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In This Issue
Chamber News
Community News
Community Education
Business News
Business Education
Activities and Promotions
Help Wanted

December 6, 2017

Chamber News
Member of the Week
The Member of the Week for December 4-8, 2017 is the Portage Township Education Foundation. 
The Portage Township Education Foundation is a non-profit entity comprised of dedicated volunteers from throughout the community and is governed by a 16-member, all volunteer, Board of Directors.  Board members recognize the need for
 additional dollars to help Portage Township Schools employees to increase student achievement and the desire to learn.  Fundraising events are held throughout the year to raise funds to support grants for projects that are innovative and reach beyond the operating budget of the school system.  Events include the 500  Club, the Harlem Wizards game, and a Brewfest.  Their mission is to engage the Portage Township community in support of educational innovations that improve student achievement. There are many ways that you can help support the education of the children in Portage Township!  The Foundation welcomes all Chamber members to contribute their expertise and talents to help build a brighter future for our children and community.  Email ptefinfo@portage.ki12.in.us to learn how you can become involved.
Shop Local and Win!
This year to enhance your holiday shopping experience, the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) is proud to sponsor "Shop Local and Win!" just for shopping local. From November 25, 2017 through December 24, 2017  spend a combined total of $200.00 (excluding gas/diesel) or more at GPCC Member businesses,  submit by mail:copies of receipts along with entry by January 3, 2018 and receive a $10.00 Chamber gift certificate  **Limited to the first 50 entries**  Entry Form  Businesses  print this flyer  and encourage your patrons to participate. Member businesses can be found  here

Rise Shine and Share-Success in 60 Series
Date: December 14th, 7:30am-8:30am-Central Time @ Portage Best Western
The Rise, Shine and Share will continue with the Success in 60 Series featuring Larry Galler. This session will teach you how to become a Power Networker. 
Register Online 
Holiday Party
The Chamber would like to thank you for your support in 2017 by inviting you to a Members only Holiday celebration.  Join us for complementary appetizers, conversation and a cash bar.  The Holiday Party will be at Bulldog on the Lake on Thursday, December 14th from 4p-7p. Bulldog on the Lake is located at 5987 Burns Waterway, Portage. Register here to let us know you will be there. If you do not have a Member Log-in please call or email the Chamber office. 
Space Available for Rent
There will soon be office space available within the Chamber Building for rent. 
The space will be available on December 8, 2017. The location includes: Private Lobby Area, Private Bathroom, 3 private rooms , Separate Entrance, Snow Removal,  Utilities and Garbage are included. The rent for this location is $650 per month and is roughly 675 sq.ft. If you are interested in seeing the available space please call the Chamber office at 219-762-3300 or stop in during business hours, Monday-Friday 8a-4:30p. 

Community News
Augustana Lutheran Church Bell Choir to Perform
Miller's Senior Living
The Augustana Lutheran Church Bell Choir will perform on Tuesday, December 12th at 6:30pm. This performance is open to the public. Come out and enjoy this wonderful performance.
Board Seeks Community Member
Portage Township Education Foundation
As a Portage community member, you have an exciting opportunity to support the Portage Township Schools!  Consider becoming a Board Member for the Portage Township Education Foundation!  The Portage Township Education Foundation provides funds for the Portage Township School (PTS) employees who submit grants.  These grants provide unique learning experiences for students which are not able to be funded through the typical school budget.  The funding for these grants largely comes through our fundraising efforts. Please send your name, email, phone and occupation to the Portage Township Education Foundation (PTEF) at ptefinfo@portage.k12.in.us.  We hope you can join us! 
Indiana Tourism Bureau Encourages Organizations to Apply
Indiana Dunes Tourism
Indiana Dunes Tourism is offering grant money to people and groups who plan to bring visitors into the county by building new attractions or by organizing festivals, events, meetings, conventions, or sports tournaments during 2018.  Grants are available to for-profit, nonprofit, and government entities.
A total of $50,000 is available to be awarded in 2018. Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism bureau of Porter County, is specifically looking to support endeavors that will bring visitors from outside of the Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County areas, fill hotel rooms, and have a positive economic impact on local businesses and attractions.
In 2017, Indiana Dunes Tourism awarded grants to Gears of Hope Duneland Tour, Fish-On Annual Outdoor Show, Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, Taltree Acorn Concert Series, Northern Amateur Golf Tournament, Prairie Music Fest, Chesterton European Market, and many others.
The grants can be used for such things as construction of new attractions, as well as advertising, printing, and promotional expenses that bring visitors to Porter County and encourage overnight stays. The funds can also be used to develop brochures, websites, and other tools that encourage visitation.  Those interested in the 2018 grant program should visit:   indianadunes.com/grants .
Drop Off Site to Close
Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction
Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle. The drop-off recycling located at Willowcreek Middle School will soon be moving, it will be relocating by the end of day Dec. 29th. The district operates six other drop-off locations that residents can use until a new Portage site is located: Boone Grove Fire Department, 319 West 550 South, Valparaiso; Burns Harbor Street Department, 310 Navajo Trail; Chesterton, 1600 Pioneer Trail (Strack & VanTil); Hebron Municipal Building, 125 N. Main St.; Kouts Town Garage, 406 S. Kouts St.; and Valparaiso, 2168 W. U.S. 30 (Strack & VanTil).  Read More 

