2014 was a tremendous year for the Ideas in Motion Media team and it definitely showed on ValpoLife.com. We loved covering good news in Valparaiso and 2014 saw us connect with a lot of great groups and organizations doing great things in town.
I see about 99.9% of the events we cover and post about and have a crazy good memory for stuff like this (just ask my wife!), so I thought I’d throw together a personal Best-Of for my favorite stories I can remember posting about on ValpoLife.com this year.
ValPLAYSO Park, Rebuilt
The building of ValPLAYso Park was another fun story to see come to fruition throughout the year. From the community support to the Children’s Committee running around like crazy during the year, the whole initiative was one of those great stories that make Valparaiso unique. Kudos to all involved.
Train Depot Moves, Transforms
I personally loved the story of the Porter County Career and Technical Center moving the old train depot onto their property, a massive undertaking that took a lot of community support, a strong drive from Jon Groth, and will eventually serve as a training and learning center for PCCTC students.
Shout-Out to Good Shots
My favorite photo gallery of the year goes to Anna Hanson, who covered VU SALT’s Color Fun Run for us back in May. Just another example quality stories told through photos that you won’t find anywhere else in the region besides on the LIFE sites.
I Got To Hold Giant Scissors
Our first Ribbon Cutting - despite almost six years old - was held this year with our friends at the Duneland, La Porte, Crossroads and Portage Chambers of Commerce. It was a nice milestone for us and a nice symbol of our relationship with chambers of commerce throughout the region in all three counties.
Revisiting a VHS Alum
Our Tim Moran did a story on Brad Karp, a VHS alum who set the scoring record for Tim’s alma mater Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Brad eventually agreed to play overseas in Britain. Just a fun update on someone who I had covered back in the day for Valpo basketball.
A Long Day of Corn a Poppin'
We crushed, killed, slayed and filleted our 2014 Popcorn Festival coverage! 40,000 people came to town and we captured everything from the pre-Popcorn Festival activities all the way through the end of the evening’s Spin Doctors concert. Good times at #PopcornFest.
Its Cool When a Lot Of Work Turns Out Well
With the launch of NWIndianaLife.com in August 2013 we expanded our audience by tens of thousands, and with that increase we saw a number of schools that we now needed to help tell the stories of. We had graduations covered throughout the region - increasing from seven to 30 covered in the summer of 2014. We also started our #1StudentNWI series that has had a number of unique stories told through the eyes of the students at school. We also started a new initiative with our football coverage, highlighting the students, parents, fans and media members at various games around Northwest Indiana, and produced great results in Lake, Porter, and La Porte Counties.
Bringing Networking and Nonprofits Together
We hosted our first NWITweetup back in February after kind-of-sort-of helping out with it the past few years. For the first few this year, we incorporated a non-profit element with the help of Berman’s Infiniti of Merrillville, and it turned out to be a big hit, bringing together nonprofits, business people and community members.
The Big Two Four
Another story from this year at Valparaiso University that I enjoyed was the retirement of Bryce Drew’s college jersey. He was a big part of my growing up as a basketball fan in Valparaiso throughout the 90’s as part of the 1994 Semi-State team and again for the NCAA-bound Crusader teams later in the 90’s. Very cool to see that come full circle.
Rewarding Good Work
We’re all about communicating the stories of our partners and I couldn’t place one better than the job done by Emily Chaples on the longtime Valpo staple Von Tobel Lumber & Hardware. She spoke with the team at the employee-owned, community-driven business in downtown Valpo and told the story better, in this guy's opinion, than anywhere else on our sites this year.