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Region Students Take Part in Walk to School Day

Today (Oct 9)  is International Walk to School Day. Organizers say it's a day that teaches about the health and environmental benefits of walking.  Bryan Bodamer is the parent chairman of Walk to School Day at Lake Street Elementary in Crown Point. Bodamer says when it comes to getting the kids to walk, Lake Street is like most schools in the region, with a few walkers, but mostly parents who drop their kids off or bus riders, "our goal is to give those kids an opportunity to have a day of walking to school," and to promote the exercise benefit.  Bodamer also says more students are participating in the event that's in its sixth year. "The kids have always been excited about it," Bodamer says, and when they started they had maybe 42-percent participation and last year went up to about 65-percent.  He says participants can participate by riding their bikes to school too.  The website shows schools in more than 70 communities around the state signed up for walk to school events.  You can hear Jay Stevens' interview with Bodamer online here at our website at News Audio on Demand....

Funeral Services for Former Lake County Assessor

Funeral services are scheduled for today (Wednesday Oct 9) at 1 pm at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home in Schererville for former Lake County Assessor Hank Adams, who passed away Sunday. Adams, 77, who had been battling cancer for over a year, resigned his post last week due to health reasons. Adams was the first Republican to hold countywide office in Lake County in over fifty years. Prior to being elected county assessor, Adams also served as St. John Township assessor and Schererville town councilman. A native of Tennessee, Adams became a longtime businessman in Lake County, as the owner of Adams Village TV in Gary and Barelli's Furniture on State Street in Hammond....

Unclaimed $1M Powerball Prize Stays Unclaimed

powerball power play color
Hoosier Lottery officials say a $1 million Powerball prize won in Indiana in the April 10 drawing has expired without being claimed.  The prize expired at 5 p.m. Eastern Monday, Oct. 7. Powerball players in Indiana have 180 days to claim prizes.  The ticket was purchased at Circle K at 3830 Hamburg Pike in Jeffersonville, Ind. The retailer will still receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. Hoosier Lottery retailers receive a one percent bonus capped at $20,000 for selling a Powerball ticket that matches the first five numbers, but not the PB number.
It is rare, but not unheard of, that a prize of such magnitude goes unclaimed.  Unclaimed prizes are absorbed back into the lottery to reduce future prize expenses, and that increases the amount of money that goes back to the state.  The $1 million prize is not be the largest unclaimed Hoosier Lottery prize.  Hoosier Lottery officials say a $5 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot went unclaimed in March 2004, and in September of 2002 someone missed out on a $50 million Powerball jackpot won in the Hoosier state.
The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.


Indianapolis a Finalist for Super Bowl LII

The chances Indianapolis could host another Super Bowl just got even better. The National Football League today announced Indianapolis is one of their top three finalists for Super Bowl LII (52) in 2018. Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued a statement saying, “Indiana far surpassed expectations in 2012, and we look forward to submitting another promising bid to showcase once again Hoosier hospitality and all that Indiana has to offer.” The other two locations selected as finalists are Minneapolis and New Orleans....

Porter Regional Hospital Assessment Completed

Porter Regional Hospital
An appraisal of Porter Regional Hospital has finally been completed, the first since the hospital opened in August 2012. The hospital land was assessed at one-point-seven million dollars, down from four-point-seven-eight and the building assessment came in at 242-point-eight million, up from 29-point four million, for a total assessment of 244-point-five million dollars. Porter Regional Hospital agreed to turn over documents in July that were said to be necessary to complete the property tax assessment of the hospital campus at US 6 and State Road 49 in Liberty Township. Officials with the hospital have 45 days from Monday to file an appeal. ...

