Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blog Review: Cender & Company, L.L.C.

Here's a blog that's being added to the blogroll that you should know about: Cender & Company. "Cender and Company is a municipal finance and planning consultant based in Northwest Indiana handling consulting for Cities and Towns all over the midwest. "

They've even created a new blog on Blogger to help out with their online promotion: The Indiana Municipal Consultant blog.

In that blog, they describe themselves: "We provide bond consulting, budget analysis and presentations, fiscal impact studies, utility rate studies, and a whole host of services for Indiana Cities and Towns. [If you] are you worried about the affect of HB 1001 on your property tax rates or collections, then we can help you plan and prepare.

Our team of expert consultants will be chronicled here on this blog, as well as resumes and sample projects will be featured on our company website. We welcome a new challenge and because of this tendency, we get called when the "big firms" can't fit the problem into their pre-packaged services."

Just keeping you informed!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Duplicate Content Warning

I got an email from Jonathan at Dunesblog about posting duplicate content that I'd like to share (with his permission):

"I work in the Internet field and I specialize in managing content for search engines. I like the idea of NWI connect, but you guys might want to avoid double posting across multiple blogs. The Google algorithm hates duplicate content on different sites and will penalize your search rankings because of it. Also, it’s perfectly all right to write about a blog entry on another blog and link to it, just don’t duplicate the content."

I know there was some discussion about this in the past, but here it is officially. Happy blogging!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Afghanistan Letter Is A Hoax

The letter from the soldier in Afghanistan regarding Senator Obama's visit is a hoax. As such I have deleted it from this blog. Sorry about the misinformation and thanks to wilson4s for pointing it out. Check out for more information about the hoax.

Puerto Rican Parade in East Chicago

Jeffrey Furticella from the Times has been posting the photos he's taking at his various assignments for the paper.

Today, photos from the Puerto Rican Day Parade in East Chicago.

Lots of American flags, it still ticks me off that multi-generation Americans so soon forget the partriotism. I won't rip a photo and put here, since Jeffrey probably owns them and shoots for a living.

The link to the Slideshow for 23 of the photos from the Parade. Interesting to me how the Times is trying to charge for photos at a public event. Have they heard of google images?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gary/Chicago Airport Customs Center... Not Anytime Soon

"The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority on Thursday ended its quest for funding for a U.S. customs facility, effectively shutting out VivaAerobus, a Mexican airline it hoped to land," reports the NWI Times.

This whole airport idea seems like a flop to me. That probably has a lot to do with the leadership of Rudy Clay, or the lack thereof. I remember when the airport lost HootersAir, that lost a lot of clientele. The airport also lost my... um... attention at that point. :P

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Miller Station closure might be on track Friday

"Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District trustees could vote Friday on the closure of the South Shore's Miller station to make way for a new $120 million Gary Gateway station.

The station closure and Gateway station are on the agenda for the board of trustee's 10 a.m. meeting at NICTD headquarters at the Dune Park Station, 33 E. U.S. 12, Chesterton, according to John Parsons, NICTD marketing and planning director.

The trustees could vote after discussing the matter or decide to study it further, Parsons said. The Miller station would not close until the new Gateway station is opened in 2011.

Residents and business groups from Miller will be showing up at the meeting, according to Gene Ayers, of the Miller Citizens Corp" says the NW Indiana Times.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

NW Indiana Bloggers Meeting

I know many of you have already put this meeting on your schedules for tomorrow:

6 p.m. at On Site Computers in Crown Point
Northwest Indiana Bloggers

First time, that I know of at least, that bloggers from multiple niches are getting together to discuss ways to work together. The owners of will also be there to propose that we write on their site too, to increase traffic and conversations about our Region.

If you can make it, it would be great to meet in person.

Speeding Just Got More Expensive in CP

I just found out this morning that Crown Point Judge Kent Jeffirs increased the fine for a speeding ticket (10mph over the limit) $15, raising the cost to $160 if you get caught speeding in Crown Point. Consider yourself warned!