Community Education
Let Us Have Peace
Edmonds & Evans Funeral Homes
Edmonds & Evans Funeral Homes will be sponsoring "Let Us Have Peace" at the Bonner Senior Center on Friday, December 15th at 10:30am. This program provides a unique tour of America and guests will learn intriguing, often untold stories behind our presidents' final days and resting places. This event is free and open to the public.  

Business News
Ryan Smiley Named President & CEO
Boys & Girls Club of Porter County
As previously announced, two thriving local Boys & Girls Clubs organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County (BGCPOCO) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana (BGCNWI) will be merging into one organization, serving more kids and expanding its transformational programs and services.  Ryan Smiley, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, will continue to lead the merger, as the newly appointed president & chief executive officer (CEO) of the new organization.  Smiley officially will assume the new responsibilities when the merger is complete on January 1, 2018. With the merger, the new organization will be in the top 2% of all Boys & Girls Clubs in the United States based on the number of facilities and members served during the school year.  The combined organization is expected to serve more than 10,000 youth and teen members annually throughout Northwest Indiana. Smiley has served as interim president & CEO of BGCNWI since October of 2016, which serves members at six Clubs in Lake County.  Both organizations are experiencing historical growth under Smiley's leadership.  "We are serving more kids today than at any time in our collective and storied histories," Smiley said. The average daily attendance of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana has increased 40% since last October and active membership has grown by 1,046 youth in the past year under his leadership.  Read More

New Customer Specialists at the Valparaiso AAA office
AAA of Valparaiso
AAA would like to welcome two new Customer Specialists to the Valparaiso Office. Please welcome Abby Gunning and Sara Braun. Abby is a future elementary school teacher who attends Indiana University Northwest. She loves to read and spend time with her family and friends. Sara is the proud Mom to a 6 month old Golden Retriever named Hemi and a 3 month old German Shepherd named Daisy. She loves fast cars, her doggies, and her whole family loves AAA. If you would like to become a AAA Member or would like to apply for our 0% Credit Card for your Holiday shopping, please call us at (219) 242-8144.

Look Who's in the Portage-IN Office
Century 21 Affiliated
Century 21 Affiliated has added new faces to the Portage Office. Ben Crozier chose Real Estate so he can build his own business and help people chase their dreams! He is a graduate of Purdue University and avid reader. Call or text Ben at 219-877-4364. Beth Lloyd chose real estate because she loves people and loves houses. She is excited about finding the "Dream Home" for her clients. Beth also freelances as a make-up artist, assisting in weddings and special occasions. Call or text Beth at 219-393-4430.

Business Education
Advocate for Your Business
Date: December 7, 1pm Eastern
Small business owners must perform countless tasks, but many forget to advocate for their businesses. Government officials make decisions that impact your ability to conduct business, so shouldn't you be involved in advocating for your company?  In this session, Joy Lutes, Vice President of External Affairs at NAWBO National (the first advocacy organization founded to represent all women business owners), will discuss how to engage in business to government advocacy efforts that will strengthen your business.  
You'll learn:  How decisions made at all levels of government can affect how you conduct business;  How to assess advocacy opportunities that exist for your business and integrate them into your plans;  How to communicate with your employees, customers and other stakeholders about the actions you take in the advocacy arena. Register Online

Business Start-up 101
The workshop is a first step toward owning a successful small business and it aims to help entrepreneurs evaluate their business ideas, prepare a sound business plan, manage expectations and increase chances of accessing capital. 
The workshop is based on the ISBDC's A Sound and Proven Path Towards Launching Your Own Business Workbook, available at all ISBDC offices. A free copy of this 60 page step-by-step workbook will be distributed to participants and used during the class:
Topics include: 
Identifying personal objectives, skills and resources;  Describing your business idea and requirements;  Developing a sales forecast;  Identifying start-up expenses;  Estimating your operating budget;  Analyzing your feasibility results.
When:  6 to 8 p.m.  Tuesday Dec. 12
Where: Purdue Technology Center of NWI, 9800 Connecticut Drive, Crown Point, IN 46307
Cost: $25. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required as payments are not accepted at the door. Register online
More information : Email  northwest@isbdc.org  or call (219) 644-3513 .