Indiana and 15 School Corporations Sue IRS

Indiana OAG Official Seal
The State of Indiana and 15 school corporations filed a lawsuit today against the IRS, challenging a new IRS regulation that imposes the employer mandate requirements of the Affordable Care Act onto state and local governments. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller contends the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress does not allow financial penalties in states that did not create their own health insurance exchanges and that the financial penalties, which are based on the total number of employees, cannot be applied to government employees.
Joining the State as co-plaintiffs are 15 Indiana school corporations:
• Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, Martinsville, Ind.
• Perry Central Community Schools, Leopold, Ind.
• Benton Community School Corporation, Fowler, Ind.
• Community School Corporation of Eastern Hancock County, Charlottesville, Ind.
• John Glenn School Corporation, Walkerton, Ind.
• Monroe-Gregg School District, Monrovia, Ind.
• Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, Mooresville, Ind.
• North Lawrence Community Schools, Bedford, Ind.
• Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County, Fairland, Ind.
• Shelbyville Central Schools, Shelbyville, Ind.
• Southwest Parke Community School Corporation, Montezuma, Ind.
• Vincennes Community School Corporation, Vincennes, Ind.
• Madison Consolidated Schools, Madison, Ind.
• South Henry School Corporation, Straughn, Ind.
• Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated School Corporation, Hanover, Ind.
As political subdivisions of the State, school corporations are faced with reducing the hours of their part-time employees in order to avoid the financial penalties of the IRS regulation under the employer mandate....

WWII Veteran Pleads Guilty to Drug Running

A World War II veteran from Michigan City pleaded guilty today to a 2011 traffic stop near Detroit, Michigan, where authorities found two-hundred pounds of cocaine in his vehicle. 89 year old Leo Sharp could face the prosecutor's recommended sentence of five years in prison....

Nobel Prize Contributing Prof Honored at Purdue-Calumet

dr parashar
(Photos Courtesy of Karl Berner)
dr parashar with students
Theorists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert began working on the Higgs Theory in the 1960s, and after more than half a century of tireless research, experimentation, and technological advancements, The Nobel Prize for physics was bestowed upon them this morning for discovery of the Higgs boson, or “God Particle”, a scientific energy component that gives mass to all physical matter.
A press conference was held at Purdue-Calumet today to congratulate one of the many researchers who have also researched the theory in order to discover its existence. Purdue-Calumet professor, Dr. Neeti Parashar says this discovery is the crowning achievement of the century.
Dr. Parashar says this discovery for humans' understanding of the basic building blocks of life, energy and the natural universe is monumental—and fundamental—because if the Higgs didn't exist, we would not exist.
Dr. Parashar and her team of researchers were also congratulated via Skype by Purdue-Calumet Chancellor, Thomas Keon, and they look forward to contining research on the Higgs Field and hope to discover different types of “God Particles” that energetically shape the world around us.
dr parashar and keon ...

Lake County Treasurer Reports Bills Due 11/12

The Office of the Lake County Treasurer announced today that bills are due November 12th. The Treasurer's office says bills can be paid at their main office at the Lake County Government Complex in Crown Point, or at their Gary or Hammond satellite offices. Taxpayers with no questions or problems with their bills can visit any number of bank branches, or you can pay online, but a credit card fee is charged, so if you are paying online, it is suggested you use the cheaper e-check system,
The Lake County Treasurer's office also reports that office staff will be swamped with calls, so be patient and expect to be on hold for an extended period of time.
The following banks and all of their branches will be accpeting payments: 5th/3rd Bank, American Savings FSB, Centier, Chase, Citizens Financial Bank, Demotte State Bank, First Federal Savings and Loan, First Midwest, First National Bank, BMO Harris Bank, Horizon, Lake Federal Bank, Main Source Bank, Peoples and Tech Federal Credit Union....

