NWILife News Feed https://nwi.life Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:56:29 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Mind on money: Tough regulatory market causes REPO stress https://nwi.life/article/mind-on-money-tough-regulatory-market-causes-repo-stress/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:37:50 +0000 Marc Ruiz https://nwi.life/article/mind-on-money-tough-regulatory-market-causes-repo-stress/ Writing a weekly column is not an easy task. The biggest challenge is coming up with relevant topics, the second biggest challenge is delivering the article to my editor by Wednesday each week. This week I thought I had it in the bag, I had targeted some time on Tuesday morning to write, and figured the Iowa Democratic caucus would provide some good material I had already said I was going to write about a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, as of mid-day there is no material, except to comment on the electoral mess unfolding in the Hawkeye state. But that’s likely been commented on enough, so let’s move on.

There has been some interesting activity occurring with the Federal Reserve over the past couple of months. I’ve written about it before in regard to the REPO market, but recently I’ve been hearing the murmur the Fed is back to doing quantitative easing, and it has some investors feeling uneasy.

First, an apology, this column is bound to be a bit “geeky,” but like I said, I thought a Bernie Sanders win was going to provide me with all the content I needed to have some fun. Oh well.

Just to revisit, the REPO markets is a term that refers to the short-term exchange of cash between banks and between other financial institutions. These markets are sometimes referred to as the money markets, and REPO activity helps fund everything from lending, to payrolls, to settlement of securities trading. To put it simply, REPO markets serve as lubricant for our modern financial system, and like the oil in an engine, this market tends to be taken for granted until something goes wrong.

Well, something started to go wrong with the REPO markets in November and December of 2019. The way the problem manifested is interest rates being charged in the REPO market started soaring, indicating a type of cash liquidity crunch.

At the time, the Fed, which serves as the lender of last resort in America, had to step in to provide liquidity to this market in order to calm the stress, but what looked like isolated activity at time, has now become perceived as regular activity, leading market watchers to claim the Fed is back to doing quantitative easing, or QE.

QE is a term we haven’t discussed in a long time. The term refers to activity by the Federal Reserve of “keystroking” money into existence for the purpose of buying securities to influence certain parts of the bond market. QE is considered an aggressive form of financial intervention and was common practice by the Fed for years coming out of the 2008 financial crisis.

When we start to hear in the financial press that the Fed is back to QE, it immediately leads to speculation that it could be working to avert some sort of unseen crisis that has yet to fully emerge.

It also tends to drive traders into a frenzy, as it is widely assumed that money created through QE eventually makes its way into the financial markets, driving stock prices higher.

So, is the Fed doing QE again? Well, sort of. The central bank is pumping new money (yes, created from thin air) into the REPO markets, but the net effects of this are likely to be different than prior versions of QE that targeted parts of the longer-term bond markets.  

I perceive the on-going recent short-term money creation activity as more of a backstop to the money markets, as opposed to a long-term expansion of the money supply. The banking industry has evolved since the financial crisis of 2008 and the rule changes that were borne out of it. Some of the new rules were likely to have unintended consequences; I believe the stress in the REPO markets is one of these consequences.

Unlike the stress of the 2008 crisis, caused by banks becoming too aggressive and uncreditworthy, I believe the current REPO stress is likely a result of banks becoming overly cautious in response to a tough regulatory environment. As geeky as it is, this topic is something we will need to continue paying attention to.

Opinions are solely the writer’s and are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stock investing involves risk, including loss of principal. Marc Ruiz is a wealth advisor and partner with Oak Partners and registered representative of LPL Financial. Contact Marc at marc.ruiz@oakpartners.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.

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Mind on money: Tough regulatory market causes REPO stress
34th annual Hammond Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet https://nwi.life/article/34th-annual-hammond-sports-hall-of-fame-induction-banquet/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:31:25 +0000 City of Hammond https://nwi.life/article/34th-annual-hammond-sports-hall-of-fame-induction-banquet/ The Hammond Sports Hall of Fame will honor six individuals from the city’s proud athletic past during its annual induction dinner program, Tuesday, March 10 at the Hammond Civic Center.

