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.


Waterscape Weekend Garden Pond Expo April 26-27

Green Zone

Crown Point, Ind. – Wind twirlers, stone bird houses, hot tubs, outdoor fireplaces and yard art are just a few of the many exhibits that guests will encounter at the 13th Annual Waterscape Weekend Garden Pond Expo, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26-27, in the Industrial Arts Building at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S. Court St.

Sponsored by the Illiana Garden Pond Society, the Expo is an event set to inspire visitors to take backyards and landscaping to the next level and mesmerize others with incredible display showcased by water features, lighting and garden experts.

Vendors will also sell fish, equipment for the water gardeners, plants including aquatics, glass art décor, gourd décor, lighting and irrigation options, and anything related to gardens and outdoor living enhancements.

In addition to vendors, visitors can connect with many local not-for-profit organizations that will be exhibiting, including garden clubs that will be advertising their upcoming garden walks and rescue groups that will hold fundraisers.

 Lake County Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions. Educational seminars and workshops will be available.

 Adult admission to the Expo is $5, and free for children under 15 years of age. Parking is free. More information is available at the club’s website, www.illianagardenpond.org, or contact Expo Chair Kathy Bartley at 219-789-6207.


Valpo, Boone Grove Compost Sites to Open March 31

Green Zone

Porter County – The Valparaiso compost site, 2150 W. Lincolnway, and the Boone Grove site, 400 West 550 South, will open for the season March 31, to give Porter County residents a location to drop off and recycle yard waste from their spring yard cleanups.

Regular hours for the Valparaiso compost site will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Currently, the Valparaiso compost site is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 29.

Regular hours for the Boone Grove site will be from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Currently the site is closed.

Materials accepted at either site include organic yard waste, leaves, garden clippings, household plants, brush, limbs, logs and firewood. Treated wood or lumber is not accepted at either site. Grass is not accepted at the Valparaiso site. Compost and mulch will be available at both locations for residents to take, while supplies last.

Other materials accepted at the compost sites for proper disposal include old or unusable electronics (anything with an electrical cord or powered by batteries); cell phones; compact and tube fluorescent light bulbs; household batteries; toner cartridges; and old media, such as cassette and VCR tapes, CDs, etc.

The sites may close due to inclement weather.

These large scale municipal composting operations allow the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County and select municipalities to manage organic material, composting yard waste and grinding organic wood waste to create large amounts of finished compost and mulch. The resulting compost and mulch are also available for public use.

The Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life for Porter County residents by providing convenient, voluntary waste reduction services.

For more information about public compost sites in Porter County, visit the District’s website, www.ItMeansTheWorld.org, or call 465-3694


Time to Order Trees for Spring

Green Zone

It's time to pre-order quality trees from the Porter County Extension Board, while supplies last. Apple, Apricot, Plum, Peach, Nectarine, Cherry and Pear are priced from $12-$18. The Tree Sale and Workshop will be held at the Porter County Fairgrounds from 8:00am to 11:00am on Saturday, April 5, 2012.

Fruit trees lend themselves to ornamental plantings as well as orchards. Many have beautiful blooms and striking fall color.

Dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees come into bearing earlier than stand-sized trees, occupy less space, and can be more easily pruned and sprayed with equipment available to the average gardener. As a bonus, people can harvest varieties that are not easily available in stores. Budded trees grow no more than 15 to 20 feet tall. Also, available this year are Asparagus, Grapes, Black Raspberries, Red Raspberries, Blueberries and Strawberries.

We are also offering a variety of Evergreens like the beautiful American Arborvitae, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, and Hemlock. Also, on our list are a series of Hardwoods like Bur Oak, Chinese Chestnut, Tulip Poplar, and White Oak. Both breeds range from 18-24 inches and are sold for $4.

Order forms and descriptions are online at: http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/porter/pages/default.aspx or you may call the Porter County Extension Office at (219) 465-3555 for more information.


New Research in Floriculture Program Mar 13

Green Zone

Valparaiso, Ind. – Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and the Northwest Indiana Floriculture Association will co-sponsor an educational program for people in the plant nursery, greenhouse, and retail garden center businesses on Thursday, March 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. CDT at County Line Greenhouse, 383 N. County Line Road, Hobart, Indiana.

On March 13th, the program will begin with a short tour and refreshments provided by County Line Greenhouse. After the refreshments, W. Garrett Owen, floriculture Ph.D. student at Purdue University will discuss new research in floriculture.
Related Web sites:
Northwest Indiana Floriculture Association

Purdue Extension


'Eyes of March' Adoption Special, Pussycat Pizza Party for ICS

Animal Corner

During the month of March the Independent Cat Society will be celebrating the 'Eyes of March' and highlighting our many cats with beautiful green eyes. These cats can be adopted for $40 during March and a companion cat with green or any other color eyes is only $25. We will continue our 'Adopt a cat over 5 years of age and we will waive the adoption fee' promotion. So come out to the ICS shelter, Rte 6 & County Line Road in Westville, IN on Saturdays 10am to 4pm or Sunday 1pm to 4pm and meet these wonderful cats and bring a little 'irish' into your home and family. For more information please contact the ICS 219-785-4936 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

On March 18th the ICS will hold its annual Pussycat Pizza Party at Aurelio's in LaPorte, 2330 N. Hwy 35 from 5pm to 9pm. Tickets for all the pizza you can eat and pop you can drink are only $15 at the door. There will also be delicious homemade desserts available. So come join us for great pizza, fun and good company. All proceeds benefit the Independent Cat Society.  For more information please contact the ICS 219-785-4936 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Also, the ICS Sweetheart Contest is accepting votes/donations through March 1st either on Paypal on the ICS website, http://www.catsociety.org/ or come to the shelter on Saturday March 1 and meet the sweethearts and vote. The Sweethearts are waiting for your vote. All proceeds benefit the Independent Cat Society.

The Independent Cat Society was founded in 1977 and a not for profit, no-kill cat shelter. Our mission is to promote the welfare of all animals, especially cats, by reducing pet overpopulation, educating the public, preventing cruelties to animals, promoting responsible pet ownership, and working for more humane legislation.


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