Open House Dates Set for Illiana Expressway

Four open house dates have been scheduled in November by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission regarding the Illiana Expressway. Recently we spoke with NIRPC's Mitch Barloga who says the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Board is expected to vote this week on the matter, after its transportation committee voted last week in favor including the Illiana Expressway in its transportation plan. He says NIRPC's full board will take a vote on amending its regional plan to include the expressway on December 12th.
The first open house is scheduled for November 2nd, in Gary, from 10am to 12pm, at Indiana University Northwest. For a list of open house dates, times and locations, including information regarding public comment, visit

Sign Up Kids for Gary FD Fire Safety First Sessions

Gary FD
The Gary Fire Department is recognizing Fire Prevention Week with “Fire Safety First” sessions for children ages 6 through 12, October 9th through the 11th. Sessions must be scheduled by an appointment and children are being asked to dress appropriately so they can participate in the activities. Each session lasts approximately an hour and a half, can accommodate up to 35 youth, and will be held at the Hudson and Campbell Fitness Center, in the four-hundred block of Massachusetts Street. Highlights include fire fighter demonstrations, a fire safety simulation maze, and more.  To schedule an appointment, call Lt. Sandra McGuire at (219) 881-5252....

Food Stamp Benefits to Decrease November 1

Hunger relief advocates say more than 925-thousand food stamp recipients in Indiana will see a drop in benefits in a few weeks. A statewide group representing eleven regional food banks says extra benefits that have been provided through the 2009 federal stimulus measure expire November first, a change that has nothing to do with the current federal shutdown. Feeding Indiana's Hungry Executive Director Emily Weikert Bryant says the maximum benefit for a family of four will fall by 36-dollars. She is encouraging Hoosiers to donate food, funds or time to food banks and local pantries.
Here is additional information from Feeding Indiana's Hungry:
Indianapolis, IN, October 7, 2013 – Hunger relief advocates are spreading the word that the increased benefits to recipients in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will expire on November 1, 2013.  
SNAP recipients will initially see benefits increase slightly for most households on October 1 to reflect the annual cost of living adjustment.  But on November 1, recepients will see their benefits decrease due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 law.
These changes are not a result of the current federal government shutdown.  
Indiana’s Family & Social Services Agency (FSSA) will communicate benefit changes directly with SNAP recipients prior to the November decrease.  But hunger relief advocates want to ensure that SNAP clients are informed and prepared well ahead of these changes.  
“Beginning November 1, the more than 925,000 Hoosiers receiving SNAP will see a decrease in the monthly benefits that for a family of four will be up to $36 per month,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “$36 means several days’ worth of food for a struggling family.  Clients already have a difficult time putting enough food on their tables and paying their bills even with SNAP benefits.  We hope that by spreading the word early, clients can prepare themselves as best as possible and local food pantries can proactively gear up for increased client traffic.”
The eleven regional member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry distributed 73.7 million pounds of food in 2012 with the help of food and fund donations from retailers, manufacturers, private and foundation donors, and commodity food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  But the state impact of SNAP ARRA cuts will be a loss of $98 million worth of food over the next year. 
“We hope that Hoosiers statewide will also come to the aid of our friends, neighbors, and family that will be impacted by the loss of food assistance in November by donating food, funds, or time to regional food banks or local pantries to ensure that more food is available to those in need,” said Bryant. 
The new SNAP maximum monthly benefit levels will change with the October cost of living adjustments and November cuts.
Hoosiers wishing to find out their SNAP balance can call 877-768-5098, look at their last grocery receipt, or check the balance online 
It is also important to ensure that Hoosier SNAP clients are claiming all of the deductions for which they qualify to receive the benefits for which they are eligible.  This includes accounting for medical expenses for seniors 60 years or older and dependent care expenses for children under 18 or other dependents. 
If you need food right away, contact your regional food bank, which can be located through or, or call 211 anywhere in Indiana at any time to be connected to a trained human service professional and ask for the nearest food pantry or food distribution site.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides several resources to help people eat healthy meals on a low budget including:
·       10-Tips Nutrition Series (
· (
·       Plan, Compare and Prepare (
·       Eat Right When Money’s Tight. ( )
The USDA Recipe Box ( helps people find healthy low cost recipes and create cookbooks and shopping lists. ...