Also, in this 100th anniversary year of the establishment of the American Professional Football Association, subsequently renamed the National Football League in 1922, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame will pay homage to the Hammond Pros, a 1920 APFA/NFL charter member.

The inductees are:

  • 1950s/60s Hammond High and Drake University track sprinter Richard Barnes
  • 30-year Hammond High boys track & field coach James (Chief) Brown
  • Bishop Noll boys basketball & baseball coach Jack Gabor
  • Clark 2000s 3-sporter and Purdue North Central volleyball standout Brittany Piaseczny
  • 1940s Hammond High & University of Illinois football lineman Robert Prymuski
  • 1980s Morton 3-sporter and Indiana University baseball MVP David R. Snedden

Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award recipients
Also during the induction program, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame’s 29th annual Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award will be presented to two 2019 high school graduates who depict the qualities for which the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame was established: athletic and academic achievement, dedication, citizenship, and school and community service.

The recipients are Dawn Pawlak and Noah Maravilla, both from Gavit.

Pawlak earned eight varsity letters in softball and cross country and was all-conference in seven of her eight seasons of competition. She graduated with a 4.39 grade point average and was active in Gavit’s Natural Helpers mentorship program in service to underclass students, Key Club, Principals Leadership Committee, Student Council and Rainbow Staff. She received a softball scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she is majoring in mechanical engineering.

Maravilla was a football, wrestling and baseball standout, earning 11 varsity letters and all-conference recognition in all three sports. His 3.78 grade point average complemented his service outside the classroom in Natural Helpers, Key Club, Principals Leadership Committee, Student Council and Rainbow Staff. He attends Indiana University and is studying social services

Time/Schedule
Hall of Fame festivities begin at 5 p.m. with a social time. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m.; the induction program follows at 7:30.

Ticket availability
Single tickets can be purchased in advance for $25; tables of eight seats for $200 are on sale at the Hammond Civic Center. Single admission tickets also can be purchased at Rich’s Barber Shop (Hammond), Cheers (Munster), House of Pizza (Hammond), and the Cavalier Inn (Hammond). Any remaining tickets the night of the induction dinner will go on sale at the door for $35 each.

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34th annual Hammond Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet
#1Student NWI: Hobart High School’s Homecoming week and candy grams https://nwi.life/article/1student-nwi-hobart-high-schools-homecoming-week-and-candy-grams/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:00:20 +0000 Katy Webber https://nwi.life/article/1student-nwi-hobart-high-schools-homecoming-week-and-candy-grams/ Student Spotlight

Twelve schools recently participated in swimming sectionals. Out of the twelve schools, Hobart placed third. All of the swimmers were very excited about their victory, Alivia Ahner more than most. Ahner loves swimming and has been diving for the school’s swim team for several years. She has been working very hard for a long time and committing to many hard practices that can last for hours, sometimes twice a day, before and after school.

All of her hard work paid off when she qualified for diving regionals at Penn High School last Tuesday. The junior was so ecstatic that her hard work went a long way, allowing her to place third in the one-meter diving competition. This will be her third time at regionals. Ahner said she is excited and wishes her fellow swimmers good luck.

Teacher Spotlight 

Jon Brumley has taught at Hobart High School for more than 10 years and has led the quiz bowl team for just as long. Brumley has loved quiz games his entire life, so when he learned about Quiz Bowl, he was ecstatic. Quiz Bowl gives schools across the county a chance to compete against each other every Tuesday. The top two teams then compete on television at a local news station for the final win.

Every Tuesday, Hobart students meet in Brumley’s classroom and prove their knowledge of random topics against their friends. Some weeks, even teachers from other classes come in and compete against the students. 

Brumley loves seeing his students getting questions correct and teaching them how to do better when they don’t. Besides Quiz Bowl, Brumley teaches pre-calculus, trigonometry, and calculus. He also serves as a math tutor outside of class when students are having trouble understanding. Brumley is a wizard at math, and being able to see him in his true element is a great experience.

