Business news

Advocates complete training; join Lake court program

Three new members were recently sworn in as volunteer advocates with the Lake County courts to provide volunteer advocates for elderly and
incapacitated adults, according to a release from Franciscan Health.

Lake Superior Court Probate Commissioner Ben Ballou swore in a class of three advocates in a ceremony March 11. The new advocates are LaFayette Boone, of Crown Point; Steven Bowling, of Portage; and Dr. Celeste McGill of Chicago, the release said.

The court collaborates with Franciscan Health to provide trained volunteers to serve as court-appointed agents to assist elderly and incapacitated adults. The program, now in its 22nd year, partners with programs serving elderly and incapacitated adults across Lake County to develop a continuum of elder law advocacy and guardianship services, the release said. Volunteers must complete 40 hours of initial training and 12 hours of continuing education annually by legal, social service, health and mental health experts.

To learn more about the program and how to become a volunteer, visit

Shirley Heinze Land Trust announces fundraiser

The Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s annual spring fundraiser, “Branching into New Waters,” will be held from 5:30-10 p.m. May 4 at the William E. Urschel Pavilion in Valparaiso, according to a release.

Dale and Nancy Nichols, Leslie Shad and Joseph Brennan, Mary Ann Tittle, Anne and Tim Walsh, and corporate sponsors, Cleveland-Cliffs and NIPSCO, committed to match all pre-event donations up to $100,000 to support the mission of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, according to the release. Contributions can be made online at

Attendees of Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s annual Spring Benefit can expect to enjoy an evening of celebration in downtown Valparaiso with champagne service, music, an auction, and dinner. New this year, there is a young professional ticket price of $50. Other tickets start at $150. All proceeds go toward preserving and restoring natural lands and waters in Northwest Indiana and towards engaging people in nature and conservation, the release said. Tickets can be purchased at

Hobart Chamber announces Business Expo

The Hobart Chamber of Commerce will host a Business Expo from 3-7 p.m. March 28 at the Hard Rock Casino Live! Room in Gary, a release said.

Area businesses are welcome to showcase their business with booth spaces still available. Patrons can also meet Mayor Josh Huddlestun, the release said.

Reservations and information are available by calling the Chamber at 219-942-5774.

New moving business opens in Merrillville

College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving recently expanded in Merrillville, according to a release.

Leading the expansion is brother and sister duo, Eriek Nickson and Giavonni Nickson Downing. Located at 1402 86th Place, Merrillville, the Northwest Indiana College HUNKS location provides donation pickups, general labor assistance and the company’s signature fast, friendly junk removal and moving services for area residents and businesses, the release said.

For more information about the Northwest Indiana HUNKS, visit or call 219-281-2993.

Franciscan hospitals in NWI honored

Franciscan Health hospitals across Northwest Indiana and Chicago’s south suburbs have been rated among the top 10% in their states, and in some cases, the top 10% in the nation, for 2024 by CareChex Awards, an information service of Quantros Inc., according to a release.

Franciscan Health hospitals ranked among the top 10% in the nation include Franciscan Health Dyer for heart attack treatment; Franciscan
Health Michigan City for cardiac care and Franciscan Health Munster for interventional carotid care, the release said.

Also in Northwest Indiana, Franciscan Health Crown Point ranked among the top 10% in the state for major cardiac surgery, the release said.

The ratings from CareChex place Franciscan Health’s hospitals in the upper tier of hospitals for medical excellence and reflect the hospitals’ commitment to continually delivering the best care possible, the release said.

Neurologist joins Northwest Medical Group in Valparaiso

Dr. Asia Filatov recently joined the practice of Dr. Richard Strawsburg at Northwest Medical Group, according to a release.

Filatov, who received her medical degree from Caribbean Medical University in Rosemont, Illinois, and completed a residency in neurology at the University of Chicago, will be seeing patients at Northwest Health – Valparaiso, 2000 Roosevelt Road, Suite 201 in Valparaiso.

She treats all types of neurological disorders including epilepsy, dementia, movement and neuromuscular issues, the release said. For information, call 219-476-7777.