify for the program:

A National Institutes of Health trial, demonstrated that participants in this program who were under age 60 reduced their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, and participants over 60 reduced their risk by 21 percent. The success of the program can be attributed to innovative means of applying the latest research in diabetes prevention while also providing a meaningful team environment and support network with others who are going through the same program.

La Porte Hospital’s program is being offered at no charge to participants thanks to a generous grant from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. To learn more or sign up for an informational session call a diabetes educator at 219-325-7632 by March 1.


La Porte Hospital provides full service hospital and outpatient care to residents of La Porte County and surrounding communities. The mission of La Porte Hospital and La Porte Physician Network is to improve the health of our patients and communities.

La Porte Hospital opening registration for National Diabetes Prevention Program
Take control of your health with La Porte Hospital’s new comprehensive diabetes program in Michigan City Tue, 28 Jan 2020 23:29:04 +0000 Kayla Belec Clarise Largen above is a certified diabetes educator for La Porte Hospital.

Expanding their network of community health providers, La Porte Hospital now offers diabetes education and medical nutrition therapy in Michigan City, in addition to their offices in Starke County and La Porte. Located in the Lifeworks Building (377 North Frontage Rd., Suite 100), the program is designed to help any individual struggling with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and related health issues to feel empowered and control of their health. 

The comprehensive program is led by three certified diabetes educators: Clarise Largen, BSN, R.N., CDE; Stephanie Thomas, CD, RD, CDE; and Rose Flinchum, CNS, CDE, ACNS-BC, BC-ADM. 

Anyone who has diabetes or is at risk for diabetes, or who needs general nutrition therapy to manage kidney disease, obesity, special nutritional needs, and more is welcome to join the La Porte Hospital diabetes education team for group classes and/or individual appointments. The series of classes takes place on the first four Wednesdays of each month from 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration is required and the program is covered by most insurance companies.

Largen said the need for these services is more crucial than some might assume. 

“For instance, people don’t always realize that pre-diabetes is something to worry about,” she said. “It’s a good thing to catch, and we help people achieve that here.”

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not necessarily high enough to qualify as a diabetes diagnosis. However, it can be an indicator of serious health problems to come. The good news is, most people with prediabetes can actually reverse the course of the pending illness with proper weight and nutrition management and by leading a healthier lifestyle. The La Porte Hospital diabetes program is designed to help with that. The program also, of course, offers expert care for those who have already been diagnosed with Type I or Type II diabetes and need to manage their disease effectively. Certified diabetes educators and clinical dietitians work closely with patients and their doctors to keep patients on a healthy track.

Appointments to learn about risk factors for diabetes and to help manage pre-diabetes are available upon request. A physician order is not necessary. 

Individual appointments for diabetes self-management or medical nutrition therapy require a physician order, as do the self-management classes. Largen said that shouldn’t stop anyone from looking into the program. 

“Sometimes people don’t want to explore the options we offer because they don’t want to go through their doctor,” Largen said. “We can secure the orders for them if they call ahead of time.”

Since branching off into Michigan City, La Porte Hospital has been able to help reach a wider audience in La Porte County with quality health programming designed to improve the health of the community overall.

If you are living with diabetes or require nutritional therapy and are interested in taking charge of your health, call 219-325-7623. For additional information about the course or other locations, visit

Thanks to a generous grant from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, La Porte Hospital also is enrolling individuals in the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program free of charge. This yearlong program will begin in early March.  The hospital hopes to attract individuals who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and have not yet been successful in making recommended lifestyle changes. To learn more or sign up for an informational session call a diabetes educator at 219-325-7632 by March 1.

Take control of your health with La Porte Hospital’s new comprehensive diabetes program in Michigan City
10 FUN THINGS TO DO IN NWI THIS WEEKEND January 31-February 2, 2020 Tue, 28 Jan 2020 21:47:52 +0000 Kole Rushmore Looking for the perfect way to commemorate this Super Bowl weekend? Some of the Region’s best weekend activities can be found right here.

Dance Ensemble

The Dance Ensemble takes the stage bringing student and faculty choreographed dance to the Valparaiso community.

Click here for more information.

Super Bowl Pregame Celebration at Mascot Hall of Fame

Visit the MHOF on Super Bowl Sunday 2020 for a Pregame Celebration! Wear your favorite football jersey and get 25% off admission! We will have food and drink specials for all guests!

Click here for more information.

In The Flesh (Pink Floyd Tribute) at The Art Theater

Experience an audio and visual onslaught paying tribute to the Classic Rock legends!

Click here for more information.

Are groundhogs actually grumpy? Find out with Lake County Parks

Are groundhogs grumpy when they have to leave their warm digs to check on their shadow? Learn about these unusual animals and just how Groundhog Day came about.

Click here for more information.

Read to the dogs at the library

Bring the kids to read to the dogs at the Winfield Public Library.

Click here for more information.

All Day Craft Retreat

Get the creative juices flowing! Work on your projects. Enjoy the day crafting away.

Click here for more information.

SBO Bass Trio and Instrument Petting Zoo

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra Brass Trio will be at the library sharing with the young members of our community the opportunity to hear, see, and try instruments.

Click here for more information.

