March Disability Awareness message from the Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability
Each March, Disability Awareness Month is celebrated throughout Indiana. Given that adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population, disability awareness is important for all of us. Led by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities , the goal of Disability Awareness Month is to increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities. 

The Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability has worked to increase local awareness by offering posters and brochures to local organizations and spreading the word through a video . Contact us to request your disability awareness promotional materials with the theme of " Be Cool. We Are. " The theme is all about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and making the conscious decision to be yourself, because acting different around someone with a disability isn’t cool.
Mayor's Advisory Human Relations Council offers grant opportunity - apply before the April 15 deadline!
The Valparaiso Human Relations Council seeks to fund and support initiatives to increase awareness, appreciation and dialogue within the Valparaiso community among diverse groups. The Council's Community Cultural Grant program offers grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 for programs and events that strengthen our community. The deadline to apply is April 15.

Learn more about the program guidelines and eligibility and share the flyer with individuals and groups that may be interested in applying.
State of the Schools presented by Superintendent Lauck
On March 11, Dr. Lauck, Superintendent of Valparaiso Community Schools (VCS), presented the annual State of the Schools to our City Council.

A sample of updates from the presentation include:
  • Building projects are nearly completed at all schools. The final large project is the natatorium that is projected to be completed later this fall.
  • Funds from the operating referendum have allowed VCS to expand STEM and social-emotional programming and increase staff compensation with a 1% stipend.
  • The 2019 budget and the impact of the new fund structure put in place by Indiana Code revisions.
  • Details of national and state recognition of schools and an impressive list of accomplishments that school programs, clubs and athletics have achieved.
  • Improved communication with staff and parents has been achieved, and continues to grow, with the addition of a public relations position that was made possible by funding from the operating referendum.

Apply now to participate in the Spring 2019 City Government Academy - limited seats remaining!
Valparaiso residents who are interested in learning more about how their local government works can now apply for the City Government Academy spring 2019 program!  By participating in this program, you will gain a deeper understanding of how local government works, meet government leaders and department heads, understand how citizens can become more engaged in public decision-making and serve as role models for other community residents.

The Academy will run from April 10 to May 22, meeting on Wednesday evenings. View the detailed schedule and guidelines . This is a free program for residents 18 years and older. Class size will be limited to 30-35 residents and we hope to have representation from each city council district. Apply now!
Valparaiso compost site opens for season March 25
The Department of Public Works in partnership with Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District offers a local compost site for residents to drop off organic yard waste, pick up mulch and compost and recycle several household items. The compost site at 2150 W. Lincolnway will be open for the season on Monday, March 25. The compose site will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm and Saturday from 9:00am – 4:00pm. As warmer weather approaches keep in mind that the compost site is a great place to take your leaves, straw, garden/household plants, limbs, logs, brush, branches no longer than six feet, minor amounts of dirt and sod and your grass clippings. In order to drop off grass clippings, residents must obtain a grass pass from the Public Works office or the compost site main office. Learn more about our compost site .
Valpo Parks and Dr. E. Ric Frataccia honored by Indiana Parks and Recreation Association
Last month, the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association honored award winners from around the state at its annual conference.  Valpo Parks received the Exceptional Park Design Award for Tower Park and the Leaders Giving Back Campaign.  Also honored was Dr. E. Ric Frataccia with the Distinguished Citizen Award. Dr. Frataccia served on the Valparaiso Park Board from 1990 to 2018 and is the longest tenured Board member in the 74-year history of Valpo Parks. 

View the full press release to learn more about Tower Park and the Leaders Giving Back Campaign and the leadership of Dr. Frataccia.
Meet Your City
Roxanne Mendez Johnson, Human Relations Council
Roxanne has been a member of the Mayor's Advisory Human Relations Council since the fall of 2017. She and her family moved to Valparaiso in 2010, and she has been practicing federal criminal defense locally since 2011. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in Spanish, and earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Roxanne has family in the western Chicago suburbs, and is happy to be in close proximity to so many relatives. She is married to her husband Gregg, and together they have two children and two dogs. When she is not in the courtroom or meeting with clients, she enjoys walking her dogs downtown with her husband, traveling to see friends all over the country and watching the Fighting Irish dominate on the field.  

Meet Your City allows our residents to learn more about city staff, board and commission members and neighborhood leaders throughout the community.
Calendar and Helpful Links
Check our calendar regularly to stay up to date on our public meetings. The most current agendas and minutes can be found on our website by selecting the board or commission that you are most interested in under the “City Government” tab. Upcoming meetings of note include:

Special Events:

Quick Links:
City Talk Now is brought to you by the City's Community Engagement Department.  Contact us with any questions or feedback.

City of Valparaiso  | 219-462-1161 | 653 Hayes Leonard Rd, Valparaiso, IN 46383