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BusINess » Pete Nickeas

Posts Tagged ‘Pete Nickeas’

Razing buildings raises redevelopment hope

A crew demolishes an abandoned home on December 20, 2010, in Gary. U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., helped secure funding for the work after touring the house last year with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development official. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

A crew demolishes an abandoned home on December 20, 2010, in Gary. U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., helped secure funding for the work after touring the house last year with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development official.
(Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

For urban areas plagued by unsafe or abandoned buildings that drain property values and scar the landscape, the best way to spur development often involves a wrecking ball.

Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago and Gary—landlocked except for the lakefront—can’t build out by scooping up underdeveloped or unincorporated pieces of land on their borders, so they demolish sagging homes and outdated factories in the name of development.

“It’s a very important tool and it’s true redevelopment,” Whiting Mayor Joe Strahula said. “It’s very expensive, but you have to utilize a program like that or else, a small city like Whiting that’s landlocked, development doesn’t happen.”
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Region police departments see pros, cons to E85 initiative

E85 is available in only 26 locations across Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties such as this gas station at 109th and Randolph Street in Winfield. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

E85 is available in only 26 locations across Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties such as this gas station at 109th and Randolph Street in Winfield.
(Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Region police departments trying to replace aging squad cars with newer ones capable of burning plant-based E85 are finding the task isn’t as simple as choosing where to gas up.

The Griffith Police Department has more than 20 police cars capable of using E85, but they run on gasoline because gas stations in town don’t dispense E85, and the town doesn’t own an E85 tank.

Cars that run on E85 have a better acceleration rate than cars burning regular gasoline and emit less pollution than gas-fed counterparts.
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Wi-Fi gives restaurants, coffee shops a jolt in business

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Each day after work, Dave Csuk stops at the Blackbird Cafe, checks his email, slides an iPod from a fabric case and listens to music for a few hours before heading home.

“If office is hell and home is heaven, this is purgatory,” he said. “It’s a perfect in-between.”

Mary Koselke bought the cafe in February 2009 and changed the name. Wireless Internet is central to her success, she said.

The small coffee shop in downtown Valparaiso, tucked neatly among other small businesses, is not unique in its use of wireless Internet to attract and retain customers. A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant across the street uses Wi-Fi to attract a different crowd.
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Gary airport director Chris Curry resigns to take job in Naples, Fla.

Chris Curry will leave his job as airport director at the Gary/Chicago International Airport for a similar job in Naples, Fla., he confirmed Tuesday.

Curry was selected as airport director in summer 2006 at an annual salary of $122,000 to replace outgoing director Paul Karas.

Curry’s reign over the airport and relationship with the board has been contentious at times.
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$20,000 diamond hunt to raise money for MS charity

Couples competing to win a $20,000 diamond will race through Wicker Memorial Park on a scavenger hunt next month during a massive fundraiser for the Indiana chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, The Times Media Co. and other local businesses are sponsoring the event, which will be at 3 p.m. September 12 at Wicker Memorial Park in Highland.

Couples looking to participate in the scavenger hunt can sign up at albertsdiamonddash.com before September 1 with a $25 donation to the MS Society. If more than 100 couples sign up, a lottery will be held to determine who participates. The chosen couples will have to hold hands throughout the event.
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