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CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The name of the newest baseball team in the Northern League has been unveiled. The Lake County Corn Dogs, based out of Crown Point, will compete at Legacy Fields at Center Ross Park beginning this summer.

The team says the name was selected by the public through a naming competition held late last year. The Corn Dogs are a pre-professional team participating in the league previously known as Midwest Collegiate League.

“Crown Point is an ideal location for our league’s latest expansion franchise in South Lake County,” Northern League President Don Popravak said in a news release. “With the official announcement of the Corn Dogs name, we want the community to know they now have professional prospect level talent playing right in their backyard.”

Team owner Ralph Flores says the team’s name is an appropriate and fun title.

“When people think about the Corn Dogs, they’re going to remember fun nights out with loved ones and friends,” said Flores. “They’re going to remember awesome games with fantastic area players. And they’re going to remember the joy they had on those summer nights in Crown Point. We couldn’t ask for more, and we thank the community for all their outstanding suggestions for our new team’s name.”

Justin Huisman, a former pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, is the manager of the team. The team says its roster will be comprised of both local and out-of-town talent.

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A new pre-professional baseball team in Crown Point will Thursday unveil its name and leadership. The team will be part of the 21st Century Northern League, previously known as the Midwest Collegiate League, based in Whiting.

Few details are available, but the press conference will feature remarks from Crown Point Mayor David Uram, as well as team representatives, including owner Ralph Flores and manager Justin Huisman, a former pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.

The press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local time at the Great Lakes Sports Hub in Crown Point.

The new team will join six others in the Northern League. Four of those teams are Indiana-based, including the Northwest Indiana Oilmen in Whiting, and the Crestwood Partners, Southland Vikings and MCL Minutemen, all from Hammond.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Chicago is getting 50 cops with a federal grant.

Four Indiana cities and towns are also getting more police officers with a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

But, Indianapolis chose not to apply for the money, even as the city closes in on one of the most violent years in history. 

“We didn’t submit an application for that grant in no small measure because we received $420 million in American Rescue Plan money,” Mayor Joe Hogsett told I-Team 8 on Thursday. “Which by the way could have been used in a lot of different ways and yet we are taking over $400 million we are receiving, and I think it is going to be approximately $166 million is going into public safety for more officers more civilian officer’s better technology for our current sworn officers.” 

Hogsett says Indianapolis will use the American Rescue Plan money will bolster the police department’s hiring. Plans call for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to hire 100 new officers over the next three years.

Indianapolis last applied for the Department of Justice’s grants 10 years ago.

Millions of dollars in Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants are handed out to cities and towns to add police officers every year. This year, four Indiana communities are getting money: Muncie in central Indiana for 3 new officers, and Cedar Lake, La Paz and Crown Point in northern Indiana will get one new officer each.

I-Team 8 talked to the Cedar Lake’s police chief. He has a small department of less than two dozen officers for the town of 13,500 residents in northwest Indiana near the Illinois border. He was not aware the department had been awarded the grant until I-Team 8 told him. He said the city has used the program several times over the years to add cops who were not in the yearly budget.   

Nationwide, nearly 200 departments in the United States are getting money to hire new officers through the COPS program.

The money comes with specific purposes:

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The new chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority says she plans to build upon the success of her predecessor to attract business, investment and people to the region. The RDA’s board of directors last week named Sherri Ziller the next president and CEO of the economic development organization. She had served in an interim role since February, succeeding Bill Hanna, who announced in January he had accepted a new job.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ziller said she will continue to guide the RDA’s efforts to expand commuter rail and surface transportation in the region.

“This isn’t just about making it easier for Hoosiers to get to Chicago, but it’s also about making Northwest Indiana an even more attractive place to live, to work, to play,” said Ziller. “I’ll continue to encourage all of us to ask ourselves, what investments can we make as a region to accelerate that economic resilience and growth and really to become magnets for the talent that the Hoosier businesses need to thrive.”

Ziller is no stranger to the region, nor the organization. She grew-up in the area and has worked at the RDA since 2006. Ziller credits Hanna for paving the way for “transformative change” in northwest Indiana.

“He had the modernization and expansion of the South Shore commuter rail system. And it’s going to bring tremendous opportunity for transit-oriented development,” said Ziller.

Simply put, TOD is the development that happens around transit, such as potential projects that could result from the two major South Shore Line rail projects.

The West Lake Corridor project will add a nine-mile extension from Hammond to Dyer and is forecast to attract 11,000 new residents as a result. The second project is the Double Track project at Michigan City, which will allow for additional commuter trains, including express trains.

“Now that the rail projects are funded, and they’re going towards construction, we really only have one chance in how the area around each of our stations can be shaped to make sure that we’re setting up our communities for success over the next 10, 20 or 50 years from now,” said Ziller.

Ziller says the RDA and other stakeholders must be “bold in our decision making here” in taking full advantage of proximity to Chicago.

