Community news

ValpoNEXT hosts Valpo Speaks at Ben Franklin MS

ValpoNEXT hosts its annual Valpo Speaks event from 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at Ben Franklin Middle School, 605 N. Campbell St., Valparaiso. This year’s event focuses on housing, with four panelists: George Douglas, Redevelopment/Economic Director; Paul Schreiner, Project Neighbors/Executive Director; Jennifer Parham, 2024 Indiana Association of Realtors/President; and Bob Coolman, Coolman Communities Inc/President and CEO. A civic engagement discussion begins at 5:30 p.m., with a panel discussion at 6 p.m. The event is free, with light refreshments. More information on ValpoNEXT can be found on Facebook.

Launch event to celebrate Birding Festival’s anniversary

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival with a free public launch event from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, 1215 N. Indiana 49, Porter. The kickoff will feature the opening of the “Dune Birds in Art” exhibition, showcasing diverse artwork inspired by the region’s birds by more than a dozen regional artists. During the event, festival artist Kristina Knowski, creator of the 10th anniversary logo, will unveil the 2024 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival fine art print in the Visitor Center auditorium. Prints will be available for purchase following the unveiling. Additionally, attendees can enjoy the festival premiere of PBS’s “Flyways” at 6:30 p.m., which tells the incredible migration stories of godwits, curlews and Red Knots across the globe. This event is free and open to the public. While pre-registration for the festival has concluded, limited walk-in registrations will be available starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Visit for more information.

Planting Possibilities annual spring plant sale Saturday

Nonprofit Planting Possibilities holds its annual spring geranium sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, in St. Thomas More Church’s south parking lot at 8501 Calumet Ave, Munster. Deliveries will be available for purchases over $100. Cash, checks, credit, and debit are acceptable payments. Planting Possibilities grows tomato and vegetable seedlings to help fund its mission “to provide fulfilling employment, job skills training, and volunteer opportunities in Lake County to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities,” through horticulture. For further details, call 219-614-7168.

Northwest Health to present May HealthyU Seminar

“Early Detection is the BREAST Protection” will be the topic of Northwest Health’s next HealthyU Seminar from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 30 in the Community Room at Northwest Health, 85 E. U.S. Highway 6, Valparaiso. Board-certified general surgeon Nancy Han, MD, FACS, will discuss risk factors that contribute to breast cancer during this free event. Han will highlight actionable steps women can take to mitigate their risk of breast cancer, such as adopting a healthy diet, maintaining a regular exercise routine, and prioritizing routine screenings. She will lead a Q&A session following her talk. Registration is encouraged at For questions, call 219-262-6446.

IU Northwest hosts inaugural RedHawk Golf Classic

Indiana University Northwest will host the RedHawk Gold Classic June 3 at Innsbrook Country Club, 6701 W. Taft St., Merrillville. Registration and breakfast begin at 8 a.m. with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. Lunch and a program will take place at 2 p.m. The event will include course games, gift items and raffle prizes. All proceeds will go toward supporting athletic scholarships. Those interested can participate by golfing as an individual or foursome, sponsoring the event, or making a tax-deductible contribution to the IU Northwest RedHawks Athletic Scholarship. The registration deadline is May 27. Register at To sponsor the event, contact Ed Briscoe at or 219-980-7271. For questions, contact Ryan Shelton at or 219-980-6793.

CAC offers expanded summer art programming

Chesterton Art Center (CAC), 115 S. Fourth St., Chesterton, is offering a newly expanded, seven-week series of Summer Art Camps and Teen Studio Intensives. This series of summer programming for ages 5 to 18 highlights various art techniques and media, and involves discussions about modern artists. All programs follow a unique theme that directs the fine art projects students will take home at the end of the week. This year, CAC introduces a new series of special studio intensives for teens, ages 13 and older. Each intensive focuses on a specific media and is designed to challenge students to elevate their current skills or explore an entirely new media. Tuition per five-day camp is $150 for non-members and $135 for current CAC Family Members. Scholarships are available for students of all ages. Scholarship applications can be found at For more information about summer programs and scholarships, contact Jillian Bridgeman at For a full description of each camp and registration options, visit or call the office at 219-926-4711.

Franciscan Health Crown Point hosting doula workshop

Franciscan Health Crown Point is hosting a doula certification workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. June 22-23 and June 29-30 at the Franciscan Health Main St. Outpatient Center’s Marian Education Center, 1201 S. Main St., Crown Point. Participants must attend all four days to receive a certificate of completion. The workshop includes the Introduction to Childbirth and Birth Doula Training courses and all other in-person instruction required toward certification as a birth doula with DONA International. The cost for the workshop is $500 and is payable within four days of registration. Registration includes directions on how to provide payment. The Franciscan Health Foundation has supplied funds for a limited number of needs-based scholarships to cover the cost of the workshop. Those interested in applying may contact Franciscan Health Crown Point Doula Program Coordinator Louise Albrecht-Mallinger at or 219-746-9134. Register for the workshop by June 12 at