Valentines and candy grams

With so many fun ways to celebrate love in the air, February 14 is usually a pretty fun day for students at Hobart High School. This year was just as magical due to Hobart’s Key Club candy gram fundraiser. Students advertised the fundraiser the week leading up to Valentines Day, selling candy grams at lunch to raise money for the Australian wildfires. Every penny made with this fundraiser will be sent to help those who have been displaced because of the wildfires.

The original plan was to give out the candy grams the Thursday before Valentine’s Day because there was no school on the actual day. Sadly, due to snow, school was canceled that day so they rearranged to give out the treats during seventh hour the following Monday.

Basketball Homecoming

Ordinarily, there are three school dances a year for which students eagerly await. This year, the school board decided to change that. Instead of a winter semiformal dance following basketball homecoming, the staff instead is placing a heavier focus on the fall homecoming dance and eliminating the semiformal. Although there is no dance this year, there is still a basketball homecoming celebration, of course. 

Next week, students are excited for the basketball team’s homecoming game as well as spirit week. Spirit week is always a fun opportunity for students to show their school spirit by partaking in miscellaneous activities going on around the school. There is always a class costume contest where students from different grades compete against each other, locker decoration contests, and, new for this year, a Tik Tok challenge. The winner is then announced at the pep rally on Friday.

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#1Student NWI: Hobart High School’s Homecoming week and candy grams
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana continues to shape young girls through innovative programs https://nwi.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-continues-to-shape-young-girls-through-innovative-programs/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 10:02:00 +0000 Julia Demma https://nwi.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-continues-to-shape-young-girls-through-innovative-programs/ Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s dedicated, caring staff are committed to ensuring Club members are on track to create and realize their own plans for GREAT Futures. For a girl who is experiencing all the changes that come with going from adolescence to adulthood, it is pivotal to have someone or something to turn to for guidance.

Female members of Boys & Girls Clubs can turn to trustworthy staff and innovative programs designed to help navigate these challenging times. Two such programs are Real.Strong.Girls. and SMART Girls.

Real.Strong.Girls. is a program in partnership with Lake Area United Way, a dynamic community of women from all walks of life who are united in their belief that every girl deserves the chance to reach her full potential.  This mission is fulfilled by building girls’ self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-resiliency through giving, volunteering, and advocating.

Each month, United Way representatives visit different Clubs in the area and touch on many different topics such as healthy eating and hygiene while doing fun activities like a canvas painting.

“I think this program is extremely important. Often our girls don’t have opportunities to receive important information that Real.Strong.Girls. offers,” said Tanisha Kidd, Operations Assistant for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. “Also, this program is free to our girls and provides them with a safe space for learning.”

The Real.Strong.Girls. program benefits participants by providing a self-esteem boost, added confidence, and resiliency, as well as the chance to form new friendships.

“Many girls who didn’t know each other before joining the program have now made friendships and spend time together outside of classes. I’ve also seen self-esteem improvements in our female Club members, which is very important at this point in their lives.”

Another program designed to meet the developmental needs of girls is SMART Girls. This program is offered in Clubs across America and is broken into three different age groups: 8-12, 11-13, and 14-18 with specific curriculums that correspond with developmental issues in each stage of life. SMART Girls is a small-group approach that focuses on health, fitness, prevention/education, and self-esteem enhancement.

Through dynamic sessions, participatory activities, field trips, and mentoring opportunities with adult women, girls explore their own and societal attitudes and values as they build skills for eating well, staying active, making good health choices, and developing positive relationships with peers and adults.

“It’s important to provide SMART Girls at our Clubs because it helps girls navigate the different stages of their pre-teen and teenage development,” said Dylan McKee, Director of External Affairs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana.

Girls who participate in SMART Girls have the opportunity to graduate from the program. Often, Clubs treat participating girls to an activity or dinner to celebrate their accomplishments.

“For a graduation in the past, the girls were taken to a dinner where they received their certificates and then treated to a manicure at a local nail salon,” Kidd said. “For a lot of the girls, this was their first experience stepping foot in a nail salon, and I could tell it really meant a lot to them.”

Because the SMART Girls program covers many personal subjects, it is important to establish strong, both peer-to-peer and peer-to-instructor, relationships. Most importantly, a safe space must be established to allow for intimate, yet open conversations.

