Top 10 community articles on Portage.Life in 2022

Top 10 community articles on Portage.Life in 2022
By: Ashley Spargo, Autum Meyers, Brenna Sealy, Brittany Mikolajczyk, Collin Gee, Curtis Hankins, Gena Demuth, Grace Bentkowski, Gwen Mathis, Lauren Grasham, Rachel Calderone Last Updated: December 22, 2022

If there’s one word that could be used to describe the people, places, feelings, experiences, things, and overall vibe of the Region, it’d be community. Our individual, collective, and shared communities are what make our Region so special, and in 2022, we published a lot of content surrounding communities.

Whether it was making kids smile, bringing awards to the most deserving, hard-working people, volunteering for a cause we care about, celebrating what it means to be together, or anything in between, we all felt a sense of community this year in one way or another.

In no particular order, here are the top 10 community articles on Portage.Life to recap the good news in 2022!

Goodwill Industries of Michiana uses generous $10 million gift to make an impact in local communities

As news broke of the philanthropic donations made by MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, local Goodwill Industries of Michiana went on a “Listening Tour '' to hear how best to use its generous 10-million-dollar gift from Scott.

For some backstory, Scott, one of the wealthiest women alive, divorced Jeff Bezos in 2019 and received about $38 billion in the settlement. She has, in the short time since, stunned the world with her unique philanthropic tactics, giving away extraordinary amounts of money without the typical guidelines and restriction donors often require from recipients. In less than a year, Scott has given away more than $8.5 billion, stating that the money will help people who have been historically underfunded and overlooked.

The Bonner Center: serving the senior community in every way

The Bonner Center serves several communities in the Portage Township community and has been providing transportation, fitness, socialization, lunch, and more to the seniors of the community for more than 40 years.

In 1979, the Bonner Center opened its doors and welcomed the Portage Township community. The Bonner Center is named after Eunice Bonner, the president of the Senior Citizens Club of Portage. Since the ‘70’s, The Bonner Center has received a face life as well as more additions such as daily activities, field trips, and nutritional lunches.

When in doubt, Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy is here to help

When he first stepped into office 12 years ago, Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy made sure the community would always have someone to turn to in times of need, something he continues to hold true to this day.

“It's really the greatest job in the world,” Clancy said. “There are so many possibilities to being trustee, not just limiting it to the description of the job. You have the ability to think outside the box and work together with so many different community groups, civic groups, churches, all just to make the community better as a whole.”

World War II Vet and Portage Rittenhouse Resident Harold C. Johnson turns 100

World War II veteran and Rittenhouse Village of Portage resident Harold C. Johnson turned 100 years young on Saturday, April 30, and on April 29 Rittenhouse hosted a party for Johnson to celebrate him reaching this huge milestone.

Jill West, Johnson’s daughter, is beyond proud of everything her father has accomplished in his life and is just as proud as her dad is of his World War II veteran status. Growing up, West said he was very reluctant to talk about his time overseas, and she knew very little aside from the fact that he was a paratrooper in the army. However, that all changed when West arranged for Johnson to go on his Honor Flight in 2011. From that moment forward he’d tell his story to anyone and everyone, always beaming from ear to ear about how much it means to him that he was able to serve his country.

City of Portage Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Founders Square

Despite the rain, the Founders Square ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on May 26th at the northeast corner of the park. The existing park has undergone further renovations to make the space more family-friendly.

“This project has been an undertaking for the city for some time. The initial investment, of course, was Founders Square a number of years ago, dating back to 2005,” Community Development/Director of Redevelopment A.J. Monroe said. “In more recent years, the next phase of the project was the amphitheater. What the problem was then was that there was a public road running in between two park spaces.”

City of Portage hosts Open House at newly renovated and ADA compliant City Hall

The City of Portage, city council, and Mayor Sue Lynch welcomed residents to the open house viewing of the newly remodeled city hall on June 7, 2022. The open house took place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. prior to the 6:30 p.m. council meeting.

The event was a community affair as Portage employees, council members, residents and their families took tours of the renovated city hall building. Mayor Lynch and council members personally welcomed friends, family, and constituents into city hall and took them on tours throughout the building.

Every Hero has a Sidekick: NWI fire departments receive grants from Indiana American Water

“There’s a symbiotic relationship between a water department and a fire department,” Justin Mount, Major Account Manager at Indiana American Water, said. “To ensure that there is water, we’ve got to communicate effectively.”

Housed out of Gary, Indiana, Indiana American Water is a water utility company that serves communities across the Region, including Hobart, Portage, Lake Station, Burns Harbor, and more.

Portage students tour Cleveland-Cliffs, Ivy Tech of Valparaiso for Portage EDC's Annual Manufacturing 360 Event

Northwest Indiana is one of the most densely industrial areas in the United States, with manufacturing jobs across many fields being both widely available and often quite lucrative. Companies around the Region depend on a steady pipeline of new workers to fill those lucrative roles and stay productive.

On Thursday, October 27, the Portage Economic Development Corporation (EDC) took a big step to prime that pipeline and equip Portage students for future success with its annual Manufacturing 360 event.

Calumet College of St. Joseph graduates show character and perseverance

Graduates along with their proud families and friends gathered for the 60th Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) Graduation Ceremony. CCSJ bestowed degrees upon 195 students Saturday, May 21, 2022, at St. John the Baptist Church including 54 from the master’s degree programs, 139 from the baccalaureate degree programs, and two from the associate degree programs.

The graduating class also included students from Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Viet Nam. Additionally, there were two sisters who received their Master’s degrees; Lisa Burns in Psychology and Keli Burns in Management. Not to be outdone, Stephanie Daniels earned two Bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor’s of Arts in English, Writing, and Professional Communication and a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice.

Northwest Health celebrates employees with Spooktastic Trunk-or-Treats

Last week, Northwest Health showed appreciation to their dedicated team members with Trunk-or-Treats at their Northwest Health – La Porte and Porter locations. The events featured fun-filled activities including face painting, balloon animals, and of course Halloween decorated cars filled with candy and treats for the kids.

Kids, dressed in a wide variety of costumes, had a blast strolling from car-to-car, playing games and collecting candy. Even some puppies got dressed up for the occasion!