Simplifying Social Media for Solopreneurs
Date: Tuesday, December 19th; 1pm Eastern
Do you have a social media strategy?
In this webinar, Donna Amos, founder of Solopreneur Solutions, will share what she has learned while working with hundreds of clients. This webinar can help businesses of all sizes who need time-saving social media tips. (Sponsored by Canon.)
Social media might be the last thing on the minds of time-strapped solopreneurs or freelancers. But with a well-planned strategy, even the self-employed can make the most of these powerful, and free, marketing tools. In this webinar, Donna Amos, founder of Solopreneur Solutions, will share what she has learned while working with hundreds of clients.  This webinar can help businesses of all sizes who need time-saving social media tips.
You will learn: What social media platforms to use if you are crunched for time, How to get the most out of your social media activities, How to align your social goals to business goals.

Introduction to Quickbooks Online
We continue to partner with Accounting Made Simple on this online application workshop. Using the online version of QuickBooks allows users to handle all of their accounting needs and access data from anywhere online.
Key Objectives: Getting started and setting up, navigating QuickBooks online, recording transactions, reporting tools and expanding usability. 
When:  9 a.m. to noon Fridays  Jan. 12 a nd 19
Where: Purdue Technology Center of NWI, 9800 Connecticut Drive, in Crown Point 46307
Cost: $100 for the two-part workshop. Pre-registration is required.
Register Online

More information: Email northwest@isbdc.org or call (219) 644-3513.
The workshop does NOT contain any information for users of Desktop applications QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise Solutions or QuickBooks for the Mac.

2018 Vision Project
South Shore Leadership Center
Dates: February 6th and 7th
February 6th Cocktail Party - 5pm-7pm - TBD
February 7th All Day Event - 8am-5pm - Halls of St. George

This program invites experienced and seasoned leaders to join a cohort of individuals to discuss and delve into regional assets and the issues we face. The event will discover initiatives and recommend actions to advance the Region. Participants can expect a series of high-level presentations offering inspiration and benchmarks from around the United States. Presenters may include: Governors, Mayors, CEO's for Cities, Venture Capitalists, Futurists/Scientists, Technology Leaders, National Foundations/Philanthropies, Faith Leaders and more.

The theme for 2018:  Developing the Region as a Tourist Destination - What This Really Means!
Depending on what you would like to attend, make sure to purchase a ticket for both days or just the main event on February 7, 2018. 

The cocktail party will kick off the excitement for what attendees are about to learn. Appetizers and cocktails will be served, and we will give you a sneak peak into your day long program on February 7, 2018, Your day will start with 8am breakfast, followed by lunch at noon, and many fascinating experts touching on the topic of tourism in between. Register Online

Activities and Promotions
An Evening with Santa
Portage Township YMCA
Families are invited to join us at our annual Evening with Santa on Friday, Dec. 8th. Children and their parents will discover the magic of the holiday season by attending the Portage YMCA event. The festivities run between 5:30-8:00 p.m. and include, games with a prize every time, crafts and pampering in our Peppermint Palace with painted nails, temporary tattoos and hair streaks. A choice of pasta or a hot dog dinner and beverage will be available for the cost of $4/dinner. Free dessert with advanced dinner tickets purchased by Dec. 7th. All guests are welcome to take a picture with Santa for $2. Finish the night off with a visit to "Make your own Sundae Bar" or a Bag of Popcorn. Join us in all the fun or just some of the fun. Tickets are available for purchase beginning November 17th at the YMCA Welcome Center for $4/dinner. Activity tickets are 50ยข each or 11 for $5 and sold only during the event. Activity tickets are needed for games, crafts and the Peppermint Palace. All tickets are available at the door for this affordable family fun night! The Portage YMCA is located at 3100 Willowcreek Road, Portage, IN

10% Fundriaser for Randi Riley
Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit Randi Riley on Sunday, December 10th from 11am-9:30pm. Randi Riley is a wife and mother to two oung children. She is currently fighting her second battle against Wilson's Disease. She is at the University of Chicago and is in need of a liver transplant. All proceeds from this fundraiser will to to medical expenses. Please print this flyer and bring it to Texas Roadhouse on December 10th and 10% of your food purchase will be donated to Randi Riley. 

Painting for a Cure
Relay for Life Portage
Painting for a Cure is back! On December 11th you have the opportunity to paint a Snowman Door Hanger or a Set of 4 Champagne Glasses for $40. Join them for an evening of fun, laughter and painting on December 11th at 6:30pm. All donations help Relay for Life. The donation includes all supplies, light snacks and beverages. Call or email Patti to register rflportageIN@gmail.com or 219-508-2029.

Christmas Buffet
Miller's Senior Living