Thursday, January 03, 2008

Congressman Pete Visclosky holds Town Forums

Congressman Pete Visclosky announced he will be holding 24 Town Forums throughout Indiana’s First Congressional District during the month of January. Each year Visclosky holds forums throughout the region to hear directly from constituents and provide an update on the issues facing Congress and Northwest Indiana.

Congressman Visclosky addresses the Unites Steelworkers rally. Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers, looks on as Visclosky makes his remarks. (6/26/06)

“There are many important issues facing this country and Northwest Indiana right now, including rising gas and energy prices, creating good-paying jobs, working to make high-quality healthcare more accessible, and establishing a responsible timetable for redeploying our troops from Iraq. As the New Year and the new session of Congress begin, I want to hear directly from the people of Northwest Indiana on the issues that matter most to them,” Visclosky said in a press release.

Just like in the past years, a local middle or high school student will have the opportunity to introduce Congressman Visclosky in his or her community and lead the forum in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thursday Jan. 10
6 p.m., Gary Wildermuth Library, 501 S. Lake St., Gary. Introduction by Tremaine Tillotson, Dunbar-Pulaski Middle School

Friday, Jan. 11
6:30 p.m., Merrillville Town Hall, 7820 Broadway, Merrillville

Saturday, Jan. 12
9 a.m., Gary Public Safety Center, 1st Floor Community Room, 535 Polk St., Gary. Introduction by Oliver Thornton, Tolleston Middle

11 a.m., East Chicago Public Library, 2401 E. Columbus Drive, East Chicago. Introduction by Tatiana Brito, Block Junior High

3 p.m., Hammond Main Library, 564 State St. Introduction by Calvin Sanders,Eggers Middle.

In December Visclosky announced that he secured $12 million for Northwest Indiana for a wide-range of programs including educational programs, disaster preparedness, and transportation projects throughout Northwest Indiana.
The funding is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Bill (HR 2764), which has passed the House and Senate, and is expected to be signed into law by the President.
This funding is in addition to the over $58 million in energy and water infrastructure projects and $4.6 million in crime prevention funding, also in HR 2764.

Also included in the legislation is $931,000 for a range of educational initiatives in Northwest Indiana, including after-school programs for K-12 students, funding for an urban academy geared for college bound students, and support for Indiana University Northwest’s (IUN) Health Research Institute.

Specifically, the Indiana University School of Medicine in Gary will receive $502,000 for facilities and equipment at the newly formed Northwest Indiana Health Research Institute, which advances new knowledge and information about the health and care of urban populations.

Visclosky also secured $191,000 for after school and summer programs at the YWCA of Gary. The Gary YWCA will offer an after school and summer program, called Kids Café, designed to provide a safe haven for children and prevent them from engaging in risky behavior. The program aims to serve youth throughout Northwest Indiana.

Purdue Calumet Urban Academy

Visclosky also secured $238,000 for to help fund the Hammond Purdue Calumet urban academy focused on technology and science with a college-bound curriculum.

Purdue University Calumet, with the support of the Civil City of Hammond, will create an urban academy as an alternative educational opportunity for Hammond residents.

The academy would begin as a middle school focused on technology and science with a college-bound curriculum, with the academy adding grade levels each year until it becomes a middle/high school.

The academy would serve approximately 90 students per grade, and parental involvement would be a prerequisite for application. Total Purdue Cal School of Technology funding is $9.15 million.

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will receive $1.476 million for land acquisition. The funding for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore fits into Visclosky’s vision for investing in Lake Michigan to improve the area’s economic and recreational opportunities.
Also included in the legislation is $1.225 million to align 45th Street and Calumet Avenue in Munster. By allowing this east-west thoroughfare to be aligned, traffic congestion and train interruptions will be greatly reduced.
Visclosky also secured $196,000 for Rohrman Park in Schererville. This funding will be used for park expansion and improvements, including improvements to the athletic fields in the park.
Also included in the legislation is $817,000 for Valparaiso University to help purchase a dual-polarization detection Doppler weather radar system.

Visclosky was able to secure funding for several transportation infrastructure projects throughout the 1st Congressional District, including $4.9 million for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s (NICTD) efforts to continue to invest in commuter rail throughout Northwest Indiana, which was also supported by Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Joe Donnelly.

Lake County Sheriff
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is set to receive $658,000 for two major and much needed technological upgrades. A majority of the funds will be for the Wireless Network Project, which will serve as the fundamental vehicle by which the Lake County Sheriff Department, Fire Department, EMA and EMS will establish an interoperable communication system, which was a regional recommendation of the Good Government Initiative. The funds will be used for the purchase of data sharing software and interoperable wireless communications devices.

“As the Sheriff’s Department continues our efforts to track down those who have committed crimes, it is crucial that we have access to high-quality equipment and technology that will assist in our efforts, and I thank Congressman Visclosky for his continued assistance,” said Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.

The remainder of the $658,000 will be used to purchase digital photography equipment and software for the Lake County Sheriff’s Crime Lab, which was also a recommendation of the Good Government Initiative. According to the initiative, the current photography equipment in the lab is over 20 years old and current processing of photos is inefficient.

Local Police Divisions
Another law-enforcement tool that will receive funding, and is part of the Good Government Initiative is the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which will receive $376,000. In an effort to increase the safety of Northern Lake County Indiana, six police departments; Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, Whiting, Highland and Hobart, have agreed to create an integrated booking system that electronically captures, prints and transmits fingerprints and data. The implementation of this system will allow these departments to share their resources and to more efficiently identify and arrest criminals. The funds provided will be used to purchase and install the equipment in the six departments.

The Gary Police Department will receive $451,000 to complete Phase IV of the Shot Spotter Gunfire Detection System by purchasing additional sensors. The Gary Police Department will use the system to deal with gun-related crime, including a significant number that are directly related to drug trafficking and gang activity.

Juvenile Justice
Also included in the legislation is $94,000 for the “No Workshops No Jumpshots” Program. This program, which is based in Gary and is part of the Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice Program, provides programming activities for youth between the ages of 13-18 years old. The goal of the “No Workshops No Jumpshots” program is to provide a positive, structured environment in which the participants work to improve academic achievement, social skills and emotional maturity.

Visclosky was also able to secure $3.022 million for the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). The Lake County’s HIDTA’s goal is to reduce illegal drug-trafficking and drug-related crime throughout the area. “Because so much of the crime in Northwest Indiana is related to drug activity, it is critical to invest in anti-drug programs like HIDTA,” said Visclosky.

Also included in this appropriations bill is $25.850 million for the nation-wide Bullet Proof Vest Partnership Program, which Congressman Visclosky authored in 1997. The program works with local law enforcement agencies throughout the country to provide funding for the purchase of bulletproof vests. The purpose of the program is to save the lives of law enforcement officers engaged in local crime-fighting activities.

Earlier this year, in addition to this funding for crime prevention, Visclosky announced he secured $800,000 for the Indiana National Guard’s Drug Demand Reduction Program, which will provide support to several drug-prevention programs for area students in Northwest Indiana.

1 comment:

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