Gator Cases Bringing New Jobs to N Indiana

GATOR LOGO black and red on white
A Tampa-based company that makes cases, bags and stands for the music and audiovisual markets is relocating its Chattanooga distribution center to northern Indiana, creating up to 106 new jobs by 2016. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says Gator Cases will invest over four-point-four-million dollars to lease, renovate and equip a 168-thousand square-foot facility in Columbia City that's expected to be complete by this January and house its rotational molding factory.
"Gator Cases' decision to grow in Indiana is the latest proof of the confidence that growing companies have in our prosperous business climate," said Governor Mike Pence. "Thanks to Indiana's robust infrastructure, low-tax economy and quick and predictable regulatory environment, we are continually winning opportunities to bring more jobs to hardworking Hoosiers."
Gator Cases, which employs 28 full-time associates in Indiana and 64 across the country, plans to begin hiring manufacturing, operation and distribution positions this December. Interested candidates can apply by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
"We are very excited to continue our expansion in Indiana," said Crystal Morris, president of Gator Cases. "The business friendly climate, central location and excellent workforce were the leading factors in our decision to choose the Columbia City location. We are looking forward to continuing our growth of USA manufacturing along with streamlining our distribution to insure best in class performance for our customers."
Founded in 2000 in Tampa, Fla. by father-daughter team Jerry Freed and Crystal Morris, Gator Cases manufactures hard case and bag solutions for pro audio, information technology, audio visual, general utility, band instrument and percussion instruments. Offering more than 1,000 different solutions made from vacuum-formed plastics, rotational-molded plastics, wood, sewn and ethylene-vinyl acetate materials, the company sells through more than 3,000 dealers with products offered in more than 90 countries. The company also specializes in creating OEM custom case solution for manufacturers around the world.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Gator Cases, Inc. up to $550,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Whitley County approved additional tax abatement at the request of Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. 
"We understand that Gator Cases considered a number of options for what represents an impressive milestone in the company's development," said Whitley County Commissioner George Schrumpf. "With that in mind, we commend the owners' decision to grow the business in Northeast Indiana and we are pleased to welcome Gator Cases to Whitley County."...

Heroin Suspected in Local Man's Death

La Porte County Sheriffs Police a 29-year-old Hesston-area man was found dead in his home by his children early Sunday, and authorities are investigating whether the man died from an overdose of heroin and if it may have been administered by another adult. The sheriff's department says the man's body was discovered by his eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. Authorities also tell the Times today that it was too soon to say whether this was a criminal matter....

Gateway Work Temporarily Closes Part of Old Ridge Rd

Work is underway on the first new gateway into Hobart's newly-branded downtown. Hobart Director of Development Denarie Kane told us earlier that part of a recent rebranding of the downtown as the Lakefront District was to create a clearer definition of downtown that would incorporate physical gateways.  Work on the very first gateway is happening now and that's got Old Ridge Road blocked off near Festival Park, from the entrance of Lake Park Restaurant to Front Street, for about four weeks. The detour uses Wisconsin and Third Streets. Motorists can access the Hobart Community Center and Festival Park via Cleveland and Lake Park.  The city is also planning for three additional gateways....

