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WASHINGTON (WISH) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a case that some argue could restrict Americans’ chances to sue over Medicaid decisions and, perhaps more concerning, cause millions of people to lose access to Medicaid programs.

The case involves Gorgi “Jorgo” Talevski. He’d been living with dementia. The longtime Valparaiso resident died Oct. 6, 2021 at age 85 in a nursing home in Bremen, Indiana, his obituary says.

Talevski entered a Valparaiso nursing home in January 2016. His wife, Ivanka Talevski, sued the nursing home in September 2016, arguing it was not providing proper care. The nursing home then tried to move Gorgi to another facility two hours away. An administrative law judge ruled for the move to be stopped, but Gorgi was never returned to the Valparaiso nursing home.

Ivanka in January 2019 sued again, claiming Valparaiso Care & Rehabilitation, a facility of the Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana, did not provide adequate care and moved her husband to another facility. A federal district court threw the case out because it believed federal law does not allow people receiving Medicaid to sue for damages. An appeals court later ruled the district court was wrong to throw out the case, questioning the use of drugs to restrain him due to discipline or staff convenience, and his move to another care facility.

The Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County says it properly restrained and medicated Talevski. The Marion County government agency operates the Marion County Public Health Department, Eskenazi Health, Eskenazi Health Foundation, Indianapolis EMS, and more than 70 skilled nursing facilities for long-term care in Indiana.

In response to the appeals court ruling, the Health and Hospital Corp. asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Americans have the right to sue states operating of a program funded by the federal government.

Opponents say if the Supreme Court favors the Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, the decision would hurt Americans with disabilities, and patients who have low incomes. A ruling for Health and Hospital Corp. could also affect other federal-state programs, including food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

Justices have scheduled 65 minutes for the oral arguments, according to Tuesday’s Supreme Court schedule. The audio will be livestreamed at The case is Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, et al., v. Ivanka Talevski, personal representative of the estate of Gorgi Talevski.

Previous News 8 coverage

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Officials in Valparaiso have unveiled plans for a $37 million mixed-use development in the city’s downtown. The city says The Linc will be comprised of three, four-story buildings that will include a total of 121 apartments, as well as ground floor retail and restaurant space, in addition to a 300-space parking structure. “These new additions take the city’s downtown plans to the next level and will be as positive and transformative as the introduction of our downtown park, Central Park Plaza, was a decade ago,” said Mayor Matt Murphy.

Patrick Lyp, attorney for the city’s redevelopment commission, tells Inside INdiana Business the project is a “logical, natural progression” for downtown Valpo.

“The development you have seen in downtown Valparaiso over the last 20-plus years…we’re kind of looking back at all of the milestones we’ve hit going back to the early 2000s,” Lyp said. “The city secured downtown liquor licenses. The city invested in facade improvement grants. The city had two transformative projects in our downtown amphitheater and Urschel Pavillion, and on the residential side, we’ve had various smaller developments over time.”

The property on which the development will be built was acquired by Carmel-based real estate investment and development company Hageman. Lyp says the city was impressed with the firm’s previous work in central Indiana.

“We were looking for the right developer to bring this level of density and, as you can imagine, doing an eight or 10-unit development has a certain skillset, but bringing a larger development into a denser area needs a special skillset,” he said. “Seeing all the projects that Hagemen have done in central Indiana, when they came to us and gave us some concepts, it was a perfect fit.”

The housing and retail development is expected to cost about $19.5 million, with the remainder covering the construction of the new Lincoln Highway Garage. The city says the garage will support the new housing, as well as surrounding businesses.

Tom Dickey, managing director of real estate for Hageman, says he has seen first hand how a project like The Linc can benefit a community.

“I think the first thing really about economic development when we talk to towns and cities about redeveloping their downtowns is talent attraction,” said Dickey. “It’s attracting that next generation of worker. That worker comes along with spending power at restaurants and so forth, but really it’s talent for current employers to leverage.”

The property to be used for The Linc currently houses the Round the Clock restaurant. The owners of the restaurant have agreed to move the restaurant to a new location, though a specific site has not yet been chosen.

The Indiana Economic Development Commission has awarded $5.6 million in redevelopment tax credits for the project, in addition to tax increment financing assistance being provided by the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 with occupancy slated to begin in late 2023.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Valparaiso-based aviation consulting firm and airplane repossession specialist Sage-Popovich Inc. has purchased Togs Aircraft, LLC, a Michigan-based airplane parts and repair facility. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SPI specializes in the recovery of aviation-related equipment. Flight operations run out of Gary/Chicago International Airport.

