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BusINess » Sarah Tompkins

Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Tompkins’

State, local governments not required to keep brownfield inventory

A building that once was a hosiery factory sits partially demolished more than a decade after federal officials hauled out dozens of drums of chemicals. The site on East 21st Avenue in Gary is one of hundreds of brownfields that dot the city and region. Funding is the key obstacle to turning the environmentally scarred properties into valued real estate. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

A building that once was a hosiery factory sits partially demolished more than a decade after federal officials hauled out dozens of drums of chemicals. The site on East 21st Avenue in Gary is one of hundreds of brownfields that dot the city and region. Funding is the key obstacle to turning the environmentally scarred properties into valued real estate. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

The rolling greens of Hammond’s Lost Marsh Golf Course once were acres of slag, just as many of the hundreds of abandoned properties that dot Gary used to be thriving gas stations.

Northwest Indiana has scores of properties not being used to their maximum capacity, locals officials say, but it is not always easy for communities to get grants to fund remediation.

It can be just as difficult for residents to get a comprehensive list of environmentally scarred properties, and owners are wary of being hit with the “brownfield” label.
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Region’s air improves but not enough

Smoke billows Tuesday from a stack at a region steel mill. The American Lung Association's 2010 State of the Air report lists plant and vehicle emissions as major causes of air pollution that need to have tighter federal regulations. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Smoke billows Tuesday from a stack at a region steel mill. The American Lung Association's 2010 State of the Air report lists plant and vehicle emissions as major causes of air pollution that need to have tighter federal regulations. (Photograph by Jon L. Hendricks/The Times.)

Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Cook counties received failing air quality grades for ozone, according to the American Lung Association’s 2010 State of the Air report released today.

“Ozone is really super oxygen,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. “Just as oxygen supports combustion, ozone supports combustion. It really burns, and it really burns all the delicate tissue . . . from your eyes to your nose to your lungs.

“So the impact on health is substantial.”
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Technology to be tested

INEOS Bio, a part of the global chemical company INEOS, bought the trash-to-ethanol technology developed by Dr. James Gaddy in 2008. INEOS Bio runs the Arkansas pilot plant and is constructing one of the first commercial plants to convert trash into ethanol in Florida. This same technology will be used in Lake County's plant.

INEOS Bio, a part of the global chemical company INEOS, bought the trash-to-ethanol technology developed by Dr. James Gaddy in 2008. INEOS Bio runs the Arkansas pilot plant and is constructing one of the first commercial plants to convert trash into ethanol in Florida. This same technology will be used in Lake County's plant.

Some Hoosiers have questioned the trash-to-ethanol technology behind the Lake County plant that Earl H. Powers of Powers Energy One of Indiana LLC plans to bring to Schneider by 2013. Powers said the process has been tested and proven successful.

The technology, which has been studied in laboratories for about 17 years, has produced ethanol in a pilot plant for about a decade, said James Gaddy, who developed the process. The ethanol process was discovered during studies to convert coal into methane, Gaddy said.

“The development was not a spark of brilliance that we set about to undertake,” said Gaddy, a former chemical engineering professor at the University of Arkansas and current consultant for global chemical company INEOS Technologies. “It was kind of an evolution of one process following another.”

In 2008, INEOS bought the technology from Gaddy, along with a pilot plant in Fayetteville, Ark., that for years has been turning trash, wood chips and other organic matter into ethanol. INEOS Bio, a subsidiary of INEOS Technologies, created to commercialize biofuel production, runs the facility, Powers said.

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Sportsmen worry about Asian carp

Youngsters try out their fishing skills Saturday during the 26th annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show at the Jean Shepherd Community Center. (Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Youngsters try out their fishing skills Saturday during the 26th annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show at the Jean Shepherd Community Center.
(Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Asian carp could devastate Indiana’s multimillion-dollar sport fishing industry if they take hold in Lake Michigan, fishermen said Saturday during the 26th annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show.

Asian carp could devastate Indiana’s multimillion-dollar sport fishing industry if they take hold in Lake Michigan, fishermen said Saturday during the 26th annual Hammond Outdoor Sports Show.

“They are a horrible nuisance,” said Mike Hulbert, 31, of Fort Wayne. “Obviously, we need to do whatever we can to get rid of them and stop them from reproducing.”
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Nursing shortage looms

Nurse practitioner Lisa Rhodes gives instructions Wednesday at Hammond Clinic in St. John for 11- year old patient Megan Bieber, of Cedar Lake, who had a sore throat. Rhodes also is an adjunct nursing professor at Purdue University Calumet. Nearly half of Indiana's nursing faculty are adjunct professors such as Rhodes. Experts say more full-time nursing professors are needed to boost enrollment and head off a looming nurse shortage. (Photograph by Natalie Battaglia/The Times.)

Nurse practitioner Lisa Rhodes gives instructions Wednesday at Hammond Clinic in St. John for 11- year old patient Megan Bieber, of Cedar Lake, who had a sore throat. Rhodes also is an adjunct nursing professor at Purdue University Calumet. Nearly half of Indiana's nursing faculty are adjunct professors such as Rhodes. Experts say more full-time nursing professors are needed to boost enrollment and head off a looming nurse shortage. (Photograph by Natalie Battaglia/The Times.)