Region First Responders Get Grants for Equipment

Several first responders in northwest Indiana are receiving grants for gear, equipment, and technology.. The Indiana Homeland Security Foundation has approved nearly 373-thousand dollars in grant funding to fire departments, law enforcement agencies and emergency medical services around the state. The focus of the foundation is to support the future of the public safety and to provide grant funding to local agencies for critical public safety needs across Indiana. Grants are provided up to $4,000. Public safety agencies are eligible to apply for projects such as:
• Equipping emergency responders with personal protective equipment
• Acquiring equipment for use by emergency responders
• Providing radios and technology equipment
• Training for emergency responders
Here are the local recipients:
• The City of Crown Point Fire Rescue received $4,000 to purchase two water rescue dry suits. The protective equipment will provide protection in cold or contaminated environments.
• The City of East Chicago Fire Department received $4,000 to purchase two atmospheric meters and calibrators. The equipment will allow firefighters and residents to detect airborne hazardous materials during or after a structure fire or dangerous atmospheric incident.
• The City of Hammond Fire Department received $3,920 to purchase 14 harnesses. Two difference sets of harnesses will be bought by the department. One will aid in fall protection and the other will allow trained professionals to reach areas hands-free to aid in rescues. These new harnesses will be replacing ones that are 18 years old and outdated.
• The City of Hobart Fire Department received $4,000 to purchase a thermal imaging camera. This will enhance the safety of the department’s firefighters by assisting them during search and rescue of fire victims.
• The City of Whiting Fire Department received $4,000 to purchase a stair chair, canvas transfer sheet and emergency blankets, wetsuit, splint kit, pulse oximetry device combat hose, water rescue package and two wrist blood pressure machines.
• The Lake County Sheriff received $4,000 to purchase a digital voice logger. This device records all incoming and outgoing transmissions from the emergency dispatch center and will aid in operations.
• The Town of Griffith Fire Department received $3,961.05 to purchase water and ice rescue equipment. This equipment will help firefighters protect the community during severe weather.
• The Town of Lowell Police Department received $3,535 to purchase seven stop sticks. The stop sticks will be used as a safety tool that will help prevent injuries and fatalities from vehicles.
• The Town of Schererville Fire Department received $4,000 to purchase two transmitter kits. These kits are used to help find and rescue missing people.
• The Town of St. John Police Department received $4,000 to purchase a trailer for its ATV units. This will provide the department the capability to more easily respond to emergencies where off-road vehicles need assistance.
• The Francesville Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. received $4,000 to purchase new sets of structural gloves and turnout gear. The gloves will be replacing old and worn-out gear and will better protect firefighters’ hands while performing tasks during an emergency. The personal protection equipment will be outfitted for the department’s newest firefighter.
• Pulaski County received $3,999.96 to purchase six tone-alert radios. The alert radios will be installed in identified public buildings the will allow for immediate notification of an imminent threat or hazards situation. This all hazards alert system will be targeted to buildings that have large amount of public potential in or around them....

Local Professor Contributes to Nobel Winning Research

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to two scientists - Peter Higgs and Francois Englert - for their role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, the so-called 'God particle.'  Dr. Neeti Parashar, a physics professor at Purdue Calumet in Hammond, was among the thousands of research collaborators who contributed to last year's announcement that the newly-observed subatomic particle could be the Higgs boson.   In the 1960s, Higgs and Englert theorized the existence of the subatomic particle. Last year it was actually 'observed' at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. What the two scientists proposed was a way of explaining why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass. Professor Higgs said he's "overwhelmed"  by today's announcement and hopes the recognition will help raise awareness of the value of what he termed "blue-sky research."  Purdue Calumet is holdking a news conference for this afternoon to recognize the contributions of Dr. Parashar. [Photo/Purdue Calumet]...

Hammond Woman Critical After Crash

Indiana State Police say a 43-year-old Hammond woman is in very critical condition after crashing her vehicle Monday night into the cable barriers on south bound I-65 at the 244 mile marker, approximately three miles south of the Crown Point exit.   Preliminary investigation by Trooper Jason Madison revealed that at approximately 6:09 P.M.,  Monday, October 07, 2013, evening a 1995 Honda, driven by Robin Dean Krueger was south bound on I-65 in the left lane when for unknown reasons lost control of her vehicle. The Honda overcorrected and went off the road to the left into the cable barrier in the median.

Krueger was trapped in the Honda and was unconscious and had to be extricated from the car. Troopers say she had a small dog in the car with her who was not injured and was turned over to animal control for safe keeping.   Police say Krueger was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Crown Point with life threatening injuries.