“At the start of the program, we developed group rules, one of which was: whatever happens in the program, doesn’t leave the program. Everyone felt so strongly about this rule that we solidified it in writing to build trust,” Kidd said.

Asking questions aloud may be nerve-wracking for some, so Kidd eased these concerns by encouraging girls to drop written questions in a group question box.

The experiences and knowledge SMART Girls offers remains with many Club members years after they move on from the program.

“I’ve seen a big difference in the girls who have participated. Girls have told me they are thankful for the knowledge they’ve acquired on subjects such as dating and peer-to-peer communication. Also, many girls who were in the program together are still friends,” Kidd said.

At pivotal points in girls’ lives, it is important for young women to have someone to turn to for information and support.

“Both the Real.Strong.Girls. program and SMART Girls have a big impact on girls because the approach to these important subjects is completely different at Boys & Girls Clubs. Such programs are implemented in group settings surrounded by Club girls who are going through similar experiences, as well as staff who are welcoming and make them feel comfortable to ask any questions they may have,” Kidd said.

Depending on the Club, the schedule for SMART Girls sessions vary. Interested in becoming a member? Visit https://www.bgcgreaternwi.org/become-a-member/ for more information.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana continues to shape young girls through innovative programs
A CompressAir Employee Spotlight: Steve Hill https://nwi.life/article/a-compressair-employee-spotlight-steve-hill/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:55:30 +0000 Curtis Hankins https://nwi.life/article/a-compressair-employee-spotlight-steve-hill/ Steve Hill, born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, is an expert in one of the Region’s most unique markets – compressed air. It is a thriving industry, led by Hill and other experts at CompressAir, a family-owned business operating in Northwest Indiana since 1987.

Hill joined the CompressAir team more than four years ago. He had experience in the industry as a product manager for Sullair and loved the work, but wanted a slight shift in environment.

“I was looking to get out of a corporate setting, but still wanted to stay in the compressor industry,” Hill said. “That’s when I approached CompressAir’s owner, Andy Crowl, about taking on their new territory in Chicagoland as a salesman. It was my perfect opportunity to stay in an industry that I’d come to love, and since CompressAir is a Sullair distributor I was able to stay with a product I was familiar with.”

Hill now serves as CompressAir’s Chicagoland Air System Specialist, a role that keeps him incredibly busy.

“No day is the same, and that’s what I love most about my job,” he said. “CompressAir has only been in the Chicagoland area for a few years, so a lot of what I do is stopping by businesses to drop off marketing items.”

Marketing is just one part of the job, however, and he spends a large part of his time working with or on behalf of customers.

“Part of my day can consist of checking in on projects I have going or visiting service technicians working a service call and ensuring the customer is happy,” Hill said. “I try to spend at least one – two days in the office working on service or equipment quotes for customers, or coming up with plans for new projects I have coming up.”

The time he spends with customers leads him to his favorite aspect of working at CompressAir.

“I love helping our customers come up with a plan for their compressed air remodels or new construction,” he said. “This means coming up with a plan from the bottom up, including new or additional equipment and expanding or replacing their air piping.”

The work itself is fun, but what makes it special for Hill is seeing the customer’s reactions.

“Renovations and new construction can be a stressful time for customers,” he said. “By making a plan and following through, we get to set their minds at ease so they don’t have to worry about the compressed air portion of their developments.”

Outside of work, Hill loves to spend time with his wife and two kids. They are big on the outdoors, whether it be camping, hunting, or simply heading out to a baseball game.

To learn more about CompressAir, visit compressair.net.

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A CompressAir Employee Spotlight: Steve Hill
A NorthShore Health Centers Employee Spotlight: Toni Modglin https://nwi.life/article/a-northshore-health-centers-employee-spotlight-toni-modglin/ Sun, 16 Feb 2020 11:07:52 +0000 Curtis Hankins https://nwi.life/article/a-northshore-health-centers-employee-spotlight-toni-modglin/ Toni Modglin, mom to a son with an autism diagnosis, knows what it is like to be the parent of a special needs child – challenging and stressful, but also beautiful. She is NorthShore Health Centers’ Special Needs Parent Liaison, and her job is making sure that parents like her get the support they need.