In the midst of a national nursing shortage, Indiana nursing programs rejected about 2,500 qualified applicants because of a lack of full-time faculty, according to a survey of state nursing programs.

The 2008 survey by the Indiana Nursing Workforce Development Coalition said faculty shortages prevent nursing programs from maintaining a supply of qualified applicants.

With a looming shortage of 260,000 nurses across the country by 2025, schools are trying to graduate as many nurses as possible. An additional 30,000 nurses need to graduate each year to meet the nation’s health care needs, according to the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, a national organization of health care leaders.
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Health care communications specialists balance patient protection and community concern

In an era of instant mass communication, health care providers have a plethora of tools at their disposal to get the word out about new procedures, services, equipment and facilities. Yet, establishing relationships remains at the core of communicating with the public and the press.

Federal patient privacy regulations established by HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), have set new parameters for what information hospital public relations/marketing personnel can release.

HIPAA requires that every patient treated at a health care facility be asked if he or she wants to “opt in” or “opt out” of the hospital’s directory. That directory lists the patient’s name, room number and whether the patient wants visitors or anyone notified of the hospitalization. If the patient is unable to communicate or is a minor, the family is consulted.

If a patient “opts out” of the directory, mail or flowers addressed to that patient will be returned to the sender, says Mylinda Cane, regional director of marketing for the Community Health Care System, which includes the Community Hospital of Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.
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H1N1—The view on the ground

H1N1, or the swine flu, is officially in Northwest Indiana, spreading through schools and businesses. Hospitals and physicians are now treating all people with flu symptoms as H1N1. “One hundred percent of what we have in the community as influenza is H1N1,” said Dr. Alex Stemer, CEO and president of Medical Specialists Centers of Indiana.

Hospitals are trying to prevent the virus from spreading, said Ian McFadden, CEO of Methodist Hospitals. At Methodist, billboards list flu symptoms and what patients should do as a precaution against transmitting the virus. Hospitals are putting new rules in place as well. “If there’s visitors under age 14, we are discouraging visits unless there’s extenuating circumstances,” McFadden said.
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Indiana has nation’s 2nd highest smoking rate

Tom Gardner, an employee at Cigarette Discount Outlet, smokes a cigarette behind the counter Friday at the Highland store. More than a quarter of adults smoke in Indiana, and state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, is planning to introduce legislation to ban smoking in all indoor public places, except casinos. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Tom Gardner, an employee at Cigarette Discount Outlet, smokes a cigarette behind the counter Friday at the Highland store. More than a quarter of adults smoke in Indiana, and state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, is planning to introduce legislation to ban smoking in all indoor public places, except casinos. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Indiana has the second highest smoking rate in the nation, with more than one in four Hoosier adults lighting up last year, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indiana, which has no statewide smoking ban, was sixth-worst in the nation in 2007. Though the national rate of cigarette smokers decreased by about 1 percent between 2006 and 2007, Indiana and Illinois each saw increases last year. Indiana’s rates are higher than Illinois, which has smoking bans in place and has the 13th-highest state smoking rate.

“There’s less harassment of smokers in Indiana than there is in other states,” said Samuel Flint, interim dean of Indiana University Northwest’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Indiana has more of a tradition of personal freedoms than public safety. That is what is competing.”
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Dredging project touted ‘profound’ boost for NWI

Construction crews make a ditch for standing water to drain into the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. Work continues on a long-term project to clean up the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, where a containment facility will hold toxic sediment. (Photography by Natalie Battaglia/The Times.)

Construction crews make a ditch for standing water to drain into the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. Work continues on a long-term project to clean up the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, where a containment facility will hold toxic sediment. (Photography by Natalie Battaglia/The Times.)

Each year, cargo ships traveling through the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal stir up more than 100,000 cubic yards of toxic sediment that flows into Lake Michigan, according to a report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“You can imagine two giant egg beaters mixing things up and having that flow down into the lake,” said Dave Wethington, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the canal work.

And now—more than 35 years since the last dredging—workers are constructing a confined disposal facility in East Chicago and expect to start dredging at the end of 2011.
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Company offers affordable health care sans insurance

The Valparaiso Hoosier Healthcare Clinic, located at 2590 Morthland Drive, is now open and will be serving patients for $25 a month, allowing people to bypass insurance companies.

The Valparaiso Hoosier Healthcare Clinic, located at 2590 Morthland Drive, is now open and will be serving patients for $25 a month, allowing people to bypass insurance companies.

Hoosier Healthcare co-owner Donald Kiger went to see his physician in May for an annual test. About three hours and $250 later, Kiger left the office thinking there had to be an easier way to get preventive health care.

“There’s a big market out there that’s not being developed,” said Kiger, company CEO and president. “We already had the clinic. We already had the experience. Why not build?”

And build he did.

Now Hoosier Healthcare’s traditional occupational health center has opened its doors to the public. Its new Health eAccess program charges $25 per month for discounted medical services, unlimited access to physicians and practitioners, and discounted prescriptions through Fagen Pharmacy. Kiger said there are no other health care models like Health eAccess in the Midwest.
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