The Honda was described as a total loss. The left lane was closed for approximately 1 ½ hours.   Agencies assisting: Lowell Fire and Ambulance
[Photo/Indiana State Police]...

Silver Alert Canceled

Indiana State Police say a statewide Silver Alert for a Bunker Hill, Indiana, man missing since 4 pm Sunday and believed to have been in danger was canceled late Monday night. State Police had reported 49 year old Ron R. Goodman may be disoriented and require medical assistance. No other information was available on his condition at this hour.


Workshops Start for Gary's Small Business Owners

A small business development project called the Gary Urban Entrepreneur Initiative announced earlier in August, to encourage the formation of new small businesses and the growth of existing ones, will hold it's first series of workshops this weekend in Gary.  According to Chelsea Whittington, Gary's Director of Communications, the initiative has enough free training resources and consulting to assist as many as 1,000 Gary business owners.  The Gary Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with the City of Gary, the Gary Economic Development Corporation, Washington, DC-based Five Plus and The Green-Campbell Group of Atlanta - Read more at:  
Whittington says the first Business Basics training cycle will begin Saturday, October 12th, 2013 from 10:00a.m. - 3:30p.m. at the Gary Small Business Center in the City Hall Annex, located at 839 Broadway.  Whittington says that while this very first session will be on-site, all other sessions over a ten-week period will be via a webinar on Tuesday evenings from 6:30p.m.-8:30p.m. CDT.
An application to apply for the workshops are available at:
Read more about the Gary Urban Entrepreneur Initiative from City of Gary media release posted immediately below:
Gary Urban Entrepreneur Initiative
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.7% of employer firms in the U.S. are small businesses, accounting for 64% of net new job growth and 49.2 percent of private-sector employment. Small businesses are also responsible for much of the innovation--new products, methods, technologies--that occurs in the U.S., with such firms filing 16 times more patents per employee than large firms.
There can be little doubt that small businesses are the backbone of the nation's economy. This can be especially true in cities like Gary, that used to be heavily-dependent on manufacturing--but are now economically struggling because of job losses due to production declines, as well as technological advances that have decreased the need for workers.
The Gary Urban Entrepreneur Initiative is a small business development project sponsored by the City of Gary, in partnership with the Gary Economic Development Corporation, Gary Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and ACCION, along with Five Plus and The Green-Campbell Group.
The objective of the Initiative is to encourage the formation of new small businesses, and the growth of existing ones. To accomplish this, we will provide:
Small Business Start-up Training
Business Basics is delivered as an intensive, 10-week workshop series that will help you learn how to start and manage a successful small business through step-by-step instruction and a series of homework assignments. Detailed instruction to help you write a comprehensive business plan is also provided.
The workshop series will be delivered via webinar by Deardra Campbell, Managing Principal of Atlanta, GA-based The Green-Campbell Group, who has used Business Basics to train more than 17,000 entrepreneurs across the country--many of whom are beating the national averages for start-up measurements like annual revenues generated and business tenure. To determine if your PC or Mac meets the system requirements to participate in the webinar, please click here.
The first Business Basics training cycle will begin Saturday, October 12, 2013. (Deardra Campbell will teach this very first session on-site from 10:00am-3:30pm at the Gary Small Business Center in the City Hall Annex, located at 839 Broadway.) All subsequent sessions will be delivered over a ten-week period via webinar on Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm-8:30pm (Central Time). To sign up for Business Basics, please complete the application for assistance by clicking here.
Technical Assistance
One-on-one and small group consulting is available to provide you with advice on specific business issues. Technical assistance is available to existing Gary small business owners and start-up Gary entrepreneurs who successfully complete the Business Basics workshop series. Technical assistance is available only by appointment. To request an appointment for technical assistance, please complete the application for assistance by clicking here.
Access to Capital
Initiative partner ACCION, one of the leading microfinanciers in the world, is available, by appointment, to discuss your business financial needs. If it is determined that your business might be qualified for one of their financing programs, an ACCION represent will provide you instructions on how to apply. To request an appointment with ACCION, please complete the application for assistance by clicking here.