TOGS’s maintenance capabilities include turboprops, helicopters, corporate jets, and regional airline equipment. It previously conducted contract work for SPI, such as pre-purchase inspections and maintenance of repossessed aircraft.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

SPI also announced a change in leadership, naming Petar Todorovic president. Todorovic previously served as vice president of operations.

With Todorovic’s promotion, SPI Owner Nick Popovich will become chairman and focus his attention on the philanthropic efforts of the Popovich Family Trust.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — St. Mary Medical Center is expanding the Valparaiso Health Center by adding a third floor to accommodate the hospital’s growing needs. Chief Executive Officer Janice Ryba says the addition will house physical therapy, medical oncology and gastroenterology service lines.

Ryba says the additional space, which will encompass more than 20,000 square feet, brings more services to one location closer to home for patients.

“Therapy services will be expanding their space due to increasing demand. A medical oncology group will be housed at the center to see patients,” said Ryba. “We also will be enhancing and expanding space to accommodate additional physician offices.”

Ryba says the addition is expected to be complete by June 2021. 

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Chicago-based Ekos Window + Wall says it plans to break ground this spring in northwest Indiana on a 120,000-square-foot plant that will create 110 new manufacturing jobs. The company says the $11 million investment in Valparaiso will boost production of glass curtain wall products used in high rise buildings.

The building enclosure manufacturer says it conducted an expansive search throughout the Midwest to find the right location.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ekos President Rodrigo d’Escoto explained why he thinks the Hoosier state is the right fit.

“Very efficient. Moves quickly. They execute. They’re skinny on words and long on execution,” said d’Escoto. “They have good incentives to help you because it’s a huge investment for us and help us make that move.”

The company manufactures a variety of exterior wall enclosures, some as long as 24 feet tall. Ekos says it is focusing on products that offer energy efficiency.

“Buildings that don’t hemorrhage energy are better for all of us,” said d’Escoto. “The science and the chemistry behind the building and closure, and especially with sustainability has never been more important.”

Despite the economic challenges associated with the pandemic, the company decided to remain aggressive in its expansion.

“There’s risk, right, to see past the challenges of the last 12 months,” said d’Escoto. “But we decided we’re going to double down on our business. We’re going to go after it.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Ekos Window + Wall up to $1.25 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans, among other conditional tax credits.

The company says the city offered favorable pricing on the land for development.

“We’re happy to welcome Ekos Window + Wall to Valparaiso,” said Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy. “We’re so pleased to share Valparaiso’s strengths in workforce, services and quality of life, giving companies like Ekos and other former neighbors the confidence to choose our community.”

In addition to state incentives, the company has forged a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College to help upskill workers for the manufacturer. The company says the patent-pending technology will require CNC operators, welders and fabricators.

“There’s been a concerted effort to build a program, a certification program for feeding workers right from Ivy Tech right into our facility,” said Ekos Vice President Ed Kruschka. “Not only is there going to be a curriculum at Ivy Tech that we’re working on, but we actually have a classroom and a mockup facility so they can come and do hands-on training within our facility.”

The company intends to break ground in April and to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021.

Ekos President Rodrigo d’Escoto explained why the Hoosier State is the right fit.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The board of directors for the Center of Workforce Innovations in Valparaiso has selected Lisa Daugherty as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer. Daugherty succeeds Linda Woloshansky, who announced her retirement after 20 years leading the nonprofit.

Daugherty currently serves as president and CEO of the Lake Area United Way. She will begin her new role March 1.

“I believe I can speak for the entire board in saying that we believe Lisa will bring the leadership, collaboration, creativity, and passion that will assure future generations are prepared to meet the workforce needs of the region,” said CWI Board Chair Glen Todd.

Todd says the search for Woloshansky’s successor was conducted by Organizational Development Studios, who pored over 75 applicants from across the country.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Valparaiso University Board of Directors has selected José Padilla as the university’s next president. Padilla, who most recently served as vice president, university counsel and secretary of the University of Colorado System, will begin his new role next month.

Padilla succeeds Mark Heckler, who announced in August 2019 he was stepping down from the position. Colette Irwin-Knott has served as interim president since July

“We are delighted to have found such an exceptional leader for our university,” said Frederick Kraegel, chair of the Valpo Board of Directors. “José’s deep and varied background in all aspects of higher education make him ideally suited to lead Valpo.”