LW Power Trio at Blue Chip Casino

LWPT heads off to Michigan City to perform at Blue Chip Casino on Saturday, Feb 1 starting at 5:30 PM. If you are in the area, come on out and say hi!

Click here for more information.

Meet a Pet Event at Nativity of Our Savior School

Nativity School in Portage will be hosting a Spaghetti/Karaoke Dinner on February 1st! We will be in Mrs. Weeks’ classroom from 5:30 pm to 7 pm with some adoptable dogs and information about our rescue!

Click here for more information.

Gentle Flow Yoga

Certified yoga instructor Lauralee Sikorski, who has taught over 5,000 hours of classes, returns to lead a free gentle flow yoga with emphasis on deep breathing and releasing stress. Bring your own mat, wear comfortable attire and come on an empty stomach.

Click here for more information.

10 FUN THINGS TO DO IN NWI THIS WEEKEND January 31-February 2, 2020
WorkOne Northwest Indiana offers funding to train employees at Region businesses Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:15:29 +0000 Curtis Hankins The modern workplace requires workers and employers to be more adaptable than ever. There is a constant need to fill new roles, learn new skills, and face tough challenges. Often, the default response for businesses around the Region is to hire a new worker to fill the gaps. A better, more cost effective option exists thanks to the Center of Workforce Innovations and the Northwest Indiana Board. It’s called incumbent employee training.

Thanks to the funds from the Department of Labor, the State of Indiana, and generous grant providers, WorkOne offers the financial support and expertise necessary to train a company’s current workers for any role or skill.

“We’re able to reimburse employers for the cost of upscaling their current employees,” said Natalie Aponte, Skills Training Manager for WorkOne. “Let’s say a business has regular maintenance technicians, but they don’t have any electrical experience. If that employer reaches out to us, we can work with a training provider to complete that electrical training on a contract that provides financial reimbursement to the employer.”

WorkOne provides this assistance to any type of employer, from industrial to healthcare. If someone needs training, they can reimburse it.

“Just the other day, we were working with one of the leading medical providers in Northwest Indiana that’s growing by leaps and bounds,” said Becky Fry, WorkOne Business Services Manager. “Even though we’d talked with them in the past, they weren’t aware of all the different kinds of funding and abilities we had to help them upscale their employees.”

Fry, Aponte, and the rest of the WorkOne team work closely with employers to identify exactly what their needs are and chart the best path to filling them. The results of these efforts are significantly more cost effective than hiring and training an entirely new employee. Beyond the financial costs, upscaling your employees works as an investment in your company’s culture.

“If you bring in someone new, they have to learn everything about your company from the acronyms to the culture,” Fry said. “This kind of investment helps with employee retention, and shows your team that you have faith in them. It helps to make your business work more efficiently.”

Another common situation is bringing on a new staff member who is a perfect fit for your company’s culture but is missing a certain skill they need in order to excel. WorkOne’s reimbursement extends to on-the-job training in these cases, letting a business upscale their new employee at reduced cost.

“We’re able to pay half of an employee’s wages during their training course,” Aponte said. “It’s great for when your new hire has some experience, but not all the experience.”

WorkOne makes the upscaling process simple and easy for every business.

“I think if businesses in Northwest Indiana knew that there was a way to have some of their training reimbursed financially, they’d jump at it,” Fry said. “We’re ready to come and help, whenever they need it.”

To learn more about how WorkOne Northwest Indiana can support your business’s employee training, visit www.gotoworkonenw or call 877-607-0680 with any questions. 

The Center of Workforce Innovations serves as staff to the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board and provide oversight of nine WorkOne centers in the region that provide no-cost workforce and employment resources for employers and job seekers.

WorkOne Northwest Indiana offers funding to train employees at Region businesses
Chicago Auto Show & free westbound rides Tue, 28 Jan 2020 03:45:58 +0000 South Shore Line To accommodate passengers attending the Chicago Auto Show, the South Shore Line will be offering select weekday train stops at McCormick Place, in addition to serving McCormick Place Station on weekends.

Further, the South Shore Line is offering free rides on all westbound weekend and off-peak weekday trains from Saturday, Feb. 8, through Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. The free westbound rides apply to all SSL stations, and passengers can simply board applicable westbound trains with no ticket purchase necessary. 

Passengers will be responsible for paying all applicable fares on eastbound trips. Reminder that kids 13 years and younger ride free on off-peak weekday and all weekend trains.

SATURDAY EXTRAS: An eastbound passenger extra will run on Saturday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 15. The train will depart McCormick Place at 4:52 p.m., run non-stop to Hegewisch and make all local stops terminating at Carroll Avenue, Michigan City. The extra will not serve Hudson Lake or South Bend.

The following weekday trains will make flag stops at McCormick Place Feb. 10-14 and Feb. 17 (please note on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 17, the SSL will operate a regular weekday schedule):

Note: Eastbound Trains 109, 113, 119, 121, 123 terminate at Carroll Ave.; Train 209 terminates at Gary Metro Center; Trains 9, 17 & 19 terminate in South Bend.

All weekend trains except Train 601 utilize McCormick Place as a flag stop. While riding the train, please notify the conductor that you want to exit at McCormick Place. When waiting to catch an outbound train at McCormick Place, please stand on the platform in clear view of the train engineer.

Chicago Auto Show & free westbound rides