See the Times for more information.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Steve!

Join me in wishing author Steve Dalton a happy birthday! Have a great day Steve! Of course this is Steve's 30th birthday :P

Friday, July 18, 2008

Local Starbucks' Closing

Starbucks has announced that it will close at least 600 of its locations nationwide. Five of those hit home for folks here in the Region. Those five are:
  1. Crown Point: 10761 Broadway
  2. Portage: 6200 U.S. 6
  3. Calumet City: 96 River Oaks Center
  4. South Holland: 401 E. 162nd St
  5. Chicago: 2347 W. 95th St

The Times says, "The Seattle-based company announced the closure plan on July 1, citing a faltering economy. The company said 70 percent of the stores slated for closure had opened after 2006."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NW Indiana Pilot goes to Iowa to help

Pilot and Former Home Builder in Iowa

I just posted this on my personal site complete with quotes from Ken Kunas, a friend and pilot who lives in NW Indiana. I am adding some more photos here so that neither post gets too heavily loaded with photos. You'll need to read the other post first, to understand these photos.

Pilot and Former Home Builder in Iowa

Region resident - To Iowa to help flood victims

Tax abatements bringing over 30 jobs to Valpo

From the NWI Times:

"Two companies promising to create a total of more than 30 new jobs in Valparaiso were granted tax abatement Monday by the council.

Great Lakes Laboratories, which is building a 6,900-square-foot facility in Eastport Centre industrial park, was given a seven-year abatement on the $612,000 cost of the building. NAMPAC Inc., got an eight-year abatement on equipment valued at $2.79 million, which it is adding to its plant in the Montdale Industrial Park.

Great Lakes does drug testing for the Porter County Drug Task Force, the county prosecutor's office and the sheriff's department, as well as DNA testing, cause of death tests and other forensic lab work. The move will enable the company to keep the five current employees and add three more with average salaries of $54,000....

... A spokesman for NAMPAC, which makes plastic pails, said the new equipment will make it the biggest manufacturer of pails in the world. The company has 85 employees, many of whom will be promoted as a result of the new equipment, and about 31 new employees will be hired at a starting salary of about $27,000 a year."

Sounds like this is good news for Valpo and Porter County.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Calling All NWI Bloggers!

Hello everyone! I know there are a lot of bloggers in NWI. On twitter I overheard Steve say there are almost 50 in the area! There's nowhere near 50 on the blogroll for this website. By all means, if you are a blogger in Northwest Indiana, let me know and I'd be happy to publicize you by adding you to the blogroll and NWI Blogosphere updates! Even if you already have some of your blogs on here, I'd be happy to add additional ones. Omissions are not intentional -- I just can't stay on top of everyone. Let me know!

Also, welcome the Drum Apprentice blog to the NWI blogosphere and to our blogroll! If you're a drummer in NWI or know anyone anywhere who is interested in drumming/percussion, send em' on over!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chicken Screwer in Prison Again

At work we've collectively labeled this guy the chicken f***er. Sorry for the profanity, but it's true in his case.

"Just days before he was set to be released from parole on a animal cruelty conviction, Michael Bessigano is in jail again on charges of downloading obscene images and videos involving sex and animals.

Bessigano was arrested Thursday by federal authorities on a charge of transportation of obscene materials involving bestiality in the Northern District of Indiana between February and June.

U.S. Magistrate Paul Cherry also ordered Bessigano to undergo psychological evaluation to determine whether he was sane at the time of the most recent alleged offense.

Bessigano served more than four years in state prison for a 2002 animal cruelty conviction for stealing a chicken from a farmer, having sex with the animal, killing it and discarding the carcass.

The incident caused state lawmakers last year to pass a law creating criminal penalties for bestiality. Although Bessigano had a history of alleged abuse against other animals, he could not be charged with bestiality in 2002 because of an omission in the law at the time."

This guy is sick. He needs professional help, though.