Padilla has also held senior leadership roles at DePaul University in Chicago. The university says the selection followed an “exhaustive search” that lasted more than a year and included more than 100 candidates. 

Padilla will serve as president-elect beginning Jan. 1 and will work with Irwin-Knott to transition to the permanent role on or before March 1.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Center of Workforce Innovations in Valparaiso says President and Chief Executive Officer Linda Woloshansky will retire in early 2021. Woloshansky has served as the organization’s president since CWI began operations in 2000.

During Woloshanky’s tenure, the organization says she laid the foundation and strategy for CWI to serve as a catalyst for community and business investment in workforce, education, and economic development.

“The organization has grown significantly the last twenty years, providing support to the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, operating WorkOne Centers, and 15 adult community learning centers,” said Glen Todd, newly-elected chair of the CWI Board. “Linda added a consulting division, co-founded and spearheaded READY NWI, a talent alignment coalition of k-12 systems, and her support extended to Career and Technical Education centers, post-secondary schools, and employers in the seven counties of Northwest Indiana. Her knowledge and experience on workforce issues has been recognized not only locally but she has been sought out by others throughout the country.”

Prior to her work at CWI, Woloshansky served as the founder and CEO of Kankakee Workforce Development and previously administered The Discovery Alliance.

The CWI’s board is contracting with Westville-based Organizational Development Solutions Inc. to search for a new CEO.

VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent has named northwest Indiana as the state’s newest 21st Century Talent Region. The designation is awarded to communities that are “focused on working collaboratively to attract, develop and connect talent.” Officials from the seven-county region say they will use the designation to achieve a number of goals, including increase employer engagement with the education and workforce systems in high-demand industry sectors.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Northwest Indiana Forum Chief Executive Officer Heather Ennis said the designation will shine a spotlight on the region’s efforts.

“Talent is a top five component of site selection and so it’s as important or more important than ever to continue to create great talent in our region,” said Ennis. “From January to August of this year in 2020, our jobs number has outpaced the entire 2019 year so we are exciting about what this talent region (designation) means for continuing to grow and connect great talent in northwest Indiana.”

The northwest Indiana region is comprised of Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke counties.

Efforts to achieve the region’s goals are being spearheaded by the Center of Workforce Innovations, the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board.

The goals include maintaining a dashboard that will allow all regional partners to foster a deep, consistent collaboration through shared goals and operating practices. Officials will also analyze data and identify baseline and progress metrics for regional talent attraction and connection efforts by next summer.

From an education standpoint, officials plan to adopt an equity focus throughout the region with the intention of narrowing the achievement gap for minority and underserved high school students by increasing graduation rates by 3% annually. Another goal is to increase the number of high school graduates with post-secondary credentials by 5% each year.

The region also aims to increase the number of internship or apprenticeship opportunities available to both youth and adults by 10% each year. Ennis says engagement with employers is key.

“It’s so important when we go out and talk to site selectors and companies for them to know that the economic development professionals are well connected to the workforce people and the educators,” said Ennis. “And so nothing is insurmountable when we can all work together and help the companies that want to locate here figure out how to grow that talent or connect with that talent.”

Northwest Indiana is the eighth region to receive the 21st Century Talent Region designation, bringing the total number of counties involved in regional planning efforts to 83.

MERRILLVILLE and VALPARAISO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Tampa-based B2Digital Inc., a development league for mixed martial arts, has signed an agreement to acquire two fitness facilities in Merrillville and Valparaiso. The company is not disclosing financial details, but says the deal includes all current equipment, customer contracts and facility leases for the properties.

Greg Bell, chief executive officer for B2Digital, says the facilities will allow the company to capitalize on existing relationships with local MMA gyms and effectively double the paying customer base for its ONE More Gym business.

“These two new fitness facilities fit perfectly within our strategic roadmap to continue expanding our capability to develop future MMA stars,” said Bell. “We plan on duplicating our existing ONE More Gym business model – that we perfected in our first location – into these two new facilities. We plan on adding Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing and MMA training areas to the already operating facilities, and include space for the existing MMA gyms in the region where we already have strong relationships.”

The company says the transaction has been approved by the B2Digital board of directors and is expected to close in the first week of October.