“It’s kind of a broad umbrella,” she said. “I help kiddos who are diagnosed with things like ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, asthma, or anything extra where they might have needs outside of our clinics.”

Those needs range from school evaluations, arranging referrals to outside specialists, even down to helping find basic necessities like food, clothing, or shelter.

“Sometimes raising a child with extra needs can be a little overwhelming,” Modglin said. “Whatever a family needs at any moment, I’m there to make sure they have the resources and support to fill those needs.”

One of the most important aspects of her job is finding out what makes every family and story unique.

“Though I’m the parent of a child with special needs, I always try to be respectful of knowing that our story is just one story,” she said. “Each child is an individual, and every family comes with different challenges and priorities unique to them. I go where the family leads me.”

Modglin’s current position is actually her second at NorthShore. She originally served in a role that offered similar services to families with newborns. It was through that work that she saw how much of an impact a Special Needs Liaison could have.

“It’s a unique program; I’m not aware of any other facility that provides the same level of support,” she said. “I’ve heard from families I’ve helped that people weren’t really understanding them before, and they’re glad they finally have someone who can empathize. It’s nice to know we’re providing that service here.”

Some of Modglin’s favorite aspects of the job are the conversations she shares with kids and their families.

“Since many of the kids are adolescents, I can talk directly with them and encourage self-advocacy skills,” Modglin said. “It’s teaching them how they can advocate for their needs at school or away from the clinic.”

The other thing she loves about her work is NorthShore’s mission – ensuring that everybody has access to quality health care, regardless of their gender, race, social status, or ability to pay.

“A lot of the families that I work with do have barriers like transportation, insurance, or even just time,” she said. “Our mission is really what guides everything that we do, and it’s been pure joy to be a part of it.”

To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit northshorehealth.org.

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A NorthShore Health Centers Employee Spotlight: Toni Modglin
219 Day Party 2020 celebrates the Year of the Rat https://nwi.life/article/219-day-party-2020-celebrates-the-year-of-the-rat/ Sun, 16 Feb 2020 04:13:30 +0000 Gena Demuth https://nwi.life/article/219-day-party-2020-celebrates-the-year-of-the-rat/ The Region’s annual 219 Day returned to the Hammond Civic Center for the fifth time. Region Rats, as they were affectionately called, came out to celebrate the Year of the Rat. 

There was much to pick from in the form of a selfie booth, Mind Bender games, a “Region Rat” piñata, vendors, and live entertainment.

Music entertainment was provided by One Timer, CoJack and Company, and Pearl Jam Tribute Chicago. Vendors packed the halls from The Tattoo Lady, Valparaiso University, South Shore Roller Girls, and Northwest Indiana Martial Arts Academy.

“This is so much fun,” said Lauren Radusil of the South Shore Roller Girls. “To be able to celebrate everything in the region and be a part of that is really cool.”  

219 Day Party 2020

219 Day Party 2020 93 Photos
219 Day Party 2020219 Day Party 2020219 Day Party 2020219 Day Party 2020

Radusil and team rolled around looking for skating volunteers and handing out flyers for their upcoming May 16th competition at the Hammond Civic Center.

While The Tattoo Lady tattoo and piercing studio in Hammond continued its tradition of giving out complimentary temporary tattoos celebrating the 219, this was the first year for Northwest Indiana Martial Arts Academy. Zachary Masburn was excited they could be a part. Mashburn was offering an activity like no other.

“They are going to break some boards today,” said Mashburn.

Region food vendors came out in force from Schoop’s Hamburgers, Zel’s Roast Beef, and Gelsosomo’s. To keep up the festive energy, those in attendance also had the option of donuts from California Donuts and popcorn from Lady’s Gourmet Popcorn.

Alexis Hecker of Schoops has been participating for the last three years. Hecker, a Hammond native herself, looks forward to the event every year.

“It’s fun seeing the community get together and have a good time,” said Hecker. Her favorite part is the Pinata. 

