Several Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana (NWISOI) members have made headlines this quarter. Several recently published articles have highlighted the many accomplishments that NWISOI members are making. Some are as follows:
-The Mascot Hall of Fame is planning to open its doors in Whiting in early 2018. A groundbreaking celebration took place in October at Whiting’s Oil City Stadium at the intersection of 119th and Front Streets. The online Mascot Hall of Fame was founded by David Raymond, who was the original Philadelphia Phillies’ Phanatic mascot. Al Spajer, Executive Director of the soon-to-be constructed Mascot Hall of Fame is excited to see this dream become a reality. Turnouts of 50,000 visitors annually are expected once the Hall of Fame officially opens.
-Micah Pollak, Assistant Professor of Economics, and Bala Arshanapalli, Finance Professor, both of Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics have been tracking the region’s economy via a localized economic barometer that measures key performance matrices such as steel production, home sales and work wages. However, the ending index resulted in what Pollak considers an abstract number that many people did not fully understand. He subsequently created what is called the Northwest Indiana Imputed Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP), which is modeled after the easier to understand Gross Domestic Product. His goal was simply to provide a reference tool that businesses, policymakers, or anyone interested in northwest Indiana’s economy could more easily interpret.
-The Caring Place Shelter is offering a safe haven and sense of hope for all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender. In 2013, the Federal Violence Against Women Act was renewed to extend protection to victims of all genders, gender identities and sexual orientations. The goal of The Caring Place is to break the cycle of domestic violence by providing, in addition to a safe shelter— victim advocacy services, sexual assault and domestic violence support, and legal advocacy.
-The 2020 Greenways and Blueways Plan will detail priorities for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties’ pedestrian, bicycling and water-based networks, as well as green spaces. The draft of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) study that is intended to link natural conservation and non-motorized transportation is now available for review online. Several public forums were also held last month at various locations throughout the region.
-The Northwest Indiana region is showing promising signs of attracting more visitors, as well as enticing more businesses and residential prospects to move to the area. Many will remember when the Lincoln Funeral Train stopped in Hammond in the fall of 2015. That four-day exhibition drew more than 8,000 visitors, many from Illinois. Creators of the Lincoln Funeral Train, which is a replica of the train car that carried the remains of President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated, are seeking a permanent home for the exhibit. Griffith, which is located within miles of the original funeral train’s route, currently has a pending bid in place. Although many cities and towns throughout the country are competing for the same honor, Griffith Town Council President Rick Ryfa rightfully asked the question “Why not here?”
-Family Express gas station and convenience store in Valparaiso is rolling out a new feature that will enable patrons to order and receive a made-to-order pizza in less time than it takes to get a fill-up. This is one of several features that customers can expect to see, including a new fuel (unleaded E15), a locally themed interior and a pet washing station. The new location, which opened last month at Vale Park Road and Calumet Avenue, will introduce Cravin’s Kitchen made-to-order pizzas and breakfast sandwiches. Orders can also be placed online or by using the Family Express mobile app. Following national trends that enable customers to use a kiosk to custom-select their items, use of the touch screen system is expected to streamline the process, provide faster service and ensure order accuracy.
These Members have been making waves across the region! To learn more about NWISOI Members and their contributions to Northwest Indiana, visit www.NWISOI.org.