Five Plus Trax
To help Gary entrepreneurs succeed, Peter Justen, CEO of Five Plus, has donated 1,000 licenses of Five Plus Trax, the company's cloud computing dashboard application that gives you easy-to-understand, real-time access to key data that can help you make better, faster business decisions concerning your company's finances. To request a free Five Plus Trax license for your business, please complete the application for assistance by clicking here.
Services and activities offered through the Gary Urban Entrepreneur Initiative are available completely free of charge to Gary residents. To get started, please complete the application for assistance by clicking here.
General Small Business FAQs
I want to start a business, but don't know what steps to take first.
Starting a business can seem overwhelming, not to mention confusing. One of the programs we offer is a 10-week training course ("Business Basics") that will teach you, step-by-step, the process of starting or expanding a small business. It's kind of like a business A to Z course where we teach topics that include licensing and regulation; business taxes, tax credits and other incentives; bookkeeping; sales/business development; operations; contract and equal employment opportunity laws; and business technology and e-commerce. We also spend several weeks on marketing, including primary and secondary market research, as well as competitive and industry analyses--which are some of the most important activities you need to conduct before you commit yourself to loans, leases and/or other long-term business contracts. The first training cycle begins on October 12, 2013; the next cycle is scheduled to begin January 14, 2014.
We strongly encourage you to take our course as it will answer the questions you probably have at this point--as well as better prepare you to understand and undertake the responsibilities and risks of starting a business. It will also help you write a solid business plan you can use to manage your business over the short-, intermediate- and long-term.
I already have a business plan, so I don't need to take your 10-week training program. I just need to know what steps to take next.
If you don't know what steps to take next, your business plan is probably not comprehensive enough. The process of writing a business plan, if done properly (i.e. thoroughly researched), is designed to provide you with the depth of information necessary to get you from point A to B to C, and beyond.
Among other things, your business plan should be comprised of detailed information, statistics and other supporting documentation that discusses the nature of the industry you're in (past, present and future - i.e. trends); the geographics, demographics and buying habits of your target consumer(s); a detailed competitive analysis; the standard, as well as industry-specific, risks that are inherent to your market space; your business's financial management plan, including three years' worth of revenue and expense projections; an analysis of management's qualifications to successfully run the business; and a detailed explanation of your operations plan (i.e. what needs to go on "behind the scenes"). If your business plan doesn't contain all of this--and more--then it's not comprehensive enough.
Please tell me about grants for women- and minority-owned businesses.
Contrary to popular belief, there are very, very few grants available to for-profit businesses. There are, however, some exceptions. For example, for-profits engaged in medical research or healthcare, job training/re-training, hi-tech/computer-related activities, or childcare can sometimes obtain grants to get started and/or expand. But the fact is that the vast majority of grants are restricted to tax-exempt, non-profits. Unfortunately, the proliferation of "scams" that promise "free money" to start a business have led many people to falsely believe that there are grants available to for-profit businesses for any purpose (and to waste significant amounts of money in this pursuit).
So how can a small business get money to buy equipment, inventory and/or meet start-up or expansion expenses? The answer is that most entrepreneurs have four primary options: 1) self-finance, meaning the personally pays for those expenses; 2) get others to invest, meaning get friends, family members or others to invest money in the business; 3) obtain a loan from a bank, or from family or friends; or 4) start/operate the business on a smaller scale and re-invest all of the profit back into the business by gradually purchasing the equipment and supplies needed to achieve your ultimate objectives.
How do I obtain a business loan?
Typically, business loans are made based on the proposed use of the proceeds and, consequently, it may be necessary to obtain more than one loan to meet your needs. For example, it may require three separate loans--all of which may have different amortization schedules and interest rates--if you're seeking money to purchase business equipment, renovate a building, and to use for working capital purposes.