Read the full Times article.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Minority Leader Boehner follows Puckett's lead

In an interesting development, House Minority Leader John Boehner has announced that he is taking several freshman House Republicans on a trip to Alaska and ANWR on July 18th. While Luke Puckett and 5 other Republican challenger candidates have been carefully planning a trip to ANWR for the past several weeks, now the Minority Leader is starting to follow their lead! These Republican challengers, led by Luke Puckett, are proving that they aren't going to wait until they get to Washington to start leading. Already some in Washington are following their lead as these candidates begin to creatively and consistently advocate and articulate a common-sense solution for our nation's energy crisis.

You can read The Hill story about Boehner's attempt to follow their lead here:

To learn more about the trip to ANWR, which starts on July 14th and runs through July 17th, check the web page detailing the trip.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Miller train station plan off the rails at meeting

A Post Tribune article with the same title as this post shares the plight of the recent meeting on Tuesday night that discussed the plan to close the South Shore Railroad station in Miller.

It sounds like the crowd completely shot down the NICTD spokesman and was very adamant about not closing down the station. The plans call for the station to be used as a bus station and building one big station for all of Gary. The residents fear that doing so would nearly kill the local business in Miller as well as discourage people from moving there.

NICTD will continue collecting public comments on the proposal until July 18. Comments can be mailed to NICTD at 33 E. U.S. 12, Chesterton, IN 46304.

Gateway Partners has established a Web site,, that has more information on the proposal.

NICTD's next board meeting is July 25.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chicago Consortium on Olympic Studies Sponsors Local Conference on the Olympic Arts Festival

In a recent press release from, Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Patrick Ryan welcomes more than 100 Chicago-area arts and culture leaders.

An international symposium, titled "Olympic Arts Festivals: Recent Experiences and Future Designs," has just concluded in Chicago. More than 100 Chicago-area arts and culture leaders, municipal and university officials and Chicago 2016 bid committee personnel met for two days to discuss Chicago's potential contribution to the tradition of staging Cultural Olympiads. The University of Chicago and the newly formed Chicago Consortium on Olympic Studies (CCOS), multidisciplinary body of scholars who study aspects of sports and the Olympic Movement, sponsored the conference.

Conference participants were welcomed by Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Patrick Ryan, who is a distinguished arts and education philanthropist. “Chicago has an incredible tradition of cultural institutions and programs. Not only do we have more than 100 ethnic communities, we also have wonderful institutions that promote culture constantly,” Ryan said. Dave Bolger, chief operating officer of Chicago 2016, also spoke at the conference.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Happy Boom Day!

Have a great day, but don't:
  • Blow yourself up

  • Blow someone else up

  • Lose a limb or damage a vital organ

  • Light your house on fire

  • Light yourself on fire

  • Break any laws

But DO have a fun Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Long Overdue... NWI Blogosphere Update

It is definitely time to have a Northwest Indiana Blogosphere Update, we haven't done one of those in quite awhile.

Blue County in a Red State reflected on downtown Gary yesterday after he attended a Railcats game. He also talks about the possibility of a new South Shore station.

Christopher Hedges reports about an interesting fact in Northwest Indiana's climate history: we were once as warm as Arizona. He also has been reminiscing about how much he enjoys summer.

Jim Foley over at IN-Iraq talks about two Indiana Army National Guard soldiers in Iraq who wait on call for hours and rush wounded soldiers from the medivac copter to the emergency room -- on a volunteer basis. One of these 76th Infantrymen who lift wounded soldiers on their down time is an East Chicago firefighter/EMT on the civilian side.

Jerry Davich, a columnist for the Post Tribune, has posed the question to readers if they think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Head on over to the blog post and weigh in on the issue.

Kevin Tracy posted about a racially controversial item that was sold at the Texas Republican Convention with the blessing of the state party. Take a look for yourself.

NWI Basketball says that Bowman is going to be a force. "If they keep winning like they have this summer that is. Let's see, camp championship at Valpo......Bishop Noll summer tourney winners, and I've heard they went down to Indiana University and won the entire championship there this past weekend....going 8-0. Remember, this is a 1A school...." Read more....