“We’ve demonstrated that Illinois businesses near the Indiana State border can be attracted to Indiana,” said Ziller. “With targeted efforts, given greater transit options, more of these businesses can relocate without disrupting their existing workforce.”

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority Board of Directors has named Sherri Ziller president and chief executive officer, succeeding Bill Hanna who stepped down from the role earlier this year. She has been serving as interim president and CEO since Hanna’s departure in January.

Ziller, who joined the RDA in 2006, was also previously the chief operating officer of the organization.

RDA Board Chair Don Fesko says the organization conducted an extensive search, but Ziller was the best fit.

“She is uniquely qualified to take on this role given her track record of success with the organization, and we look forward to continuing to work with her to deliver on the RDA’s goals of making Northwest Indiana the leading area for economic growth in Indiana,” said Fesko.

As part of her continuing leadership role, Ziller will guide the RDA’s efforts to expand commuter rail and surface transportation in the region.

Governor Eric Holcomb says Ziller has played a pivotal role in the economic evolution of northwest Indiana and will be critical to economic growth.

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Officials from the University of Saint Francis have cut the ribbon on an expansion of the university’s Crown Point location. The ceremony celebrated the $7 million project, which doubled the size of the facility with the help of a grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and donations.

The new facility will house several programs, including Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Advanced Medical Imaging.

“We are conscious of the Lord blessing all the hard work that has been put into this building. This building will allow time together to understand how better to learn, how better to come together and how better to help God’s children in healthcare,” said USF President Reverend Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer.

USF Crown Point says expectations are that the expansion will double enrollment in the coming years.

(Pictured L to R) USF Crown Point student Taylor Conn, USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer, USF Director of Planned Giving Sister Marilyn Oliver, U.S. Rep Frank Mrvan, USF Crown Point student Simona Branoska, USF Crown Point, Dean Dr. Marsha King, Tonn & Blank Construction President & CEO Jon Gilmore, USF Crown Point student Lauren Bartley

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The president and chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is stepping down. Bill Hanna, who has led the organization for 10 years, says he is leaving to become executive director of the Dean & Barbara White Family Foundation in Merrillville.

During his tenure at the RDA, Hanna helped lead efforts on major regional infrastructure and transportation efforts, including the South Shore West Lake Corridor rail extension and South Shore Double Track projects. He also was a leader on initiatives that leveraged more than $1 billion in shoreline development projects, including Wolf Lake Park in Hammond, East Chicago North Harbor redevelopment as shoreline, Whiting Lake Front Park, Marquette Park in Gary and Gateway to the Indiana Dunes in Porter County.

“The recently announced federal funding for the South Shore double track project is a tremendous accomplishment for Indiana and the culmination of our efforts to take full advantage of Northwest Indiana’s proximity to Chicago,” said Hanna in a news release. “However, I am most proud of the partnerships between local communities and government entities, all of which are required to successfully complete large initiatives. It is my hope the last 10 years demonstrates great things are possible for Northwest Indiana when we work together.”

The RDA did not provide any details on a search to find Hanna’s successor.

CROWN POINT, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Washington-based Beacon Hill Development and Good Hospitality Services in Valparaiso have broken ground on the new Hampton Inn hotel. When complete, the Hampton Inn Crown Point will include 95 rooms, a fitness center, and an in-ground pool.

The groundbreaking took place at the site of the new hotel on the corner of I-65 and 109th Avenue in Crown Point.

“With the development of another property, we are optimistic about the future growth of the hospitality industry,” said Jeff Good, president of GHS. “Not only are we developing this hotel, but we will also manage it. We are looking forward to its opening in August of 2021.”

Crown Point Mayor David Uran says the proximity of the hotel to the Crown Point Sportsplex will allow athletes and families to stay close to the fields.

TINTON FALLS, N.J. (Inside INdiana Business) – New Jersey-based World Insurance Associates LLC has acquired Pinnacle Insurance Group of Indiana. Financial terms of the acquisition for the northwest Indiana-based firm were not disclosed.

Pinnacle Insurance Group of Indiana specializes in insurance and risk management for commercial and personal insurance clients throughout the nation.

“Pinnacle Insurance Group has established a reputation for high ethical standards, which we greatly value and welcome at our organization,” said Rich Eknoian, chief executive officer of World Insurance Associates LLC. “We warmly welcome the Pinnacle Insurance Group team and look forward to working closely together.”

Mark Bates, president of Pinnacle Insurance Group, says he will remain as an active principal with the combined company. He says the acquisition will grow Pinnacle’s footprint and provide its clients with more options and resources.

(AP) — Protesters in a northwest Indiana city who took to the streets to condemn racism and police killings of black people encountered bystanders who were holding rifles during the demonstration.

A video that circulated on social media shows 21 people standing along a bike trail near downtown Crown Point, Indiana, watching protesters march past them Monday during a peaceful protest against police brutality and racism.

Eight of the bystanders held firearms, an act Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land said is protected under state law.

The Lake County city is about 100 miles northwest of Indianapolis.