There are two basic "genres" of business loans: "Traditional" loans are typically made either by banks (e.g. Bank of America, Wachovia, etc.) or by non-bank lenders (e.g. GE Capital, CIT Small Business Lending, etc.) to businesses requiring larger sums of money. Such loans usually require a down payment, collateralization and/or a strong credit history. Traditional loans can be either SBA-guaranteed or not.
"Micro loans" are made to small businesses--including home-based ventures and start-ups--that have fewer than 5 employees, including the owner(s); that are unable to obtain financing from traditional sources like banks and non-bank lenders; and that need less than about $75,000. Most micro lenders will accept a blemished credit history as long as all existing credit accounts are current and the owner presents a strong and comprehensive business plan; demonstrates solid business acumen, preferably in the chosen industry; and demonstrates the capacity to properly and successfully run the business. Additionally, micro lenders tend to favor businesses that have some positive cash flow--or can at least demonstrate anticipated short-term positive cash flow through the financial projections.
How do I obtain a business license?
Business licensing is controlled by the City of Gary's Department of Finance. Regulation/oversight is predicated on the type of business (not all businesses are subject to oversight) and--if the business is subject to oversight--it is typically controlled by the city, county or state (but can be controlled by one, two or all three, depending on the business). Again, depending on the type of business, a third-party may also have oversight (e.g. the securities industry is also overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and/or SEC, in addition to Federal and State regulators).
Is it better to start a non-profit or a for-profit business?
The decision whether to structure as a non-profit or for-profit involves several factors, including:
1) The type of business/industry.  Not all business activities are eligible to receive tax-exempt status from the IRS. You should check out the IRS' webpage as it pertains to tax-exempt organizations: On the last several pages you'll find a listing of the various activities that are eligible for tax exemption. Read through them to see if any of the categories fit the business model you're envisioning.
2) Your current financial capacity.  It takes money--which the founder typically has to commit--to start either a for-profit or a non-profit: In order to obtain tax-exemption from the IRS, you first have to establish the business as a non-profit corporation. In Indiana, this is done by filing your articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State Business Services Division. The current cost is $25 to file the articles online and $30 to file them by mail. This amount doesn't include attorney fees you may incur to prepare the articles of incorporation. Once the business is incorporated, you must then submit the Form 1023 (or 1024, depending on the type of non-profit) to the IRS, which charges a user fee of up to $850 to review the paperwork and render a decision on the business's tax-exempt status. Most folks find it necessary to retain an attorney to complete the IRS form, so that can be additional money out-of-pocket and up front.
3) Whether your target market can afford to pay--IN FULL--for services.  If they can't, you may want to consider a non-profit. If they can, you may want to consider for-profit.
4) Your anticipated annual operating expenses.  As a tax-exempt, non-profit, you'd most likely be eligible for grants--but successfully obtaining grants can be challenging, especially for start-up non-profits, which often don't have the track record necessary to attract the big bucks. Consequently, they often must start on a smaller scale and add additional services as they receive additional funding.
I want to purchase an existing business. What do I need to do next?
There are any number of considerations you need to make before purchasing an existing business, chief among them: whether the selling price is commensurate with the business's actual value--and this value is predicated on a number of factors, including the annual revenue the business has traditionally generated and the likelihood that its clients will continue to patronize the business under new ownership. Purchasing an existing business without conducting a thorough business valuation can be a recipe for disaster.
I'm a business start-up, but I just need help with my business plan.
We use a strict protocol when working with start-up entrepreneurs: You are not eligible to receive one-on-one technical assistance (consulting), including business plan assistance, until you have successfully completed the 10-week training course ("Business Basics"), which will teach you, step-by-step, the process of starting or expanding a small business, including how to write a comprehensive business plan.   

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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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