Jim Taillon has been attending since the first year. “This year is going to be special since it’s the year of the rat,” said Taillon. He was looking forward to sampling the local breweries.

Quenching the thirst of the over 21 region rats were local and regional 219 breweries. Party-goers enjoyed drinks from 18th Street Brewery, Byway Brewing, 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Misbeehavin Meads, and Crown Brewing.

Serving drinks for 18th Street Brewery, a participant every year, was Aaron Willman.

“It’s awesome to bring everyone together to downtown Hammond,” said Willman.

Dave Toth of Byway Brewery agreed with Willman. Byway has been a part of the celebration for the last four years. 

“The Mayor put this together and it just took off. We are happy to be a part of it,” said Toth.

Handing out hugs and cards, Mayor ThomasMcDermott was all smiles. It was clear  he enjoys being out and celebrating the region. 

“It’s the region holiday. We have region food, region drinks, and region people. It’s a good time,” said Mayor McDermott.

The Mayor does not take credit for himself.

“Everyone works so hard to put this together and I want to thank them,” said Mayor McDermott. “Donna Muta, the Special Events Coordinator and a region member herself, put a lot of work into this as well.”

Laughter rang out as old friends called out to familiar faces and hugged each other. Attendees danced to the music while others sat at tables enjoying the local eats. No matter the activity, participants were united in their celebration of the Region.

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219 Day Party 2020 celebrates the Year of the Rat
2010 Wheeler High School Boy’s Basketball state champions celebrate a decade since their win https://nwi.life/article/2010-wheeler-high-school-boys-basketball-state-champions-celebrate-a-decade-since-their-win/ Sun, 16 Feb 2020 01:53:02 +0000 Gena Demuth https://nwi.life/article/2010-wheeler-high-school-boys-basketball-state-champions-celebrate-a-decade-since-their-win/ It may have been 10 years ago, but it seemed like yesterday for those who gathered to celebrate the 2010 Wheeler boys basketball team state championship win.

“It seems like yesterday, yet forever ago,” said Shelby Reilly, former cheerleader who went with the team to the State Championship. Reilly, now a preschool teacher, recalled the experience with fondness.

“It was life changing,” she said.

Wheeler Athletic Director Randy Stelter echoed Reilly’s thoughts.

“I can’t believe 10 years has flown by,” said Stelter. He was excited to catch up with the former players who had come in from as far away as San Diego.

“I remember at the end of that game, Petar [Todorovic] and Donnie [Ketchum] running down the court with the others all just celebrating. That memory will forever be entrenched in my mind. It was just a great feeling,” said Stelter.

“It was a fun run. One of the best high school experiences you could have,” said Andrew Rudakas. “When that buzzer went off we were running around excited. We had worked so hard for it.”

Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020

Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020 147 Photos
Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020Boys Basketball Wheeler VS Morgan Township 2020

Rudakas, who lives in the area, sees Todorovic regularly but overall the group stays in touch.

“We keep in touch through group texting,” said former head coach Mike Jones. “It’s good to keep track of where they are at, what they are doing. Not having seen these guys for ten years it’s surreal. Some of them are married and have started families.”

Coach Jones couldn’t help but reflect on the bond the team had.

“We had a team that played well together. It was a special group. One of those that comes once in a lifetime,” said Jones. “We could play a fast-paced game or a slow-paced game, and that’s very rare for a team.”

Steve Catherman, former assistant coach, agreed that despite time passing, the bond remained.

“It’s hard to imagine they were young men and now they’re back with families,” said Catherman. “The fact they stayed so close just really felt like a culmination of one group with one goal.”

Still, running into them as adults has been surreal for Catherman.

“I see a lot of them out, which is strange when you are out having a cocktail and now they can have one with you,” said Catherman with a laugh.

After the championship win, Jones remained in the area, focused on spending time with his family, and even coaching his kids. He will always look back on the team and treasure his time with them. 

For Catherman, there is one memory that always makes him chuckle.

“We had two sets of shoes, one for practice and one for the game,” said Catherman. “The first game, Nick Naspinski had brought only the two left shoes. So, the first game of the tournament started with Nick trying to go out there and do layups with two of the same shoes on.”

