Born in Northwest Indiana, Laura's a graduate of River Forest High School (home of the Ingots) and got her bachelor's degree from Purdue and a master's from Indiana University [we think she roots for both even when they play each other].

Her work has won several awards from the Indiana Broadcasters Association, Society of Professional Journalists/Indiana Chapter, and Network Indiana. She has also had academic papers selected for presentation at national conferences like the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and Broadcast Education Association.

Laura watched her share of game shows growing up and one summer while in California, she's chosen to be a contestant on "Sale of the Century". Her TV favorites include The Honeymooners, Project Runway, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who and Star Trek (TNG and the original). She also enjoys crossword puzzles and when asked what some of her favorite places to visit are she says -- office supply stores.


Dunes Dog Training Club January Classes

Animal Corner

The Dunes Dog Training Club's next Puppy Obedience class will begin on January 15, 2014.  This class is for puppies 2-6 months of age; cost for the class is $80.00 for the 7 week session.  Owners must bring proof of their puppies current vaccinations on the first night; puppies should be wearing a flat, buckle-type collar attached to a 6ft leather leash.  Experienced instructors teach owners how to train their puppies in very basic obedience, using positive reinforcement only in the form of food & treats.  For further information please call 219-996-4770, 219-916-1594, 219-756-7035."

The Dunes Dog Training Club's next Beginner Obedience class will start on January 8, 2014.  This class is for dogs 6 months of age & older; cost for the class is $90.00 for the 8 week session.  Owners must bring proof of their dogs current vaccinations on the first night; dogs should be wearing a metal training collar, attached to a 6ft leather leash.  Experienced instructors teach owners how to train their dogs using positive reinforcement only, in the form of food & praise.  For further information please call 219-996-4770, 219-916-1594, 219-756-7035."

The Dunes Dog Training Club will offer a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) class for owners & their dogs, in preparation for passing the CGC test & receiving the CGC title from the American Kennel Club (AKC).  There will be 7 weeks of training, & the final week will be an actual CGC test; cost for this class is $90.00, including the fee for the CGC test itself.  Owners must bring proof of their dogs current vaccinations on the first night.  For further information please call 219-996-4770, 219-916-1594, 219-756-7035.


Tree Decorating Naturally Dec 7

Green Zone

Tree Decorating Naturally will be held at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve on Saturday, December 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.  This is a free program but please call to register at 219-844-3188.  Individual sign ups only (no groups)

Decorating the Gibson Woods holiday tree with “natural” ornaments has been a tradition for many years. Stop by the Environmental Awareness Center anytime between 1 and 3 to take part in this annual gathering. Many unique decorations can be made out of simple items found in nature. Acorns, pinecones, seedpods, and other dried materials will be available and you are welcome to bring your own to share. Make an ornament for the Gibson Woods tree and another to take home. Enjoy holiday music and stop by the “Bird Room” to see who’s visiting the feeders.


Purdue Master Gardener Pgm Seeks New Crop of Volunteers

Green Zone

If you want to sharpen your gardening skills and you have an interest in sharing your knowledge with others, Purdue University has a program for you.  

Beginning January 22, 2014, a Purdue Master Gardener Program training series will be offered for residents of Lake County and surrounding areas.  The Purdue Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program that provides a learning framework for participants to increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects.  In turn, participants volunteer, representing Purdue University.  As volunteers, participants grow by sharing knowledge while providing leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities.

Training will be held on Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. or 5:45-8:45 p.m. CST.  Participants will be exposed to a wide range of subjects including soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants.  

Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $200.00 per participant. This expense fee covers such items as reference notebooks and supplies.  These materials all become part of the Master Gardener's personal collection.  

While the class will be encouraged to create new educational outreach programs, there are already plenty of opportunities for which volunteers are needed.  Some of these projects include the staffing information booths at gardening events, teaching public education classes, speaking to local clubs and organizations, and hand-on demonstration gardens.  

For questions about the program, contact Nikky Witkowski, 880 E. 99th Ct., Suite A, Crown Point, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 219-755-3240.  To download an application, go to http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/lake/Documents/ANR/2014MGCLassLetterApplicaton.pdf


Master Recycler/Composter Pgm Offered in Porter Co

Green Zone

Porter County -- The Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County invites Porter County residents and those who work in the county to participate in the new Master Recycler/Composter Program that is scheduled for the spring of 2014.

Participants will learn about waste prevention, recycling, and composting, and have the opportunity to meet others who have similar waste reduction and environmental interests in this extensive eight-week session.

The program will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 5 through March 26, in the meeting room at the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, 2755 State Rd. 49, Valparaiso. The course will feature guest speakers and field trips that will help students gain environmental knowledge beyond the blue bin.

Topics will include: waste prevention, recycling processes, household hazardous waste and alternatives, organics recycling and home composting. Registration is available on the District’s website, www.ItMeansTheWorld.org.

“Reducing the waste that goes into our landfills is much more than placing glass jars, plastics containers, aluminum cans and paper products at the curb,” said Therese Davis, executive director of the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County.  “By paying attention to what we do every day and rethinking our routines, we can further reduce waste and make a difference.”

A fee of $30 will help cover the cost of course materials and is due upon acceptance into the program. Class participants commit to 30 hours of volunteer time to educate and inspire others in their community to reduce waste in the home and at work.

The class is limited to 30 participants. Applicants that apply after the class is full will be placed on a waiting list and notified when the next course is scheduled.
“Volunteer work can include helping out at the Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration, teaching a local community group how to incorporate recycling at their special event, educating residents in an apartment or condo complex about recycling opportunities, working booths at special events and more,” Davis said. “We’re open to other great ideas they have about inspiring others to become knowledgeable about waste reduction.”

For more information, visit www.ItMeansTheWorld.org or call 465-3819.


Lake County Master Gardeners Scholarship Program 2014-2015

Green Zone

Crown Point, IN—The Lake County Master Gardeners are pleased to announce that they are continuing their scholarship program for the 2014-15 academic year. Scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate college & university students who are residents of Lake County. In addition to the majors of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, majors of Forestry, Botany (Horticulture Equivalent), Plant Pathology, Agricultural Education, and Entomology are eligible as well. Other majors that benefit consumer gardening may be considered if the applicant provides a one paragraph description of how they will use their major to promote the objectives of the Master Gardeners. The application deadline is February 18, 2014. Application forms are available from university departmental offices or by calling the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, Lake County Office at 755-3240 or at http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/lake/Documents/ANR/2014-15%20post_secon_scholarship%20app.pdf

The scholarships are funded by the proceeds of the Master Gardener annual plant sale, donations from the Illiana Garden Pond Society and other generous donors.

Source:  Nikky Witkowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources/Horticulture

Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Lake County, 880 E. 99th Ct., Suite A, Crown Point, IN  46307

219-755-3240, FAX 219-755-3251

Purdue Extension – Lake County Website:  http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/lake/pages/default.aspx

Lake County Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Purdue-Extension-Lake-County/275041175876408


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