Blogger Chris Sloan is using his site this week to post videos as a tribute to America, patriotism and the Fourth of July. Head over and watch the first one now (a tribute to 9/11) and keep an eye open for the rest this week. Also, we welcome his site, Ink Spot Printer, to NWI Connect's blogroll!

To be "given" money or to "loan" the money... that is the question. At least it's the question when comparing Republican Murphy's proposal to Democrat Bucko's over at Porter County Politics.

Dan over at prayeramedic has been doing a series on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. He talks about how the Catholic church has elevated her status over the years. Dan also posted a picture of his new tattoo.

South Shore Progressive recently took a trip to Michigan City and had a mini-vacation at the beach. Of course during the first part of the day he had the chance to attend the opening of the Democratic HQ on Hwy 20, and meet Jill Long Thompson and Congressman Joe Donnelly. He talks about that experience more in his post.

If you were not included in this update and you are on the blogroll, then you probably have not posted within the last two days. If you are an NWI blogger and would like to be on our blogroll and included in future blogosphere updates, please email me at and let me know! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Northwest Indiana Patriots

Just running around looking at posts tonite on NW Indiana blogs.

Inkspot Printer is doing a whole series of patriotic videos. You gotta check them out.

But I really liked the simplicity of this one that I found on A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Time to pay NIPSCO more $$$

"The price NIPSCO charges residential customers for natural gas will go up 14.8 percent this month, following a nationwide spike in natural gas prices.

It is the fourth consecutive month NIPSCO's fee has increased by double digits."

Looks like this winter is going to be even harder for consumers in Northwest Indiana....

Read more in the NWI Times.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ford Sales Falling

I went shopping for a car yesterday. I saw in the paper that Webb Ford was advertising a Ford Focus for $8995. I've known for awhile that Webb Ford is crooked, but this just confirms it. IF you qualify for a list of almost impossible to receive rebates (including being a Ford employee), you MIGHT qualify for such a low price. But of course the general public doesn't qualify for most of those rebates and the Focus would end up costing us a little over $15,000. That's really not a bad price for getting 35+ miles per gallon, but of course car dealers have to lie.

But not Art Hill Ford in Merrillville, Indiana. They never advertised such lucrative prices and were very honest and transparent with me, particularly since yesterday was the end of the month. I assure you I get no kickbacks for saying positive things about Art Hill Ford, I just wanted to commend them for their honesty and integrity amidst such a poor market, particularly Carl, who was the salesman I dealt with. Yesterday I decided that the price was not ideal for me at this time, but when I do buy a Ford, I'll be sure to look him up.

I know that Ford is really taking a hit right now. They are offering the employee pricing program to the general public for all of their F-150 series pickup trucks. But at maybe 17 miles per gallon, consumers just can't afford to buy them. Today's Associated Press reports:
High gasoline prices and a weak economy took a toll on U.S. sales of ... Ford Motor Co. vehicles in June, with ... Ford dropping 27.9 percent.

Industry analysts had predicted June auto sales could drop by double-digits to their lowest monthly rate in 16 years.... Ford shares sank to a new 52-week low....

Dearborn-based Ford blamed the latest sales decline on high gas prices and low consumer confidence, which sent buyers to the sidelines. It reported steep drops in June sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, including a 41 percent year-over-year decline for the F-Series pickup, a perennial best-seller, and a 52 percent drop for the Ford Explorer SUV....

Ford said sales of its smallest car, the Ford Focus, rose 28 percent in the first six months of the year, although Focus sales fell in June. The automaker said last month it plans to increase production of the Focus as well as the Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape small SUVs.

As soon as I pay off a few more debts, I plan on purchasing a Ford Focus. I hope to do that by the end of this year, we'll see. It's unfortunate that Webb Ford and other slick dealers resort to deceptive advertising to draw in customers, but there are still honest people like Carl at Art Hill Ford that will attract my future business, and maybe even yours.