It was hard to imagine for many that this class 2A school, up against much bigger schools, would be the first in Porter County to win a basketball state championship. It was not until the team was back home that the community found out about the historic win. Catherman broke the news to those in attendance at a post game celebration.

“It was crazy,” he said. “It was hard to imagine that in the history of Porter County we would be the first.”

Eric Wise, former point guard, came in from Detroit to celebrate the anniversary.

“I played with that group of guys for ten years,” said Wise. “That was always a goal of ours, to get to that point. Now looking back it was like it was yesterday.”

Rudakas had one piece of advice for the current Bearcats. “Keep working hard, every day.” Despite a loss to Morgan Township, it was all smiles and laughter as current and former players bonded after the game over food and basketball. To date, the 2010 Wheeler Bearcats Boys 2A Basketball team remain the only team in Porter Country to have won the state championship.

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2010 Wheeler High School Boy’s Basketball state champions celebrate a decade since their win
Boulder Bay Realty Group: Why Stage Your Home? https://nwi.life/article/why-stage-your-home/ Sat, 15 Feb 2020 12:00:00 +0000 GreatNews.Life https://nwi.life/article/why-stage-your-home/ When selling a home, there are countless elements that must work together in harmony in order to get the best price and to have a house sell quickly and smoothly. With so much to do, the process can become overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways to make the real estate process run without a hitch!

Boulder Bay Realty Group: Why Stage Your Home? One way to do this is through a process known as staging, or making a home’s appearance more appealing to potential buyers. On the surface, cleaning a home may seem like an obvious practice, but staging goes beyond tidying up. This common real estate technique involves creating an inviting and eye-catching space. Whether this is done through decorating, such as hanging art, installing new lighting, painting, or placing accessories throughout the space, or also by renovating, staging makes for a pleasing environment that helps potential buyers visualize the home as their own.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the rooms most commonly staged in a home are living rooms, kitchens, master bedrooms, and dining rooms, while the rooms least likely to be staged are guest bedrooms. These common areas are the first rooms that potential buyers will see, and they set the tone for the rest of the home. Buyers respond positively when the rooms are clean, decluttered, and well-staged.

Take a look at these two photographs. One is a living room before it has been staged by a real estate agent, while the other is the same room after staging.

Boulder-Bay-Staging-Home-2018-2The difference between the presentation of the two rooms is incredible. In the “Before” photograph on the left, the space is cluttered and filled with a lot of furniture, creating a crowded feeling. The paint is a little dark and the room contains some of the seller’s personal items. While the room’s decor and layout are not horrible, it is hard to see past certain elements, meaning buyers may not be able to visualize the home beyond what they see.

The “After” photograph shows a room that is bright, open, and decluttered. The furniture is minimal, but it still utilizes the space in an effective way. The paint is a lighter color which opens the room. Finally, the decorations are simple but elegant, and don’t include personal objects like the “Before” room. This layout and decor is welcoming and provides buyers the space to visualize how they would add their own personal touch.

While it is easy to say that staging is important, there is data to support what real estate agents have been saying for years: staging has a real and positive effect on potential buyers.

According to the NAR, “Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home, while staging the living room for buyers was found to be most important (55 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (51 percent), and staging the kitchen (41 percent).”

Staging has also been shown to sell homes faster and for a better price. According to the NAR, “62 percent of sellers’ agents say that staging a home will decrease the amount of time it spends on the market.”

The more appealing a home is to buyers, the higher the demand is for the house, meaning that the home stays on the market for less time. When a house is on the market for less time, it is more likely the sellers will be able to get a better price. The longer sellers keep homes on the market, the more likely they will have to lower the asking price in order to attract potential buyers. When sellers are proactive and do all they can to make their homes appealing, they are more likely to sell the house for what they are asking or, in some cases, for even more.

In a survey assessing the effectiveness of staging, the NAR found that, “29 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one percent to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes. 21 percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6 and 10 percent.”

Staging has a definite impact on a home, from both a seller’s and buyer’s standpoint. It helps everyone involved in the process navigate the real estate market with ease and benefits both parties in the long run.

