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BusINess » Business

Archives for the ‘Business’ Category

Rail tsunami could swamp NWI in coming decades

Developments in far off lands could have a big impact on everyone’s drive to work in Northwest Indiana, with the number of freight trains lumbering through the region expected to double by 2035.

That is because a historic shift in shipping patterns has the potential to hit the East Coast with an “Asian tsunami” of seaborne freight over the next two decades, according to freight experts. Much of that freight will make its way to Chicago and the Midwest via a 15-mile-wide rail corridor in Northwest Indiana.
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Why arts and culture are always worthy of your support

With state funding for the arts down by 35% from this time two years ago, the support of the arts on the local level by individuals and businesses is more essential than ever before.

South Shore Arts and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra are the region’s two oldest arts organizations. South Shore Arts began in 1936 when a dedicated group of local artists organized the first annual art exhibition of the Hammond District Art Association in the millinery (that’s lady’s hats) department of the Edward C. Minas Department Store in downtown Hammond.

The Gary Civic Symphony Orchestra, now known as the Northwest Indiana Symphony, performed its first concert five years later on December 7, 1941, with 86 volunteer musicians performing under the direction of a cello teacher from Chicago, who had relocated to Gary. They opened the concert that evening with a thundering performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

I think we all know that you don’t get to be in your seventies without a lot of support. Both South Shore Arts and the Symphony have rich traditions, and, thanks to decades of support from loyal donors and audiences, have flourished, growing into regional entities with annual budgets exceeding a million dollars.
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Human resources professional brings insight to gaming industry

Mona Vaccarella brings more than a quarter century of experience in executive human resources management to her role as vice president of human resources at Majestic Star Casinos & Hotel in Gary.

As a new member of the BusINess advisory board, Vaccarella says she sees an opportunity to “communicate on very important topics and lend solutions.” The recession has challenged both businesses and individuals, and how they have dealt with a bad economy can provide lessons for the future, she says.

“Management needs to be ahead of the curve, to be proactive. I see my role as helping to promote suggestions about how corporations can be ahead of the curve as we emerge from this recession,” Vaccarella says.

That’s a role that she believes human resources should always play in the corporate culture. “We (human relations professionals) achieve results by being a strategic partner at the table,” she says.
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LaHood: Rail means jobs

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, listens to U.S. Rep., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., talk to media Thursday after the Rail Delivers Jobs summit at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, listens to U.S. Rep., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., talk to media Thursday after the Rail Delivers Jobs summit at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made an impassioned pitch Thursday to 300 Northwest Indiana business leaders to become partners with the Obama administration when it comes to high-speed rail.

“If Indiana gets its act together, you could be a dominant player in this plan in this region of the country,” LaHood told them at a Rail Delivers Jobs summit in Chesterton.

Getting the five-year reauthorization of the federal transportation bill passed by Congress, with the Obama administration’s $53 billion request for high-speed rail intact, will be key to getting the job done, LaHood said.
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Lee offers optimistic outlook

Rapidly increasing digital growth is a key component in the optimistic outlook for Lee Enterprises, offered Wednesday by the Davenport-based company’s CEO.

Mary Junck, Lee’s chairman and chief executive officer, told stockholders and employees attending the company’s annual meeting the optimism is based on factors such as huge audiences for its products, strong digital growth and local news content, and an aggressive sales culture.

But Junck reminded shareholders the print newspaper product remains the main staple in the equation.
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NWI home sales get hot in winter’s depth

A Realtor shows a couple the kitchen of a Valparaiso home. Home sales increased 32.3 percent in January from January 2010 in Northwest Indiana. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan, file | The Times.)

A Realtor shows a couple the kitchen of a Valparaiso home. Home sales increased 32.3 percent in January from January 2010 in Northwest Indiana.
(Photograph by Kyle Telechan, file | The Times.)

For the first time in seven months in Northwest Indiana, existing single-family home sales increased compared to one year ago, giving Realtors hope a housing market turnaround is starting.

Home sales increased 32.3 percent in January from January 2010, with the median selling price holding stable at $115,000 in the five-county area, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
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Region companies among 70 Indiana honorees

A record-tying 70 Hoosier companies, including some with ties to the region, are being honored this year as a Best Place to Work in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which manages the statewide program.

The list released Tuesday includes Krieg DeVault LLP, which has an office in Schererville; Centier Bank, headquartered in Merrillville; Edward Jones, which has multiple offices in the region; Horseshoe Casino in Hammond; and Clifton Gunderson, which has an office in Schererville.

The company rankings will be announced at an annual awards dinner May 5 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis.
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Community Hospital receives designation for fourth year

For the fourth consecutive year, The Community Hospital in Munster was recognized with HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals designation based on clinical outcomes over an 11-year period. (Times File Photo)

For the fourth consecutive year, The Community Hospital in Munster was recognized with HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals designation based on clinical outcomes over an 11-year period. (Times File Photo)

The Community Hospital was the only Hoosier hospital named in HealthGrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals report, the hospital announced Wednesday.

For the fourth consecutive year, Community was recognized with the designation based on clinical outcomes over an 11-year period.

“We cross our fingers every year when they run the data,” said Don Fesko, the CEO of The Community Hospital. “Everyone’s proud. It’s a total team effort.”
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Fewer credit card rate hikes after regulations

Credit card holders are facing fewer interest rate hikes and forking over sharply less in late fees.

A year after new regulations curbed a spate of questionable billing practices, federal officials say over-the-limit penalty charges have also been dramatically curtailed. The findings come from the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will assume responsibility for administering the regulations once it’s officially up and running this summer.

The agency is set to present three sets of data at a conference it’s hosting Tuesday on the one-year anniversary of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or the CARD Act. Here are the highlights:
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Third-generation clock man makes house calls

Prime Time Clock Repair owner Jack Laninga works in his Crown Point store. Not only does Laninga repair clocks in the shop, he makes house calls. (Photograph by Damian Rico/The Times.)

Prime Time Clock Repair owner Jack Laninga works in his Crown Point store. Not only does Laninga repair clocks in the shop, he makes house calls.
(Photograph by Damian Rico/The Times.)

It was noon on a Monday and the magical, musical sound of chimes filled the air as the man and woman brought in their German-made cuckoo clock to Prime Time Clock Repair.

“It doesn’t chime, and the weight doesn’t work,” they told shop proprietor Jack Laninga.

They were expecting to leave it for repair. In less than two minutes, Laninga, who calls himself a third-generation clock man, had it running and chiming. This repair was as simple as moving a button.
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