For more information about staging and why it matters, please visit www.nar.realtor. Talk to your local real estate agent from Boulder Bay Realty Group about the different techniques to use when trying to sell your home. Please visit www.FreeHomeLookUp.com.

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Boulder Bay Realty Group: Why Stage Your Home?
#1StudentNWI: February at Highland High School https://nwi.life/article/1studentnwi-february-at-highland-high-school/ Sat, 15 Feb 2020 04:28:17 +0000 Tyler Prendergast https://nwi.life/article/1studentnwi-february-at-highland-high-school/ What’s Coming Up: New Murals at Highland High School

Highland High School is about to get more colorful, thanks to the mural challenge. The Highland High School mural challenge gives students the opportunity to be creative and have an impact on what they want to see on their school walls.

Students were given a window of time to come up with a design and draw it on paper. After submissions were collected, the student body voted on their favorite designs.

The four students who designed the chosen murals are Isabelle Hibbard, Neveah Miranda, Emily Borden, and Olivia Magana. 

Supplies have been ordered and work on the murals will begin soon. Students are excited about the new art that will soon cover the walls, and it’s a great opportunity for them to exhibit their creative talents.

What’s happened recently: Valentine’s Day 

Valentine’s Day was a fun day of celebration for Highland students. To celebrate the day of love, the school offered two options for students to purchase to show appreciation for their friends or significant other.

Students could buy a “Crush” soda can or carnation flower from the National Honors Society in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. The drinks and flowers were delivered during the last period of school on Valentine’s Day, giving students a positive way to end the week as they approach the upcoming three-day weekend.

Highland students have Monday, February 17 off for Presidents’ Day, and classes will resume on Tuesday, February 18.

Staff Spotlight: Nicole Weber

Nicole Weber has been teaching science at Highland for 11 years, and it’s been a great fit.

“It’s always been about animals and science for me, it’s my passion,” Weber said.

Her interest in science started at a young age.

“When other little kids would say they wanted to be a doctor or something, I would always say I wanted to save animals,” Weber said.

Though science is her main interest, she enjoys the teaching aspect of her job as well.

“Watching the students start making connections and seeing how everything fits together and relates to each other is very rewarding as a teacher,” Weber said.

Weber is also in charge of the Science Olympiad for Highland students.

“Science Olympiad is a competition that is made up of science and engineering events. Events can be based in biology, chemistry, engineering, or anything else relating to science,” Weber said.

The events are very diverse.

“Events can include tests, experimental design labs, or may even task the students to design and build something prior to the event,” Weber said.

It’s a great opportunity for students to further their interest in science.

For anyone who wants to participate in the Science Olympiad next fall, Weber has some advice.

“Stop by a call-out meeting and hear what it’s all about. There’s no harm in seeing if you’re interested! You may surprise yourself and find something you’re really into,” she said.

Student Spotlight: Mariana Arceo 

Mariana Arceo, a junior at Highland High School, is a big advocate of art and enjoys art in many styles and mediums.

“My favorite part of art is the ability to produce ideas, concepts, and stories into a physical and visual form, through acting and fine arts,” Arceo said.

Art has always been something Mariana could turn to.

“My inspiration for doing art is the feeling of accomplishment I get after working on a piece or practicing for a role,” she said.

Recently, Arceo’s hard work has been recognized by her fellow classmates when her design concept for this year’s prom T-shirts was selected.

“I felt very honored and proud to have my design chosen,” said Arceo. “Since it’s a school-wide event, it made me elated to know my work would be enjoyed by many. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Arceo has honed her talents through hard work and dedication.

“As generic as it sounds, my greatest piece of advice is to always dedicate time to practicing and to use failure as a motivator,” she said.

While some people are just naturally good at art, anyone can improve through practice.

“People take different amounts of time to see improvement, and it helps to just have patience and keep at it,” Arceo said.

Getting the opinions of others can also help.

“I like to hear the feedback of others to help me work harder and improve. This motivation helps me to finish projects sooner and with greater quality,” Arceo said.

With her T-shirt designs on the horizon, it’s likely that Arceo will find herself a new project to work on in the near future.

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#1StudentNWI: February at Highland High School